Moxibustion meaning: Moxibustion definition is the burning of moxibustion sticks made of moxa on or near moxibustion points / acupuncture point near person's skin as a counterirritant as form of eastern medical therapy or moxa chinese medicine.

Indications and Methods

The indications for moxibustion treatment include a wide range of weakness (Xu) diseases, mostly of a chronic character, such as bronchitis, asthma or diarrhoea (Table 9.1). Moxibustion is especially effective in weakness after convalescence and in depression.

Indications for moxibustion Chronic bronchitis, Bronchial asthma Chronic diarrhoea, Depression, Bowel disease, Hypotension, Exhaustion, Feeling of coldness in the body and Chronic disease. Moxibustion pregnancy moxibustion breech is an important moxibustion at home procedure than can be useful.

Contraindications for moxibustion: Moxa therapy in Fever, Acute infections, Hypertension, Acute and chronic haemorrhage, During menstruation, Nervousness and overexcitement, Sleep disturbances


"Yajuan Wang OMD, LAc, in Micro-Acupuncture in Practice Moxibustion Technique Moxibustion therapy is a treatment method that treats and prevents disease by applying the stimulation of warmth and heat to the acupuncture points and certain locations of the body. The material for moxibustion sticks moxibustion is called “Ai Ye,” or “moxa wool.” Or “moxa herb” It is in the form of a cone or stick or moxibustion moxa rolls or made of the dried leaves of the plant. Those who cannot tolerate smoke, use smokeless moxa."

The functions of moxibustion are to warm the meridians and expel cold, induce the smooth flow of Qi and blood, strengthen Yang from collapsing, reduce abscesses, dissipate nodules, prevent disease, and maintain health and well-being.

Moxa Cones There are several different sizes of moxibustion cones, including large, medium, small, and “rice bean” form.

How to give Moxa?

Direct Moxibustion

Direct moxibustion is performed by putting the moxa cone directly on the selected acupuncture point and igniting it.

Non-scarring moxibustion

A moxa cone is placed on a point and ignited. When half or two thirds of it is burnt, remove the cone and replace it with another one. No blister should be formed, and there should be no festering or scar formation. Moxa also can be used, which has a sticky adhesive paper underneath the moxa cone. The adhesive paper can be removed and the moxa can be placed directly on the skin. An advantage of this form of moxa is that there are no limitations on the patient's body positions.

Scarring moxibustion

Before moxibustion, onion or garlic juice is applied to the selected site to (1) increase the adhesion of the moxa cone to the skin and (2) increase the amount of stimulation provided by the moxa cone during the procedure. A moxa cone is then placed on the desired site, ignited, and allowed to completely burn out. This is repeated 5 to 10 times, often leading to a local burn, blister, festering, and eventual scar formation when the area is completely healed from the procedure. This method is often used to treat certain chronic diseases such as asthma, abdominal pain, irregular menstruation, Bi syndrome, impotence, and tumors.

Indirect Moxibustion:

Indirect moxibustion is performed when an ignited moxa cone is placed on an insulated material and not directly in contact with skin. Moxibustion with ginger: A piece of ginger is sliced to about 0.5 cm thickness and several holes are punched through. The slice of ginger is applied to the desired area and the moxa cone is ignited on top of it. As soon as the patient feels the scorching sensation, the cone is removed and a new one is ignited in its place. This method of moxibustion is often used to treat symptoms of spleen and stomach deficiency such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, painful joints, and so on. Moxibustion with ginger is also used to treat symptoms resulting from a Yang deficiency

Moxibustion with garlic

A perforated slice of garlic about 0.5 cm thick is applied to the desired area and a moxa cone is ignited on the slice of garlic. As in moxibustion with ginger, as soon as the patient feels the scorching sensation, the cone is removed and replaced with a new one. This method of moxibustion is often used to treat scrofula, tuberculosis, abdominal masses, early-stage skin cancer ulcerations and boils, and poisonous insect bites.

Moxibustion with salt

The navel is filled with salt to the level of the skin. A large moxa cone is placed on the salt and ignited. In the event that the patient has an “outie” (the navel is convex, or even simply not concave), a wet noodle can be placed around the navel and used as a retainer for the salt.

The navel is filled with salt to the level of the skin. A large moxa cone is placed on the salt and ignited. In the event that the patient has an “outie” (the navel is convex, or even simply not concave), a wet noodle can be placed around the navel and used as a retainer for the salt.

This method of moxibustion is known to be effective in treating abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, pain around the umbilicus, pain caused by a hernia, and prolonged dysentery. It is also effective in restoring Yang from a state of collapse, where symptoms of excessive sweating, cold limbs, and undetectable pulse may manifest.

Insulation with Fu Zi (Prepared Aconite Root)

This technique uses the herb Fu Zi as an insulator. A piece of Fu Zi is sliced to about 0.5 cm thick and several holes are punched through, or the practitioner can cut the herb into small pieces and mix them with flour and wine to form a small cake about 0.2 to 0.5 cm in thickness. Then use the moxa cone on the top of the cake. The property of Fu Zi is very acrid and warm. It has the function to warm the kidneys and Ming Men. Use this method to treat any Yang deficiency conditions.

Insulation with Pepper

This technique uses white pepper as an insulation material. Mix the white pepper with flour to form a small cake about 0.3 to 0.5 cm thick. Make a slight depression in the center to put in herbs such as Ding Xiang (Caryophylli) or Rou Gui (Cinnamomi Cassiae). Then put the moxa cone on the top. This technique is used to treat Bi syndrome with pain and local numbness.

Moxibustion with Monkshood Cake

A coin-sized cake of monkshood powder mixed with alcohol is perforated and placed on the site selected for moxibustion. The moxa cone is placed on the cake and ignited. Because monkshood is warm in nature, it can warm the Yang and expel cold. This method of moxibustion is only suitable for treating deficient and persistent Yin-cold syndromes such as impotence and ejaculation praecox caused by a declining Ming Men fire.

Moxa Rolls There are two kinds of moxa rolls: traditional and smokeless. A lighted moxa stick is applied over the selected point. The level of heat and the duration of the therapeutic application are rather easy to control with this method, so it is commonly used in today's clinics.

Mild-Warming Moxibustion:

An ignited moxa stick is applied over the desired point until mild warmth is achieved at that point and in the surrounding area. This is done for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the area itself becomes red.

Sparrow-Pecking Moxibustion:

When this method of moxibustion is performed, the ignited moxa stick is rapidly pecked over the desired point with care being taken to avoid burning the skin. The moxa stick may also be evenly moved with a left to right motion.

Rotating Moxibustion:

The ignited moxa stick is applied over the desired point with rotating circles or it follows the meridian pathway until a mild warming sensation is achieved and the patient feels very relaxed. This is a commonly used technique in the micro-acupuncture system.

Taiyi Miraculous (Great Monad):

The herbs are mixed together and ground into a very fine powder. The desired amount of powder is then placed on a piece of paper and processed until it is formed into the Great Monad Herbal Moxa Stick.

The area for moxibustion must be examined and marked. One stick is then ignited and quickly placed into a piece of dry cloth that has been folded into seven layers. This is then directed to the marked area of skin with the intent of having the heat penetrate into the deeper muscle layers.

It is best to prepare two Great Monad Herbal Moxa Sticks at a time to facilitate a thorough treatment of the desired area.

This method of moxibustion warms the meridians, promotes the free flow of Qi and blood, and dispels cold and dampness, making it effective in treating prolonged diseases such as abdominal pain, dysmenorrhea, hernia, and painful joints due to a wind-cold-damp condition.

Thunder Fire Moxa Stick:

The thunder moxa stick is very similar to Taiyi miraculous in terms of the preparation and its performance; however, it uses different herbs.

Herbal Moxa Stick:

The herbal moxa uses mainly Ai Ye (Folium Artemisiae) with other ingredients as desired to make a moxa roll. The practitioner can use sparrow pecking and rotation techniques to induce mild warming.

Warming Needle
The practice of moxibustion with a warming needle is a combination of moxibustion and acupuncture. This method is often used for conditions in which needle retention and moxibustion are both necessary in order to achieve the therapeutic effects desired in the treatment being performed.

After the acupuncture needle is properly inserted into the acupuncture point and De Qi is achieved, the needle handle is then wrapped with a unit of moxa wool. The moxa wool is ignited, causing a mild heat sensation around the point as the wool burns. This method of moxibustion serves to warm the meridians and promote the free flow of Qi and blood, thus effectively treating conditions such as painful joints as the result of cold-damp, or numbness with cold sensations and paralysis.

Warming Moxa Box
There are many different kinds of warming boxes, which are made of metal or wood. They are designed to hold moxa wool in the box. Once ignited, the box can be kept in place on a specific location or can be moved along the meridians. The moxa box is able to generate a warm sensation over a larger area. Another benefit of the box is it can be used for patients who are afraid of the moxa cones or roll.

Medicinal Vesiculation
Medicinal vesiculation is a method in which herbs are used directly on an area of the body or on a point for a few hours or days in order to get the skin to respond to redness, itchiness, and vesicles. It is an effective way to treat a variety of long-term conditions such as malaria, skin carcinomas, tumors, or bone tuberculosis.

The Process and Volume for Moxibustion
The volume for moxibustion, size of the moxa cone, and duration of the moxa stick application should be considered in relation to the patient's pathological condition, general constitution, age, and the site where moxibustion is to be applied. For acute onset of disease or patients with a strong constitution, use large moxa cones and more moxa zhuang (zhuang = number of moxa cones). For chronic disease, elderly patients, young children, or patients with a weak constitution, use small moxa cones and less moxa zhuang. For points located on the face, head, and chest, use small moxa cones and less moxa zhuang. For the upper and lower back, shoulders, abdomen, and both thighs, use large moxa cones and more moxa zhuang. Three to seven moxa cones are applied to each point. The moxa stick is usually applied for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

The contraindications for moxibustion are heat syndrome of the excess type or fever due to Yin deficiency, and the abdominal and lumbosacral regions of pregnant women. Scarring moxibustionshould not be applied to the face, near the sensory organs, or to any area near large blood vessels.

If small blisters appear, take care not to break them. They will be absorbed and heal by themselves. However, if large blisters appear, puncture and drain them with a sterilized needle. Then wrap the area with gauze. For conditions in which pus appears, the patient needs to rest in order to strengthen the body's resistance. Keep the site clean. The blisters should be dressed to prevent further infection.

For the micro-acupuncture system, the moxibustion technique is a great way to stimulate the needled area and apply passive activity to a diseased area. By using the moxibustion technique, the needle reaction can more easily reach the diseased area. Some of the moxibustion techniques are not useful in the micro-system because of their requirements, such as Taiyi miraculous, thunder fire moxa stick, and medicinal vesiculation. However, moxibustion is useful on local diseased areas while stimulating or retaining needles on the micro-system points.

Moxibustion benefits

Breast Cancer
Lucille R. Marchand MD, BSN, James A. Stewart MD, FACP, in Integrative Medicine (Fourth Edition), 2018

Nausea and Vomiting
Moxibustion, which stimulates acupuncture points with heat generated from burning herbal preparations, was evaluated in several clinical trials; some evidence showed that this therapy could significantly reduce nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. The National Institutes of Health endorsed acupuncture for chemotherapy-associated nausea. The Society of Integrative Oncology, on review of the evidence, also strongly endorsed acupuncture for this indication. Acupressure of acupuncture point 6 at the wrist, sometimes stimulated with specialized wristbands, can help alleviate chemotherapy-related nausea .

Lee et al. found that nausea intensity was less in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy who engaged in moderate exercise as opposed to no exercise.

Ear Acupuncture
Yajuan Wang OMD, LAc, in Micro-Acupuncture in Practice, 2009 EAR MOXIBUSTION THERAPY

Moxibustion may be used in cases of chronic, rheumatic, or cold diseases. Several techniques may be used clinically. This therapy has the functions to expel cold, relieve pain, and warm the meridians. It is used for deficient, cold, and painful conditions.


Incense stick used as moxa. Light the incense stick and apply it close to the surface of the Ear point, usually using two to three points per treatment, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Treatments may be applied every other day. The patient may feel warmth, or a hot or burning sensation, but not pain.


Moxa stick. Hold the moxa stick at a distance to stimulate the point but not burn the ear, so that the patient feels a warm to hot sensation. This therapy is useful for Wei syndromes, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic back pain.


“Moxibustion is considered a safe and effective traditional therapy, and large numbers of clinical reports have indicated that it is effective and associated with few adverse events.”