Although probably in use for many centuries prior, the recorded use of moxibustion dates back to the 5th Century BC. Moxibustion has its roots in Northern China where cooler temperatures prompted this warming type of therapy. The word Moxa comes from the Japanese word "moe kusa" which means burning herb.
Moxibustion comes in many forms. What most forms have in common is the burning of Chinese Mugwort on or near the surface of the skin. This is thought to free the movement of energy, eliminate dampness, and warm the yang energy of the body. The two primary divisions within this therapy are indirect moxibustion (applied above the skin) and direct moxibustion (applied on the surface of the skin). This therapy has been useful for asthma, arthritis, lower back pain, and neck pain.
Cautions & Warnings
In the hands of a trained professional moxibustion is safe and effective. The most common hazard encountered in moxibustion is burns to the skin. When using direct moxibustion sensitive skin may suffer minor burns (usually first degree, equivalent to a sunburn) or in rare cases may form a blister (second degree burn). When using indirect moxa, burning ash may occasionally fall from the tip of the moxa pole and cause a minor burn to more sensitive skin.