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MoxibustionIn addition to needles being inserted in to the body, moxa and cupping may be employed as part of a treatment plan. Moxa is a herb that is both placed on the needle and burnt or used generally to heat a specific area of the body. Moxibustion is employed to strengthen the body's natural healing mechanisms.

Moxibustion can treat joint pain, muscular pain, and the pain of injuries, menstrual pain and even generalised pain. Some people who use it to treat pain swear it works better than the pain medicine that is available on the market today. Part of the reason moxibustion works so well for pain is that it increases blood flow to the painful area, which acts as an analgesic and promotes prompt healing. Back pain is often very difficult to treat, but you can use moxibustion to do it successfully.

Moxibustion is the burning of an herb called Mugwort. The herb, or moxa, can take many forms, including cigar-like moxa rolls; raw rice grain size pieces, and compressed smokeless sticks and cones. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mugwort is considered to be warm, acrid, and bitter when used in herbal prescriptions. When burnt, it has similar properties and, thus, its warming nature is useful for helping to expel cold and damp from the body as well as warming the body's channels. The bitter and acrid aspects of Mugwort help to break stagnation, clear phlegm, and rectify the qi and blood. Moxibustion can be considered to be a parallel therapy to acupuncture, being used to stimulate qi flow at points on the body that are selected for their specific function. There are two forms of moxibustion direct and indirect

Moxa can be burnt as rice grain sized pieces directly on acupuncture points in order to stimulate the function of the point. It can be burnt over the point as a moxa roll in order to indirectly warm the point and meridian. Moxa can be placed in a moxa box in order to warm an area such as the lower abdomen or the back. It can also be rubbed along the meridian in a lion or tiger warmer or placed on the end of an inserted acupuncture needle in order to strengthen the stimulation of an acupuncture point.

Specific moxibustion is used to stimulate specific points or, in scarring moxibustion, a point is burnt so that it is continuously stimulated by the healing process. Indirect moxibustion is used when a larger area such as a meridian or muscle group is to be treated. It is also preferred in the treatment of children. Special techniques such as burning moxa on ginger or salt can be used. There is no need to be concerned about the burning factor of the moxibustion therapy as it is very safe when performed by a qualified and skilled practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some points on the body are not suitable for moxibustion due to the risk of swelling or dizziness but the practitioner will assess any risk factors before proceeding with the treatment.

What Moxibustion can treat?

Moxibustion therapy is accepted as being useful for many disorders including:

• digestive disorders such as diarrhoea or food stagnation
• painful periods
• sexual dysfunction
• poor concentration or memory
• sports injuries
• frozen shoulders
• pain that worsens with cold
• colds and flu

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