As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, sickness like the cold and flu come in full force. If you’ve found yourself sick as a dog, there are options for getting healthy with natural methods. One of the best ways? An age-old treatment called moxibustion.

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that’s been around for thousands of years. It involves burning an herb known as mugwort and applying it to specific points on your body.

The goal is to expel the cold elements in your body and promote blood flow and qi (the vital life force that flows through the body).

Direct and indirect moxibustion

There are two distinct types of moxibustion. Both involve burning a “moxa” or dried plant and using that to promote the flow of blood throughout the body. However, the difference in the two is how closely the moxa is applied to the skin.

Direct: This is when the moxa stick is placed directly on the acupuncture point and burned. Within this practice, there is the scarring and non-scarring method. However, you shouldn’t experience pain with either of these methods.

Indirect: During the indirect method, the moxa is held further away from the skin until the specific area turns red. You can also use a combination of acupuncture needles and moxa for this technique.

Whatever method you choose, moxibustion is an excellent way to naturally heal the symptoms of the unwanted cold or flu. It can also treat other ailments that are classified in Chinese medicine as “cold” or “stagnant” conditions. This includes:

  • Digestive problems
  • Arthritis
  • Gynecological conditions
  • Muscle injuries

What to know before treatment

If you’re considering moxibustion this fall or winter to treat your cold or flu, there are a few things to note.

1. This technique produces smoke and a pungent smell. If you are sensitive to these or have respiratory problems, you may want to look into alternative treatments or smokeless moxa sticks.

2. Always consult your doctor before you start a new treatment like moxibustion. Specifically, this technique is unsafe for those with diabetes.

3. Make sure that you find a medical professional with an acupuncture license or transitional Chinese medicine degree to perform moxibustion. Since this technique involves applying heat very close or directly onto the skin, it’s important that you seek a professional.

Schedule an appointment

At our clinic, we use a variety of Chinese medicine techniques to treat symptoms from the annual cold to chronic pain. Moxibustion is just one of the ways that we can help your body heal and promote blood flow.

If you’d like to know more about how we use acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat different health issues, visit our acupuncture page or schedule an appointment here