What Is Moxa?
‘Moxa’ comes from a plant called Artemesia, commonly known as Mugwort. It is a weedy plant that grows in many regions, which may be one reason it came to be one of the very effective treatments in Chinese Medicine – it was available everywhere!
The young leaves of this plant are ground up, then pressed into ‘cigar’ shape or cakes, then used near the skin or on the acupuncture needles themselves. When moxa will be used directly on the skin, it is ground and sifted repeatedly until it forms a light, fluffy ball, then it is aged for several years before use.
As a treatment, Moxibustion is done in many different ways. Commonly, acupuncturists use a charcoal-like moxa stick, holding it above an acupuncture point or region to warm it. We also use it by placing it on the end of a needle, warming the needle to carry the heat deep into the acupuncture point.
The most refined form of moxa is golden, light, and fluffy. It is rolled into thin pieces, placed directly on the skin with a little bit of cream to hold it in place, lit, then put out before it reaches the skin. Sometimes it is burned in a box over the skin, and a whole region can be warmed. Moxa done in any form is generally a very pleasant treatment, creating a warm, relaxing experience for the body.
What Does Moxa Treat?
In Chinese Medicine, Moxa is used to warm the points and channels, stimulate circulation, and encourage building of the body’s resources. It is often used to help stop bleeding, warm the pelvic region to enhance circulation, help prevent miscarriage, and encourage breech babies to move.
It is often used to increase circulation of blood and lymph in an area, reducing pain and inflammation. Moxa, done at a specific acupuncture point called “Stomach 36,” has been shown to increase the white blood cell count immediately after treatment. Many practitioners also use it to effectively help regulate digestion, decreasing unpleasant digestive symptoms.
Moxa and Fertility
All this to say that moxa can be very helpful in creating the conditions required for good general health, which is the foundation for optimal fertility. Moxa can support fertility by improving pelvic circulation, balancing hormones, reducing stress, and improving energy. Its western botanical name, Artemisia, comes from the Greek Goddess Artemis, a patron of women. When taken internally, this herb can help with menstrual issues, including heavy or painful periods.
From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, infertility is often due to a combination of weakness in some systems of the body, and excesses in other systems. An example might be someone with low ovarian reserve (weakness) and endometriosis (excess). Moxa can actually treat many of these types of imbalances to support fertility.
It is a wonderful, gentle way to improve circulation and build the body’s resources, while at the same time warming regions that are cold. Many people complain of being too cold, and regular treatments can improve this feeling. Moxa is most helpful when it is done regularly at home. Your acupuncturist can help you determine if you would benefit from daily home treatment, and explain to you how to use this fascinating and effective treatment on yourself in your own home.
Learn more and schedule an appointment
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we have three highly skilled acupuncturists ready to help you on your journey and determine if moxa would add to your care. Contact us today to see how we can support you both on the path to building your family. We are here to help you succeed.