is an important and perhaps under-utilised therapeutic method in traditional Chinese medicine.
It may be used alone or in combination with other modalities, such as acupuncture....This method involves the burning of moxa on or above the skin at the location of specific acupoints, or on or near the lesion to be treated itself. The heat of the cauterization, as well as the properties of the moxa itself, serve to warm the qi and blood in the channels, expel cold and dampness, restore yang, and, in general, help to regulate the organs and restore health. Chinese Moxibustion is used:
1. To warm meridians and expel cold. Abnormal flow of qi and blood in the body usually results from cold and heat. Cold causes obstructed flow or even stagnation of qi, and heat results in rapid flow of qi. Normal heat activates blood circulation and cold impedes its smooth flow. Since stagnation of qi and blood is often relieved by warming up the qi, moxibustion is the right way to generate the smooth flow of qi with the help of the ignited moxa wool. In Chapter 75 of Miraculous Pivot it says: “If stagnation of blood in the vessels cannot be treated by warming up with moxibustion, it cannot be treated by acupuncture.” In Chapter 48 of Miraculous Pivot it states, “Depressed symptoms should be treated by moxibustion alone, because depression is due to blood stagnation caused by cold, which should be dispersed by moxibustion.”
2. To induce the smooth flow of qi and blood. Another function of moxibustion is to induce qi and blood to flow upward or downward. For example, moxibustion is given to yongquan [KI-1] to treat the disorders caused by excess in the upper part and deficiency in the lower part of the body and liver yang symptoms due to upward flowing yang qi so as to lead the qi and blood to go downward....If the disorder is due to deficiency in the upper portion and excess in the lower portion of the body and due to sinking of qi caused by deficiency, such as prolapse of the anus, prolapse of the uterus, prolonged diarrhea, etc., moxibustion to baihui [GV-20] may lead yang qi to flow upward.
3. To strengthen yang from collapse. Yang qi is the foundation of the human body. If it is in a sufficient condition, a man lives a long life; if it is lost, death occurs. Yang disorder is due to excess of yin, leading to cold, deficiency, and exhaustion of the primary qi, characterized by a fatal pulse. At this moment, moxibustion applied can reinforce yang qi and prevent collapse. In Chapter 73 of Miraculous Pivot it says, “Deficiency of both yin and yang should be treated by moxibustion.”
4. To prevent diseases and keep healthy. In Precious Prescriptions appears the following description: “Anyone who travels in the southwest part of China, such as Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, should have moxibustion at two or three points to prevent sores or boils and to avoid pernicious malaria, epidemic diseases, and pestilence. It is often said, “If one wants to be healthy, you should often have moxibustion over the point zusanli [ST-36].” In Notes on Bian Que’s Moxibustion, it says, When a healthy man often has moxibustion to the points guangyuan [KI-4], qihai [KI-6], mingmen [GV-4], and zhongwan [KI-12], he would live a very long life, at least one hundred years.”