Winter is time for the power of moxa!
Winter is time for the power of moxa!
by Honora Lee Wolfe, Dipl.Ac., FNAAOM
At West China Medical University in Sichuan, there is an acupuncture professor who is over 90 years of age and still in practice. He has never had any serious disease in his life, his hearing and vision are still acute, his steps are still nimble, and his viscera and bowels still function regularly. This professor ascribes his good health and long life to moxaing Zu San Li (St 36) incessantly for many years. In an article written by his son, it is said that he has been moxaing this point with wheat grain-sized cones from the first to the eighth day every month for over 60 years.
This story is not unusual in the annals of Chinese medicine. However, in the United States, moxibustion is often an under-taught, under-used, and under-appreciated as a therapeutic choice in the universe of techniques within Asian medicine.
Moxibustion really encompasses several therapies, but mainly pertains to the burning of the moxa plant, Artemisiae Argyii, on, over, under, or near specific acupoints or areas of the body. More generically, moxibustion can be described as using heat therapy of several kinds to warm the channels and scatter cold, to open the channels and stop pain, to clear heat and disinhibit dampness, to boost the qi and supplement the blood to open the channels. This broad range of application gives moxibustion many uses and can improve the effectiveness of acupuncture or Asian body work.
Even without choosing points based on pattern diagnosis, it is possible to use moxa for longevity purposes alone, as described in the example above. This type of treatment is appropriate for inclusion when treating anyone over 40, and especially over 50 years old. There are several points from which one might choose, depending upon what is most convenient during your body work treatment. Also, this type of therapy lends itself especially well to “homework” taught to the patient and done between office visits.
Guan Yuan (CV 4) is one of the most common points used for “longevity therapy”. Moxa 3-11 ½ rice grain or sesame seed sized cones/threads once per day.
Shi Dou (Sp 17) is for any and all symptoms which are due to spleen vacuity....fatigue, digestive complaints, or blood vacuity symptoms. Use only the tiniest thread moxa on this point and 3-5 threads per day. If appropriate, this point will be tender to light pressure.
Zu San Li (St 36) for everyone over 40 even if healthy or in patients with poor resistence who often catch colds or flus. Moxa 3-7 ½ rice grain sized or sesame seed sized threads each day for the first week of every month or every day for a month at each equinox.
Qi Hai (CV 6) As the sea of the original qi, this acupoint connects with the five viscera, providing them with supplies of qi. Therefore, moxa on Qi Hai nourishes life and promotes health. Moxa the same as Guan Yuan, listed above.
These are just a few of the simple treatment ideas that you can easily add to a treatment session, helping your patients to increased health and longevity.
Note: There is a wonderful non-profit, www.Moxafrica.org , that is doing research on using moxibustion for intractable tuberculosis in various parts of Africa. Blue Poppy will be doing a fundraiser this coming weekend to support that research. A portion of every purchase from 5 PM EST on Dec.14 to midnight on Dec. 16 will go to Moxafrica! Also, we have about 30 copies left of my 2013 Watercolor Animals Calendar that are for sale. All proceeds from sales of this item will also go to support Moxafrica, while supplies last! Thanks to all our customers, authors, instructors, distributors, and staff for another great year at Blue Poppy.
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