In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the root cause of dis-ease is often the long-term patterns of disharmony occurring in the body-mind-heart. These patterns then lead to blockages and disturbances, excesses and deficiencies that manifest in the way of various pains and symptoms within the body.
In ancient China, acupuncture and moxibustion were traditionally combined as a pair of therapies. They were used together to free blockages, clear excesses, and nourish deficiencies, taking into account the needs of the whole person.
Today, moxibustion is not as commonly used in tandem with acupuncture but there is still an important place for it.
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, hair-thin needles into specific points along the body’s meridian pathways. This can effectively unblock energetic disturbances in the body, smooth the flow of the body’s Qi (vital energy), and stimulate the body to nourish Qi and blood.
If any pain occurs with acupuncture, it is not the acupuncture causing the pain. It is the acupuncture finding the pain that has already developed as a result of long-term imbalance between Yin and Yang.
Depending on several factors – the client’s condition, pattern of disharmony, age, and comfortability with which modality – Dr. Ling uses acupuncture alone, or in combination with cupping, or moxibustion. There is a saying in China: “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured.”
1. Disperse cold to stop pain
2. Warm and unblock meridians
3. Nourish Qi and blood
4. Activate blood to remove blood stagnation
When moxibustion therapy was discovered from the warming properties of fire, there was no electric heating system, so today many TCM practitioners substitute moxibustion with a TDP lamp that radiates electro-magnetic heat to the applied area.
While this is a very good alternative, however, electric heat does not have the same therapeutic value as the Mugwort herb used in moxibustion.
The difference is in the composition of the Mugwort herb itself. Because of the herb’s actions – whether it is applied directly on the skin, indirectly through a medium like ginger or salt, held over the skin, or over a needle – the qualities and actions of the herb penetrate into the person’s physical body, thereby relieving pain, improving circulation, calming the mind, and strengthening the body’s Qi and blood.
There are many ways to apply moxibustion therapy. In Dr. Ling’s clinic, she uses a moxa stick made of the charred-like herb that is lit and held over specific acu-points (right image) or held over needles. When the moxa is held over needles (top image), the benefits of the herb travel through the needle into the meridians located in the myofascia tissue.
Dr. Ling uses moxibustion for clients presenting with the following TCM patterns: Yang deficiency, blood deficiency, energy (Qi) deficiency, and blood stagnation.
These patterns of disharmony include those with the following conditions or symptoms:
Arthritis, anemia, nausea, poor/no appetite, weak digestion, loose bowels, chronic fatigue syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon, cold body/extremities, depression, low energy, etc.