Moxibustion is known affectionately as “Moxa” and is made of the furry parts of the leaves of a plant called Mugwort, or Ai Ye in Chinese pinyin.  Moxa also has a long history of use in Japan where many clinics are moxa-only, without any needles at all.  It comes in a few different forms, rolled into a stick and sealed with paper, calcified and compressed (the smokeless version which can be used indoors) and raw, or just by itself. The raw version is pictured to the left and is shaped into cones or divided into very small pieces that are called amongst practitioners as “rice grains” because that’s about how big they are.

Moxa is carefully set alight and used for warming the body and circulating Qi and Blood through the organ systems and meridians.  One of its major traditional uses is to warm the belly during the period, but it is used also to warm sore muscles, among other uses.  Moxibustion for menstrual problems is one of its actions which is under scientific investigation.

The growing understanding of the effects that Moxa has (or mechanism of action) includes targeted warmth which is focussed on certain areas of the body – acupuncture points or meridians (channels). The warmth from moxa burning stimulates Yang energy to increase its circulation naturally and get the Qi and Blood flowing through the channels.


Deng, H. and X. Shen (2013). “The mechanism of moxibustion: ancient theory and modern research.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 2013: 379291-379291.

Su WW, Tian JS, Liang XY, Gao XA. [Effect of wheat-grain moxibustion at Yinbai (SP 1) on the menstrual period prolongation after IVF-ET down-regulation treatment]. Zhongguo Zhen jiu = Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion. 2020 Feb;40(2):153-156. DOI: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20190202-k00014.

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