Moxibustion is the burning of dried mugwort plant (artemesia vulgaris) also known as moxa.  Moxibustion is used to stimulate and warm up the points and the meridians.  Benefits include:

  • Nourishing, replenishing, and reinforcing vital chi 
  • Harmonises chi and corrects imbalances
  • Regulates chi and dissolves blockages

Moxibustion techniques can be applied via the direct method or indirect method:

  1. Direct moxibustion techniques include  Okyu (rice grain / thread moxa) and Chinetskyu (cone moxa)
  2. Indirect moxibustion techniques include Kyutoshin (moxa head needle), Ibuki (platform moxa),  Onkyu (heat & pressings using Tiger warmer, Rolling drum Lion warmer, Elephant warmer), Den Netsu Kyu (TDP / Firard / Infrared heat lamps), Ontake (warm bamboo), Walnut eye glasses

Direct Moxibustion:

Involves placing a cone of moxa directly on the skin and lighting the top. The cone is quickly removed when you begin to feel the heat. These cones can vary in size from quite large (chinetskyu);  to tiny cones which look like pieces of thread or grains of rice (okyu).

cone moxa

Rice grain moxa

Indirect moxibustion

These techniques burn moxa away from the skin by various methods including;

Onkyu which uses a burning moxa incense stick inserted into different sized tubes known as a Tiger Warmer, Rolling Drum Lion Warmer or Elephant warmer.  This heats the end of the tube where it is applied to the Acupoints, meridians and muscles over a tissue or cloth covering the skin for maximum comfort;

Ontake, (on-tah-kee)  “warm bamboo” is one of the most enjoyable methods of Japanese moxibustion, being non-invasive, warming, and relaxing.  The hollow bamboo, filled with quality semi-pure moxa punk (from the mugwort plant), safely burns to heat the bamboo. Each meridian has its own frequency or rhythm. Tapping, rolling, and pressing techniques are applied to the rhythm of the meridians being treated to regulate the flow of chi.  You will hear a lovely natural tapping sound that resonates with your meridians to further enhance the effect of the warm bamboo to move stagnation, clear blockages, increase vital energy and reinforce the body constitution.  This method can be used to do a stand-alone whole-body treatment that treats both the body constitution and symptoms, or can be combined with other techniques to treat symptoms;

Kyutoshin, where moxa punk is applied to the top of needles and ignited to create a radiant heat to a larger area.  It can be used as a tonification method or for dispersing stagnation where there is pain; 



Platform moxaIbuki is a platform moxa with a stick on cardboard base and Kumaya Minis are moxa in a cardboard tube that sticks onto the skin.  They both work well with musculoskeletal pain, especially joint pain and arthritis.  Moxa cones can also be applied to other bases including slices of ginger or garlic, on top of salt, on Purple Cloud Shiunko cream which protects the skin, aconite and various herbs and can be useful for reinforcing and tonifying.

TDP / Firard / Infrared Lamps:  also known as special electromagnetic spectrum lamp / TDP Mineral lamp, emits FIR (far infrared energy) that penetrates the body up to 9 cm and stimulates the micro-circulation, while eliminating toxins and cellular waste.   TDP Mineral lamps  have a metal plate coated with a formulation of 33 minerals for the body, and when heated emits penetrating far-infrared waves and minerals that absorb into the body tissues.  These minerals are identical to that generated by our bodies.  It relaxes muscles, reduces stiffness and inflammation, promotes tissue repair and blood circulation to help heal soft tissue damage, strains, sports injuries and wound infections.   

Walnut eye glasses:  the walnut shells are soaked in chrysanthemum tea before applying the moxa on the wire or cage attached to the moxa glasses that sit in front of the walnut shells to concentrate heat to the local area.  This benefits the Liver channel through the eyes and the Kidney channel through the brain.  It treats various eye disorders such as conjunctivitis, stye, keratitis, myopia, cataracts, optic nerve atrophy, paralysis of eye muscles, and drooping eyelid or ptosis.


These moxa techniques have different therapeutic effects.  For chronic problems, it can be used to tonify, bring energy into the body, and stimulate the immune system, but it can also be used to disperse stagnation and strongly stimulate chi to deal with acute pain and inflammation.  When moxa is burned it emits the same frequency as infra-red rays which are used to stimulate micro-circulation in the body to enhance healing, similar to that of an infra-red heat lamp.