Moxibustion: the leaves of the Chinese herb mugwort (Artemesiae Vulgaris) are dried and then burned as a therapeutic method. The 'moxa stick' is the most common form of moxibustion used to promote healing. The moxa stick can be held in one place, rotated in circles, or 'pecked' over the area of an acupuncture point. The moxa stick is held approximately a half inch from the skin, although this may vary from patient to patient. Moxa sticks can be used on their own or can be used on a point where an acupuncture needle has been inserted. This simultaneous use of moxibustion along with the acupuncture needle intensifies the therapeutic benefit of the given acupuncture point.
In gynecology, direct moxa is commonly used to stop heavy menstrual bleeding. Women suffering from excess bleeding will have moxa cones applied to a point at the corner of the nail of the big toe. This procedure is repeated with three to five cones per toe. Here again, in the vast majority of cases, the direct moxa treatment brings relief where Western techniques offer little help for patients. Traditional treatment of asthma requires that moxa cones be burnt directly on the upper back.
Moxibustion, like acupuncture, is a complex and varied therapy. Practitioners of Chinese medicine have a number of methods to choose from and will adopt the best methods to suit each patient.