An ancient Chinese therapy involving the burning of dried mugwort on specific points of the body.


Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that involves the burning of dried mugwort (moxa) on or near the skin at specific acupuncture points. The heat generated from the burning herb is believed to stimulate circulation, alleviate pain, and promote healing. Moxibustion can be applied directly to the skin, indirectly using a moxa stick, or through the placement of moxa on an acupuncture needle.

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Moxibustion originated in ancient China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,500 years. The earliest records of moxibustion can be found in the Shang Dynasty oracle bones and the classic medical text, the Huangdi Neijing. Throughout history, moxibustion has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including digestive disorders, gynecological issues, and respiratory problems. The therapy spread to other Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea, where it has been adapted and refined. Today, moxibustion continues to be an important component of traditional Chinese medicine and is used in conjunction with acupuncture and other therapies.


  1. Pain Relief Moxibustion has been shown to effectively alleviate various types of pain, including chronic pain, menstrual cramps, and arthritis.
  2. Improved Circulation The heat from moxibustion stimulates blood flow and promotes better circulation throughout the body, which can aid in healing and overall well-being.
  3. Strengthened Immune System Regular moxibustion treatments can help boost the immune system, making the body more resilient against illness and disease.
  4. Reduced Inflammation Moxibustion has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the body, promoting faster healing and pain relief.
  5. Stress Relief The warm sensation and relaxing aroma of burning moxa can help alleviate stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall mood.
  6. Digestive Health Moxibustion has been used to treat various digestive issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, by stimulating the digestive system and promoting better gut health.
  7. Gynecological Benefits Moxibustion has been used to address gynecological issues, such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and even breech baby presentation during pregnancy.

How It Works

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that involves burning dried mugwort (moxa) on or near the skin at specific acupuncture points. The heat generated from the burning moxa penetrates deeply into the skin, stimulating circulation, promoting healing, and providing a warming, soothing sensation. Moxibustion is believed to help balance the flow of qi (vital energy) in the body, strengthen the blood, and maintain general health. The therapy can be applied directly to the skin, using a thin layer of protective material, or indirectly, with the moxa stick held close to the treatment area.


While generally considered safe when performed by a trained practitioner, moxibustion may cause minor discomfort, burning sensations, or scarring in some cases. Individuals with sensitive skin, open wounds, or certain health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before undergoing moxibustion. Pregnant women should avoid moxibustion on the lower abdomen and lumbar region, as it may stimulate uterine contractions. It is essential to inform the practitioner of any medical conditions, allergies, or medications to ensure a safe and effective treatment. Patients should also communicate any discomfort experienced during the therapy to prevent potential burns or skin irritation.

How Much It Costs

The cost of moxibustion treatments can vary depending on factors such as the practitioner's experience, location, and the duration of the session. On average, a single moxibustion session can range from $50 to $150. Some practitioners may offer package deals or discounts for multiple sessions. It's important to note that the cost of moxibustion may not be covered by health insurance plans, although some plans may offer partial reimbursement for acupuncture treatments that include moxibustion.

Virtual & Online Options

While virtual or online options for moxibustion are limited due to the nature of the therapy, some practitioners may offer remote consultations or guided self-treatment sessions. These online options can be beneficial for individuals who have limited access to local practitioners or prefer the convenience of receiving guidance from home. However, in-person moxibustion treatments ("moxibustion near me") provide the advantage of direct application by a trained practitioner, ensuring proper technique and safety. In-person sessions also allow for a more personalized experience and the opportunity to address specific concerns or questions with the practitioner directly.


Practitioners offering moxibustion should be licensed acupuncturists or traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. In the United States, most states require acupuncturists to be licensed, which typically involves completing an accredited master's degree program in acupuncture or Oriental medicine and passing the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) exams. Some states may have additional requirements for certification in moxibustion specifically. It is essential to verify a practitioner's credentials and licensing before receiving treatment to ensure they have the necessary qualifications and training to provide safe and effective moxibustion therapy.

Complementary Practices

Moxibustion is often used alongside other Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices such as acupuncture, cupping therapy, herbal medicine, qi gong, and massage therapy (Tui Na). These complementary therapies work together to balance the body's energy, relieve pain, and promote overall well-being.

Practitioner Types

Moxibustion is typically administered by licensed acupuncturists, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, and doctors of Oriental medicine. Some massage therapists, naturopathic doctors, and chiropractors may also incorporate moxibustion into their treatments after receiving proper training.

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  • Q: What is moxibustion, and how does it work?

    • A: Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy that involves burning dried mugwort (moxa) near specific acupuncture points on the body. The heat from the burning moxa is believed to stimulate circulation, relieve pain, and promote healing by balancing the flow of qi (vital energy) in the body.
  • Q: Is moxibustion safe, and are there any side effects?

    • A: When performed by a trained practitioner, moxibustion is generally safe. However, some people may experience minor side effects such as redness, irritation, or mild burns at the treatment site. Pregnant women and individuals with certain health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before undergoing moxibustion.
  • Q: What conditions can moxibustion help treat?

    • A: Moxibustion is used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, digestive disorders, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and certain respiratory illnesses. It is also commonly used to help turn breech babies before birth and to support overall health and well-being.
  • Q: How often should I receive moxibustion treatments?

    • A: The frequency of moxibustion treatments depends on the individual's specific condition and health goals. Some people may benefit from weekly treatments, while others may require less frequent sessions. Your practitioner will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs and progress.
  • Q: Can I perform moxibustion on myself at home?

    • A: While it is possible to perform moxibustion at home using pre-made moxa sticks or cones, it is essential to receive proper guidance and instruction from a trained practitioner first. Improper technique or placement of moxa can lead to burns or other adverse effects. It is always best to consult with a qualified practitioner before attempting any at-home treatments.


Moxibustion is a centuries-old healing practice that has gained popularity in recent years as a complementary therapy to acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities. By stimulating specific points on the body with heat from burning mugwort, moxibustion aims to restore balance, relieve pain, and promote overall well-being. While generally safe when performed by a trained practitioner, it is essential to consult with a qualified professional to determine if moxibustion is appropriate for your specific health concerns and to ensure proper treatment techniques are used. As with any complementary therapy, it is crucial to communicate openly with your healthcare provider to ensure a comprehensive and integrative approach to your health and wellness.