This technique involves burning a chinese herb, mugwort, near the skin to produce warmth, relieve pain and/or stimulate acupuncture points. Moxa, as it is more frequently called, is often combined with acupuncture (with moxa near or on the acupuncture needle) but may also be used in larger areas such as the lower abdomen, the knee or the shoulder. It is gentle and effective, especially for conditions that are worse with cold or damp weather.
This therapy is mild and warms the affected area but does not burn the skin. Typically, the practitioner uses a moxa stick (also called a â€ścigarâ€ť that has been created by compressing the herb into a charcoal) to gently warm an area of the body by holding the cigar a few inches away from the skin. Moxa may also be used to strengthen the body or move qi, depending on where it is used.