How to do Moxibustion (Moxa) at home

The term used for Acupuncture is Zhen Jiu- when broken down Zhen means pierce (i.e. Acupuncture) and Jiu is to burn (i.e. Moxibustion) highlighting their important relationship in Chinese Medicine. Moxibustion has been practiced for over 2500 years- Mugwort/ Moguza (the herb burned) has featured as an important medicinal herb in both Western and Eastern herbalism. The first mention of moxibustion in Chinese medical literature was by Zuo Zhuan of Pre- Qin dynasty China (581 BC).

Stomach 36 (3 Leg Miles) receives its life-giving name from ancient times where the story goes- armies march long distances by foot- stopping to do moxa on stomach 36 which was said to be able to allow them to march 3 miles further.

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion (Moxa) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy which involves burning dried Mugwort (Ai ye/ Artemesia vulgaris) on particular points of the body.

Stomach 36 (ZuSanLi) location:

Stomach 36 is located 4 finger breadths from the knee and 1 finger breadth to the outside of the shin bone.

Moxa on Stomach 36:

  1. Mark the point with a pen
  2. Light the moxa stick fully till its bright red
  3. Set a timer for 10 minutes and rotate the moxa over the point about 1 inch away
  4. Ash as necessary
  5. Once finished put out the stick and redo once per day, alternating legs each day

Note:

Do this somewhere well ventilated, as it produces a lot of smoke.
Avoid doing it in a very windy place.
Make sure you fully extinguish the stick- keeping it submerged for 10 minutes to ensure it doesn’t continue burning.
Though moxibustion can help short term with symptoms, the greatest effect is over time when done daily.

If you have any concerns consult your Doctor, General Practitioner, Acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner before attempting moxibustion.