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What is Moxa/Moxibustion and why do LAc's use it?

Moxa is a highly effective herb
burned during many acupuncture treatments, why?  
Moxa is used in various forms by acupuncturists around the world. This ancient art using moxa (also known as mugwort or Artemisa Vulgaris/Artemisia Leaf) is called the “doctor's grass." Moxibustion (the burning of moxa) is believed to emit “yang” (dynamic and active) energy when burnt. Since ancient times, burning moxa has been used to disinfect the air to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In olden times, hospitals and the like would be placed sticks of burning moxa in all four corners of the room to keep treatment areas sterile.
 
Another important attribute of moxa is its proclivity to detect moisture. In ancient times, the Chinese army would use this knowledge to find underground springs during times of war when constant movement made finding water sources difficult. Soldiers would burn the moxa and watch where the smoke would settle. Wherever the smoke accumulated, that is where they would dig a well for water.
 
The ancient art of acupuncture also takes advantage of this special property to help dispel “dampness” from the body. Herbalists associate dampness with decay and toxin retention which is considered conducive to fungi-growth. Common damp conditions are often indicated by phlegm, sinus problems, snoring, respiratory and digestive problems.
 
The effects of acupuncture and moxibustion are unique forms of medicine as they do not add any additional elements into the body. Instead, acupuncture and moxibustion help readjust the body's natural mechanisms to effectively raise its functioning abilities to help the body heal itself. In this respect, acupuncture and moxibustion are the purest and most natural forms of treatment because they do not introduce foreign elements into the body thus avoiding side effects.
 
In addition, using acupuncture and moxibustion improves the body's functioning and therefore may also increase the efficacy of any herbal treatment protocol. For example, a person may be taking herbs to improve their health or a specific condition, but if the body is not functioning well, there may not be any real benefit. Like a poorly tuned 6 cylinder car just working on 3 cylinders, regardless of the quality of gas used, an untuned  car will not work well. Acupuncture, along with moxa, fine tunes to body and the patient will then begin to derive a real benefit from herbs, supplements and even pharmaceuticals!  
 
Moxibustion works so well because it allows the body to absorb the energy emitted by the moxa. By holding the moxa stick over the acupuncture points, the body is able to take in, store and slowly release this energy into the body.
 
Please note, on entering a licensed acupuncturist’s office you may notice a smell somewhat akin to marijuana, this is what moxa smells like but as  you can see, it has many unsung benefits and it used in most styles of acupuncture around the world.