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Mystery reaction to Moxibustion

In June 2018 I experienced a horrific reaction to a supplement (glutathione) that caused a continuous menstrual bleed that lasted 8 months nonstop. By July gynecologist tried to stop bleeds with high dose birth control pills, it failed and I stopped a month later, but not before it caused major damage to my mental and physical state. Due to my mothers urging, I decided to see her acupuncturist. Thankfully she was able to stop my bleeding after 12 days straight of acupuncture. Each month the profuse bleeding would show up and she would do 10 days of acupuncture to stop it. This mimicked a natural cycle but even then my cycles were still all over the place. At the 8 month mark, my period was able to stop on its own but periods were 10 days long.

At some point she decided it was time to include moxibustion. I would describe them as smokey grey blocks inside a metal tin that was placed over the uterus area. Suddenly I started to react strangely to the moxibustion. Nothing I could find online would explain this and I still am recovering from the effects today after only 5-7 sessions of moxibustion. On the first day of moxibustion, I experienced a nasal congestion I have never experienced before. As the sessions continued, my nose became increasingly congested and on the 3rd day I came down with a cold with an intensity I have never felt. I literally could not breathe at all. Nasal passages closed shut. No amount of saline or steaming could open those passages. Developed Bronchitis too. I need to add that after moxibustion I was so thirsty that no amount of water could quench the thirst. I drank so much water yet only urinated once in 2 days. It felt like it dried me up internally.

3 months later…the cold/bronchitis recovered but I was left with daily nasal congestion. After that first day of moxibustion, I have just felt a dryness within my body. And the nasal passages are like the sahara desert. I assume this is why it feels congestioned constantly. What happened? Why this reaction after moxibustion? It’s almost like my body was so weak that moxibustion was too strong and caused my body to go into some sort of overdrive. Did it cause too much heat in my body? The last time I spoke to a chinese herbalist I believe she said I have spleen, kidney and liver “deficiency” and something along the lines of a great amount of “heat” (translation/language barrier). I know it would be someones instinct to disprove that what I may have experienced is from moxibustion, but my reaction was during my first session the second she put that metal tin over my stomach area. I have never felt my immune system take such a hit with this intensity, so I know it was from that specifically. I am almost a year out and I still experience daily nasal congestion. Only reprieve I get is when I use a saline spray. But I can’t live with a temporary fix, I am looking to reverse the condition it caused. If I remedy the spleen, kidney, liver issue with herbs and acupuncture, will this nasal condition reverse itself?

Without knowing the points used, how much moxibustion, your true diagnosis (i.e. not their opinion and your translation of what they think) - it is difficult to say. The best answers would generally come from consulting with another acupuncturist who would have the benefit of physically inspecting you and asking you levels of questions that are not really possible online. That said, if the moxibustion didn’t just draw something out of you that was maybe going to happen anyway (which is possible), it is likely that is was too heating and drying for you and it created more systemic problems. That said, while it is timed with the moxibustion and that may very well have been a part, I also question how much acupuncture you needed for the issues you are describing (in my opinion, way too much and way too often). I would suspect that the entire diagnosis was off, that the treatments were probably helping but not getting at the root very well and the moxibustion just simply tipped the effects of a wrong or incomplete diagnosis over the edge.

Technically moxa is moving and mildly warming in most applications, in decades of practice I’ve never seen or even heard of what you are describing. However, if you had someone who is deeply yin deficient in TCM terms, or even with tremendous heat in the blood or blood dryness you could make someone much worse with moxibustion (particularly depending on the amount and points used) - but, as I already stated, you can very consistently make them worse with improper acupuncture point selection as well.

This is not a critique of the acupuncturist in any way, just saying that from my experience conditions of this nature can be tricky to ascertain the deeper causal diagnosis, because the excessive bleeding creates other systemic problems which can confuse the deeper causes.

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