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Smokeless Moxa


Hi All,

Can anyone out there provide information on the small, black, cylindrical stick-on smokeless moxa? I have seen it around but have never used it. It seems to me that it would be great for applying pin point heat to small anatomical surfaces like the fingers for arthritis.

Also, I have read a comment about moxa on this forum stating that the smoke is what is responsible for the healing effects of moxa. That does not make any sense to me. What I was taught in school is that the heat is what has the healing effect, and that the smoke is a product of moisture in moxa punk or cigars. I'm hoping that if statements such as the one I've mentioned above are made, a link to a research article, or a citation can be provided. I truly think we've all had quite enough armchair hypothesis when it comes to CAM. cheeky - Teddy


While you would have to do your own pubmed searches for regular vs. smokeless moxa to see if there are any studies to back this up - simple logic and not "armchair hypotheses" would dictate that the smoke carries the oils of the herb into the heated skin. The same way burning poison ivy for example can transfer the irritant onto the skin through the "smoke". When you read studies about moxibustion there are very clear measurable changes which happen with immunity related chemical/blood markers among other things. Heat alone is not moxibustion as is seen with the different effects of heating lamps, heating a point with any other mechanism, etc. A logical assumption then, and what I hold personally, is that smokeless moxa is -not- the same as regular moxibustion but is completely appropriate for offices where the smoke from moxa is not desirable. I don&#39t think anything else but logic is required to understand these basic principles, but, the research to support one side of this is more than likely out there if you look.


I did try to find research on Pubmed in regards to regular moxa versus smokeless moxa and was unsuccessful. Chad, perhaps you can provide a link to the research you&#39ve made reference to? I feel it is very important to be conscientious and careful when providing information of this type to young practitioners and patients. After all, patient health comes before sounding like you know it all, right?

It seems as though you may be suggesting that the oil in moxa is absorbed readily by the skin. I have not seen any research confirming this. Furthermore, the irritant in poison ivy is not so much absorbed, as it has a chemical reaction with the skin (contact dermatitis), causing rashing and ulceration. I am sure this is not the typical effect with moxa.

I&#39m wondering if there are any practitioners who can provide good experiencal information on smokeless moxa. I&#39m a new member and am excited to see who else is participating!


#4 - shows something more happens internally than just heat modulation.

This study, "An infrared radiation study of the biophysical characteristics of traditional moxibustion" finds regular moxibustion likely more effective than smokeless and other methods.

Shows that moxibustion can transfer materials to the inside of the body - Pretreatment effects of moxibustion on the skin permeation of FITC-dextran.

Moxibustion stimulating immune defenses - "Moxibustion activates host defense against herpes simplex virus type I through augmentation of cytokine production."

And, on and on. But again logic - not guess work or random hypotheses as you are implying - would tell you they are not the same. Mugwort does not equal carbon, simple as that as far as I&#39m concerned. But perhaps someone with suitable authority will answer your question in a more convincing way than the little "know it all" that you are implying I am....


Thanks for those links Chad. I&#39d love to see a metadata anlysis!


This was a very interesting read. I know there are various types of regular moxa sticks, the ones with only mugwort and the ones with a couple of added herb. Does that mean the ones with added herbs are &#39&#39better&#39&#39 or is that a &#39&#39situation from situation&#39&#39 scenario?


I have a strong preference for smoky moxa of all kinds and it makes sense to me that using the herb with oils intact will have a great effect than the smokeless charcoal. That said, I&#39m lucky enough to have an office where I can even use a moxa box! (It used to be an industrial kitchen and still has the exhaust fan.) That said, I often prefer okyu (rice grain moxa) to the stick ons. I find it easier to control. The stick-ons take more practice than you&#39d think--getting them off when patient is saying that its too hot w/o losing a burning ember can be tricky, etc.

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