Acupuncture Blog

In the Absence of Regular Acupuncture: Hot Air Moxa at home

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In China acupuncture, herbs and moxibustion are integrated into the healthcare system. Right now, in the Wuhan Province, COVID-19 patients and their families are getting traditional therapies alongside Western medicine for symptom relief of the virus. Acupuncture is also being used to treat patients for all the same reasons why many people come to MAS: for anxiety and insomnia, migraines and more.

During this time that we are not able to give you access to affordable community acupuncture, we want to continue to share easy, simple home-remedies and ‘homework-style’ treatment techniques.

Our good friend, Robert Hayden from Presence Community Acupuncture in Hollywood Florida, shared a clever technique from one of his favorite teachers. All you need is a hairdryer and a flat piece of cardboard.

Are you familiar with the term ‘moxibustion’? Perhaps we’ve sent you home with a ‘moxa’ stick and instructions on how to light and use it to warm particular acupuncture points or areas of your body. If not, moxibustion is the warming of moxa a.k.a. Mugwort on or above acupuncture points.
Acupuncture needles are one (terrific) way to stimulate and make use of acupuncture points, but know there are more, heat among them.

We like this ‘hot air moxa’ technique from Robert, because most people don’t have easy access to moxa, but just about everyone has a hair dryer.

Important: If you experience any of following:

1) numbness or neuropathy at the area of these points, or
2) poor circulation in the area of these points
3) open sores or wounds in the area of these points

Do NOT take part in this technique.

Basically, you shouldn’t do this unless you have normal circulation and sensation of your legs where these points exist.

If you’re not sure you have normal sensation or circulation, don’t undertake this until you’ve had the chance to clear it with your doctor.

MAS acu-punk Elizabeth demonstrates the following air moxa technique here, on youtube

First things first - you are going to want to find a piece of cardboard that’s at least 6”x 6”. You can cut a square off of a box, or maybe use a thick file folder. If you have one, use a hole-punch to make a hole in the middle of your cardboard square. Otherwise you’ll want to cut a small hole about the width of a pencil with other means, perhaps a small knife.

Place the hole you’ve just cut in the cardboard directly over your acupuncture point of choice. Apply the heat from your hair dryer close to the hole until you just start to feel a ‘zap’ from the heat on your skin at the acupuncture point, then immediately remove the heat for a good 20 to 30 seconds. After this break, re-apply heat again for a total of 3 times at each acupuncture point, removing the heat in between feeling ‘zaps’ from the heat.

We are going to start with Stomach 36. It’s the mother of all points. If you only apply this technique to one point that we teach you, ST36 is the one to use.

Stomach 36, a.k.a. Zusanli a.k.a. Three Miles More, is one of the most venerable of all acupuncture points. It’s a highly useful tool for many of our organ systems. It sits on the Stomach pathway, so it’s good for anything stomach/digestive related. If anxiety goes to your stomach, this is a great point. It strengthens your whole body as it interacts with our ability to break down and extract the nutritional goods from which we eat So it’s good to stimulate this point if you are feeling weak or depleted. It’s also commonly a key ingredient in potent preventative acupuncture treatments*.

ST36 also a smart point choice for:
- Shortness of breath and cough
- Sore throat, chills, and fever
- Frontal headaches, stuffy or cold nose
- Weakness and dizziness *

While home, consider giving this a try if stimulating this acupuncture point sounds like it might be helpful for you. We will put out more tutorials of other common points and why they are useful over the next few days. If you have any requests, you can mention them in the comments when we put this blog post onto our Facebook page.

We hope to see you again soon and in good health.

* Peter Deadman, A Manual of Acupuncture, pages 158-161, Copyright 2001 AZ



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