What is the difference between Moxibustion and using a Moxa Patch?

Posted by :
Kane Monrad

Moxa patches- a convenient self-help treatment for patients

8th May 2020 by

What is the difference between Moxibustion and using a Moxa Patch?

Moxibustion has been discussed previously in other posts and involves the burning of mugwort leaves near the surface of the skin at acupuncture points to stimulate them.

Acupuncture and moxibustion go hand in hand as part of treatment in a traditional Chinese medicine clinic.

Patients are often encouraged to do self-help moxibustion at home to support their acupuncture treatment in between visits to their practitioner. This is often time-consuming for the patients and also the added worry of smoke from the process affecting smoke alarms in the house.

Moxa patches have resolved all these issues and are used as an effective alternative to manually administering the process of moxibustion.

 What is the Moxa Patch made up of?

The main medicinal part of the patch contains the herbs mugwort (artemsia vulgaris), ginger, and angelica root. There is a layer of iron oxide particles that works as the heat activation component. The outer layer is a nonwoven fabric. There is a removable tape that then allows the patch to be stuck onto the skin over the area or acupuncture points that need treatment.

How does the moxa patch work?

Once the patch is taken out of the sealed bag and applied to the area required, the air makes contact with the iron which then oxidizes and creates a mild gentle constant heat and then triggers the herbal combination to emit its therapeutic effect. People will notice the heat being generated for at least 8 hours. This makes them ideal for putting on all night during sleep to help the recuperative and rehabilitation process as well as leaving on during the day to provide pain relief.

What is the traditional Chinese medicine theory as to why Moxa Patches help?

There is a simple saying in Chinese medicine, where there is stuck energy and blood, there is pain. The process of moxibustion and using a moxa patch generates heat which improves the circulation of energy and blood to the area. This then helps reduce pain while promoting healing in the area. Research has been done to demonstrate that moxibustion leads to Adult Stem Cell proliferation and this is what is believed to cause the rejuvenation of the injured tissue. It is important to note, that heat is just a small component but it’s the heating of the herbs that is the most important part of the process.

What conditions can moxa patches be used for?

Mugwort and the process of moxibustion is broad acting on many conditions because it helps circulate energy and blood and hence helps with most pain conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Mugwort also has the use in what in Chinese medicine is known as cold conditions. Lastly mugwort can help to supplement deficient yang conditions. Some examples are listed below but by no means is the list comprehensive.

Lumbago and  sciatica

Aches and sprains of muscles from injury or overtraining

Frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, and ankle sprain

Bakers cysts, ganglions, and rheumatic joints

Menstrual pain especially if caused by either cold stagnation of energy or deficient yang

Fertility issues as result of kidney yang deficiency or cold congealed blood in uterus

General health and strength building such as when used over the 8 foramen acupuncture points in the sacrum