What is Okyu Thread Moxa and How Do You Use it?

Have you heard whispers of Okyu, or, thread moxa? These style is part of Traditional Japanese Medicine and a great service for your clinic. In this post, we'll be looking at what Okyu is, how it's done and the tools you need to get started.
okyu thread moxa

You might be familiar with moxa sticks and cones – the types of moxibustion that are the most commonly used. But what about thread moxa, or Okyu? This type of Traditional Japanese Medicine hasn’t yet gained the same level of popularity in the West, but it’s a great part of moxibustion that’s worth knowing about. 

Okyu practice

Okyu is a Japanese moxibustion technique that uses tiny bits of moxa directly placed onto the skin and burnt. Its purposes are primarily to aid healing by supporting the production of white blood cells and circulation. To achieve this, Okyu stimulates the area, creating slight, targeted inflammation. 

Thread moxibustion is distinct in its creation and the speed of its burning. You roll moxa punk into a fine thread and break off a tiny piece. This piece is then placed onto the skin, on top of a thin layer of cream, and set alight, often with a lit incense stick. There’s no flame, rather a burning ember. The moxa burns within seconds and burns cooler as it reaches the skin. The patient may feel momentary discomfort.

Some techniques of Okyu leave the ash and burn the next piece of moxa directly on top of it, creating a great barrier and less heat each successive time. Other treatments call for the ash to be brushed away, allowing the thread moxa to burn down to the skin each time. The number of moxa thread pieces burnt depends on the treatment: it could be five or it might be up to 100. 

Learning Okyu

As with all healthcare and alternative medicine practice, Okyu should only ever be performed by a trained professional. If you’re already an acupuncturist or a moxibustion practitioner, you’re in a great position to learn Okyu and add it into your practice, as you’ll already understand safety issues and the correct acupoints to use for each treatment. 

You can learn Okyu through wider courses on Japanese techniques, such as from the UK Toyohari Association, or even through online courses if you’re already a trained acupuncturist or moxa professional. 

Thread Moxa Tools

There are two ways to create thread moxa. Firstly, you can use small wooden boards to roll loose moxa between. The benefit of this is a consistent thickness throughout your moxa thread. Consistency in thickness and when breaking off pieces of thread is important as differences will cause different temperatures when burnt. 

The second method is simply by rolling loose moxa between your fingers to create a thread. This is commonly done by very experienced practitioners although it’s also a personal preference. It’s harder to get an even thread thickness at first, but with practice you can certainly improve. When performing either type, ensure your hands are clean to avoid imparting impurities into the moxa. 

Moxa Punk

Okyu uses loose moxa – or moxa punk – to form thread moxa and you have a wide variety of qualities to choose from. You can use moxa of any origin, although you might prefer to use Japanese-grown moxa for this Traditional Japanese Medicine style of treatment. Japanese Gold Moxa is a good choice as it’s high-quality and great value. Korean Gold Moxa is also ideal for Okyu treatments, and a little goes a very long way. 

Incense sticks are an essential element and they’re the easiest and safest way to light thread moxa. You can buy smokeless or traditional incense, depending on preference and setting. Using incense means you’re only dealing with embers and never flames. 

Get Started

Okyu is a fantastic Japanese skill to add to your moxibustion services and it’s quick to learn. When you’re ready to get stuck in or simply need a reliable moxa supplier, check out our product range here


Share this story: