What is charcoal moxa and when should you use it?

Moxa is a pretty simple product so what on earth is charcoal moxa? If you run a Western clinic, it's essential. Without the heady smoke or loitering smell you get from normal moxa, the charcoalised version creates a more patient-friendly environment. Read our Charcoal Moxa 101 here!
charcoal moxa

We hear about new therapies introduced in the wellness market daily. These therapies often have their roots in historic methods with added modern research and are becoming commonplace in mainstream Western life. As an alternative and holistic health practitioner, you likely see a lot of enquiries about your services from those who have only just found out about them.

Moxibustion is one of these increasingly popular treatments. It’s an ancient Chinese technique in which dried plant material is burned on or near particular points of the body. The idea behind this thermal therapy in traditional practices is to regulate and warm the flow of Qi in the body which helps to treat some conditions. Moxibustion is thought to help rid the body of toxic substances by interacting with the meridian system.

What is moxa?

Moxa is obtained from the leafy, Chinese mugwort plant. The plant is dried and then crushed to form a sort of fluff. That powder fluff is called moxa.

Is charcoal moxa different?

During traditional moxibustion therapy, the burned moxa produces smoke and a distinctive odour. Due to the smell, the process cannot usually be carried out in closed spaces.  A lot of people, including pracitioners, aren’t huge fans of the strong, lingering smell of burnt moxa. To solve this problem, a new and improved form of moxa was created: charcoal moxa.

This is made from pressed mugwort that is burnt in airtight conditions and is similar to the coking process. The burnt moxa is black, giving the appearance of coal, hence, the name. The upside of using moxa charcoal instead of regular moxa are:

  • Reduced odour
  • Less smoke
  • No crumbling of the cone
  • Heat is evenly distributed
  • Ash is solid so it is easy to handle
  • Same effectiveness as regular moxa

In what forms is charcoal moxa available?

Charcoalised moxa is available in the form of rolled sticks shaped like cigars and small cones.

Types of moxibustion:

Moxibustion with charcoal moxa can be carried out in two methods:

  1. Direct moxibustion: charcoal cone moxa is placed directly on the body and burned. It’s snuffed out before it reaches the skin, yet still comes with a slightly risk of burning.
  2. Indirect moxibustion: stick moxa is burned and held over the points to be heated without touching the skin.
  3. Warm-needling: moxa can be attached to acupuncture needles, sending the warmth down the shaft of the needle.

In a modern moxibustion practice, it’s important to use smokeless moxa. Using charcoalised moxa is one of the best ways to dramatically reduce both smell and smoke from moxibustion treatments. These qualities make charcoal moxa more efficient and user-friendly compared to non-charcoal moxa.

After some charcoal moxa? Check out our range of smokeless charcoal moxa products.


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