Moxibustion therapy is mainly divided according to the kind of tool that is used, e.g. moxa cone, moxa stick, moxa box, fume moxa, sunlight moxa, etc.
I. Moxa-cone moxibustion
Moxa cone is a conical body made of moxa, which is generally divided into three types: large, medium and small. Its operation can be divided into two types: direct and indirect moxibustion.
1. Direct moxibustion
Direct moxibustion, also called direct contact moxibustion, is a method where a lit moxa is put directly on the skin. This method is characterized by direct contact between moxa and the skin and strong heat. Direct moxibustion can be further divided into three types: scarless moxibustion, scar moxibustion and blister moxibustion.
(1) Scarless moxibustion:
Place moxa directly on the skin at the acupoint, ignite the tip of the moxa; as the moxa burns down, heat sensation on the skin gradually increases. When the moxa stick burns to about 2/3, or when the patient’s skin underneath feels excessive heat, the moxa should be replaced immediately to avoid burning the skin. This method applies best to chronic debilitating diseases.
(2) Scarring moxibustion:
Compared with scarless moxibustion, this method features moxa not to be removed from the skin until it is completely burned out. Scarring moxibustion is more intense and requires producing purulence to achieve best treatment result, so it is also called blistering moxibustion. During the operation, in order to reduce patient’s pain, the skin around the moxibustion area could be patted gently to reduce the patient’s tension. Conditions not suitable for scarring moxibustion include physical weakness, diabetes, skin diseases, and acupoints on the face and joints. This method works well on asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, epilepsy, ulcers and developmental disorders.
(3) Vesiculating moxibustion:
Use small moxa cone for moxibustion; when moxa fire burns to the skin and the patient feels slight pain, it could either be suppressed immediately, or stay for 3 to 5 seconds more. A small piece of skin flush slightly larger than the moxa cone would appear, and accompanied by sweating; within 1 to 2 hours vesiculation would form. Do not break it, but let it be absorbed naturally. If the vesiculation is large, it could be pierced with a sterilized needle to let the liquid out, and then apply some gentian violet. This method is suitable for asthma, skin warts, dizziness, tuberculosis and so on.