Moxibustion and Back Pain

The following is an article from ‘Yahoo Lifestyle Austrailia‘, which shows a real case of moxibustion working on pack pain.

“I Tried Moxibustion, and It Calmed My Anxiety and Back Pain Immediately!”

An acupuncturist sticks pieces of burning plant roots on my shins and the bottoms of my feet to help calm my back pain and anxiety – it’s a practice called moxibustion, and it’s my favorite form of self-care.

If you’re unfamiliar with the technique, moxibustion is the warming and stimulating of acupuncture points using moxa, a dried Asian herb derived from the mugwort root, and is often incorporated into acupuncture sessions. According to Donna Hernández, a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified herbalist at the Yinova Center in New York City, the 2,000-year-old practice can improve the circulation of blood flow and Qi (what is believed to be one’s life force or energy), as well as aid in relieving pain, fatigue, anxiety, infertility, and digestive disorders.

I stumbled upon moxibustion thanks to a Google search deep dive in a time of desperation. Completely defeated by my mental and physical aches, a slew of holistic-based articles led me to the practice. Now, I always finish my 90-minute sessions with five minutes of moxibustion.

Although moxa comes in many forms, from balms to incense to cones, my acupuncturist uses stick-on moxa, which looks as though the end of a cigarette was placed on a small metal bolt, so it stands up straight. My acupuncturist sticks one onto the center of each of my shins and one at the bottom of both my feet. She then lights the ends and lets them burn down towards my skin.

Once lit, the moxa sticks can cause slight pain in the literal heat of the moment. The root is on fire, so you feel a burning sensation as it shortens toward your skin – but it’s worth it. Trust the process. It shouldn’t actually burn your skin, so always speak up if it gets too painful.

Suspended Moxibustion
Suspended Moxibustion

Hernández clarified that the moxa is placed on the bottom of your feet to warm the Kidney 1 acupuncture point, a calming and nourishing point that helps ease the spirit of the body, ground the patient, and pull out inflammation.

The point below your knees on the center of your shin is called the Stomach 36 point, which is known to aid back pain, Hernández said.

Within the first few seconds of the five-minute practice, the earthy, sage-like smell of the burning root fills the room, and you feel a wave of relaxation come over your body. After, my mind is still, my back is pain-free, and I seemingly float home.

This elevated state of relaxation lasts for a few hours after my acupuncture session, but I do feel that my anxiety and back pain is milder for the following week.

Hernández noted that moxa is very powerful and drying, so it’s important to use sparingly. Although you can partake on your own, it’s wise to learn best practices from a certified acupuncturist first, as moxibustion therapy varies from person-to-person depending on what needs to be remedied.

I have yet to try any holistic treatment that compares to moxibustion; the immediate relief I’ve felt is unparalleled to other practices. I am forever grateful to Google and my acupuncturist for the introduction. Now, I know how to instantly reset my body and mind when I need it most.

How Does TCM Fight Viruses?

TCM is peculiar in its fight against viruses. Regardless of the type of the virus, TCM first assesses symptoms of invasion of these viruses into the body, such as dizziness, thirst, fever,etc. and determines attributes of the disease (Yin and Yang, Cold and Heat, etc.) based on the symptoms, then treat the symptoms according to these attributes. So when the viruses die the disease would heal. Therefore, from the TCM perspective, there is no need to worry about updated variant of future viruses. Whenever a new virus appears, we can alwaystreat it using the same principle.

TCM treatment is usually achieved by changing internal environment (adjusting Yin, Yang and Five Elements). Therefore, eventually it is the body’s self-healing power that cures adisease. During the past few decades, Western Medicine has been studying various antibiotics to fight cold viruses. But viruses would also adapt to fight against these new antibiotics. In the end, no drugs will be left to use. This is a war that will never end.

Typhoid fever is like an unexpected catastrophe. You can’t predict when it will happen to an individual. We can only try to keep warm, enhance human immunity, and not let chill invade the body. If chill had already invaded, it must be handled properly. There’s no need to take antibiotics each time, or the chill will become source of all diseases.
When prescription of the TaiYang Disease is used to treat a cold, the speed could be very fast. I once knew a friend who was a pharmacist who was very interested in TCM and even got an American TCM license. I asked him: “Do you take Western medicine or Chinese medicine when catching a cold?” He looked at me surprisingly: “How can TCM treat cold?”

Nowadays many doctors of TCM still take Western medicine to treat a cold, the reason is they do not understand the basic TCM classic – “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”.

A male J, about 35 years old, Chinese. One day he had a fever with sore body and cough. The fever still persisted after taking Western medicine, and coughing became even more severe. After three days of torment, he came to see me. After giving him a dose of “Daqing Dragon Soup”, the fever was completely gone within about 30 minutes, so was the feeling of dull pain in his lungs.

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.

What Is Typhoid Fever in TCM?

Simply speaking, typhoid fever in TCM is a disease when cold was not completely eradicated. Usually people will ask: “A cold is caused by a virus. What does it have to do with chill/cold?”

Western Medicine believes that colds are caused by viral infections. Therefore, antibiotics must be used to kill these viruses in order to treat the cold. Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that colds are caused by chill/cold, which does not come off too scientific according to Western Medicine. Therefore, many people think that it is impossible for TCM to cure colds.

Is cold caused by viruses? I think this answer is yes and no. I suggest that everyone do an experiment. If you live in San Francisco, try move your bed next to the window at night,open the window, wear only underwear, don’t put any covering on the body, and last for one night. San Francisco’s nights are usually very cold, and after getting up the next day, you will immediately have running and stuffy nose, or even as severe as a fever; this is the typhoid fever. So now is it only relevant to viruses?

Someone may ask why sometimes one member of the family catches a cold and the others would start getting it too. Isn’t it obviously caused by a virus?

In fact, according to TCM cold can be caused by two factors: 1) It was observed that some colds were caused by viruses in ancient times, which was called “plague”. Most plagues CAN be treated by “Seasonal Febrile Disease Theory” of TCM, and with good results. 2) Some colds, however, are caused by exposure to chilly environment.

Therefore, if an individual simply suffers from a cold caused by chill, it can be treated according to theory of “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”; if a cold is caused by plague (virus infection), and the symptoms are the same as typhoid fever, it can still be treated according to theory of “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”. If the symptoms are different, then treatment based on “Seasonal Febrile Disease Theory” would be effective.

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.

TCM Treatment Is ‘Digging up Diseases’

At the time an individual is born, theoretically he is completely healthy. Gradually during the course of his growth, many colds are caught; these colds usually do not disappear because of taking of antibiotics, thus hide deep inside the body. After tens or sometimes hundreds of such cases, eventually the ‘Yin’ disease is formed inside the body, as was mentioned in the “Treatise on Febrile Disease”.

Through taking of Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM), or herbs, the body is able to shake up and expel these diseases, and all the old diseases begin to reappear- those who caught cold in the past would catch it again; those who got pneumonia before would get it again. Facing these unresolved diseases again is a normal phenomenon during treatment.

Therefore, the majority of the illnesses ‘cured’ by western medicine only appear so, but in actuality they ‘hide’ inside the body. It is only through proper treatment of TCM can the old illnesses be dug out and cured, thereby reaching the ultimate goal of eradication. This is the rationale behind ‘Treatment is digging up diseases’.

On the other hand, such treatment method also varies case by case. For young adults, diseases can and must be ‘dug up’, so that complete rehabilitation could be achieved . For middle-aged and elderly, however, it is a different story. Severe confusion would arise if all past diseases that had been accumulated for decades were dug out all at once, unless the patients and their families could fully understand the rationale behind the treatment. Therefore it is sometimes better to leave the diseases intact rather than treating them.

No matter how serious the dug-out diseases, eventually they would exit the body. The cold could be rapidly expelled through take of CTM, or natural rehabilitation could be achieved with adequate rest. It is, however, strongly advised against taking of western medicine again.

Many people, upon digging up of all their diseases, would feel extreme fatigued and drowsy, which is result of repayment of the debt of accumulated sleep deprivation. As long as enough sleep is guaranteed, rehabilitation is only a matter of time. It is strongly advised against take of any stimulant in order to counteract these phenomenon.

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.