Heat Sensitive Moxibustion

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Moxibustion is an ancient form of treatment within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system which involves the combustion of the herb Artemesia argyi (Chinese Mugwort, “Aiye”) over the surface of the skin. This therapy has been used to treat and prevent disease in China for thousands of years. The classic texts of TCM have numerous references to the legendary effects of moxibustion to treat incurable diseases. However, modern day application of moxibustion is not very prominent, even in China. Practitioners are not reaching the results the ancients of China were achieving and thus moxibustion is not as emphasized in Chinese Medicine training and practice. This elicits an obvious question: Why? What are we doing different and are we missing an essential component of understanding when it come to moxibustion therapy.

Why Moxibustion is as important as Acupuncture
Why Moxibustion is as important as Acupuncture

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  1. What is the difference between Acupuncture and Moxibustion?

Acupuncture can only assist the flow of Qi through meridians, but not replenish original Qi and yang, whereas moxibustion has effects in both aspects. Though there are reinforcing and reducing methods in Acupuncture, it only works for non-excessive and non-deficient conditions; on the other hand, moxibustion treats conditions regardless of whether it is excessive, deficient, heat or cold.


  1. Why moxibustion cures diseases that cannot be cured by Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine?


In “The Inner Canon of Yellow Empire”, it stated, “When Acupuncture and Herbs are not effective, moxa must be used.”  Acupuncture works on meridians by stimulating the Qi. The more original Qi the body has, the more therapeutic effect Acupuncture could deliver.

When the body is deficient of original Qi, the effectiveness of acupuncture will be diminished. Often times, people with weak original Qi also have problems in digestion, which affect the body’s ability to absorb herbal medicine.  With moxibustion, it works without the needs for digestion or stronger original Qi.


  1. How does Mugwort help the body?


In “Compendium of Materia Medica”, it describes Mugwort like this “Mugwort leaves are bitter and pungent, warm when raw, hot when burned, and is pure yang in nature…when lit, Ai can travel through the 12 channels to treat all types of disease.” With Mugwort as the material for Moxibustion, it can clear and activate channels and collaterals, resolve underlying cold, reduce swelling and recuperate depleted yang.

  1. Why moxibustion could replenish the Yang of the body?


The Qi from the burning of mugwort is pure yang in nature. It is able to restore Yang from collapse, passing through the Twelve Channels, and circulating throughout the three Yin Channels. With the continuous nourishment from moxibustion, the pure yang from moxa is able to penetrate the body surface to reach and connect internal organs and make Yang run throughout the body. When applying moxa to Guan Yuan (CV 4), which is at the intersection of three yin channels along feet and conception vessel, as well as residing in lower warmer containing original yin and yang, the warm Qi from moxa could reach the gate of vitality directly to nourish original yang, which is the motive force for the Yang of the whole body.


  1. Where do diseases come from and go to?


Ancient Chinese often talked about “nourishing with warmness, avoiding coldness” In western, and modern times, people always act in the opposite way. Air conditioning, cold drink and food, and not dressing warmly in cold winter along with many other inappropriate lifestyles all bring in external cold pathogens to the body. The coldness not only deplete the Yang of the body, but also damage immune systems, make internal environment dysfunction, and cause all kinds of painfulness and chronic diseases.


  1. Should moxibustion be done in certain seasons?


No. Moxibustion can work in any of the four seasons. Typical misconceptions include that winter diseases can be better cared in summer, or spring is more suitable for reoccurring problems, which are all relatively speaking.

The only time that is good for moxibustions is, the early the better. There is no need to wait for certain seasons.


  1. Should people with febrile constitution avoid moxibustion?


Moxibustion has a two-way regulation. It adjusts the body’s excessiveness, deficiency, heat and cold through heat transmission.

When applying moxibustion for febrile conditions, the heat dilates the blood vessel and increases the speed of blood flow, which dissipates excessive stagnation of fire to clear the internal heat. On the other hand, moxibustion reinforces the vital Qi of the body to invigorate the defense mechanism. In this way, people with any kinds of the constitution can be helped by moxibustion.


  1. What is Moxa Sensation?


The key of moxibustion replying on whether the body receives Qi. Moxa Sensation is what patients feel with the changing of Qi when having moxibustion treatment. People can experience all sorts of unusual feeling if Qi sensation is achieved.

The first category of Moxa Sensation includes heat penetration, heat diffusion, and heat transmission. This indicates the Qi in the meridians is activated and starts to circulate. An example would be moxibustion on Zu San Li (ST 36) causes the heat to transmit from the points down the lower legs.

The second category of Moxa Sensation includes sore, numbness, swelling, pain and itchiness. This indicates the combat between meridian Qi and the pathogen. Examples include itchy feeling for patients with wind pathogen when receiving treatment.

The third category of Moxa Sensation includes windy, cold, and cooling sensation. This indicates that the meridian Qi in the body is enough and ready to dispel the pathogens.  


  1. Why moxibustion sometimes may cause the symptoms to be worse after treatment?


Conditions can become worse right after a moxibustion treatment. This is a normal reaction indicating battles between vital Qi and evil Qi. When the body is lack of vital Qi source, it tends to experience more of the discomforts. As vital Qi accumulates from sessions of Moxibustion treatment, the evil Qi will be expelled by the body.

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  • Moxibustion is a standalone system – not just a technique within Acupuncture.
  • Moxibustion has its own therapeutic points and meridians whose locations are scientifically proven.
  • Dr Chen’s system is remarkably effective and treats conditions for which we typically think moxa would be contraindicated.
  • Heat Sensitive Moxibustion is a large and complete system.
  • You will be provided with a certificate from the Chinese government’s State Ministry of T.C.M.


  • What about the smell?

During the seminar, we will introduce a patented machine that cleans the air of moxa smoke! Virtually no smell remains in the air. These machines range in size, with the smallest not much bigger than a TDP lamp. He is bringing several of these devices for the workshop and soon they will be retailed in North America.

  • Why was moxa taught as a technique within acupuncture and not as its own system?

The answer is simply that the true scope of moxibustion was lost! In Chinese, ‘acupuncture’ (zhenjiu) is a compound word composed of acupuncture and moxibustion , so it literally translates as acu-moxa. This is no accident – as the name implies, needle therapy and moxibustion are the two pillars in what we now refer to as ‘acupuncture’.

  • How were the separate therapeutic moxa points and channels mapped?

These points and channels were mapped out over a long period of time and their locations and effects have been confirmed by infrared scans. There are many pictures of these scans.

  • Why take this course now?

Dr. Chen is a living master and this system is his life’s work. He is very busy teaching and conducting research. It is a very special occasion that he would come to North America and teach a beginner level course himself! In the future it is likely that he would only be willing to the highest levels of his system personally; the teaching of the beginner levels would be done by his students. Further, we have negotiated a great price for this seminar, and the price for students and our alumni is unheard of! We will not be able to secure this pricing for such a high calibre presenter again.

  • If this is the beginner level, how many levels are there?

Heat Sensitive Moxibustion is broken down into 3 levels with examinations. In April we will have the opportunity to complete the first level.

  • Are there opportunities to become a teacher of this system?

Yes! After successfully completing the third level one can apply to become certified as an instructor of Heat Sensitive Moxibustion.

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Moxibustion has been a long standing technique in traditional Chinese medicine(TCM). In fact the translation of acupuncture in mandarin includes moxibustion, they are one in the same; however this important technique has often been over simplified and pushed to the fringe especially in the West. Typically moxibustion is seen as a smelly and inconvenient therapy limited to very specific conditions.

Thankfully moxibustion is going through a sort of renaissance in China. Through studies into many classical texts and in-depth study and experimentation, Dr. Chen Ri Xin has been able to broaden and expand the application of moxibustion beyond the typical and vague warming of cold and deficiency. Dr. Chen has developed successful treatment strategies for issues including autonomic issues such as allergies and asthma, injuries such as neck and knee issues, reproductive issues such as painful periods and prostate enlargement, and digestive disorders like chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain. This revival is most often related to Dr. Chen's discoveries and his Heat sensitive moxibustion technique. This technique has garnered tremendous respect in the Chinese medicine communities and is quickly becoming the standard practice of moxibustion around the world.

What does that mean for the western practitioner? One of the major hurdles of moxibustion therapy is the smoke and smell the moxa produces. The smell lingers and can be overwhelming for many, and the oils can stain rooms that are frequently used. Thankfully there are now portable devices designed to manage the smoke and smell while maintaining a quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

Improved techniques and biproduct management are bringing moxibustion back to the fore front of TCM techniques in the modern age. As these improvements expand to the rest of the world they are sure to become the new standard of practice and bringing moxibustion and acupuncture back together as a joined front.

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Dr. Chen Ri Xin is the leading expert and innovator of moxibustion therapy in China. His credentials are too numerous to mention here but included national recognition in moxibustion techniques and technology. As stated previously, moxibustion has been practiced for thousands of years, however Dr.Chen's new research and expertise has helped evolve and advance the field to previously unattainable levels.

In contrast to applying moxa to only local areas of disease, Dr.Chen focuses on finding "Heat Sensitive Moxibustion Points" on the body. The discovery of these reactive points using thermal imaging has greatly changed the way we can apply moxibution therapy. In addition Dr. Chen has developed a patented system of moxa smoke and odor elimination through the use of special instrumentation.

The electrical machines do not require additional ventilation can be mobile or mounted to the ceiling. The combination of new revolutionary moxa techniques and the technology to overcome one of the largest hindrances to moxa therapy will re establish moxibution as major force in clinical settings.

Dr. Chen Rixin, is 

  • The executive director of China Association of Acupuncture, a nationally renowned professor of Chinese medicine
  • The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Heat Sensitive Moxibustion key research director
  • Chief professor of Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Chief physician
  • Doctoral Supervisor
  • Heat Sensitive Moxibustion founder
  • Jiangxi University of Chinese Medicine Department of Moxibustion President ,
  • Vice president of University Hospital,
  • Jiangxi Heat Sensitive Moxibustion Hospital President
  • Has long been engaged in acupoint sensitization and moxibustion therapy research, published 106 papers in the last 5 years.
  • Discovered the phenomenon of moxibustion thermotherapy during moxibustion and its characteristics.
  • Revolutionized the long-standing traditional understanding of acupoints, revealed the new connotation of acupoints sensitization, established the new technology of Heat Sensitive Moxibustion, and greatly improved clinical moxibustion efficacy.  
  • Pioneered a new approach to endogenous thermo-responsive regulation of disease.
  •  In 2015 was awarded a prize by State National Science and Technology Progress.

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