Part of a Chinese medicine practice is to help educate the patient about what else they could be doing to improve their health outside of having their acupuncture treatment or what they could be doing on an ongoing regular basis to help maintain vitality and hopefully prevent disease.
One aspect of advice is of course dietary but this will be discussed in another post.
Within Chinese Culture it is common that parents or grandparents will do cupping on family members or gua sha to help overcome the common cold. Home self-treatment with moxibustion is also common and this post aims to explore this and encourage understanding of Chinese medicine further.
Breech baby is commonly seen in the traditional Chinese medicine clinic and there have been a number of studies done on the method of using moxibustion on the acupuncture point zhiyin Bl-67 to turn breech babies. In these cases, the practitioner teaches the partner how to apply the use of the moxibustion stick in between acupuncture visits.
Many injuries and chronic joint conditions require acupuncture treatment as well as applying the moxibustion during the treatment. Ideally, the moxibustion should be done each day and it is not always convenient for the patient to come in at such frequency so the patient is taught how to do self-moxibustion at home. An example is seen in the picture above where the patient is doing moxa on a thumb injury.
Certain acupuncture points can also be used with moxa and there are now convenient stick on moxa poles that can be placed on the acupuncture points shown to the patient. These are very convenient and easier to use than having to hold the larger moxibustion sticks.
Kane Monrad who works from Hamilton at Connect Therapies clinic says “A lot of my patients have a busy lifestyle and are interested to improve their health with regular acupuncture, having a good diet and doing the appropriate exercise. Its these patients that I find are proactive in doing self care home treatments to better their health. Using the stick on moxa pole treatments on tonic points like zusanli St-36 is one of the best ways”
The acupuncture point Stomach 36 zusanli below the knee is often selected to help build up vitality and strength and the location is shown to my patients and then I recommend using the stick-on moxa poles as daily tonic treatments. These stick-on moxa poles can also be placed on any number of points to help treat a whole variety of conditions such as Bells Palsy and tennis elbow.
There are now also available moxa patches which cover a broad surface area and are commonly recommended to my patients for areas such as lower back and shoulders. Patients with chronic lumbago and frozen shoulder find them very helpful. These moxa heat patches can be put on in the evening and left on all night which is particularly beneficial as many conditions seem to get worse at night and disturb sleep. They keep their heat as there is a layer of iron oxide next to the moxa herb layer which when exposed to air triggers the heating action.
Many patients remark that just simple rubbing or putting on a bandage onto an injured limb helps with pain relief. This is when other herbal patches can be applied. They will work better than just rubbing or wheat packs because the actual herbs have a deeper penetrating and medicinal effect on the problem site.
Moxa foot soaks are also commonly recommended for patients to use at home. These are useful to treat cold feet, swollen feet as well as to help promote sleep.
Moxa patches, herbal heat patches, stick-on moxa and foot soaks are available to patients of The Acupuncture Clinic and those out of town can obtain them from Kinetic Distributions.