Traditional Chinese medicine uses a number of methods to treat herniated disc and one of them is moxibustion.
The application of moxibustion provides intense heat to the area being treated.
In western medical circles, they will often suggest an ice pack but this goes against the basic Chinese medicine theory as they believe it will hinder the healing process.
In fact, modern research has shown that applying ice to an ankle sprain is of no use but ironically it is still prescribed as a common treatment.
Research has also shown that after an injury where there is inflammation, more stem cells flow to the area. Stem cells replace diseased and damaged cells with new cells, thus stimulating regeneration and rejuvenation.
What is best? Acupuncture or Moxibustion?
For optimum results, a combination of moxibustion and acupuncture for disc herniation is suggested. In the fact the word acupuncture in the Chinese language language is two words, Zhen Zhu, and has the meaning of inserting needles and applying the heat treatment of moxibustion.
Where is the moxibustion performed?
After tests such as MRI and assessments to ascertain which level the disc is herniation is at, the moxibustion is performed at that level. Commonly though, the acupuncturist may choose to use moxibustion at the area above and below the actual diagnosed site of herniation.
Is the moxibustion performed before or after the acupuncture?
Each practitioner has their own style, but commonly the needles are usually inserted first and while they are in place, the practitioner will perform the moxibustion. In some instances, the acupuncture physician may use warm needle technique, where a small piece of of mugwort is placed on the needle and lit, supplying heat directly to the where the needle is inserted.
Can other acupuncture points also have moxibustion used in the treatment of disc herniation?
There are many other acupuncture points that may be useful in treating herniated disc. Some of these acupuncture points may be on the back such as shen shu and others may be in the arms or legs. Some acupuncture practitioners like to use moxibustion on the shen shu point as it is a common point to help strengthen the lower back and tonify the kidneys. Traditionally regular moxibustion on the shen shu point also has the reputation to keep the kidneys and lower back strong and may help prevent susceptibility to back injury including disc herniation.
Acupuncture treatment for disc herniation is covered by ACC in New Zealand and there are over 500 members of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc.