Moxibustion Therapy Increases The Amount Of White Blood Cells In Cancer Patients

The Cleveland Traditional Chinese Medicine art of moxibustion can be a potential method for enhancing the immune function of cancer patients. It is a lesser-known treatment in the West than acupuncture, although, recently, this excellent healing technique is experiencing a rise in popularity in the Western world.

Moxibustion involves the use of the Artemesia princeps or Artemesia argyi herb or mugwort where “Moxa” is derived from. This specific type of mugwort is grounded, filtered, fluffed, and aged, producing a soft, very light, refined wool. The wool is then set alit on the upper tip of an acupuncture needle, or very near the skin of the patient. This treatment process is what’s termed as moxibustion. The ensuing smoke and heat generated by the smoldering moxa bring in special healing effects.

Moxibustion has most recently been used on patients who have tried other treatments with little to no success. It is the only treatment that has provided them with amazing results. Hospitals in China have been using moxibustion for years to strengthen the immune system of patients prior to the invasive treatment of their cancer.

Books pertaining to traditional Chinese medicine ascribe the therapeutic qualities of moxibustion as a way to support and warm the body’s Yang Qi. This elaborates further the ability of moxibustion to open and rechannel the meridians of the body, which can prevent the counterflow of qi, secure yang, disperse nodulations, eliminate swelling, expel dampness and cold, and increase blood flow. This litany of benefits can be a treasure trove of healing, particularly for people who have turned to TCM therapy.

Of course, there will be sceptics that question doubt the effectiveness of moxibustion, in particular, and traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, in general. More obvious proof is required.

Fortunately, some researchers have taken on the responsibility to study the impacts of moxibustion in
controlled environments and evaluated it from the perspective of Western medicine. These research have been undertaken since the early 20th century, and continue to be researched to this day. Majority of these experiments have been carried out in Japan, where moxibustion is very popular. China has also conducted several studies throughout the years. Recently, some Western hospitals and universities in the UK and US, have initiated their own experiments into the healing mechanism brought about by moxibustion. Of special interest is moxibustion’s ability to strengthen immune function and increase the number of white blood cells in the bodies of immunodeficient and cancer patients.

The oldest studies have revealed that moderate to heavy administration of direct moxibustion helped raise the absolute number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the blood stream. In the treatment of
cancer, the cells that kill tumor cells and other unhealthy cells in the body, the NK or Natural Killer cells, are of greater concern. It has been demonstrated that moxibustion also increases the number of these cells. In addition, it stimulates the activity and release of so-called Heat Shock Proteins, which help denatured proteins to refold. It also hinders protein aggregation, and is key for intracellular repair. This implies that this therapy can enhance the effectiveness and life of these NK cells as well as repair them when they’re injured.

Other research efforts have also shown that moxibustion treatment for patients with cancer is not only used to activate anticancer immunity, it also generates myeloprotective effectS that can reduce the effects of chemotherapy, and boost the quality of life and psycho emotional health of the patient.

Conventional treatments are known to disrupt the innate function of the body; moxibustion can help prevent this harmful effect. The pain caused by cancer, or the standard cancer treatments used, can be extremely adverse to the patient, and very injurious to the physical, mental, and emotional health of the cancer patient. Using moxibustion as treatment for this can lessen the pain, and prevent the cells from further damage resulting in a better quality of life.

Further research shows that emotional states affect the activity of the NK cells. With a better quality of life and lower pain induced by moxibustion therapy, the NK cells can further increase their activity. Moxibustion therapy directly affects the release of beta-endorphins, which increases NK
cell function further as well as the function of interferon and cytokines. Overall, moxibustion seems an obvious choice as a complement treatment to standard cancer therapies.

In another note, moxibustion has for years, been used as a treatment for Tuberculosis. Patients with this very contagious disease suffer from significant immunodeficiency. The inclusion of moxibustion to their treatment plan has led to meaningful benefits. Japanese researchers were the first ones to study the initial treatments. Today, this healing technique has been integrated into TB treatment programs in Africa by several health organizations. Proof of the positive effects of moxibustion for strengthening immune function appears to be growing.

Moxibustion’s Adverse Effects

The smoke and heat generated by moxibustion is a big cause of concern. Research on this issue showed that exposure to heat on the skin led to permanent damage and scarring of the skin. However, the previous studies have shown that blistering moxibustion is not required for the manifested benefits. Only needed to prolong the positive effects is moderate to below exposure and burning temperature. Light moxibustion can duplicate these effects as well, although the results do not last as long at moderate moxibustion.

Smoke from the burning moxa is another problem. Many seem to associate with tobacco smoke. However, during tests, it was shown that moxa smoke has no adverse effects on the lungs. The smoke has fewer pollutants that does not affect the development of the lung membrane. Another research suggests that, compared to other smoked treatments, the smoke from moxibustion causes zero side effects on the Heart.


The conclusion, therefore, is that moxibustion is a safe form of treatment whose benefits include an improvement in overall health and well-being of a person. It boosts the function and amount of NK cells and other leukocytes in the body.

There is pain relief and a protective effect on the body that further promotes the overall health of the patient. When you consider all of this, moxibustion certainly seems to be an excellent complementary treatment to standard cancer treatments. In addition, it can definitely be an ideal therapy and treatment for general maintenance and health.

Moxibustion Therapy For Diarrhea And Chronic Fatigue

A therapy involving heat stimulation of the acupuncture points of the body, moxibustion can be an optional treatment for healing back pain. It is one of the branches of traditional Chinese medicine that boosts the flow of blood on or near the acupuncture points.

Moxibustion entails the burning of an herb known as Mugwort. The effect of the heat from the burning herb helps to eliminate the buildup of dampness and cold in the body making the flow of blood stronger and smoother thereby restoring the health and well being of the body. Moxibustion is an ancient treatment with origins dating as far back as the Stone Age. It has been used to treat a variety of problems that typically occurs during cold weather: pain, arthritis, and diarrhea. The practice slowly came into being after ancient man’s discovery and use of fire. Primitive people are believed to have utilized burnt stones to treat pain and illnesses via localized “hot compressions”.

Eventually healers improved the procedure by burning plants or branches using it to warm the ailing areas of the body, thus giving rise to the kind of moxibustion we know and use today.

Practitioners in China during the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-711 BC), relied on the mugwort plant which became the standard plant used in moxibustion therapy.

Today, mugwort come in the form of cones, and smokeless and compressed sticks. Chinese medicine uses mugwort because it has bitter, positive, and warm qualities that work well in the body especially when combined with other herbal prescriptions.

Chinese doctors and practitioners use moxibustion to treat common conditions like the flu and cold. The heat expels dampness and algidity and warms the energy channels of the body. It is sometimes used in combination with or in lieu of acupuncture depending on the patient’s constitution, needs, and preferences.

There are two types of moxibustion therapy: one type is known as the direct treatment in which a burning small cone-shaped moxa is placed on the affected acupuncture point of the patient. Direct moxibustion is further divided into two methods: non-scarring and scarring.

In the non-scarring treatment, the burning moxa is placed on the acupuncture point but is removed or extinguished before the flame dies out. Unless the moxa is left on the body for too long, the patient should feel a soothing heat sensation that goes deep into the skin, without any scarring, blistering, or pain. This technique is used to treat certain cold-related conditions.

Because it has a lower risk of pain, the indirect treatment is a more commonly used method. It is administered on muscle groups and other larger areas of the body. Practitioners use it to treat child patients. Substances such as garlic slices, salt, or ginger are used to shield the skin from the smoldering moxa.

In the scarring technique moxibustion, the lighted moxa is placed directly on an acupuncture point, and remains there until the herb is completely consumed by the fire. This process causes localized blisters and scarring, which eventually heals five to six weeks after the treatment. Chinese medicine doctors and practitioners in Pembroke Pines believe the scarring type can be an ideal treatment for chronic diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma.

One other unique type of moxibustion entails the burning of a cigar-like moxa stick which the practitioner holds very near the affected body area until it reddens.

Many practitioners combine indirect moxibustion treatment with acupuncture. This technique uses a needle that is stuck into an acupuncture point and retained. Then the top of the needle is wrapped in moxa and lit up, creating heat to the point and the surrounding area. After the required effects are attained, the fire is then extinguished and the needles taken out.

While moxibustion therapy is commonly used to treat diarrhea and chronic fatigue, some people also rely on the therapy for the treatment of their arthritic conditions, especially joint pain when the condition get worse in damp or cold weather.

Moxibustion therapy follows the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, which states that pathways or collaterals and meridians form the blood circulation and the flow of qi, integral components of a specific network that communicates with the limbs and internal organs and connects the upper regions to the lower part of the body.

Moxibustion is mainly used to treat stagnant and cold underlying conditions. It helps strengthen the immune system and treats cold hands and feet as well as chronic fatigue and chronic low energy. Painful ailments where moxibustion work quite well include muscle pain and menstrual cramps.

You can perform moxibustion from the comfort of your home and the moxa sticks used in this ancient healing modality are widely available and very easy to use.