The FDA has recently announced a plan of carrying out tighter controls on the use of hydrocodone-based painkillers such as Vicodin. According to statistics gathered by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) since 1999, there has been a triple increase in sales of prescription painkillers and 75 percent of prescription drug overdoses are due to prescription painkilling drugs. Since 1999, there has been a 265 percent rise in prescription painkiller overdoses deaths in men and a 400 percent rise in women.
During 2010, a total of two million individuals used prescription pain medication to get high and they got it without a prescription. These statistics are very concerning and many acupuncturists have been treating a lot of patients suffering from chronic injuries who were addicted to painkilling drugs.
The fact is, for healing injuries and relief of pain, there are a lot of much safer alternatives around that works just as well or even better than prescription analgesics. A lot of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners use a holistic treatment known as Moxibustion that is highly effective in the treatment of chronic pain.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you can find relief with the natural treatment of moxibustion that can help ease ailments minus the side effects of drugs and surgery. Many alternative health practitioners find it extremely effective in treating knee arthritis and low back pain.
Moxibustion is a healing technique entailing the burning of a moxa plant or herb near or over an acupuncture point to boost the flow of energy or Qi and blood to alleviate pain and accelerate the process of healing.
To use the moxa herb, the practitioner grinds it first into a paste. It is then burned on acupuncture needles or on the skin of the patient.
History of Moxibustion
Moxibustion was believed to originate in China where, according to some authors, was extensively used by the legendary Chinese physician Bian Tsue around 500 BC. The treatment was designed to address chronic conditions on patients who were too feeble to tolerate acupuncture treatment.
Moxibustion has been and still is commonly practiced in Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan. While the treatment is deemed to be a type of acupuncture, researchers believe that moxibustion actually came first. Oftentimes, acupuncturists use the two treatments simultaneously for maximum relief of pain.
Used and Benefits of Moxibustion
Initially, moxibustion was used to promote healing and prevent sickness. Nowadays, practitioners apply it to improve the flow of blood to injured parts of the body to bring about relief. It also helps stimulate acupoints and balances the circulation of Qi.
The burning moxa gives out warmth akin to that generated by heating pads or a heat lamp. The warmth can be helpful for easing stiffness caused by arthritis; it also helps improve circulation and relaxes the muscles whilst providing a soothing effect.
Diarrhea, menstrual cramping, and stomach pain, can all be treated with moxibustion which can be combined with other substances such as ginger. It is extremely important that you get treatment from a qualified and experienced practitioner if you’re planning to avail yourself of this type of treatment for you own specific needs.
The Two Types of Moxibustion Treatment
Moxibustion treatment has two types: Direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, the moxa is directly burned on the skin. Because of the high risk of burn injury, it is rarely used in the United States although Chinese practitioners believe that the burn and subsequent scars are indispensible and essential aspects of the therapy.
The herbal paste in indirect therapy is wrapped into what is called a moxa pole, which is shaped like a cigar. The pole is burned and held from the skin an inch or two away. Above the acupoint, the pole’s burning tip is moved in small circles until the treatment sites get a little warm and red. To slowly generate a sensation of heat, the treatment is administered for 5 to 10 minutes. This is time enough to allow the therapeutic effects of oils and heat from the moxa to go through the skin without burning the skin. Independent of the heat, the oils have properties that penetrate and stimulate blood.
There is a third type of moxibustion that combines the use of acupuncture with indirect moxibustion. In this type of treatment, while a needle is inserted into an acupoint, the moxa is heated on top of the acupuncture needle. This technique is designed to send heat to a certain acupoint through the acupuncture needle. A treatment plan that combines acupuncture and moxibustion together is actually what most acupuncturists utilize for faster and much more effective amelioration of pain.
For optimal outcomes, heat or warmth needs to be directed to a specific acupoint for a certain length of time. It is common to see people to experience immediate relief but for some, several sessions are needed to attain enduring benefits.
Moxibustion, Its Physiological Effects
Warmth is increased from the burning herb which stimulates the proper acupuncture points and helps relieve pain which leads to good health and overall well being. The mugwort herb is a naturally booster blood movement and can regulate menses (i.e., an emmenogogue).
Practitioners of Chinese medicine think that the burning moxa enhances a certain frequency of infrared energy that augments the qi or life force of the body that in turn, spurs the self healing ability of the body. They also believe that using indirect heat to certain acupuncture points can lead to a more efficient metabolism and a stronger immune system.
Eradicating Pain with Moxibustion Therapy
In the treatment of all kind of injuries, moxibustion treatment is a very powerful technique to use. It is an ideal treatment after the acute phase of the injury, once the swelling and heat has subsided. It can be successfully used in specific acupuncture points for tendon and muscle injuries, joint problems such as knee arthritis, and for back pain.
It can also be very useful also in resolving menstrual cramping and muscle stiffness. Most health experts recommend moxibustion combined with acupuncture in Austin for back pain relief. It can also be a powerful treatment when combined with cupping therapy or acupressure.
As the hot elements in indirect moxibustion therapy can be safely handled in a controlled setting, this type of moxibustion is quite safe to use. It you want to have a really safe treatment and still get the maximum benefits of the therapy, you can shield your skin from the burning effect of the heat by using a small slice of ginger to place on your skin.
Avoid moxibustion therapy:
o If you have heat, redness, and active inflammation
o If you have a fever
o If you have ulcerations or open skin lesions
o On the lower back and stomach area if you are pregnant
o If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy or you have poor skin sensitivity
o If you suffer from respiratory problems or are sensitive to smoke; your practitioner can use smokeless moxa sticks if you have either or both of these problems.
The Uses of Moxibustion:
1. An injured area that is cold to touch can be warmed (in Ayurvedic medicine, this is known as kapha and Vata condition). This condition is usually present in chronic injuries where damp weather or cold makes the pain worse.
2. To eliminate congestion and blockages caused accumulated fluids and blood after an injury.
3. Lessen stiffness, pain, and swelling.