When Heat is a Treat
Heat can be beneficial. When the body lacks heat, adding it is therapy.
Moxabustion is a heat treatment where acupuncture points are heated by burning an herb called moxa (compressed artemisia leaf) on or near the acupuncture point.
Burning on the skin is called direct moxibustion.
Burning it near the skin called indirect moxibustion. Sometimes we burn moxa attached to the the needles. This is called warming needle technique.
Moxa sticks are like cigars which are burned close to the affected area (about an inch). When the spot becomes too hot, the moxa stick is withdrawn, then after a moment, it is returned. This results in a kind of pecking at the spot with the moxa stick.
Do it 5-20 minutes per session, 1-3 sessions per day. Just be careful to ventilate the smoke, careful of falling ashes, and careful to extinguish the stick (roll) by suffocating it in sand or salt or rice.
Smokeless moxa sticks are actually sticks of charcoal which make little smoke when burned. They are used when good ventilation is not available.