One possible answer is that as a form of therapy, moxibustion seems to work well regardless of who administers it. Granted, master practitioners of moxibustion who treated 40 – 50 patients per day such as Sawada, Fukaya & Hukaya truly had the practice down to an art form, and the difference between a novice and a master is apparent in any field of practice. However, direct moxibustion forms such as okyu (rice grain) has been prescribed to patients on many occasions the world over as ‘homework’ between weekly treatments carried out by the practitioner. Thus showing a patient how to perform okyu and then marking the points that they can self-administer direct moxibustion on daily greatly improves the treatment effect and the speed of amelioration. Furthermore, moxibustion on points such as Zu San Li ST-36 and the region of Qu Chi LI-11/Shou San Li LI-10 is customary and practiced in many forms of folkloric medicine in both China and Japan and it is not uncommon to find people with moxibustion scars from years of daily self-administering this vital form of therapy.
Thus, moxibustion seems to have beneficial health inducing, even immune boosting effects regardless of whether a well-practiced hand or a novice is administering, the important fact is that it needs to be performed diligently and daily for optimal health effects.
I personally see this aspect of self-care as of paramount importance and I liken daily self-moxibustion to other forms of self-cultivation such as daily meditation & yoga. As with all practices, cultivation and duration is the key.
Now, continuing on with this notion of moxibustion inducing beneficial effects regardless of who is administering it, I would like to highlight that the general effects of direct moxibustion seem to alter blood chemistry. It seems that the tiny cauterisation that occurs when direct moxibustion is performed, causes the denaturisation of proteins which results in histotoxins being released which in turn stimulates the production of red and white blood cells. Ultimately, when this is occurring over a period of time the effects relate to the strengthening of the immune system of the individual. It is important to note that these histological changes and alterations in blood chemistry occur regardless of where the moxibustion is done (i.e. on an acupuncture point or not). Now, if we mix this cascade of beneficial chemical changes with the fact that direct moxibustion emits a wavelength of light similar to that of a laser, which penetrates the tissue & thus if performed over an acupuncture point can in turn stimulate said acupuncture point. We now have the addition of a completely different mode of functionality and application.
Essentially, direct moxibustion can cause immune boosting changes in blood chemistry, initiates a deep parasympathetic state conducive to health and repair (when performed correctly), increases blood circulation, creates a thermal effect & stimulates & engages the dynamic functions of the acupuncture point/s that it is performed on.
In my humble opinion I believe that the above may be one possible answer as to why direct moxibustion is increasing in popularity, especially here in Australia & I personally embrace and encourage it.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini – Acupuncturist (Melbourne & Mornington Peninsula)