Chinese Herb Combining: Why We Mix It Up


In Chinese herbal medicine, herbs are typically combined into formulas. Rather than the Western herbal or homeopathic concept of focusing on one herb to treat a symptom, Chinese herbalists believe that herbal combining leads to greater efficacy. At Clear Skies Acupuncture, we believe that Chinese herb combining is an art and science. As such, it is based on many factors, including herb function, flavor, temperature, what channels are entered, the patient’s constitution, the season, and much more.

Acupuncturists combine herbs for many reasons, some of which are listed below:*

  • Two similar herbs can be combined to strengthen an effect. For instance, both Da Huang (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) and Mang Xiao (Mirabilitum) may be used to treat constipation, because both herbs drain heat/fire. However, Mang Xiao softens accumulation of stool, and Da Huang helps move stool out of the bowel, so together, they can enhance the same function of relieving constipation.
  • Herbs with opposing functions may be combined to create a stronger therapeutic action. For instance, a patient may arrive suffering from Heart fire symptoms due to a deficiency of Heart yin (think of yin as the nurturing water that keeps yang’s energetic fire in check). The herbalist may prescribe Huang Lian (Coptis), which is cold and bitter and drains Heart fire, along with E Jiao (Gelatinum Corni Asini), a sweet and neutral medicinal that supports and nourishes yin and blood. In this way, the patient is relieved of symptoms of Heart fire, but the formula also nourishes the original deficiency causing the imbalance.
  • One herb can counters another herb’s harsh effect. As an example, some herbs are very cold, and thus may cause damage to the digestive fire when a patient ingests them. Combining a cold herb like Shi Gao (Gypsum Fibrosum) with a sweet nourishing plant like Geng Mi (a form of rice) can help alleviate heat without damaging digestion.
  • Herbs can harmonize other herbs. Gan Cao (Licorice) is an herb that is commonly used to help harmonize and bring into balance the actions of other medicines. It can cause herbs with opposing actions to work well together.
  • Herbs can guide other herbs to different areas of the body. Certain herbs are so intimately related to a part of the body, a channel, or an organ, that they pull other herbs toward that area. For example, Chai Hu, (Bupleurum), guides other herbs to the liver and gallbladder channels, and also to the upper body. If a patient had a Liver channel related headache, Chai Hu might be used in a formula to treat.
  • Herbs are combined because of how they move qi, their flavor, and their temperature. For example, the Spleen, the body’s primary yin digestive organ, likes warmth, sweetness, and also dryness, because the Spleen can be encumbered by the stagnation of fluids. To support the Spleen, the hot, acrid herb Gan Jiang (dried Ginger) may be combined with the sweet, bland herb Fu Ling (Poria), whose bland nature helps to drain dampness, or pathogenic fluid.

Certain herbs in Chinese medicine are such good partners that they are well known as common paired building blocks for formulas. In herbalism, we call these “Dui Yao,” or “two herbs” pairs. In a future post, we’ll explore some of the dui yao pairs and how they can be used to help with different acupuncture and herbal treatments.


This blog has been written with reference to:

Sionneau, P. (1997). Dui Yao: The Art of Combining Chinese Medicinals. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press.


Understanding the Rotator Cuff


Acupuncturists often treat shoulder injuries that involve the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help to raise and rotate the humerus, or upper arm bone, and stabilize the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff muscles and tendons keep the head of the humerus in the shoulder socket.  These muscles and tendons can become damaged by an acute injury or tear, repetitive overuse, aging, or even tendonitis. Acupuncture is a great way to alleviate pain and accelerate tissue repair in a rotator cuff injury.

The four muscles in the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Understanding the actions of these muscles can help you understand what might be a cause of pain, and when to come in for an evaluation. The actions of the muscles in the rotator cuff are as follows:

  • Supraspinatus muscle. The supraspinatus lifts the arm bone above the head. It also helps to stabilize the shoulder, pulling the head of the humerus into the shoulder socket.
  • Infraspinatus muscle. The infraspinatus is the primary muscle that performs external rotation of the shoulder. It also stabilizes the shoulder joint and has a more minor function of pulling the arm backward.
  • Teres Minor muscle. The teres minor also helps to externally rotate the shoulder and stabilize the shoulder joint.
  • Subscapularis muscle. The subscapularis is the largest of the four muscles of the rotator cuff. It internally rotates the shoulder and helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. It also helps with arm adduction (movement of the arm toward the body’s midline).

If you’re experiencing pain when you lift, lower, or internally and externally rotate your arm, you may want to come in for a physical assessment, to determine if you may have a rotator cuff injury. Simple physical examination, palpation, and muscle testing can help your acupuncturist or other provider determine what’s injured and outline a treatment plan specific to your needs.

The Common Cold According to Chinese Medicine


Common folk wisdom will tell you to, “Bundle up when you go outside so you don’t get a chill.” Is the concept of cold weather causing a common cold just a societal misperception or myth? According to Chinese medicine, it’s pretty accurate. Chinese medical theory says that cold is a pathogen that can invade the exterior of the body, causing symptoms of a common cold, such as chills, body aches, cough, and aversion to cold.

In order to penetrate the body’s defenses, cold may combine with wind. Like wind in nature, wind as a pathogen can cause movement and change, it can be strong and aggressive, overpowering the body’s natural defense mechanisms and invading the skin and pores. Just like a turbulent wind on the prarie can become a tornado and knock over a fence or a house, a cold winter wind can knock down the body’s defenses and wreak havoc on your health. Wind-cold often invades the body at the back of the neck, which is why an acupuncturist may advise you to wear a scarf in cold and windy weather. Why the back of the neck? Acupuncture channels related to the body’s immune defense system run through this body area.

In Chinese medical channel theory, the body’s defensive system is connected to its’ more exterior aspect, often referred to as Tai Yang, which includes the Urinary Bladder and Small Intestine channels. The Tai Yang warms the skin and hair and discharges defensive qi across the surface of the body, while keeping the pores and exterior closed to external invasion. When pathogens like cold disrupt this natural dynamic, warmth and defensive qi cannot discharge outward to the body’s exterior, and a person may feel chills. Or alternately, this trapped warm qi may instead rise up the head, causing fever or headache.

To treat a cold, acupuncturists use may techniques that can release the trapped cold pathogen from the exterior layer of the body, and restore the natural dynamic of the Tai Yang. One technique we often use is cupping, wherein suction cups are placed on the skin, helping to open the pores and exterior layer to pull the pathogen out to the surface.

Acupuncture points can also help release the body’s exterior and restore balance to the Tai Yang and exterior. For instance, Lung 7, located on the wrist, is the command point for the head and neck, and can help release the exterior of the body and expel pathogens, while strengthening the body’s defensive qi. San Jiao 5, on the forearm, is another point that releases the exterior, and can help treat fever or disperse pain. Other points may be used locally or distally to unclog sinus congestion, treat head and neck pain, or alleviate other symptoms of the common cold.

So the next time you’re out in cold or windy weather, keep your neck covered and your body warm, and don’t give the cold and wind a chance to penetrate your defenses. Or if you’re feeling under the weather, stop in for a treatment, and see how acupuncture can help you.



How To Clear Mental Fog With Chinese Medicine

meditation-1384758_1920Have you ever had a day where your head feels heavy or foggy and you can’t focus or think straight? In Chinese medicine, mental clarity is related to the Spleen’s capacity to lift clear qi to the head and brain without obstruction. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and lifestyle changes can help support the Spleen and the mind.

The Spleen is one of the primary digestive organs in Chinese medicine. Its’ functions involve governing the transformation of food and water into qi and blood, and then lifting the “clear” mental qi to the head and descending the “turbid” qi down to the bowel. When the Spleen is working well, a person has strong digestion and feels energetic. However, if the Spleen is not transforming and transporting fluids properly, this can lead to a buildup of pathogenic water, which we call “dampness” in Chinese medicine. Dampness can obstruct the mind, causing unclear thinking, fatigue or tiredness, and heaviness in the head or body.

Taking steps to nourish the Spleen and improve its function can help mental clarity and focus, as can the use of certain herbs and acupuncture points. At Clear Skies Acupuncture, our suggestions for supporting the Spleen follow:

  • Avoid cold foods and eat warm foods. You can think of the body’s digestion as a fire. If you throw cold on the fire, the fire will go out, where warmth helps stoke the fire. Cold foods, including raw foods, can be hard on the body’s digestion and can diminish the function of the Spleen. Warm foods, such as soups, congee, and cooked vegetables, help keep your digestive fire burning.
  • Try acupuncture. Certain acupuncture points can help mental clarity. For instance, DU 20 (Bai Hui) can raise qi and yang, clear the mind, calm the spirit, and benefit the brain and sensory organs. Similarly, the extra point Si Shen Cong can clear the mind, improve memory, and calm the spirit.
  • Take regular mental breaks. The Spleen can be damaged by worry and overthinking. Taking breaks from work throughout the day and giving your mind a chance to rest can keep you from depleting your Spleen qi.
  • Eat foods that nourish the Spleen. The Spleen likes warm, easy-to-digest foods. These include rice, chicken, congee, dates, pumpkin, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, cooked root vegetables, beef, and warm digestive spices, like ginger, green onions, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Avoid foods that create dampness. Foods that create dampness include dairy, fatty or fried foods, sugar, cold and raw foods, alcohol, processed foods, and wheat.
  • Try Chinese herbs. Certain Chinese herbs can nourish the Spleen and help improve mental focus. For instance, Huang Qi (Astragalus), strengthens Spleen qi and helps support the lifting function of the Spleen by raising yang qi. Fu Ling (Poria) can strengthen the Spleen, drain dampness, and transform phlegm. Perhaps the most well-known Chinese herb, Ren Shen (Ginseng), strongly supports Spleen qi, and helps to clear the mind and calm the spirit.
  • Create consistency. The Spleen functions better when you create consistent patterns. Try eating on a regular schedule and don’t skip meals. Moreover, take a break when you eat, give yourself a chance to enjoy your food and digest without interference. Sit down and make time for a meal. Don’t work through meals or eat on the go. Get sleep on a regular schedule too, try to fall asleep and wake up at a consistent time each day.

If you follow all these guidelines, you might notice improved Spleen function, less fatigue, and more mental clarity. Let’s make mental fog a thing of the past!

Constipation: Why Can’t I Poop? Tips from an Acupuncturist


Constipation, or difficulty emptying the bowels, is a widespread problem for many people. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, 63 million people were affected by chronic constipation in the year 2000.[1] There are many causes for chronic constipation, including blockages in the colon and rectum, neurological or muscular problems affecting elimination, hormone imbalances, dehydration, or improper diet.

At Clear Skies Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, we work with patients who have constipation and diarrhea. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help resolve issues of constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and pain. Below is a guide with some simple tips to help you understand your own digestion better, and help you resolve constipation:

So How Much Should I Poop?

Many sources will say you should poop at least three times a week. A good general rule is that you should be pooping anywhere from once every other day to twice a day. More than twice a day, you are tending towards diarrhea, less than once every two days and you may be constipated.

Let’s learn more about poop! It’s best to have poops that are easy and comfortable to pass, without a lot of straining. You should feel like you’ve had a complete bowel movement, like it is finished. Ideally, poop should be medium brown and solid in consistency, but not hard or lumpy. In fact, a common tool called the Bristol Stool Chart (see image above), can help show you if your poops are healthy. On the chart, Type 4 poop is optimal, and Type 3 is also good. If you’re having poop that is consistently Type 1 or 2, you may tend towards constipation, with Type 5-7 you may tend towards diarrhea.

How Can I Poop More?

Constipation can often be resolved or aided with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Try Chinese herbal medicine. From a Chinese medical perspective, constipation can have a number of common causes. For instance, one pattern may include physical dryness and deficiency of fluids and blood, which herbs such as Dang Gui (Angelica) and Sang Shen (Mulberry) can help resolve. Another pattern may include a buildup of heat and stagnant qi. In this case, Chinese herbalists might use Da Huang (Rhubarb root and rhizome) to help purge the intestine. Please consult a Chinese herbalist for a proper diagnosis and prescription for your condition.
  • Eat fiber. National dietary guidelines suggest that women should eat 25 grams of fiber a day between ages 18 and 50, and 21 grams a day when over 50, while men should have 30 to 38 grams a day. Fiber helps make poop loose and bulky, and as a bonus, it can also help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fiber include split peas, lentils, beans, oatmeal, broccoli, blackberries, prunes, figs, peas, artichokes, greens, brussel sprouts, and bran.
  • Add seeds to your meals. Adding flax, hemp, or chia seeds to your meals can help your digestion. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart. Hemp seeds, or Huo Ma Ren, are a Chinese herb often used to moisten the intestine to help the passage of stool, while nourishing the body’s yin and blood. Try mixing seeds into your morning oatmeal, a veggie stir-fry, smoothie, or salad.
  • Drink water. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to be constipated, because your body is trying to retain water. A common health recommendation is to drink 8 glasses of water a day, which is about two liters in total. However, you need more water in hot temperatures, if you’re exercising and sweating a lot, or if you’re drinking dehydrating beverages, like coffee, tea, or alcohol.

    Having trouble drinking water? Try carrying a water bottle with you, and keeping it at your desk, set a daily reminder on your phone, or use a free app (such as Waterlogged, Hydro Coach, or Daily Water) to remind you. Sweating a lot? Add some electrolytes to your water, or try a coconut water.

  • Exercise. Exercise helps food move through your colon more efficiently, even causing contraction of intestinal muscles. Moreover, exercise reduces stress, or from a Chinese medicine perspective helps to regulate the Liver qi, which can also be a cause of constipation.
  • Abdominal massage. Abdominal massage can help relieve constipation. Try massaging your abdomen in a clockwise direction, using circular movements around the belly button, and following the natural flow of the large intestine. Rubbing a little castor oil on the belly during the massage can also be useful. We often use abdominal massage in Chinese medical treatments, sometimes with castor oil or heat packs.
  • Try acupuncture. Acupuncture can help support and strengthen the digestion, increase activity in the intestines, relieve stress, and bring the body into balance. Contact us now for an appointment.

It shouldn’t be hard to poop! If you’re having trouble, please let us help you out. Book now.

[1]National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health (online). “Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States”, Retrieved on March 7, 2018 from:

Warming Herbs for Winter


Conceptually, in Chinese medicine, we believe that herbal formulas should complement not only the individual’s constitution, but the season and setting that the person lives in. We are a part of our natural environment, and as a being in a diverse ecosystem, our health is impacted by our weather and climate. For a Chinese herbalist, integrating a nature-based perspective in a holistic treatment plan is as essential as understanding that symptoms of dry throat and skin may simply be a consequence of living in an arid climate rather than coming from an internal cause.

Five seasons are recognized in Chinese medicine, and each of these seasons is linked to one of the five Chinese elements. The winter season is associated with cold, a pathogen in Chinese medicine that can cause chills, contraction, stagnation, and even pain. Winter is also related to the water element, and from a physical or organ and channel-based perspective, related to the Kidneys. In Chinese medical theory, the Kidneys are a source of our vitality. The Kidney yin is the nurturing essence of the body, and the Kidney yang is the fire that warms the body.

As such, in winter, a season known for cold weather, it can be helpful, from an herbal perspective, to keep the fire burning and use herbs that help warm the body. From a dietary perspective, winter is a season for eating warm foods with warm spices, nourishing soups and broths, and hearty meals, rather than raw or cold foods.

Even without training in Chinese herbalism, a basic knowledge of warming herbs can be helpful in winter. Using spices and herbs in cooking can help you create nourishing stews and meals that taste good and make your body feel better. Let’s look at some Chinese herbs you may already know, that can help keep you warm in winter:
pexels-photo-301669Cinnamon bark (Rou Gui): Cinnamon, or Rou Gui, is a warming ingredient that can be a great addition to meals. Put a little in your coffee or tea to kick start your digestion in the morning, or in a tomato soup at night. As a Chinese herb, Rou Gui goes to the Heart, Kidney, Liver, and Spleen, and can help to warm and unblock the channels by dispersing cold. Moreover, Rou Gui can be used to nourish our Kidneyyang, that deep warming aspect of the body.


1656e61342a61acGinger (Gan Jiang, Sheng Jiang): Ginger can be ingested in different forms, and each of these forms has different properties. Fresh ginger, or Sheng Jiang, is great for warming the Stomach and Lungs and can also help fight off colds. Dried ginger, Gan Jiang, is great for strongly warming the Spleen and Stomach and the channels, and it helps rebuild yang deficiency. Ginger can be used in all kinds of recipes, in sautéed greens and veggies with a little green onion and garlic, in soups or congees, or even made into a tea.


2357ffa3493f71bClove (Ding Xiang): Clove, or Ding Xiang, is another herb that can warm the center of the body and also supports and builds the Kidney yang. You may have heard of clove paired with cinnamon and nutmeg in pumpkin pie, but take away the sugar and dairy, and clove is a great addition to pumpkin, squash, carrot, or sweet potato. Be careful, a little bit goes a long way.


Tumeric (Jiang Huang): Tumeric, or Jiang Huang, is a classic spice often featured in Indian cuisine or curries (see photo at the top of this post). In Chinese medicine, it’s both a warming and moving herb, often used to move qi and blood and to eliminate pain and stagnation. It has an affinity for the upper body and particularly the shoulder area. In the winter, it’s a great addition to soups and stews, veggies, or even as a spice for chicken or fish.

The Chinese herbs noted above can be used by home cooks as a simple way to help keep warm in the winter. Please consult your herbalist if you plan to use these herbs medicinally, as they may not be appropriate choices for all constitutions.

How Does Acupuncture Work?


Acupuncture may affect your body in a number of different ways. Western medical research has provided a number of theories on how acupuncture may affect the body and produce positive and beneficial results. A few of these theories include:

  • Acupuncture improves circulation. Acupuncture improves blood flow and circulation throughout the body. Studies show that it can increase blood flow and vasodilation (through release of histamine). Blood carries important nutrients to different areas of the body, including oxygen, iron, hormones, painkillers, and nutrition from the food that we eat. Moreover, increased flow of red and white blood cells and natural anti-inflammatory agents in the blood to an injured area can help that area heal more quickly.
  • Natural pain killer release. Some studies suggest that acupuncture may help release the body’s natural painkillers—enkephalins, norepinephrine, and endorphins. These natural substances help you feel good.
  • Competing stimulus. On a neurological level, when you experience pain, your body must transmit a pain signal from nerves or neurons in the part of your body experiencing pain, to your spinal cord, and finally to your brain. These neural pathways can only process so much stimuli at once. If acupuncture provides a positive, competing stimulus, this theory suggests that it may then lessen the pain you experience.
  • Acupuncture resets muscles that are tight or weak. Acupuncturists often needle “motor points” on muscles. These are points where the electrical activity of a muscle is highest. By inserting a metal needle, which conducts electricity, into a “motor point,” acupuncture can cause the muscle to reset and go back to its natural length and strength.
  • Increasing immunity and overall wellness. Acupuncture may increase levels of white blood cells, certain hormones, antibodies, prostaglandins, and more. These substances can help a person fight off disease or illness, and may help strengthen the body and increase general health.
  • Neurotransmitter modulation. Acupuncture can affect the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which help a person feel happy and stress-free. Release of another hormone, oxytocin, can stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us rest and relax.

These theories are just some of the more common ideas of how acupuncture works. Ongoing research on acupuncture’s effects on the body can be found by searching medical databases, such as Pubmed. Also, the Society for Acupuncture Research publishes summaries of many new acupuncture research studies on its website. Feel free to check these resources out and search for research on whatever topics you’re interested in. Also, if you want to know what acupuncture can be used to treat, see:

What is Qi? (part 2)


Qi Flow

Acupuncturists believe that qi flows in channels. These channels run all over your body, from your head to your toes, down your arms, zigging and zagging, even entering the body and going through internal organs, skin, and muscle layers. There are many different kinds of channels. The most common channels we discuss are connected to body organs—these are called primary channels.

Most of the common acupuncture points we talk about are on primary channels. These channels are somehow directly connected to the primary organ they are named after. So for instance, Liver 3, a common point needled on the foot, is on the Liver channel, which at some point connects to the Liver organ. The Liver channel runs from your big toe, up the inside of your leg, through your Liver and chest, up through the throat, behind the eye, and finally emerges on top of the head. Qi flows through this channel all the time.

You can think of acupuncture channels as big rivers where qi flows. Acupuncturists can tap into this natural qi of your body by accessing it at points. Maybe think of points as ports or way stations along the river of a channel, where the river is more connected to other areas of the body, other channels, or where the current is strong and mutable. Points can open links to other channels, direct qi and blood to a certain area of the body, or just support the flow of qi and blood in a particular organ or channel pathway.

One of the problems that sometimes happens is that qi becomes stagnant. Acupuncturists call this qi stagnation, and it’s very common. Again, to use a river analogy, maybe something has created a dam, or the river is having trouble flowing through a rocky bed to get to the next river, or maybe too much water has evaporated and the river isn’t very strong anymore. All of these present possibilities in Chinese medicine, specifically, strong emotions can create stagnation, qi flow can become blocked when making the transition from one channel to the next, and if your body is depleted and you’ve lost a lot of qi and blood, you may need some help building qi and blood to help it flow smoothly again.

So How Do I Make Sure My Qi Flow is Strong and Not Stagnant?

There are many ways to keep your body strong and healthy, and you’re probably doing a lot of them already. Basic health practices, such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep can really help your health. However, everyone has times when their health goes out of balance. Within yin there is always a little yang, and vice-versa, right? Acupuncturists can support you in a number of ways.

Frequently, we take a look at patient’s lifestyles and habits. Acupuncturists like to take a step back and look at the full picture of a person’s wellness. So we can talk to you about nutrition and diet, support healthy lifestyle choices, and even give you therapeutic exercises or Chinese massage to support muscular imbalances and weakness. Often we use needles and moxa to support your qi and blood flow in your body. Chinese herbs are also great for working internally. For instance, if you’ve been overworking or haven’t been taking care of your health, herbs are great at rebuilding and supporting your constitution and lifestyle.

What is Moxa?


Moxibustion, or moxa, is a Chinese medical technique used for many purposes including improving circulation, warming the body, and supporting and strengthening a person’s constitution. Acupuncture and moxibustion are used in conjunction to stimulate acupuncture points and improve qi and blood flow in acupuncture channels.

Moxa itself is a Chinese herb known as Ai Ye (Artemisia argyi folium), or mugwort. Ai Ye is used both internally and externally in Chinese herbal medicine. As an internal herbal medicinal, Ai Ye stops pain, warms the channels and the body, and through its’ warming action can stop bleeding. Chinese medical theory suggests that it may also be used in pregnancy to help calm a restless fetus, and may help with itchy skin conditions.

Externally, the herb may be rolled into large sticks that are burned over the surface of the skin, rolled into small “rice grain” sized pieces and burned on the skin surface (usually at acupuncture points, with some sort of intercepting medium or ointment so that they don’t actually burn the skin), or placed on the handles of acupuncture needles and burned over acupuncture points. External moxa use can have many purposes, for instance, warming the lower back when stagnation of cold is causing pain or weakness, warming a muscle region that is stiff and contracted, stimulating acupuncture points that stop bleeding, or as a tonic—to help support and strengthen the body at acupuncture points that are used to support qi and blood formation. Certain randomized controlled trials have even suggested that moxibustion, used in the final weeks of pregnancy, can help turn a breech fetus.

You Burn Moxa? Is Moxa Treatment Painful?

No. Most people report no pain from moxibustion treatment. They say that moxa feels warm and pleasant. Even in more surface-level moxibustion treatment, cones are typically placed over an ointment or other intercepting medium and are extinguished far before they reach the skin surface.

What Else Can Moxa Be Used For?

Acupuncturists use moxa in practice for many reasons. Some commonly practiced techniques might include:

• Burning moxa over the acupuncture point Spleen 1 to help with excess menstrual bleeding.
• Burning moxa over acupuncture point Stomach 36 to support immunity and build qi, blood, yin, and yang.
• Moxa burned over acupuncture point Du 20 to invigorate the mind, lift prolapse, and move qi upwards.
• Internal use in the common herbal formula Jiao Ai Tang, which is used for excess menstrual bleeding or uterine bleeding due to a cold and deficient constitutional pattern.
• Burning moxa on top of a slice of ginger, often on the abdomen, for gastrointestinal problems.
• Burning moxa over cold and stiff joints or muscles, to lubricate motion and restore function.
• Moxa cones placed on top of salt in the center of the umbilicus and burned have been used in Chinese medicine to revive consciousness in cases of collapse due to deficiency. This theory comes from the idea that one of the Heart organ’s accessory channels, the Heart sinew (or Heart muscle channel), terminates at the umbilicus. As the Heart is considered the emperor organ, and contains the Shen (spirit), we can use moxa at the end of the muscle channel to revive someone who has fainted, bringing vitality directly to the emperor and cardiac muscle.

In short, moxa plays an integral role in acupuncture treatment and Chinese herbalism. Talk to your acupuncturist about whether it might be a good addition to your next treatment!