Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC


Moxibustion, also known as moxa treatment, is use of heat and aroma radiated from an ignited, condensed mugwort herb stick that is passed above specific acupuncture points.  It is very helpful for augmenting acupuncture treatments, dispersing stagnation, decreasing pain, improving blood circulation, decreasing Dampness (which is a pathological condition in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine), improving Qi  circulation, and decreases Cold invasion (it helps warm the patient).

I often prescribe moxa sticks for pet owners to use at home along with their other treatments.  When ignited, the moxa stick is very hot, so caution must be taken to prevent the pet’s or pet owner’s fur or skin to be burnt.

Directions for use:

1.  Ignite the moxa stick using a BBQ lighter—the smokeless moxa rolls usually take about 30 to 60 seconds to light because they are so dense.  You will know if it is ignited when gently blowing on the end of the stick reveals a red/orange ember glow.

2.  Pass the moxa stick about 1cm to 2cm above the designated areas for the length of time prescribed by Dr. Schell.  She will usually prescribe 3 to 5minutes per treatment.

3.  When finished the treatment, extinguish the moxa stick using a moxa stick snuffer, a cigar snuffer or a shot glass or other small glass filled with clay cat litter.  Do not use water to extinguish the moxa roll as it can damage the roll.

4.  After several uses, the moxa stick will become shorter and shorter.  When it becomes too short to work with, a new one should be started.

Dr Schell will let you know how often it should be used for your pet.   Usually it is prescribed for 4 to 5 days in a row after a traumatic event or during the healing procedures.  Dr Schell often recommends using moxa sticks on cold or damp days or when the pet seems stiff due to cold or dampness in the environment.

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