Moxa- What? The Skinny on Moxibustion

Moxibustion, or moxa for short, is a technique used by acupuncturists to warm an acupuncture point, needle or an area of the body by burning an herb called mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) over or on the skin.

Indirect moxa describes the use of a moxa pole that looks like a cigar and, when lit, glows like a piece of charcoal.  The lit moxa pole is held about 1? away from the patient’s skin and moved in small circles for a few minutes until the patient says it feels too hot or the skin under it gets pink.  Direct moxa describes the use of a tiny, sesame-seed-sized piece of moxa wool (dried, processed mugwort leaves that has a wooly, spongy quality) placed on the skin over a layer of protective ointment.  The piece of moxa is lit, burning itself out within seconds, creating the sensation of a hot pinprick or just heat at an acupuncture point.

As crazy or foreign as these techniques may sound, they are extremely effective and widely used by acupuncturists all over the world.  Some common uses of moxa include:

  • Reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis, especially when the arthritic joint feels worse in cold, damp weather
  • Relax tense, knotted muscle tissue by warming the muscle and bringing blood flow to the area
  • Reduce the pain of endometriosis, ovarian cysts or garden-variety menstrual cramps by warming, relaxing the uterus and promoting better circulation
  • Encourage a baby in the breech position (feet down rather than head down) to turn by warming a point on the smallest toe with a moxa pole, once per day for 10 days – usually this treatment works best when performed around 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Direct moxa works extremely well in the treatment of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, as it can stimulate acupuncture points in eares where it may be too painful to insert a needle
To learn more about acupuncture or to schedule an appointment online please visit or call 603-434-3456

Acupuncture Now Offered in Londonderry Wellness Center

Healing Hands Chiropractic- A Family Wellness is happy to announce the addition of acupuncture services to their Londonderry, NH wellness center.

Alyson Adams, MAOM, LAc will be available for acupuncture treatments on Thursday’s 2-7pm beginning April 2, 2009. Appointments may be made by calling 603-434-3456 or online at

Alyson brings a fresh approach to Traditional Chinese Medicine, combining a Master of Science degree from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) in Portland, Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from Boston College.

Alyson is a board certified Diplomate of both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine by the NCCAOM and is licensed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. While attending OCOM, the first school in the country to offer an accredited doctoral program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, she was able to gain experience in a variety of health settings. Among them included interning at Oregon Health and Science University working alongside both an MD and LAc. This experience allowed her to see how eastern and western medicine can be integrated together to create wellness in her patients. She also has experiences working with seniors and chronic pain management.

Alyson has studied both Chinese and Japanese styles of acupuncture and treats a wide variety of complaints. She has a special interest in internal medicine, specifically digestive disorders, headaches, and women’s health and infertility.

Being a native of New England, Alyson is happy to return to the Northeast and bring her knowledge and skills to this area. In addition to her interest in Chinese Medicine, Alyson is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, skiing and Pilates.