19 May How to pick the right moxibustion products-Smokeless Moxa Rolls and Sticks
Nowadays, there are various kinds of moxibustion products available on the market: from the familiar stick moxa to needle moxa, from loose moxa and smokeless moxa to even moxa sprays, the number of choices can sometimes be overwhelming. This article will help you understand moxa production better, and in turn to understand how to tell a good product from an inferior one, and to finally make an informed decision about which ones to use in your practice.
It is the second part that mainly discuss about smokeless moxa rolls and sticks. There will be a third part in next few days discuss about Moxa essence/ Liquid moxa which is a new product in moxibustion.
As we mentioned before, unaltered moxa sticks and loose moxa will both produce
white, mild smoke. In Asia, moxa smoke is considered an essential therapeutic element of moxibustion. Moxa smoke contains may trace elements, such a iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium and more, which are considered to be beneficial. The smoke also has calming effects on people’s nervous system. However, in the West, many practitioners and clients prefer to minimise or eliminate this smoke because it is inconvenient, and can bother individuals sensitive to smoke. Smokeless moxa has therefore developed a loyal following in Canadian and American practices, as well as in other clinics across the world: it is better adapted to small, enclosed spaces.
Unsurprisingly, making smokeless moxa rolls involves additional steps in the production process. Smokeless moxa comes from carbonized moxa, which strictly speaking is charcoal mugwort. The carbonization process minimises the burning moxa’s emissions, eliminating around 95% of the moxa smoke. Despite its name, however, smokeless moxa does produce some smoke. The difference between wood and charcoal makes a good analogy: charcoal produces a lot less smoke than raw wood, but it would be inaccurate to say it does not produce any at all.
Carbonisation, then, takes place before moxa sticks are rolled, and it creates a powder
that will be packed extremely tightly into paper. The end result can make it difficult to distinguish between high quality and low quality moxa leaves, as the texture, color and scent are thrown off by the carbonisation process. The quality of the raw ingredient, however, does still make a huge difference whether the moxa is in charcoal form or not, influencing how fast it burns, and ultimately affecting its therapeutic potential.
How to tell good quality smokeless moxa from the bad
Unethical moxa producers have sometimes taken advantage of this difficulty by substituting moxa leaves for branches and stems, or in rare cases, even mixing mugwort with wood charcoal! In these extreme cases, the smokeless moxa sticks can spark and burn the skin. It’s therefore very important to be cautious when purchasing smokeless moxa sticks, and to always test it before using it in treatments. Relying on trusted suppliers is a good way of ensuring quality, but what happens if your regular supplier doesn’t have smokeless moxa, or if you’re away and in a pinch? It’s important to try any product before using it in treatment, but the things you should look for and the ones you should avoid aren’t always obvious. We compiled a list of criteria to help guide your decision.