April 23, 2005
Burning Mugwort

Home moxibustion is an entertainment and a medicine.


We bought the Sennen-kyu Off 80 moxibustion kit at some random drugstore in our neighborhood. This kit contains 80 tiny incense cigars on sticky holders. “Popular among young people” it said on the box; how could we resist?

Moxibustion uses the same theory as acupuncture and shiatsu—the meridians of the body—but works by burning mugwort (moxa) over them. You locate the right moxibustion points, light the moxa, and stick the holders to yourself. The herb burns down and heats your body with pinpoint precision.


It gets really hot even though the coal doesn’t touch your skin and I had to pull one off my back before it was probably done, but after walking all day, I tried the “legs feel weak” points and I felt pretty good afterwards.

Posted by kuri at April 23, 2005 11:55 PM


I believe similar devices exist in other South-East Asian countries.
Only they tend to replace moxa by bamboo shards, and “moxybustion points” by the underside of your nails. Oh and also they reserve the treatment for prisoners and people they really dislike.

Now why would you want to inflict that on yourself voluntarily… :-P

Posted by: dr Dave on April 24, 2005 01:02 AM

My husband loves Sennen-kyu, and we used to use them a lot. I found that if they were placed on exactly the right spot they felt really good and helped soothe muscle or nerve tension, but on the wrong spot they were painful and had no effect.

After using them on the same spot a few times we started to notice they were leaving marks. Made it easy to find the right spot each time, but permanent burn marks? Scary. We had to give it up.

Now we find a massage or shippu (hot poultice) is just as effective…

Posted by: Amy on April 24, 2005 03:29 PM

I have used these for years. My fave place is between the thumb and the first finger - in that little hollow. (I am sure this has a name but I don’t know what it is. Does your Oxford Dictionary know what this body part is called?)

Posted by: T on April 25, 2005 03:16 PM
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