View Full Version : Best heat therapies?

02-25-2001, 07:09 PM
I was wondering what is the most prefered heat therapy in TCM?

Is going to a doctor for moxabustion better than taking a hot epson salt or ginger bath?

I feel the really hot baths get the entire body and makes you sweat really good, plus its much more convienent and cheaper than shelling out money for some one to rescue you.

02-25-2001, 08:05 PM
does eating spicy foods count?

02-25-2001, 08:39 PM
I think you are talking about 2 different things. If you are trying to induce sweat then as far as I know, you don't want to use moxibustion anyway. Moxibustion is more exact, specific and is used for tonifying or returning yang to a specific meridian. It's supplimenting rather than reducing. I think the bath would be reducing in nature. You can perform moxibustion on yourself if you know the nature of your imbalance. I do know mine and have been instructed by a doctor of Chinese medicine regarding my condition so I perform moxibution on myself daily. It's good to go to a doctor of TCM and find out your imbalance first and see if moxibustion is good for you.

Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East
By Baird T. Spalding

02-25-2001, 10:16 PM
i guess they are very different things.

Well i have ankle pain recently and the ususal back and leg soreness from kungfu stretchng and workouts so I was looking for most effective means of a faster recovery for this ankle. soaking it or just taking a hot bath with epson salt of ginger root seems to relax sore muscels, but the ankel pain must be a minor sprain since the bath only does so much.

02-26-2001, 02:47 AM
Ma Xu Zha,

The use of any modaility in TCM is always for a specific cause and so the choice of which modality to apply can be quite important. Obviously we tend not to use warming treatments on hot inflammed injuries and tend to use them on chronic or cold injuries.

Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) is warm, acrid, releases the exterior, promotes sweating, and disperses wind-cold. In common terms this means it can be used as a poultice of ground ginger to warm an area. Because it has some exterior releasing properties this means it can be used for chronic problems that tend to get worse with weather changes. In TCM terms this would be a wind-cold-damp Bi-syndrome (painful obstruction). Some people have sensitive skin, however, and so you must be careful not to give them a rash with it.

Moxa provides more supplementation (although it can also be used to sedate) to an area. Moxa can be burned as a stick that is held above the skin for about 10 minutes to provide a deep warmth or burned directly on the skin to add some warmth (read qi or yang) to the channel of the point you are needling. As an acupuncturist we can also burn moxa on the needle to help direct the warmth to a deeper level of the body.

Doing moxa yourself isn't all that difficult with the stick as long as you understand not to do it until it burns you. However, this is something most of us would figure out on our own... Ouch! That's hot!

Epson salts are good for relaxing sore muscles and also are good for swelling. In Chinese it is called Mang Xiao and we use it for constipation (do not drink it!) and injuries with swelling.

As Baird said, inducing a sweat is a reducing/sedating/draining form of treatment, warming is not. Without a diagnosis of your injury it is pretty difficult to know which you need. That is what the local practitioner is for.

It is common to prescribe moxa sticks as home therapy for chronic injuries. This is especially true if you can isolate one area of your ankle that is extra sore. If it tends to just be tight muscles then I would recommend some stretching exercises and possibly some massage.

Hope the info helps,


02-27-2001, 03:22 AM
Excellent post Justin. Thank you for sharing and expanding in detail.

There is no spoon.

02-27-2001, 05:10 PM
Spoken like a true healer of the TCM methodology!

Do you go to Pacifice College of Oriental Medicine?

03-01-2001, 07:41 AM
Glad the info was helpful. Yep, Pacific (PCOM) is where I go to school...