Alternatives of smoky moxa: what you should know

In Europe, external therapies of traditional Chinese medicine are more popular than herbal therapy. Moxibustion is one of external therapies. How to translate it into Polish? It is a problem.
On Wikipedia, the therapy is called “termopunktura”. This term is seldom used because it is an incorrect phrase. Moxibustion never punctures, and warm acupuncture is a kind of acupuncture therapy.

Generally Polish websites use the combination of the two words “moksa” and “terapia” to call moxibustion. But on Wiktionary “moksa” has only one meaning equal to “moksha” as a term of Hinduism.

The exact definition of moxibustion is a therapy through burning fibres which are made from the leaves of Artemisia argyi. Here I follow what people often use, and use “terapia moksą” to call “moxibustion”.

In China, acupuncture-moxibustion is a fixed term that often just means acupuncture. Though a lot of people like to use moxibustion by themselves, the therapists of acupuncture-moxibustion prefer acupuncture to moxibustion. According to an investigation report published in 2022 (Zhao XG, Wu ZC, Chen ZJ, et al. Investigation Report on Application of Moxibustion in China. Basic Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2022; 1(4): 61-66.), among 210 professional therapists of acupuncture-moxibustion, only 32.4% of them often use moxibustion, though 98% therapists believe that moxibustion is an effective therapy. Why most of them don’t use moxibustion? They can’t tolerate air pollution caused by smoke. Why don’t they use smokeless moxa or electronic devices? 88.1% therapists believe smoky moxa is only the effective material of moxibustion. Among the therapists who use moxibustion, 80% of them use smoky moxa without ventilation or with simple ventilation.

Perhaps this phenomenon is related to cultural identity. The fumigation of burning leaves of Artemisia argyi is a very old Chinese method for epidemic prevention. Chinese people believe that the therapeutic effects of burning moxa are not just from heat, but also from smoke.

European therapists may not have such concern. Chinese therapists prefer not to use moxibustion, but European therapists prefer to use alternatives.

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