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Trying out traditional medicine

Updated: 2009-11-04 11:37

The term is often neglected when people talk about zhen jiu, which is usually now translated as “acupuncture.” However, zhen jiu is a therapy that combines both acupuncture-the inserting and manipulating of needles into pressure points-and moxibustion. Both moxibustion and acupuncture are based on the traditional Chinese medical theories of Channels, also known as “meridians,” and pressure points.

Acupuncture and moxibustion are two completely different therapies. Acupuncture, zhen, is a practice where metal needles are precisely inserted into pressure points. What is jiu then? Jiu, literarily, is to smoke with fire. Jiu, or moxibustion, involves a plant that was recognized and used by Chinese long ago. Also known as Mugwort, the plant is usually made into a velvet form and then burned. There are two moxibustion methods. One is to burn the Mugwort velvet directly on the skin; the other is to make the Mugwort velvet into a thick stick which is then burned and circled above the pressure points. Moxibustion therapy is said to help strengthen the immunity system, stimulate blood flow, unblock the body Channels and dissipate cold and dampness.

As Chinese people become more and more concerned about health, medical practices that are thousands of years old, like Moxibustion, provide people another way to relieve pressure, prevent disease and prolong life.

According to China’s written history, the special character, jiu, is one of the oldest scripts written on Chinese bronze artifacts. The Chinese bronze inscriptions date back about 3,000 years ago. However, moxibustion therapy appeared even earlier than the inscriptions. The beginnings of moxibustion therapy can be traced back to the antediluvian times, when our ancestors first learned how to use fire.

Script: Zhang Xiao & Huang Lan

Video: Zhang Xiao