(TJM) Traditional Japanese Medicine Theory

Japanese Moxibustion Techniques - Okyu "Thread Moxa" - TJM Theory

Okyu or "Thread Moxa" is a moxibustion technique used often in Japanese Acupuncture treatments. The information presented below discusses basic theory behind the technique, guidelines for applying the technique and examples of clinical use. Some of the techniques listed here require significant amounts of training to be performed correctly and should only be performed by practitioners who have been trained properly.

  • Research on the Benefits of Moxibustion, by Tohya Kazou, Ph.D (from the November 2002 issue of NAJOM):
  • Brings an inflammatory response to the area
  • Chemicals from moxa left over after burning have a positive effect on the immune cells of the body
  • Increases circulation of lymphocytes in the body and helps produce interferons in the body
  • Marked increase of the circulation of white blood cells in the body
  • Okyu Techniques:
  • Apply burn cream, ointment, or other medium
  • Roll the moxa to a consistient size and pull it off into a football shape (burns cooler at the bottom) - variations can cause a 10 centigrade difference in heat.
  • Place moxa upright on the skin and light with incense.
  • Tonification: leave the ash
  • Dispersion: remove ash and burn down to skin each time
  • Precautions and Contraindications:
  • Explain the procedure
  • Communicate about heat with patient
  • Caution with patients with neuropathy, skin adhesions in the area, etc.
  • No moxa on points where needling is contraindicated - lower cv, lower lumbar, sp 6 in pregnancy
  • Can do moxa on inflammed areas, but you must have good technique
  • Caution with direct moxa over large blood vessels or on elderly people with large vessels
  • Specific Techniques:
  • Dr. Ken Sawada's Whole Body Treatment (Tai Chi Tx, Tai Kyoku Rhoho):
  • 7 direct moxa at each of the following points, treated bilaterally
  • CV 12, CV 6, LI 11, TH 4, ST 36, KD 6
  • GV 20, GV 12, UB 17, UB 18, UB 20, UB 23, UB 32, UB 52
  • Promotion of a healthy pregnancy:
  • Starting at month 5, Okyu SP 6 bilaterally 5 times (every day or as often as possible)
  • Increase by 2 okyu per month (9th month, 13 bilaterally)
  • Also works with a tiger warmer
  • Treatment of food poisoning:
  • Useful for phlegm anywhere in the body as well as flu symptoms
  • Okyu the extra point "Urianaitei" (on the underside of the foot where center of the pad meets the second toe (if folder over, like HT 8 location)
  • Using the point that is the least sensitive of the two, burn okyu until the patient feels the heat 3-5 times (note: this may take 10-100 or so okyu)
  • LI 11 may be used instead as a comparable immune point
  • Bunshi Shiroda's Total Body Treatment (Chiryo Kisogaku):
  • Okyu the following points as specified:
  • CV 12 - 100x
  • GV 12 or GV 14, LI 11, ST 36 - 3x
  • Miscellaneous Treatments from Bunshi Shiroda:
  • For the following conditions treat only the reactive points unless symptoms persist, then treat all
  • Hemorrhoid Pain - LU 6, UB 33, GV 2
  • Anal Prolapse - UB 32, UB 33, GV 20
  • Uterine Bleeding - GB 34, UB 27
  • Catching Cold - UB 12, GV 12 (21x)
  • Difficult Labor - UB 67, tip of little toe
  • Morning Sickness - TH 4, CV 12, CV 14
  • Oedema - KD 3, KD 1, ST 44, GV 20
  • Skin Tags:
  • Tie the base of the skin tag with a string, dental floss, etc.
  • Perform 50-100 okyu on the tag
  • Leaave the string on and the tag will fall off within a couple days

Sources and More Information

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were used within this section:

  • Iuliano, Diane: New England School of Acupuncture, Extraordinary Vessel Techniques Lecture Notes
  • Kuwahara, Koei: New England School of Acupuncture, Advanced Japanese Techniques Lecture Notes

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Further Exploration - Theory and Treatment

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