Hepatitis C HelpSelf-Care
The following description of moxibustion is an excerpt from The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness, Berkeley Pub Group, 1996.
Moxibustion uses burning herbs, placed on or near the body, to stimulate specific acupuncture points. This warms the Channels and expels Cold and Dampness; creates a smooth flow of Qi and Xue ; strengthens Yang Qi ; prevents disease and maintains health.
For hundreds of years, moxibustion has been partnered with acupuncture. According to the Chinese text, Introduction to Medicine, “When a disease fails to respond to medication and acupuncture, moxibustion is suggested.”
There are two basic forms of moxibustion: The cone and the stick. You can use both of them for self-care at home.
The moxa cone is made by compressing the herb mixture, known as moxa wool, into a cone about the size of the upper part of your thumb. The cone is then burned on the body. One of the most common applications is to the navel, where it is effective in relieving abdominal pain, diarrhea, and easing excessive sweating, cold limbs and a flagging pulse. When moxa cones are burned on other parts of the body, the effect is to ease disharmonies in Channels and Organ Systems associated with those points.
The following directions are for using the moxa cone. Never place the moxa directly on your skin!
- Make three cones.
- Place each one firmly on a slice of dry aconite about an eighth of an inch thick and set within arm’s reach. Aconite is a special herb your practitioner can give you. It’s toxic if ingested, but perfectly safe when used with the moxa cone. You may also use a slice of fresh ginger about 1/8th of an inch thick that you have pierced with four or five small holes.
- Lie Down.
- Place a piece of clean cotton somewhere on your torso so you can retrieve it quickly if need be.
- Put two tablespoons of salt in your navel and tamp down until smooth and flat. (If you have an “outie”, the Chinese texts suggest taking a long, wet noodle and forming a circle around the navel to contain the salt.)
- Pick up the cone and attached piece of aconite.
- Light the cone — from the top if you want it to burn cooler and more slowly; from the bottom (don’t light the aconite) if you want it to burn hotter and more rapidly.
- Place the aconite/moxa mound on top of the salt.
- If, as it burns, it becomes too hot, gently lift the moxa and aconite, slip the piece of cotton cloth over the salt and set the aconite and moxa back in place.
(NOTE: The ginger tends to spread the heat more than the aconite because it is damp and it doesn’t’t offer as much insulation, so be especially careful not to burn your skin.)
- Let the moxa burn down. If it still feels too hot, remove the aconite and cotton and let the salt cool. Repeat three times. When you’re done, save the aconite; brush off the salt.
- To place moxa cones on other points, skip the salt and use a piece of cotton topped with a slice of ginger or aconite. Never place the moxa directly on your skin!
Moxa sticks, the size of a baby cigar, are available pre-rolled. When lit, they are used like wands, by circling their burning end over various acu-points. This method is particularly effective for treating painful joints and chronic problems such as dysmenorrhea, hernias, and abdominal pain.
- Mark the acu-points you want to heat with a small dot.
- Light the wand and let it burn until it begins to smoke.
For chronic hepatitis, you may use the following points at home as well as in the clinic with a practitioner. Please have a practitioner show you the location of these points so you can do it properly. I use these in clinic whenever there are increased AST and ALT levels.
Chronic hepatitis special points:
- –.75 from Du Channel T10/T11/T12
- UB 18/19/20
Additional points for various conditions include:
- For Dampness and treating digestive problems associated with Cold, use Ren 12 — halfway between the navel and the tip of the sternum is effective in dispelling cold and Dampness
- For weak energy and lack of appetite, use St36, Sp6
- With nausea, moxa Ren 12, Ren 14, and Sp6
You may use the following points to perform self-acupressure:
- For nausea, press P6 and Ren 12
- For weak energy, massage St36, Sp6, and Sp4 For loose stools and abdominal cramping, massage St37, St25
- Abdominal massage is helpful to harmonize the Large and Small Intestine, Liver, Spleen, Stomach, and Gallbladder. To increase the massage’s effectiveness, warm the abdomen first with a hot pack or ginger compress. You may also massage using a warming oil infused with cinnamon (see references listed below for complete self-massage instructions).
Qi Gong exercise to strengthen Liver. See Kenneth Cohen’s books and articles. For simple beginning Qi Gong exercise by Larry Wong, Quan Yin Healing Arts Center’s Qi Gong teacher, see The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness.
For one to two weeks before going to visit a Chinese medicine practitioner or for your own benefit in general, keep a daily journal and record the following.
- Everything you eat and drink and when
- Any bodily symptoms and the time of day they appear
- Your physical activities and how long you do them
- Sleep patterns
- Digestion and patterns of elimination and urination
- Your emotions and when they arise
- Intake of drugs, prescription or recreational, alcohol, nicotine products
- Mental clarity or lack of clarity
- Eat cooked foods—it helps the digestive system to digest more easily. Depending on your condition, you may want to eat some raw foods occasionally or daily. This would depend on your general Chinese differential diagnosis. Do not eat foods directly out of the refrigerator.
- Drink warm or hot drinks—drinking cold fluids puts out the digestive fires which are important to assimilation of nutrients. Do not drink cold drinks directly out of the refrigerator.
- With Heat syndromes, avoid hot or warm foods such as ginger, garlic, turkey, chicken, mutton, shrimp, and heavy oils. Eat an increased amount of raw vegetables, juices and fruits (no more than 33%)
- With excess Dampness, fried foods and dairy products should be completely avoided. Limit tofu and when eaten should always be cooked, preferably with ginger and garlic. Eat carrots, barley, rice, corn, aduki beans, mustard greens, chicken, potatoes, alfalfa, and rye.
- Avoid alcohol
- Limit intake of coffee, chocolate and other highly caffeinated foods
- Drink green tea—it has liver protective and anti-cancer effects. However, with anxiety and depression, this should be limited if you are caffeine-sensitive (the above are not complete lists—see references below for complete lists of foods for various conditions and Chinese diagnoses—also, a practitioner can give you dietary advice)
Doc Misha’s special guide on treatments that work, what common mistakes to avoid and how to get the best from Eastern and Western medicine:
As recommended for a general immune health program, modified for chronic viral hepatitis.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, refrigerated powdered type (use as directed)
- Multivitamin, multimineral supplement. Powder capsule form is best for digestion. Sometimes B complex vitamins can make some people with hepatitis nauseated. Make sure it supplies selenium and chromium
- Essential fatty acids. One tablespoon per day of organic flax, raw sesame, or evening primrose oil to promote prostaglandins. Helps decrease muscle aching and fibromyalgia symptoms. Should be refrigerated type to avoid rancidity
- Low dose Carotenoids at 5000 to 10,000 units per day (Do not take Vitamin A)
- Vitamin E — 400 to 1200 I.U. per day — can help cell-mediated immune function, skin problems, memory loss
- Vitamin C — if you can tolerate it, you can take up to six grams per day. Take to bowel tolerance — meaning until too much gas or loose stools, then back off until comfortable
- Additional supplements as recommended by a nutritionist or qualified practitioner