The Chinese word “Acupuncture” actually covers two distinct treatment methods. One of them refers to insertion of needles on human skin. Another one, in contrast, means the use of burning moxa sticks or cones on human skin. Both intend to stimulate the body.
Insertion of needles (Traditional Acupuncture)
Inserting the needles is causing a low level of pain which stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals such as opioids and serotonin in the muscles, spinal cord and the brain.
These chemicals will either serve as pain control, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The burning of Moxa serves a very similar purpose like the insertion of needles. However in this case the body stimulation happens through the heat generated by the moxibustion.
The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin, but should not experience any pain, blistering or scarring unless the moxa is left in place for too long.