Sunday, February 08, 2009

I'm on Fire

Literally.


I first learned about moxibustion (okyuu in Japanese) back in high school when I was studying kung fu. At the time I also took some Chinese healing classes, acupuncture, the 12 pulses, herbs and of course the traditional Chinese/Japanese practice of placing small pinches of mugwort on certain acupuncture points and lighting them on fire to warm -- hence stimulate -- the circulation of blood and qi.


Direct moxa is when the mugwort is set directly onto the acupuncture point. Indirect moxa being when something is placed between the moxa and skin -- a slice of ginger, garlic, some salt or even mud. Sometimes even acupuncture needles are tipped with burning bits of the herb.


Back in high school and college it was such a big deal. But here in Japan it is just something people do, like gargling, putting a band aide on a cut, or sticking little magnets all over their bodies (oh, okay, that's an idea for another post). But you get the idea.

We use pedestal moxa. This seems to be the most prevalent used-at-home variety. Here are some different, um, flavors.





There's garlic, ginger, even miso. I'm not exactly sure what the different fragrances do, what's good for what. We just buy 'regular'.

In the directions they have a chart that shows you all the points you can use moxabustion and then a list of what points are good for what ailments. There are a series of points to burn for revitalizing yourself, increasing blood flow, relieving stiff shoulders, and helping your stomach and intestines work better.


A bazillion of them come in a box and they look like this:


They all have little stickers on their bottoms, so they don't slide off and, well, set the dog on fire or something. I imagine that might have been a problem back in the day.

So all you have to do is research your pain, locate the points, sticks these puppies all over yourself and have someone you really trust light them of fire. You keep that trusted person nearby because before long they get crazy-hot and you'll need him or her to bat them off into an ashtray or something.
Voila'! You're all better.

Here's the child on fire.




Up close with a cat hair trapped underneath.


Here's the hole I burned in the carpet when I tried to knock one of them off and only the top 'on fire' part fell, missed the plate all together, bounced off J's crotch, and landed on the floor.




"What smells good?"
And dog rolling in stinky smell. Happy, happy, happy. Glad I could help.



There is only one problem I can see with okyuu though. No, it's not the scarred skin or holes burnt in carpets. It's the smell. Just now I left the room and came back and said, "Which one of you was smoking the ganja, mahn?"
I'm serious. It smells exactly...and I mean exactly like marijuana.

24 comments:

Girl Japan said...

For a second there I thought I was going to read about "fire starter) remember that movie?

hehe Pass the Ganja! "wink" haha

Kappa no He said...

You win!! Win! Win! You are the faster commenter ever. I wuv you. Wow...that movie brings back memories. And the title was a lie, I burned the child...not me. Ha!

Pat said...

So is it the mugwort or the marijuana that makes one feel better? 8D

Girl Japan said...

haha Kappa, but I love your posts and you don't post so often, so when it comes up in my RSS feeder as new mail I read them via there and can't wait to comment.

haha You burned the child... I am not coming to visit you, well I will if you promise to use pressure points on my feet, deal okay? haha

Wish hubby would hurry back with DINNER!

Hilary said...

Why not just skip this part and go directly to the marijuana? Judging by Girl Japan's last line, I think she probably has. ;)

Very interesting, Terrie. Did it help with whatever his ailment was.. despite the burn?

Mary Witzl said...

I could never get on with this, though I had friends who swore by it. What I like to do is eat the medicinal stuff like garlic and ginger, and use my fingers on the pressure points. Part of it is just laziness; part of it is pure cowardice. No way I'm letting those burning things near my skin!

Leenie said...

Soo.....does it work? Does it physically cure ailements or is this just a head thing? If that is the case, Maui Wowi probably is the main part of the concoction. Either way looks like it might be worth a try;D.

Kappa no He said...

You know what, Pat, I never questioned it. I mean, they always SAID it was mugwort. Hmmm....

Girl Japan, I know I want to post more. I must be the worst time manager in the world. Where does time go? Mmm, what's good for tonight?

Hilary, he said his shoulders were all stiff. Albeit, he's only thirteen. And you know...I forgot to ask. *sigh*

Mary, yeah, I wouldn't have burnt child or carpet if my husband had helped. He kept saying how 'easy' it was. I totally understand what you mean.

Leenie, they say no scientific proof. But like Mary said, some people really do swear my it. I think my child just like the idea of it/the danger of it. Reminds me of those old Kung Fu movies.

And how nostaligic, I haven't heard the word Maui Wowi used in years!

Jim Melvin said...

I haven't had marijuana in a long time, but I can't say that I don't still miss it.

Jim Melvin said...

And I do love the smell ...

Kappa no He said...

Jim, actually it's like marijuana without that sweet tang in it. I like the smell, too.

And hey, is that a picture of you? Awesome! The beard is new, right?

Girl Japan said...

Oh man.. now I have a craving again.. darn it!

hehe Actually it is a sugar rush.. Have a fab week T!

Ello said...

If it smells like it, then it must be it. Next time try smoking it!

he he. And seriously, this I could not get into. I'd set the house on fire.

Kappa no He said...

Girl Japan, munchies!

Ello, I think I'm beginning to understand why there have been sooo many fires in Japan in times past.

Frank Baron said...

I'm just glad it bounced OFF J's crotch.

I love happy endings.

Kappa no He said...

Boy, you should have seen his face. Abject horror.

Jim Melvin said...

Yeah, new beard! Relatively new. First one I've ever had in my life. I'm no Grizzly Adams, but I guess it's okay!

Kappa no He said...

Whatever you do, don't aim for Grizzly Adams. It looks dashing! And I mean that.

Jim Melvin said...

Well, thanks! The feeling's mutual ...

Woman in a Window said...

Ya, I want to know if it works, too. And even though it's been asked, I want like a scientific study. Ya, I know, I ask for alot.

pamela said...

Maybe that's why I love the stuff?!
You picked a topic close to my heart girl! (moxa not marijuanna) ;)

Katharine said...

I had moxa on a broken shoulder. I said to the healer "you're going to burn me?!" And burn me he did. Well, it is California, and they do weird stuff here. And my shoulder got better.

Kappa no He said...

Woman in the Window, there have got to be some scientific studies out there somewhere. I'm going to look around. Now that you mention it I'm curious myself.

Pamela, I forgot your acupuncturist does moxa. I wonder if she knows about any studies?

Katherine, glad to hear your shoulder got better. Was the doctor American? Chinese? Kinda curiuos.

Katharine said...

The healer was American, but I have a best friend here in the US who is Japanese and she uses moxa regularly in her practice.