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Microbursts and Sound Moxa

Every time an article is written about
Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from
acupuncture or someone shows it on television, there is always a picture of smoke coming off the needles. The smoke comes from burning an herb called moxa on the handle of the needle. Moxa is a wonderful tool. It warms, builds Qi, and ably resolves pains of all sorts. Moxa is Yang and strongly increases function and/or moves substance.

Moxa itself has several drawbacks. First, it uses fire and therefore can cause burns. Second, it stinks to high heaven. Third, it costs money. Fourth, the herb comes from a plant and therefore consumes limited resources. Its harvesting may also utilize pesticides and harm local ecosystems.

Moxa smoke rises in 360 degrees at any compass angle but almost always at V.+85°. In analyzing its effect, I have found that it powerfully increases Fire Qi in Heaven, Man, and Earth planes in a circle around V.+85° (the vertical angle for tiny vessels, such as capillaries). It has no major impact on any other tissues except the skin, the blood vessels, or the flesh directly beneath the moxa – or the depth of tissue to which a needle has been inserted (on which the moxa has been placed). When not using a needle, the depth of tissue it penetrates is determined by how long the area is treated and the type or technique employed by the practitioner.

Introduction To The Microburst Technique

In Fu Xi Wen, you can replicate the moxa tool without using moxa itself. You can take advantage of its benefits without the drawbacks. In order to create the moxa effect, I use a technique that I call a “microburst”. I call it this because this name is hip and cool. “Warming technique” is nice, but lacks oompa pa.

Microbursts create extremely small and localized areas of temporary Yang excess (see the chapter on “Unbalanced Madness”). That is essentially what moxa does. To create a Fire microburst, use Water, Wood, and Fire Qi in the Heaven location. Use Wood and Fire in the Man level. And use Fire alone in the Earth plane. The goal is to create a short-term imbalance and so we do not want to use Water, Wood, and Fire together in every plane. This is too heavy-handed and can cause a long term Yin deficiency where we only want a short term one.

A microburst is the energetic equivalent of an electrical capacitor. Capacitors hold a charge for a certain amount of time, but not forever. Similarly, a microburst can provide a steady stream of energy over the course of twenty-four hours or so. Any longer and you've created a dreaded Yin deficiency.

To replicate moxa, use the above energetics in a circle around V.+85°.

You may consider using microbursts at areas of pain where the cause of the pain is clearly Water excess, or in cases where Water excess has decreased the function of a tissue or organ. You can also focus microbursts in specific tissues by using the tissues-within-tissues technique. So, to create a Fire microburst at V.+85° in the flesh where the heat will linger longer than in the skin or capillaries, point one teishin at the flesh tissue-angle and treat with the sound tool above it.

Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from

Do not use microbursts over large areas of the body. As I said, microbursts weaken the Yin and can easily cause a Yin deficiency in the Earth level if they are conducted over large surface areas. Also, never use microbursts between the kidneys of children. In traditional thought, using moxa in this location of young men can overheat the Yang, turn Yang into Yin, and cause sterility.

You may be wondering, is it possible to create microbursts of other Elements besides Fire. Yes, you can create microbursts of any Element. Except for burns, as of this writing, I have no idea when this might be most appropriate. So I leave this question for future practitioners to decide.

Treating Burns

In the case of burns, use microbursts of Water Qi in the immediate aftermath of a burn at the location of the burn at V.+85° as soon as possible after the burn (in the case of an emergency, call your emergency response immediately and only use Fu Xi Wen when it is safe). Cold microbursts in the skin, capillaries, and flesh of a burn at V.+85° will immediately clear the excess heat in the capillaries of those tissue that can cause burn symptoms – even avoiding or diminishing third-degree sores. However, to avoid sores, this treatment must be done extremely quickly after the burn before it starts to change the Jing. Otherwise, it can be used any time the sensation of heat lingers in the area of the burn.

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