The potential powers of moxibustion in verruca elimination
Verrucas (also known as plantar warts) are caused by viruses and can be painful. They can be spread to other people by contaminated objects or surfaces, or through close skin contact. One area often associated with their spread is the public swimming pool. As we enter the height of Summer and the allure of the lido or pool proves too hard to resist (assuming the British Summer holds!), in-house acupuncturist Andy Levy explains how moxibustion may help with their eradication.
For those unfamiliar with moxibustion, it is an essential part of Chinese medicine involving the use of moxa, a soft wool-like substance prepared from mugwort leaves (Artemisia vulgaris). The moxa is placed either directly on the skin or held just above it, over specific acupuncture points or meridians. It is then lit so that it burns slowly and releases a therapeutic heat. This permeates the skin in the area being treated, impacting the flow of “Qi” (energy) and blood.
1) How successful could moxibustion be in treating verrucas and warts?
Andy Levy, Acupuncturist: “I have managed to eradicate warts that I have had with moxibustion whenever they have arisen. I have also given treatment to one of my patients for warts and she has given herself ‘home’ treatment thereafter. The process would be the same for verrucas.”
2)How many sessions are typically required before a person sees a difference with their warts or verrucas
Andy: “When treating warts, I found that it took two sessions to start to make a difference and four sessions before I felt that the process had started to get to the root.”
3) How would one of your moxibustion treatments work and would it hurt?
Andy: “Moxa is extremely versatile and can be used in many ways for many purposes. For this purpose, rice grain moxa is used. Fine grade moxa is rolled between forefinger and thumb to create a threadlike strand of moxa. A ‘rice grain’ size portion is taken from the end of the thread and placed on the wart or verruca. This is then lit with an incense stick and left to burn down to the skin.
“Heat can be drained from the rice grain by placing forefinger and thumb together to ‘snuff’ out the ember. This is then repeated for between five to ten times until there is a glow emanating from the area – this is one session. Each time the rice grain is about to burn out, a sting or sharpness is felt at the point of connection to the skin/wart.
“This is not a pain-free treatment as the purpose is for the heat to scorch the area each time but in a controlled manner. The sting comes and goes quickly. After a session an immune response and sometimes a blister will form at the site and this remains for some time until a scab forms.
“Another session can be initiated at any point after the initial redness has gone. I often train patients to do this technique if they feel confident enough so that they can do it after the second or third session for themselves.”