Moxa for Menstruation

On Sunday July 19th, my colleague Kirsten Cowan from Angelica & Peony and I will be giving a workshop at my Alameda clinic from 4-6pm about Happy, Healthy Cycles. How to use moxa is just one of the things we’ll be talking about and demonstrating. It’s a great Do-It-Yourself treatment you can learn to make PMS and your period go more smoothly.

I’ve written before about how acupuncture can help ease period cramps. Moxibustion (or moxa) is the herb mugwort and we use it in Chinese Medicine to warm the body and stop pain (for more info follow this link). How can you combine acupuncture and moxa to relieve PMS, cramps and irritability? Here are four simple steps:

Apply an Angelica & Peony healing oil to your belly.

Kirsten has developed two great healing oils to help you go with the flow, and make your period a lot easier:

Swimming Dragon oil is great for PMS, irritability, headaches, bloating, stress and water retention.

Tranquil Palace oil is great for cramping and pain during your period. (It can also be used for constipation.)

Apply a few drops of oil to your abdomen and rub it in. Smell the oil. The aroma is part of the healing and I guarantee you it will help you to relax.

Get out your belly bowl or a moxa box.


They are inexpensive and can be used safely at home to warm your abdomen.

The belly bowl is a small circular device with hole(s) you can insert small moxa cones into. The moxa box holds moxa sticks at a safe distance from your skin and can cover a wider area than the belly bowl. Ask your acupuncturist if they carry these tools or where you can get them.

Where to put the moxa:

Place the moxa box or belly bowl over the abdomen focusing on the following points:

Conception Vessel 8 also called Ren 8 or “Spirit Gate” – located at the center of the navel. Use this point if you feel cold before or during your period. You can also use it if your belly feels cold to the touch. Moxa is already warming but this point is especially warming to the abdomen.

Conception Vessel 6, aka Ren 6 or “Sea of Qi” – this is located two fingers below the navel. Use this point if you feel tired before or during your period. It’s also good for moving Qi in the lower abdomen, so you can also use it if you have PMS cramps or irritability.

Conception Vessel 4, aka Ren 4 or “Gate of Origin” – this point is located four fingers below the navel. This point warms the uterus and is really good for pain during the period.

Light the moxa, then lie back and relax

Now it’s time for the oil and moxa to do the work! Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area if you’re using regular “smoky” moxa. Whether you’re using smoky or smokeless moxa, you still need to pay careful attention to the level of heat.

When it gets hot, remove the box or bowl and extinguish the moxa, either in a container filled with rice, or in water.

If you used the smoky moxa, you may have a brown spot of moxa soot on your abdomen. It’s ok to wipe that off. As for the oil, rub it into your belly, being careful not to stain your clothes.

Moxa is both effective medicine and a way to treat yourself before and during your period. Angelica & Peony oils used in conjunction with moxa are even better! We hope to see you at our Happy, Healthy Cycles workshop on July 19th! To register, go to our facebook event page or email me at

(Moxa photo by Denise Cicuto and Moxa for Menstruation graphic by Kirsten Cowan.)

Denise Cicuto