Booby Report and Moxibustion

Yesterday, I had another checkup with my plastic surgeon (how many times can I reiterate how outlandish it feels to refer to “my” plastic surgeon?).  Well, reality persists and I DO have a plastic surgeon.  Another SL (silver lining) is that  he happens to be a really great, smart, conservative and patient physician (who does every stitch on his patients, by the way!).

The great news (SL) is that 14 days post surgery and 7 days post drain removal, I am healing very, very well.  He advises one more week of very limited mobility to ensure that the stitches stay in place which will help to avoid leakage and infection.  Have I mentioned that I can be a very, very good patient who follows instructions diligently? Ok, ok..the patience part is still an issue with which I contend.

The persistent issue, however, is P A I N.  I haven’t laid an F-bomb in a while and feel compelled to lay three (so forgive me in advance):




Ok…out of my system.  Thanks for your patience.

Now, when these assiduous challenges continue to arise, as you all know by now, I look far and wide for SL’s (silver linings).

Well, one gigantic SL presented itself today via my pilates instructor/refloxology therapist extraordinaire. In addition to doing refloxology, she wanted to try something called Moxibustion. As I told you the other day, I trust her implicitly, but still…WTF?  Then, I reminded myself that I am up for trying just about anything to get me (& my family) through this FBC.  So, bring it on!





My therapist explained that moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. The term is derived from the Japanese “mogusa” meaning herb (mugwort) and the Latin “bustion” meaning burning.

The purpose of Moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.  So far, I like everything about it!

Moxibustion is a form of fire heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body in order to promote the body’s ability to heal itself, including pain management.  This sounds so much better than the western pharmacological pain interventions that aren’t working very well with me.

“The radiant heat produced by moxibustion,” she said, “penetrates deeply into the body to restore the balance and flow of vital energy or life force called qi or ch’i.” Moxibustion is most effective when combined with acupuncture, which I plan on beginning next week.

Moxibustion is promoted for improving general health and treating cancer and chronic conditions such as arthritis, digestive disorders, and ulcers. How wonderful that this is not just limited to FBC.

There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned. Fortunately, my therapist did not propose this type of Moxibustion as an option for me. Phew.  Instead, she did Indirect Moxibustion.

Indirect Moxibustion is much more common because there is a much lower risk of pain or burning. SL. We certainly don’t need to add any more pain and certainly not burns to my current list of ailments.

In indirect moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick (roughly the shape and size of a cigar) and holds it an inch or two away from the skin to bring mild warmth to the area without burning, until the skin becomes slightly red. The intensity of the heat is adjusted according to the patient’s condition and comfort. Because I have been unusually cold lately (no, I am not yet the Southern California girl complaining of being cold when it is 70 degrees!), I was able to tolerate a fair amount of heat.

Indirect moxa is considered to induce a gradual localized vasodilatation response. In addition to increasing the local blood flow, skillful indirect moxibustion is extremely comforting and can create a deep relaxation response.  ….beginning to doze as I write this…

So, despite this persistent, F-bomb pain, I have found a new (to me) alternative treatment that will hopefully help alleviate the current trials and tribulations. I am so incredibly grateful for this SL.

I’ll end with this wonderful quote written by Chin Li-Meng, Chinese Physician, 1447  (Note that there were not too many female physicians…yet.)

The ancients said that a man who understands drugs but does not know acupuncture, or one who knows acupuncture but does not know moxa, can never make a real physician.

Leave a comment


  1. Susan Dad says

    I had moxibustion treatment three weeks ago, my therapist left the room & I endured a significant burn to my skin which has developed into an ulcer just above my pubic area that is painful & not healing. It started as a blister.

    • silverpen says

      Ohhhh nooooo, Susan! The therapist should NEVER have left the room. I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’m so sad to hear that this happened to you. Please let your oncologist know ASAP. Sending my very best wishes to you!

  2. amy koch says

    wishing you a happy t-day. Just made your brussel sprout recipe. You are handling this so well…proud of you!

    I have had moxibustion for my back for years.

    Off to peter's parents.



  3. Sue Firestone says

    I'm so glad to hear you are finding ways to work on managing the pain although I know it must seem like such an uphill battle. Please keep the updates on the moxibustion coming, sounds like a very interesting solution. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with SLs, loving family/friends and pain management!

  4. Nan Jacobs says

    Yes I have had acupuncture along with the burning moxa stick in a container placed on my tummy. I loved it and I thought it smelled like baking cookies! Great going trying these things..after all, we're not in Kansas anymore (okay Chicago)'s California and there are many cool treatments available. Have a blessed Thanksgiving…hugs N

  5. adrienne says

    I have a jolly story on the moxibustion topic ! Then again , I have a few jolly stories to share with you ! SLs and Blessings always , Adrienne

  6. beth wexner says

    Dear H and J,

    You both are handling this challenge with extrordinary grace and compassion and resolve. I know that the extra TLC you are engaging with Finley will serve in ways that are not measurable!

    As we approcach this Thanksgiving I am SO reminded that in life ….. it 'takes a village' and to F-bomb to all things that get in our way and treasure the many SL's that present.

    Much love,

    Beth and Richard