This is a very important part of acupuncture and while not used as often as acupuncture itself has a dramatic affect when used properly.
Moxabsution or moxa for short is the use of a medicinal herb called Ai ye (mugwort). The herb is lit and allowed to smoulder. It creats a penetrating warmth that can be applied to heat the body either along meridians, muscles or individual acupuncture points.
Moxa can be used in a number of ways. Commonly it is attached to the end of an acupuncture needle and the warmth follows the needles, penetrating deep to the site of an injury. Traditionally moxa was a clump of raw herb which was burnt. This tends to be very smoky, however, and not suitable without strong extraction fans. In my clinic I use a modern variation which is charcoaled. It still provides a very comforting and therapeautic warmth without the smoke!
Moxa also comes in sticks which are again burnt, but rather than attached to the needle are held over or waved along an area of the body.
Moxa is great for musculoskeletal conditions and generally for pain, especially when you find a heat pack is benefitial. Moxa is also often used when treating for breech birth presentations.