Treating Winter Disorders in Summer with Fu Moxa
Fu Moxa is one of the several treatments named Dong Bing Xia Zhi, which means 'treating winter diseases in the summer time'. The treatment covers all types of Yang deficiency and excessive Cold syndromes, as well as disorders caused by Lung and Kidney deficiency e.g. asthma. "Fu", in Chinese, is normally labeled as "Triple Fu" or "Fu Tian". This means the hottest period of the year, which is not fixed in either the Western or lunar calendar. It has 3 periods, each lasting for exactly 10 days.
The early Fu begins from the 3rd "Geng" day after "Xiazhi" (around 22 June every year); the mid Fu follows the 4th Geng day (about 10 days later). The last Fu is calculated from the 1st Geng day after "Liqiu" (early August). Therefore, the whole period of Triple Fu refers to the time ranging between the 3rd Geng day after "Xiazhi" and the 2nd Geng day after Liqiu.
1) Fuzi cookie - available from most Chinese herb retailers. Mix the Fuzi powder with flour in a ratio 1:3 with fresh water, and form into cookies about 5cm across and 0.5cm thick, allow to dry naturally (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Fuzi cookie.
2) Moxa cone. Use a herbal moxa stick (available from most TCM retailers), and cut two sections about 5cm long for each acupoint selected.
Time of day to administer treatment
11am-1pm on the first day only of each Fu period.
Place one Fuzi cookie on each acupoint and place one moxa cone on each cookie at a time. Ignite the moxa cone. After the moxa has burnt thoroughly, replace with a second cone and ignite once more. Remove the cookies about 10 minutes after the second cone has burnt thoroughly - the cookies need to have cooled down sufficiently.
Triple Fu is the hottest period of the year and 11am to 1pm is the time of Yang energy dominating. Therefore, this particular time is the best opportunity to strengthen the Yang Qi. The properties of Fuzi are Pungent and Sweet in flavour, Hot in nature, and has the actions of recuperating the depleted Yang for resuscitation, supplementing Fire, strengthening Yang and expelling Cold to relieve pain. It is regarded as the essential herb for the treatment of Yang exhaustion syndrome, all Yang deficiency type syndromes and all pain syndromes of a Cold nature.
The main ingredients of the herbal moxa are: Ai ye, Niu wei du huo, Qiang huo, Chuan wu, Cao wu, Nan ping xi xin, Shi chang pu, E bu shi cao, Bo he, Zhu ya zao, Zhang nao, Gansong, Jiang xiang. Most of the ingredients are fragrant and therefore have a strong ability to penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the deep tissues. The moxa also has the properties of warming up the meridians, resolving Cold, dispersing Wind, removing Dampness, dredging the collaterals and stopping pain.
The points selected are specific to invigorating the Yang Qi of the whole body - Dazhui (DU 14), Mingmen (DU 4) and Zhiyang (DU 9). Dazhui (DU 14) is the converging point of all Yang meridians and "governs Yang"; while Mingmen (DU 4), is considered to be the "Gate of Life" and has similar actions to Dazhui e.g. warming the Yang Qi and tonifying the Kidney. Zhiyang (DU 9) has very similar actions to Dazhui and Mingmen.
Chief complaint: Aversion to cold for 8 years, worse in the past 12 months.
The patient became susceptive to cold weather when she was pregnant 8 years ago. It was so severe that she could not wear shorts even during summer in temperatures of over 35C. It was worse in wintertime. The patient stated; "It feels like the cold is invading into my bones through my clothes!" She sometimes felt dizzy, tired, chest oppression, shortness of breath and had a poor appetite, normal urination and defecation and generally a normal sleep. The tongue body was normal, white with a thin coating. The pulse was deep and thin with the Chi pulse deeper than others.
The outcome of Fu moxa treatment for this patient was very good. She is now able to wear anything she likes and the associated symptoms are mostly relieved. Based on the actions and properties of the acupoints and herbs, the treatment of Moxa on Fuzi cookies during the time of Triple Fu is one of the most effective treatments for Yang deficiency and internal cold syndromes.
Xiaoji Jenny Li graduated from Chengdu University in 1994 with a Bachelors Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a registered acupuncturist practicing in Auckland, New Zealand. For more information on Fu moxa, please contact Jenny at: email@example.com
First published in NZRA Journal of TCM, Spring 2007.