It’s hard to believe that only about 25 years ago computers became the thing and I and a few of my friends purchased our first new Eagle computer. At the time it seemed state-of-the-art but alas, Eagle computers seem to have flown the coop and hardly compare with what’s available today. Starting with that, I became a self-confessed sucker for the latest gadget, and I’ve hardly missed a step since. Only a small few have proven to be more trouble than they’re worth.

Despite my weakness for newfangled tech gadgetry, I’m also a traditional herbalist – making me Janus-faced, with half (actually more than half) rooted thousands of years in the past and the other half looking for the latest tools that can enhance my dedication to healing.

If you’ve read some of my latest blogs on acupuncture you will know of my enthusiasm for the TCM technique of moxibustion. The term "acupuncture" is a little misleading. Its Chinese name is ching lo therapy, meaning "meridian" therapy. Needles – the "puncture" part of acupuncture is only one way to stimulate an acupoint. Without lessening the value of the use of needles, I think there are many ways to stimulate an acupoint or acu-area. Needles are one; acupressure is another method, much milder in my experience; but moxibustion may well be superior to these.

Moxibustion works by stimulating a far-infrared heat that penetrates deeply below the cutaneous layers of the body to instantly stimulate the circulation of Qi (vital energy), Blood and to rally a powerful immune response directed to the body both specifically and generally.

One might think that moxa is only good for Cold conditions. Not so. Moxa replaces the icepack advocated by many who are not aware of the fact that pain is caused by stagnation or blockage. Ice only freezes the affected area and in the long run may do more harm than good by setting up a condition for chronic degeneration in the area while heat, especially in the form of moxa, relieves pain by stimulating circulation, thus treating the symptom and the direct cause of pain.

After becoming an aficionado of Japanese direct moxa and taking a weekend class with a famous Japanese expert this past year, I found that it is indeed the most effective healing tool both for the clinic as well as self-healing at home. However, it has a few drawbacks:

1. It requires technique

2. It takes a lot more time than simply inserting needles into selected points

3. There is a risk of accidentally burning or blistering the patient

4. Many people object to the smell of burning Artemesia vulgaris, the herb used for moxibustion

5. Because of the risk of lawsuits from moxa burns, most US insurance companies specifically will not grant clinical liability insurance if one uses direct (burning on the skin) moxa in their practice.

So those are the drawbacks to traditional moxibustion. These are especially unfortunate because as I said, in most cases moxa is superior to needles, and is indicated especially if one is dealing with a condition caused by hypometabolic, Cold Deficiency.

Fortunately, this last year I discovered an expensive new acupuncture gadget manufactured in France called Premio 10. It is an electro-moxa hand-held tool that performs the same functions as traditional burning moxibustion does, but is fast, efficient, and if used correctly, will obviate all of the five primary reasons one may not use moxa either at home or in the clinic.

Simply plug the device into the wall, press the button and the tip of the large pen-shaped tool produces the same intense, far-infrared heat to a specific area as moxa does.

I don’t know why what seems to be such a simple electronic device should come in at a price of around $1,200.00, but there is obviously an opportunity for someone to develop a cheaper version of the same.

In any case, I could not wait. I took the leap of faith and purchased it, thinking that if it doesn’t at least most of the time replace the need for traditional moxa treatment, I could send it back to the distributor in 30 days for a full refund.

Well it didn’t take long for Lesley and me to discover that this ‘puppy’ wasn’t going back. In fact I’m about to order a second one so we have one at the office and one at home.

These winter months with my aging back and joint pains aggravated by Cold and Dampness, I keep it plugged in by my bed and treat myself daily. Besides painful body stiffness, the ancients have taught that regular treatment of acupoint Stomach 36 is effective for increased energy and longevity. Further, stimulating acupoint Governor 14 just below the spinous process of the 7th cervical vertebrae is the most effective point for rallying the immune system for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases as well as stiff neck and shoulders. These are only a very small few of the many uses for moxibustion, now made safe and convenient with Premio 10.

You want to know where to get one? I’ve found a few sites where it is currently sold. You can buy it online at Amazon for $1472 or another site I discovered is IB3Health selling for $1169, which is the best price I’ve seen thus far.

My blog here is more in the form of a testimonial but at least take the time to go the following site to learn more about the device:

http://www.ib3health.com/products/AcupunctureNeedle/AcupunctureSupply/Premio10Moxa.asp

Other far infrared devices that I use or find interesting are the TDP lamps which I have in each room in my clinic and the hand-held device DPL Nuve. I have not tried this latter device but it may be especially effective for home use. 

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