Modified and translated by CFJA
During the Nara period and the Heian period, moxibustion therapy was practiced mainly for soyo 瘡瘍 which refers to illnesses such as boils. The main acupuncture therapy was an incision method that uses tools such as shoto 小刀 (small knife)/shoto shin 小刀針 (small knife needle), hito 靡刀 (fluttering knife)/ hito 鈹刀 (metal skin knife), hishin 鈹針 (metal skin needle), sanryo shin 三稜針 (three ridge needle), jiho 磁鋒 (magnetic lance), chikuhi shin 竹批針 (bamboo needle), yoshito 蘆刀 (sickle knife), etc. Any tools listed above were used as a means to cut and remove pyemia or blood stasis. The main moxibustion therapy was Kaku butsu kyu 隔物灸 which places objects like garlic, dried aconite root, earthworm, or salt on the target, putting moxa on top of it and light the fire. It is said that the purpose of this method is to quicken the regeneration of the cells.
In the Kamakura period, moxibustion therapy was used to also treat other illnesses such as an illness that could not be cured by herbal therapy. In China, a good doctor is considered someone who practices all of the medical techniques: herbal, moxibustion and acupuncture therapy. Considering what has been described above, as well as the fact that Tanba Yasuyori quoted about Chinese medicine in his book “Ishinpo 医心方” and eventually dedicated the book to the imperial court, it is thought that acumoxa therapy gradually expanded the types of illness it can treat as it slowly became more popular in Japan.
In the Muromachi period, moxibustion therapy, acupuncture therapy, herbal therapy, anma massage therapy, oketsu cupping and bloodletting therapy, hot spring therapy and exercise therapy including self-care were all combined upon performing a medical practice. This is very close to the current medical practices. However, during the Kamakura period and the Muromachi period, from the perspective of the medical system and its demand, the medical officer’s system has corrupted and Doctors of acupuncture 針博士 and acupuncturists 針師 lost their names. During the Sengoku period (near the end of the Muromachi period), Isai Misono appeared and restored acupuncture therapy. In what follows, Dosan Manase, in “Shinkyu syuyo 鍼灸集要” and “Shinan shinkyu syu 指南鍼灸集” claimed that acupuncture and moxibustion therapies are inseparable. It is believed that this emphasized the importance of moxibustion therapy.
During the Azuchi-momoyama period, due to the war, a surgical medical practice that treated the sword cut was developed. They were called Kinsoi 金創医. On the other hand, not only in the surgical aspects but even in the internal aspects, they started using moxibustion therapy and this can be confirmed in the literature. Entering the Edo period, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa attempted to restore acupuncture and led a Sugiyama-style acupuncture department 杉山流鍼科 to be established. Similarly, the effect of moxibustion therapy was valued as much as the acupuncture therapy and the research progressed further. At that time, people understood that moxibustion therapy is superior to acupuncture therapy. Since then, moxibustion therapy has remarkably developed in Japan.
In Japan, there are different types of moxa, as well as different types of methods used in moxibustion therapy. This method can be applied to a wide variety of illnesses, and its power to cure illness is much higher than acupuncture therapy. Based on Dr. Seino’s clinical experience, the ratio of acupuncture to moxibustion is 3:7 respectively, in terms of its power to treat illness.