Moxa herb and moxa stick, Chinese, 1981.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese therapy. It involves burning pellets of a herb called moxa, or a stick of moxa, above particular points and meridians on the surface of the body, cauterising the skin. Moxa is made from the plant Artemisia, which is also known as wormwood. As in acupuncture, the points on the body are related to the flow of 'chi' or 'qi', or life force, and the aim is to restore what is considered to be the correct, balanced flow of 'chi' or 'qi' to all parts of the body.