By Denise Cicuto Acupuncture is about more than just needles. In fact, the Chinese word that typically gets translated as acupuncture, zhenjiǔ, actually means “acupuncture and moxibustion.” So, what the heck is moxibustion? Acupuncture goers may know moxibustion, or moxa, as the smoky-smelling stuff that sometimes appears during a treatment. More specifically, moxa is an herb—known as mugwort or Artemisia vulgaris—that gets burned on or near an acupuncture point. Burned?! Stay with me. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Moxa is a soothing addition to any acupuncture treatment, and it’s especially useful for patients who are not fans of needles. At my acupuncture practice in San Francisco, I use moxa frequently with great success. I also get a lot of questions about this relatively unknown healing technique. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about moxa.