The effect of moxibustion is attained through thermal stimulation and in particular the effect of far infrared ray is high. Accordingly, it is effective in all diseases with the nature of chill and cold. In addition, while acupuncture controls the vigor of the body, moxibustion invigorates the body, so it is effective in debilitative diseases and chronic diseases. Furthermore, it produces effects such as facilitating the functions of cell systems, strengthening immunological functions, increasing hemoglobin in red blood cells, stopping bleeding, alleviating pains and removing pathological tissues, and is effective in hypertension, atherosclerosis, anemia, gastric ulcer, urticaria, etc.
The origin of moxibustion is not certain, but it is conjectured that in ancient times people might experience the healing or easing of diseases as they were exposed to fire and find the effect of moxibustion. Historical records on moxibustion are found in Hwungjenaegyeong. There are also old medical books recording detailed clinical experiences in moxibustion as an essential therapy prescribed together with acupuncture.
Moxibustion treats diseases through thermal stimulation by burning herb at a specific spot on the skin or exposing the spot to heat from the burning. The most commonly used herb is mugwort. Besides, any type of thermal stimulation may fall into the category of moxibustion though it does not involve burning.