top of page

Basic Direct Moxibustion Technique; Okyu

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese medical technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a type of herb, to facilitate healing. This traditional method has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of conditions and is an effective technique for restoring balance to the body. In this tutorial, we will introduce the basics okyu or rice grain moxibustion technique.

Becoming proficient with rice grain moxibustion is not difficult, but it does require consistent practice. If you follow the basic form and pay close attention to which fingers are used, you will be a moxa pro in no time!

This guide is meant to supplement formal training under a qualified teacher and is meant for educational purposes only.

Free Download of the moxibustion practice sheet used in the video

Download PDF • 129KB

Left Hand Technique

Moxibustion rolling technique holding the floss

1. A loose ball of moxa floss is held very gently in the palm of the hand using the middle, ring, and little finger

s to stabilize it.

2. The thumb is used to separate a small segment of moxa floss

Moxibustion rolling technique, rolling the floss

from the ball by pressing the nail against the index finger.

3. The thumb and index finger are used to roll the moxa floss into a desired size and density.

Moxibustion rolling technique, making the rice

4. The right hand removes the moxa cone and places it on the patient (see right hand technique).

5. Repeat step 3 until the segment is used up

6. Repeat step 2 to create new segments

Right Hand Technique

Moxibustion technique placing the floss

1. A moxa cone is placed on the point using the tip of the index finger and thumb.

2. Touch the tip of the middle finger to the skin next to the moxa


Moxibustion rolling technique, lighting the floss

3. Hold the incense parallel to the skin. Do not point the tip downward.

4. Using the index finger and the thumb, roll the incense down

until the tip lights the moxa cone.

Moxibustion rolling technique, removing the floss

5. Roll the incense back up after the cone is lit. If the incense is lifted straight up, rather than rolling it, the moxa may stick to the tip of the incense.

6. Place the edge of the ring finger and thumb next to the moxa cone to control the amount of oxygen it is exposed to. Bring the fingers closer together to slow the burn and decrease heat. Widen the gap to speed up the burn and increase heat.

7. Bring the ring finger and thumb together to remove the cone. It is not always necessary to burn the moxa cone to the skin. 80% burn is very common.

8. Repeat until the desired result is achieved.

Note: The Right Hand Technique is described slightly differently in the written form than in the video. It is recommended that new practitioners pick one method and stick with it until proficient. My preference is for the video.

Controlling The Heat in Rice Grain Moxibustion

The heat of a burning moxa cone is controlled by three factors, size, density, and oxygenation.

The size and number of cones used to treat the patient will vary along with the desired

therapeutic effect. In general, larger cones will burn hotter, and smaller cones will burn cooler.

Cones that are rolled tightly will burn hotter, and cones that are burned loosely will burn cooler. Cones exposed to more oxygen will burn hotter, and cones with restricted oxygen flow will burn cooler. A skilled practitioner can use these principles to control the heat and achieve the desired therapeutic effect.

Basic Direct Moxibustion Technique Dose Guide








Loosely rolled

Sesame to rice grain sized

Gentle Warming

​Until area is warm or light red



Tightly rolled

Very Thin, ½ rice grain or sesame sized


Slight sting

1-3 Cones


Area Effect

Medium density

Bean or Dime sized

Gentle warming

Until area is warm or light red


Area Effect

​Medium density

​Bean or Dime sized

​Gentle warming

Induce Localized Sweating



Tightly Rolled

Rice sized


Can be Painful

Until a blister is raised. May be repeated in follow up treatments.

Check out this related article: Shiunko Recipe for Skincare

About the Author

Mark Parzynski. DAOM, L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and educator with a diverse background in the field. He has studied in the United States, Japan, and China and uses a range of unique therapeutic approaches to create personalized treatment plans for his patients. Dr. Parzynski has over a decade of experience as a clinical supervisor and has taught graduate students and clinicians.

In addition to his work in acupuncture, Dr. Parzynski is also a skilled craftsman and silversmith. He began making teishin and gua sha tools as an acupuncture student. His passion as an artisan has continued, and for over a decade, he has been making tools for practitioners worldwide, including some of Japan's most renowned masters.

Dr. Parzynski is also a Chinese internal martial arts practitioner, which he incorporates into his acupuncture practice and daily life. He was a senior student of the late Sifu Gregory Fong and has taught Taiji Quan, Yi Quan, and Qi Gong since 2006.

For acupuncture tools and classes provided by Dr. Parzynski, visit

260 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page