Motherwarming is a therapeutic technique for nourishing women who have recently given birth. Using an ignited stick of the compressed herb mugwort (Artemisia) along acupuncture points on the lower abdomen, the belly is gently warmed for a period of 5 to 15 minutes.
Postpartum Nourishing Care
Traditional knowledge from China reports that Motherwarming is useful in:
- helping the organs of the abdomen recover after pregnancy
- increasing breast milk supply
- healing scars from cesarean sections
- decreasing abdominal pain after birth
- providing the mother with increased feelings of well-being, stamina and strength.
Motherwarming is useful for women who have given birth both vaginally or via cesarean section, but should not be done by women who are experiencing any type of infection or who are already feeling overheated.
When to Use Motherwarming
Motherwarming can be started as early as 4-5 days after giving birth and can be continued regularly as desired during the first month postpartum. Even after the early postpartum period is over, motherwarming can be useful in easing the pain of menstrual cramps.
What You Need for Motherwarming
The stick of mugwort you have been given is called a moxa stick. It has undergone a process involving charcoal that helps in reducing smoke and odor in your home. Prior to lighting the moxa you will need:
- a lighter or match
- a small candle
- a small tray for removing ash from the burning ember
- a small jar with sand or rice in the bottom for extinguishing the moxa when finished
How to Use Moxa for Motherwarming
Motherwarming can be performed by the mother, or by friends and family.
Light one end of the moxa stick from the burning candle, the same way you would a stick of incense. It may take a few moments for the end to light completely. You want the end of the moxa stick to be glowing red, evenly, on all sides of the tip. When you blow on it you will be able to feel warmth radiating from the red ember.
To perform Motherwarming hold the tip of the lit moxa stick 2-5 centimeters from the mother’s belly button and slowly move it back and forth along the center of her body between the belly button and the top of her pubic bone. She should feel a pleasant radiating warmth coming from the moxa and the feeling should never become uncomfortably hot. Continue to slowly move the moxa stick up and down the center line of her lower abdomen for 5-15 minutes.
The moxa stick should never make direct contact with her skin.
As the stick burns it will create ash, which should be gently scraped off on the edge of the small tray.
When you finish place the moxa lit side down into the jar with sand/rice at the bottom. This will extinguish the moxa stick and it will be ready the next time you’d like to use it. The mother should then enjoy some quiet time for resting.
If you have questions or concerns please contact us at 360-393-8302.