San Fu Moxibustion from Qing Dynasty to our modern day

San Fu moxibustion practice dates back to Qing Dynasty. When on really hot summer days determined by Daoist astrology and Chinese calendar, many patients would line up at medical clinics to receive this ancient treatment. It is during this time that you can most effectively treat the ailments of the winter and support your health by nourishing the yang energy of the body, therefore relieving and preventing the prevalent cold pathogen conditions of the winter season.

In classical Chinese medicine there is a strong emphasis on preventative treatment, emphasizing treating ailments during the best and most effective times of the year. Analogy that I often give to my patients when treating allergies or seasonal conditions is; treating cold conditions in cold season is like trying to dry wet cloths on a rainy day. Its much easier to treat condition that are seasonal prior to the season in which they occur, in order to really make progress.

This practice of San Fu moxibustion has recently gained a lot of interest from clinical trials, and from modern providers of Chinese medicine. Allergies or allergy like reactive patterns are becoming more and more common in alternative medicine clinics, and over the years through clinical practice I have seen a very successful outcome from this treatment. This treatment although called moxibustion, does not involve mugwort or any form of fire. It is a diagnosis based treatment that focuses on relieving allergies, colds/flues, arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, and other upper respiratory conditions. It involves using specifically made herbal plasters called fu tie that are applied to areas on the body, mainly in the upper back. The herbal plaster in contact with the skin can creates a very strong hot sensation. Plasters are left in place for at least the first hour, and patients are instructed to remove the plasters one to six hours after application. Treatment consists of three separate sessions of fu tie plaster application and it is recommended to have three consecutive years of San Fu moxibustion to achieve results. Through my clinical experience, this three year moxibustion treatment has been very effective for a wide range of patients and I continue to offer it to those that are not able to find relief with other modalities.

2022, the dates for treatment are July 16, July 26, August 5

2023, the dates for treatment are July 21, July 29, August 10

Treatments are generally 15 minutes long and are $30 each.

How will you react to the San Fu application? It can be hard to speculate until we do the first round. Our skin can have a heightened response to the application powder or can have a very mild response. Over the last 11 years of doing this treatment, I have seen various responses, from very mild and barely noticeable and without much irritation post treatment to more reactive responses.  Here are some for you to keep in mind:

  • A sensation of heat and itching followed by redness at the site of the application. The spots can resemble sunburn feeling and can act in a similar way as blistering and pealing after 5-7 days.
  • Normal temperature to having a slight fever.
  • Sore throat, feeling run down- lasting approximately 24 hours.
  • Blisters forming on day 2-4 after the treatment, these do not always develop for people, but all or some of the spots can have a blister form.
  • Slight soreness to touch if the area developed a blister. Short lasting until the blister heals.
  • A thin scab can form if there were blisters, and then the skin restores itself and fully heals.

For those that experience blistering, treat the area how you normally would if taking care of a burn/sunburn. Initially wash the area with soap and water, then dry it and keep it clean and dry. If the fluid from the blister drains out, keep the top layer of skin in place and secure it with bandaid. I provide a scar cream for post treatment to expedite healing and help the process. Follow this care until the area completely heals.


2 thoughts on “San Fu Moxibustion from Qing Dynasty to our modern day”

  1. I am very interested in acupuncture for treatment to stop smoking. Can this be done at your office and if so what is the cost?

    My sister used this type of treatment 15 years ago and hasn’t smoked since.

    Thank you for your time.
    Carol Purdy


    1. Hi Carol, I apologize for missing this comment. I don’t correspond with patients via the comment messenger on the website. I do offer many options for smoking cessation and if you would like to discuss those options we can connect via email or phone. Thank you and I apologize again for not seeing this notification sooner.


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