Healing with Fire: A Practical Manual of Tibetan Moxibustion

Mar 9, 2011 by

By Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
Translated by Elio Guarisco

This manual is the first of its kind to focus on the Tibetan technique of moxibustion, an external therapy that uses the power of heat to stimulate a curative effect. A widespread form of traditional healing in the East, moxibustion is one of the most ancient medical therapies known to humanity. Mainly popularized as a branch of Chinese medicine, moxibustion was originally practiced in Shang Shung, a kingdom predating Tibet whose existence can be traced back at least four thousand years.

Healing with Fire is a comprehensive compendium of the five hundred most important and effective moxibustion points in the Tibetan and Shang Shung system, with an emphasis on practical instructions for readers with varying levels of expertise in the healing arts. The book is the culmination of decades of painstaking research by Professor Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a foremost scholar of Tibetan culture and philosophy, who, inspired by his personal experience of this unique and effective treatment method, has gathered knowledge from ancient scriptures ranging from the well-known Four Medical Tantras to recondite manuscripts found in the caves of Tun-Huang.

The book features twenty-five original drawings illustrating the positions of the individual points, as well as an index of indications to facilitate the identification of points for the treatment of specific medical conditions. It includes an appendix that discusses arcane astrological factors frequently taken into consideration in Tibetan traditional medicine.

Book excerpts:

Therapeutic Benefits of Moxa

Since moxa is principally a method of infusing the body with the energy of heat, it is particularly indicated when heat decreases and the cold nature of Phlegm energy increases in the body. An increase in the cold nature affects digestive heat first of all.
Digestive heat is the very basis for good health. Good digestive heat infuses the body with inner and outer radiance and confers a sharp intelligence, a strong determination in activities, and a long life. For these reasons, it is crucial to maintain good digestive heat, for instance, by eating foods that are easy to digest, exercising regularly, and taking herbs that strengthen digestive heat.
When digestive heat diminishes and symptoms such as flatulence, vomiting, or diarrhea manifest, foods are not properly digested and as a result either nutritional essence is depleted or non-assimilated nutritional essence is accumulated. In particular, the accumulation of residual nutritional essence in the organism can impair the self-regeneration process of the various parts of the body.
This condition favors the appearance of minor and major pathologies that manifest externally or internally. Internal conditions range from chronic indigestion to abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, low body temperature, deficient blood circulation, tumors, edemas, neuralgia, lung disorders, and calculi. External conditions include rheumatism, arthritis, problems in the joints, and swellings.
In all of these cases, the regular application of moxa reduces the symptoms of the illness and helps the healing process.
In today’s society we are witnessing a progressive increase in unhealthy lifestyles, paralleled by a loss of real values. Selfishness, worries, discontent with ourselves, fear, and expectations are just a few of the many attitudes that dominate our lives. In addition to physical illnesses, these attitudes, combined with the stressful pace to which we subject ourselves and the chemical-laden food we eat, are the source of many emotional disorders, known in Tibetan medicine as Wind energy disorders.
These disorders manifest with symptoms such as sadness, insomnia, nervousness, excitement, depression, isolation, refusal to communicate, or lack of concentration and memory. Untreated, they can easily develop into emotional instability and serious illnesses such as schizophrenia and other psychoses.
Since the causes of these disorders are manifold, they should be addressed with a multi-pronged strategy that can include dietary changes, a different social environment, the administration of medicines when necessary, and the reestablishment of the basic ground of sanity through increased contact with the body.
Although it is obvious that the best remedy in these cases would be for the person to regain deeper values, regular application of moxa on the specific points indicated for these disorders can be a valid and strong support for other therapies.
As will be explained in this manual, moxa can be used to treat a wide variety of
physical and emotional conditions.

— From Translator’s Introduction

Stomach Tumor Points
II. 63-64 (143-144)


One point on each side. Apply the appropriate form of moxa
on the points located two fingers below the right and left Upper
Lung Point.


Stomach disorders (Wind-related)
Stomach cancer
Viral or bacterial illnesses
Wind disorders arising after a fever
Chronic gastritis

— From The Compendium of Points

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