It is quite natural that people bring up safety of moxibustion. I would say it would be like asking whether the car is safe. If the car is driven by a good driver, people in the car would feel comfortable, and there would be no accident. If it is driven by an unskilled driver, people in the car would feel risky and uncomfortable, and in worse cases there might be accidents involved. The good thing is that anyone can learn to become a good driver with proper training that will involve rules to follow.
When it comes to scarring moxa, anyone can learn to become a good moxa specialist with proper training. Patients treated by the good moxa specialist will experience good moxibustion benefits. Regrettably, there are not many practitioners that know how effective their treatments can be when they combine acupuncture and scarring moxibustion.
The safety issue may come from misunderstanding about scarring moxibustion on the part of patients, lack of experience on the part of practitioners, and so on. I would say that scarring moxibustion is very safe, but that mutual understanding between patients and practitioners should be achieved along with sufficient experiences on the part of practitioners.
Scarring moxibustion is a modality that burns on the skin moxa cones of different sizes which are made out of mugwort. In the past, moxa cones as big as a thumb were preferred. Nowadays, moxa cones of half a rice grain or a rice grain size have been proven to work as well. Dr Namsoo Kim (Gudang), an authority on scarring moxibustion, says that moxa cones of a rice grain size work the best. Bigger cones make too big scars as well as longtime suppurations which may cause discomfort. Moxa cones of a rice grain size will produce mild heat and stimulation, leave tiny scars, and possible slight suppuration. Some patients may experience blisters. It happens when too much pressure is applied in rolling moxa cones. Otherwise, it would happen depending on the constitutions of the patients. Interestingly, as blisters are disappearing, there is a tendency that the condition of the patients makes great improvements. Once moxa cones are applied repeatedly, scabs will form on the skin and come off naturally. Research shows that improvement in immune system is found in the process.
It is very important that you should explain to the patient what you are going to do with moxibustion in details. They should understand benifits from moxibustion as well as possible scars from it. For their better understanding, it is desirable that you should demonstrate burning moxa cones on your body. To this end, you should be able to develop good skills in rolling cones without any difficulty. In addition to the rolling skill, when you burn the cones, each burning should be done at any identical interval, which will meet their expectation of the next cone coming along and provide them with more relaxation.
From my experiences, when they are briefed about details of scarring moxibusiton, most patients accept scarring moxibustion and express thanks for adding another modality of scarring moxibustion to the acupuncture treatments. Among the merits of scarring moxibustion is that anyone can learn the technique with ease. The material is inexpensive and affordable. People can use it as a home therapy. Patients can be relieved of their sufferings sooner. This is the reason that scarring moxibustion has enjoyed its popularity as a home therapy in Asian countries. It may not be easy to accept scarring moxibustion in the first beginning. However, it can be a good solution to rising medical expenses, health promotion and disease prevention.