Frequently asked questions

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  • What is moxa-therapy?

    Moxa-therapy is a treatment method that is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Certain areas of the skin where acupuncture points are positioned, are being warmed. This can be done with a moxa-stick but also with moxa on the needles.

  • What is moxa?

    The word moxa is derived from the Japanese word Mo Cu San, which means mugwort herb, or artemesia vulgaris. Mugwort is the principal ingredient of the moxa-stick.

  • Is this a new method?

    No it is not, this method has been used for over 3,000 years in China. At the end of the last century, the interest in this treatment increased on the continent.

  • Has there been research into the working of moxa?

    Yes, a lot of research has been performed into the difference of pregnant women with a baby in breech presentation with and without using moxa-therapy. In the JAMA paper mentioned, 260 women took part, divided over two groups: one group with and one group without the use of moxa-therapy. After two weeks, the babies that had turned spontaneously were counted. In the group of women without moxa-therapy 47.7% of the babies had turned, in the group of women with the moxa-therapy, 75.4% of all the babies had turned.

  • What does a treatment with moxa entail?

    The acupuncturist warms an acupuncture point for a few minutes using a moxa-stick. A moxa-stick looks like a cigar; it is lighted and will be held close to the skin (never touching the skin!). It will spread intense warmth on the acupuncture point.

  • Is the treatment painful?

    No, the treatment is not painful at all. The moxa-stick will warm the skin of, in this case, the small toe. It is supposed to be a noticeable, comfortable warmth, not hot and definitely not painful.

  • How long does the treatment last?

    The instruction video takes about 5 minutes to watch. The treatment you would perform at home would take approximately 30 minutes per day, for a fortnight.

  • How often do I need the treatment?

    You will need the treatment for a fortnight, once a day.

  • When is the best time to start the treatment?

    The research quoted shows best results (75.4%) when started in the 33rd or 34th week of the pregnancy.

  • Are there any risks and what are they?

    In all four papers mentioned on this site, no adverse effects have been noticed for mother or child. If you follow the instructions for the warming of the small toe, the treatment will be without risk. Our advice is to watch the al 4 video’s and to follow the instructions carefully. The smouldering moxa-stick will in fact never touch the skin during the treatment, but should be kept at least 1 cm (1/3 inch) from the skin.

  • Who can do the treatment?

    You can make an appointment for instructions witch an acupuncturist nearby, but you can just as well watch the 4 video’s on this website. After ordering, you will recieve the moxa sticks and you can start straight away.

  • Can I perform the treatment at home?

    Yes, both after the personal instruction from an acupuncturist as well as after watching all 4 video’s, you can start the treatment at home. The treatment is very easy to perform

  • What does it cost?

    You only need 5 moxa-sticks for a treatment period of two weeks. The cost of  one packets of moxa-sticks varies. You can order them via our website.

  • What if the treatment does not have the desired effect?

    This is possible of course, 25% of the babies in breech presentation will not turn. Your midwife or gynaecologist will discuss further options if this is the case.

  • Is the therapy dangerous for the baby?

    No, acupuncture in general is one of the safest treatments existing. (Source: British Medical Journal, September 2001). This therapy does not use needles though, but a moxa-stick to warm a little bit of the skin. The treatment is very subtle and not dangerous for the unborn baby. If the baby is unable to turn for other reasons, for example a short umbilical cord or unfavourable position of the placenta, moxa-therapy would not be able to alter that.

  • What happens if the baby turns without me noticing, would it turn back if I continue with the treatment?

    No, one could compare this situation with a tumble cup. If the heaviest part (the head) of the baby is situated below, which is the preferred position, it will not easily turn back. This does not mean that the baby is not able to do so, but the chance of the baby turning back does not increase by performing the treatment.

  • Will I burn my skin by using this burning stick?

    The moxa-stick should not come closer than 1 cm (1/3 inch) to the skin and should give a clear warm sensation. The stick should NEVER touch the skin. The skin will be warmed by the radiation of the moxa-stick.

  • If the baby does not turn, will I be able to go to the gynaecologist for external turning?

    Yes, you can discuss further intervention with your midwife. As moxa-therapy is best used up until the 36th week of pregnancy, there is still enough time to discuss and perform external turning.

  • What are the adverse effects of a Caesarean?
    • it takes longer for the mother to recover;
    • a next delivery is always in the hospital;
    • the chance of a caesarean with your next pregnancy is increased;
    • there is a small (1.5%) increase in chance of complications with your next pregnancy;
    • the chance of establishing breastfeeding is smaller.

The treatment

Moxa-therapy is completely painless and can be carried out at home, and the most important aspect of it is, research has shown that through moxa-therapy, the chances of a baby turning spontaneously are increased from 50% to 75%.

Read all about moxa-treatment

The science

At this moment, the most common treatment for a baby in breech presentation is an external turn. The gynaecologist will try to turn the baby externally, by hand. About 80% of the women with a baby in breech presentation will ultimately have a caesarean operation. They would rather experience a natural delivery.

Read all about the science


During the more than 6500 instructions on how to use moxa-therapy for breech position, the following questions were asked most frequently. 

Frequently Asked Questions about moxa-treatment


“As I have just said on the answerphone: our baby has turned! Hopefully it won’t turn back again!”

-- Marieke Esser/ Mark Eshuis

Read more experiences with moxa