Other than a little Japanese Magic, exactly what is Okyu

Okyu is a Japanese Acupuncture Style application of moxibustion. It’s typically referred to as “thread moxa” as it’s applied in small rolled, thread-like form. Once the moxa is in place, I light the small thread with a stick of incense and the patient experiences a pleasant warming sensation at the desired point.

It is by far one of my favorite acupuncture techniques and one of my favorite to receive. Applying moxa in this way has an immense therapeutic benefit. Okyu is said to go to the blood level, which is considered one of the deepest layers of the body in both Chinese and Japanese Acupuncture. My personal favorite reason to use okyu is for painful periods because it is so effective. Stagnation is usually the root cause of that pain and okyu drives stagnation out. It’s especially lovely, and beneficial, to have this gentle warmth applied to your lower abdomen while needles are in place.

Okyu can also be applied to the lower abdomen with the intent of increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. I often apply it to points that the great Japanese master Kiiko Matsumoto refers to as the “secret fertility points”.  I’m not sure how secretive they are but it’s a wonderful way to support fertility when used in addition to local needles for those who are trying to conceive.

For women with heavy menstrual flow, okyu is an amazing tool to ease the intensity of menstrual flow and regulate bleeding. It’s applied to the big toe with the intent of supporting the spleen and controlling bleeding. In Chinese Medicine, heavy menses are usually the result of either too much heat in the body or weakened Spleen Qi. By applying okyu to the first point on the Spleen channel, we can give the Spleen a much needed boost that can help regulate the menses.

Though we tend to use okyu to support fertility and menstrual disorders in this office, okyu can also be used to support adrenal function, decrease musculoskeletal pain, and support the immune system. Besides, it just feels nice! Nothing like some gentle warmth on a cold winter day. When combined with the meditative quality of the incense, okyu is a delightful addition to any acupuncture treatment.

Heather Smidt, LicAc LMT and Reiki Master

Angela Bell Acupuncture