The minimum time needed for therapeutic effects of moxibustion

Objectives: To observe the changes of skin blood flow perfusion at Waiguan (TE 5) caused by mild moxibustion with moxa stick and infrared mild moxibustion using laser speckle contrast imaging technology, and to compare the microcirculatory effect during and after both moxibustion methods and explore the dose-response relationship of moxibustion.

Methods: Twenty-four healthy participants were treated with mild moxibustion with moxa stick and infrared mild moxibustion at left Waiguan (TE 5). The record started when the skin temperature reached (44±1) °C, and both moxibustion methods were provided within this temperature range. The 20-minute moxibustion process was divided into four stages (5, 10, 15, and 20 min) using interpolation method, and each participant completed eight interventions with a minimum 24-hour interval between different interventions. The skin surface temperature of the left Waiguan (TE 5) was monitored when both moxibustion interventions were given for 10 min using a TES1306 thermocouple thermometer. The skin microcirculatory blood perfusion units (MBPU) of left Waiguan (TE 5) was measured using a PSIN-01087 laser speckle blood flow imager 1 min before moxibustion, at 5, 10, 15, 20 min during moxibustion and continuously for 20 min after moxibustion in each intervention.

Results: The skin surface temperature of the left Waiguan (TE 5) remained within the range of (44±1) °C during both moxibustion methods, with no statistically significant difference (P>0.05). Compared with that before moxibustion, the MBPU of the left Waiguan (TE 5) was increased significantly at 5, 10, 15, and 20 min of both moxibustion methods (P<0.05, P<0.01). Compared with moxibustion for 10, 15 and 20 min, the MBPU of the left Waiguan (TE 5) of moxibustion for 5 min was lower in both moxibustion methods (P<0.01). For both moxibustion methods with the same moxibustion course, the MBPU of the left Waiguan (TE 5) 20 min after intervention was significantly higher than that at 1 min before moxibustion (P<0.001), and there was no significant difference in MBPU between 1 min before moxibustion and 20 min after moxibustion among different groups (P>0.05). Within the same moxibustion method, the MBPU of the left Waiguan (TE 5) 20 min after moxibustion with the intervention of 5 min was lower compared to that of 10, 15, and 20 min of moxibustion (P<0.001), with no significant differences between 10, 15, and 20 min of moxibustion (P>0.05).

Conclusions: When controlling the skin temperature at Waiguan (TE 5) within (44±1) °C, infrared mild moxibustion has similar effects on skin microcirculatory blood perfusion as traditional mild moxibustion with moxa sticks. From a dose-response perspective, microcirculation reached a stable state after 10 min of moxibustion, and moxibustion interventions lasting for more than 10 min shows better therapeutic effects.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37986251/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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