Aconite cake-separated moxibustion, acu-moxi, acu-moxibustion, acupuncture, acupuncture combined with moxibustion, acu-moxibustion, baguanfa (Chinese), angelica-cake moxibustion, baguazhang, bird-pecking moxibustion, blood letting, chinetsukyu (Japanese), cake-separated moxibustion, cake-separated mild-warm moxibustion, circling moxibustion, classical acupuncture, coining, cone moxibustion, cotton sheet moxibustion, crude herb moxibustion, cupping, direct cone moxibustion, Dogbi (ST35) & Sulan moxibustion, drug-separated moxibustion, du-moxibustion, dynamic moxibustion, electronic moxibustion, electrothermal Bian-stone moxibustion, five element acupuncture, garlic moxibustion, ginger-partitioned moxibustion, ginger-salt-partitioned moxibustion, grain-shaped moxibustion, hand moxibustion, hanging moxibustion, heat-sensitive moxibustion, herb-partitioned spread moxibustion, herbal-moxa moxibustion, horn technique, isolated moxibustion, isolated-herbal moxibustion, jiaofa, jinger moxibustion, Korean belly bowls, kyukaku (Japanese), kyutoshin (Japanese), liquid cupping, long snake moxibustion, medicated thread moxibustion, medicated threads moxibustion of Zhuang nationality, mild moxibustion, mild-warm moxibustion, monkshood cake-separated mild-warm moxibustion, moving moxibustion, moxa, moxa on the head of the acupuncture needle, moxibustion-massage apparatus, okyu (Japanese), partition-herb moxibustion, partition-bran moxibustion, pecking moxibustion, rice-sized direct moxa, shuiguanfa (Chinese), snake moxibustion, solar-term moxibustion, sparrow-pecking moxibustion, substance-partitioned moxibustion, suction cup therapy, suspended moxibustion, suspending moxibustion, TCM, thin cotton moxibustion, tortoise-shell moxibustion, traditional box moxibustion, Traditional Chinese Medicine, warming moxibustion, warming-cup moxibustion, warming needle moxibustion, zhenjiu (Chinese), zhou's pecking moxibustion pen.
Not included in this review: Acupuncture (alone), acupressure, classical acupuncture, five element acupuncture, TCM. For a more in-depth review of these topics, please see individual monographs.
Note: The SMATH® system (system for automatic thermomechanic massage in health) is a medical device combining the principles of mechanical massage, thermotherapy, acupressure, infrared therapy, and moxibustion.
Note: Moxibustion has been widely studied in China. However, most of these studies are not available and not included in this bottom line.
Moxibustion, a healing technique used for over 2,000 years, may use heat to promote circulation and break up blockages of blood and chi energy. Moxibustion is closely related to acupuncture as it is applied to specific acupuncture points. In modern times, it is usually used to complement acupuncture with needles, but it is also used independently.
The effects of moxibustion alone are unclear, as it is often used in combination with other methods, mainly acupuncture. Also, the treatment varies and is specific depending on each person's needs.
Research on moxibustion is available; however, it is mainly of poor quality. More studies are needed before firm conclusions can be made.
Moxibustion may be used on one point or multiple points, but only one point at a time. It may be repeated on a specific point or used on a sequence of points. The practitioner is guided by theory and assessment of the person receiving treatment. Each usage is brief-a matter of seconds-and the burning moxa is removed when the person reports it has become too hot.
The following techniques have been used: placing a moxa cone on a point and igniting (using 3-17 cones), indirect moxibustion (ignited moxa cone does not touch the skin directly but is insulated), moxa stick generating mild warm moxa, sparrow-pecking moxibustion (movement of moxa stick), and warming needle moxibustion, a combination therapy of acupuncture and moxibustion.
For acne, cone moxibustion on the CV4, CV6, and BL20 acupuncture points has been used.
For allergic nasal symptoms, moxibustion has been used once daily on "heat sensitive point" on the face, stomach, and back for 10 days per course for three months.
For arthritis, moxibustion has been used 3-50 times per session or 30 minutes per session daily, once every other day, and monthly for a total of two days to six months.
For knee arthritis, moxibustion was given with electroacupunture at various points.
For shoulder arthritis, salt moxibustion was applied to the part in pain and hot compress moxibustion was applies to the surrounding areas.
For asthma, heat sensitive moxibustion has been used on various points on the chest for a total of 50 treatments for three months. In children, a moxibustion-massage tool or suspended moxibustion at acupoints BL12, BL13, CV14, BL17, BL20, and CV12 has been used for over three months.
For hardening of the arteries, acupuncture-moxibustion and moxibustion at ST36 has been used.
For Bell's palsy, acupuncture plus moxibustion on temperature sensitive points has been used as well as a combination therapy (acupuncture plus moxibustion) for up to four weeks.
For neck pain, acupuncture along with cake-separated moxibustion, point injection and needle warming via moxibustion, heat sensitive moxibustion, and traditional hanging moxibustion have been used.
For chronic fatigue syndrome, filiform needling plus moxibustion has been used for a total of 10 treatments (daily) and 40 treatments (20 treatments every other day for two days). Moxibustion has been used for a total of 96 treatments (24 treatments every other day for four days), 24 treatments (12 treatments daily for two days), 108 treatments (36 times weekly every other week), 120 treatments (60 treatments daily for two days). Moxibustion plus cupping has been used for a total of 30 treatments in two phases, every other day.
For preventing colds, moxibustion was used for 4-16 weeks.
For constipation, moxibustion and acupuncture was done three times a week for four weeks.
For dementia, isolated moxibustion was used. Additionally, indirect moxibustion was used for 20 minutes for four treatments with each treatment lasting four weeks.
For depression after a stroke, acupuncture and grain-sized moxibustion were used.
For diabetes, moxibustion was given 5-10 times daily for 15 days, 30 minutes eight times yearly for three years, 10 times for 20 minutes once daily every four days for a total of three sessions, 30 minutes twice daily for three days over the course of 10 days, or 100 times during two hour sessions twice yearly for 2-4 years.
For diabetic peripheral neuropathy, mild-warm moxibustion has been used.
For diarrhea in children, a three or six day treatment of warming or drug-separated moxibustion was given on RN8 or CV8.
For painful menstruation, moxibustion was given once daily for three days during the first menstrual cycle, three days prior to menstruation, and once daily for six days during the second and third cycles. Additinally, moxibustion has been given one daily for three menstrual cycles or at the start of menstruation for three days followed by additional three day courses before the onset for the second and third course.
For facial paralysis, acupuncture plus moxibustion treatments were given once every 2-6 days for 10-40 days.
For fertility, acupuncture and suspended moxibustion were used for three menstrual cycles.
For fibromyalgia (long-term, wide-spread body pain), moxibustion has been used 3-50 times per session or 30 minutes per session daily, once every other day, and monthly for a total of two days to six months.
For frozen shoulder, acupuncture plus moxibustion was given at tender points.
For gastritis (stomach inflammation), acupuncture plus moxibustion were given over eight weeks.
For hearing loss, acupuncture plus moxibustion was given at specific acupuncture points.
For removing waste products from the blood, moxibustion was given using paper-tube moxibustion equipment.
For herpes, moxibustion/needle tapping therapy was given at acupuncture points over seven days.
For high cholesterol, mild moxibustion was applied for 5-10 minutes daily or every other day for 6-12 weeks.
For high blood pressure, moxibustion has been applied for 10 days, for two hours twice weekly for one month or as a single treatment. People bordering on high blood pressure were treated with moxibustion for 15 minutes daily for a minimum of five days weekly for eight weeks.
For infection, acupuncture and moxibustion was used once daily for 10 days.
For inflammatory bowel disease, acupuncture with moxibustion was applied for 10 sessions over five weeks and warming needle moxibustion was applied for 30 minutes.
For insomnia, suspended moxibustion has been given over GV20.
For irritable bowel syndrome, acupuncture and moxibustion were applied at individual points twice weekly for four weeks. Pecking moxibustion has been applied for 15 sessions.
For knee pain, ST35 & sulan moxibustion has been used.
For laryngitis, acupuncture and cake-separated moxibustion were used over four weeks.
For leukopenia (low white blood cell count), ginger-partitioned moxibustion was used.
For lumbar disc herniation, snake moxibustion alone or in combination with acupuncture once daily. Temperature-sensitive point moxibustion was given on temperature-sensitive points at the waist and lower limbs once daily or warming moxibustion was given once daily, each for one course of seven days. Heat-sensitive moxibustion or conventional moxibustion, each for 18 sessions over two 2 weeks, have been proposed as treatments.
For menopause, moxibustion has been applied for 14 sessions over four weeks at acupuncture points.
For migraines, pine needle or medicated thread moxibustion was given for over 30 days.
For mumps, combination acupuncture with moxibustion twice for three to five days was given.
For myofascial pain, moxibustion was used once daily for five days, acupuncture plus moxibustion of heat-sensitive points for 10-90 minutes daily, five times weekly for two weeks.
For myometrial gland disorder (uterine gland disorder), acupuncture and moxibustion was applied to points.
For neurodermatitis (itchy skin disorder), cotton moxibustion was used over four weeks.
For osteoarthritis, acupuncture and moxibustion was applied once daily for a month, warming needle moxibustion for three treatments a week over four weeks, heat-sensitive moxibustion was applied on the affected side, three moxa cones were applied per point for a treatment once every two days for six weeks, nine moxa cones in combination with electroacupuncture for 30 minutes daily for five sessions over four weeks, laser acupuncture-moxibustion was applied at the acupoint three times weekly for four weeks, and cake-separated moxibustion was applied on the affected side over four weeks.
For osteoporosis, heat-sensitive moxibustion was applied at heat sensitized points around specific points. Acupuncture and moxibustion was applied at points over six months. Warm needle moxibustion was applied at points once every other day over three months.
For pain, hand moxibustion has been used. Additionally, moxibustion was administered once daily, twice daily, or once every two for 10-12 days.
For pelvic inflammatory disease, warming needle moxibustion was used at certain points.
For post-surgical uses, acupuncture was used in combination with warming needle moxibustion on the first day after operation, once a day for 10 days.
For pregnancy (breech presentation), people were treated for 5-20 minutes, once daily to twice weekly, for up to 40 days. Moxibustion was administered at BL67 for 15-40 minutes twice daily, once daily, and twice weekly for a treatment duration ranging from one to two weeks or between five and fifteen treatment sessions.
For pregnancy and labor, when the cervix was 2-3centimeters dilated, a moxibustion apparatus was used at during labor once the cervix was open for 30 minutes.
For premenstrual syndrome, Korean hand moxibustion was used as ten treatments based on the principles of the five elements, khi, yin, and yang.
For prostate inflammation, warm needle moxibustion was applied with acupuncture and warm needle moxibustion was applied once daily.
For psoriasis, a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion at BL23 and the injured skin area for three minutes, once every other day, for 12 weeks.
For rheumatoid arthritis, muscular needling was applied in combination with scarring moxibustion. Additionally, acupuncture for 40 minutes twice weekly in combination with warming needle on acupuncture twice plus moxibustion on back Su points for four weeks; one acupuncture session for 40 minutes once daily for 15 days plus electronic moxibustion for 10-20 minutes at three to five local points one to two days after acupuncture; or acupuncture for 20 minutes twice daily for three months plus moxibustion on ST36 for 10 minutes.
For schizophrenia, a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion three set of points, one set daily, has been used and repeated as needed.
For stroke, moxibustion was given 3-5 times daily for 3-7 days weekly for a duration of 10 days to six weeks or once daily for 2-3 weeks.
For ulcerative colitis, moxibustion was given once daily from 10 days to two months or traditional acupuncture and moxibustion of ten sessions over five weeks was conducted.
For upper respiratory tract infection in children, mild-moxibustion was used over acupoints on the back.
For urinary disorders, moxibustion treatment at certain points was applied for 10 days. Additionally, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, scalp reproduction area bilaterally, and moxibustion at CV8 was used on the 15th day after the hysterectomy and for a total of two treatment courses, where each course was five days of treatment. Suspending moxibustion was applied and ginger-salt-partitioned moxibustion was applied in combination with acupuncture five times weekly over three weeks.
For vertigo, ginger moxibustion has been used.
For weight loss, acupuncture (12 weekly sessions of minimal acupuncture and somatic moxibustion-acupuncture) was used.
For xerophthalmia (extreme eye dryness), acupuncture was applied in combination with non-smoking moxibustion.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Early evidence suggests a combination of acupuncture and ginger-partition moxibustion increased the total effective rate and reduced recurrence vs. routine western medicine for abnormal heart rhythms. Further study is needed.
Studies suggest that moxibustion combined with acupuncture may be effective in the treatment of acne. Clear effects of moxibustion alone are lacking and more studies are needed on moxibustion alone before a firm conclusion can be made.
Early evidence suggests moxibustion for three months increased the effective rate of HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), a therapy used to slow HIV replication, in people with AIDS. Further study is required.
Early evidence suggests moxibustion at "heat sensitive points" improved symptoms of allergic nasal symptoms. More studies are needed before firm recommendations can be made.
Evidence suggests that moxibustion in combination with exercise may be effective in the treatment of long-term, inflammatory arthritis. More studies are needed on moxibustion alone before a firm conclusion can be made.
Early evidence suggests moxibustion was found to improve the cured rates for pan improvement in patients with arthritis of the knee. More studies are needed in the area before a firm conclusion can be made.
In human studies, a combination of a new moxibustion-massage apparatus with Chinese medicine was preferable for asthma in remission than suspended moxibustion. Additionally, acupoint heat-sensitive moxibustion was effective for asthma symptoms. Although there is evidence of benefit in this field, studies are of overall poor quality and the effect of moxibustion alone is unclear. Further studies are needed.
Research suggests moxibustion in combination with acupuncture was found to be effective in the treatment of Bell's palsy in some, but not all, studies, vs. control or comparison groups. However, more studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
A combination of acupuncture and cake-separated moxibustion improved neck activity and related pain vs. acupuncture alone.
Early evidence suggests moxibustion may have been beneficial for chemotherapy side effects and quality of life. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
A combination of acupuncture/moxibustion and nerve growth factor improved brain function in children with cerebral palsy.
Early evidence suggests in a group of indicating that moxibustion combined with acupuncture may contribute to reduced symptoms of neck pain. However, further studies are needed.
In children of short stature, moxibustion in addition to an exercise program increased the body height; testosterone levels were also increased. Further studies are needed.
Moxibustion was found to have a 79.2% cure rate in cases of chronic cough in children. More well-designed studies are required before conclusions can be drawn.
Moxibustion was found to have beneficial effects for individuals with chronic fatigue. More well-designed studies are required before conclusions can be drawn.
Limited research suggests moxibustion on specific acupoints had beneficial effects on lung function indices in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease vs. western medicine alone. Further study is needed.
Early evidence suggests that a combination of moxibustion and acupuncture reduces clogged arteries. More studies are needed on moxibustion alone before a firm conclusion can be made.
Evidence from poor quality studies suggests that moxibustion may offer benefit in the prevention of colds. Further study is required.
Acupuncture/moxibustion in combination with Chinese herbal medicine was found to be more effective for constipation than herbal medicine alone for constipation. Further studies are required examining the effect of moxibustion alone.
Limited research suggests that moxibustion was more effective for dementia than western medicine. Further study is needed.
A combination of acupuncture, direct moxibustion, and skin needling was found to improve various symptoms of depression. In people using antidepressants, a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion was more effective than acupuncture alone and antidepressants, or antidepressants alone, for symptoms of depression. More studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Early evidence suggests that moxibustion, with or without acupuncture, reduced blood sugar. Further well designed studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Early evidence suggests, mild-warm moxibustion was found to be as effective as acupuncture for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Further study comparing moxibustion with diabetic drugs is needed.
Moxibustion improved various symptoms in patients with end-stage kidney disease undergoing hemodialysis (the removal of waste products from the blood). Symptoms investigated included fatigue, shortness of breath, appetite, soreness of waist and knees, and coldness and quality of life. Further study is required.
Early research suggests moxibustion had a significantly increased markedly effective rate on acute diarrhea in children with infantile cerebral palsy or in children with infantile autumn diarrhea. Further study is needed.
In a human study, combination of acupuncture plus moxibustion was beneficial over acupuncture alone in facial paralysis. Preliminary evidence suggests a combination of herbs, acupuncture, moxibustion and Western medicine may benefit peripheral facial paralysis. Further study on moxibustion alone is needed.
The effect of a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion has been examined in people with specific types of fainting spells. Additional research is required.
Early studies suggest a combination of acupuncture, herbal mixture, and moxibustion has been shown to increase the pregnancy rate in some women with infertility. Further study is needed.
Early studies suggest that moxibustion in addition to amitriptyline may provide some benefit in people with fibromyalgia. Further study is required.
Early studies suggest the addition of moxibustion to acupuncture treatment may be beneficial in people with frozen shoulder. More studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Early studies suggest the combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may provide some benefit in people with long-term stomach inflammation. However, more studies are needed on the effects of moxibustion alone before a conclusion can be made.
Evidence is lacking in support of moxibustion for gouty arthritis. Further studies are needed.
Early studies suggest a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may provide benefit in those with hearing loss. However, more studies are needed on the effects of moxibustion alone before a conclusion can be made.
Early evidences suggest moxibustion may provide benefit for pain linked to herpes. Further study is needed
Based on human studes, reduced blood pressure has been shown in studies using moxibustion for high blood pressure. However, further studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Limited research suggests mild moxibustion may provide benefit for cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Additional studies are needed in this area.
A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion has shown to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections in some people with stroke. Further study is needed.
Based on human studies, moxibustion with acupuncture may potentially provide a benefit in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, types of inflammatory bowel diseases.
A combination of acupuncture, moxibustion, and auricular plaster therapy or suspended moxibustion alone may provide benefit in those with insomnia.
A combination of acupuncture/moxibustion was found to be more effective than sham acupuncture/moxibustion for symptoms linked to irritable bowel syndrome. Further study is needed.
Early studies suggest moxibustion may improve symptoms of knee pain in the elderly. Further study is needed.
A combination of acupuncture plus cake-separated moxibustion may provide benefit in the treatment of long-term laryngitis. Further study is needed.
Early studies suggest the combination of acupuncture and snake moxibustion may provide more benefit for lumbar disc herniation than either therapy alone. More studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Preliminary evidence suggests moxibustion and acupuncture may reduce symptoms of swelling caused by lymph fluid. Further study is needed.
The addition of acupuncture and moxibustion to western medicine may provide benefit in symptoms and recovery from malaria. More studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Moxibustion has shown to improve hot flash symptoms and quality of life in menopausal women. Further study is needed.
Information from various clinical trials suggests benefit for moxibustion in symptoms of menstrual pain. Further study is needed comparing moxibustion with traditional pain relievers before a conclusion can be drawn.
Although not well studies, potential beneficial effects of acupuncture-moxibustion on mental and behavioral disorders have been examined. The effects of moxibustion are unclear and more studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Early evidence suggests pine needle moxibustion may provide benefit in the treatment of migraine headaches. Further study is needed.
A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may benefit rate of recovery for mumps. Additional research is required.
Early studies suggest moxibustion, with or without acupuncture, was found to be effective for myofascial pain of the back and neck. A combination of scraping therapy and warming acupuncture/moxibustion improved fasciitis of back muscles. Further study is needed.
Early studies suggest people treated with moxibustion had an improved total effective rate vs. people treated with triamcinolone and urea cream. Further study is required.
Early studies suggest that moxibustion may have beneficial effects on pain linked to osteoarthritis. Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis have shown improvement with moxibustion techniques. However, further study is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Moxibustion has been examined on various endpoints in patients with osteoporosis. In people with primary osteoporosis heat-sensitive point moxibustion increased the total effective rate over gaitianli tablets. In men with osteoporosis, a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion with alendronate increased bone mineral density and decreased clinical symptoms and side effects associated with alendronate alone. Finally, in people with postmenopausal osteoporosis, warm needle moxibustion increased bone mineral density vs. calcium and vitamin D.
Early evidence suggests moxibustion may reduce pain from various causes. However, further well designed study is required.
Early studies suggest that moxibustion may benefit long-term pelvic inflammation. Additional studies are needed in this area.
The effect of electroacupuncture combined with moxibustion has been examined in those with pharyngitis. Additional studies are needed in this area.
Moxibustion may help speed up a return to normal stomach function after anesthesia and surgery. Additional studies are needed in this area.
Evidence suggests moxibustion may shorten and reduce labor pain when given at acupoints. However, more studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Moxibustion is a long-used traditional remedy in China for cephalic version (a way to try to turn a baby from breech position to head-down position while it's still in the mother's uterus), including as a self-administered technique at home by mothers. However, the available evidence is mixed and more studies are needed to verify whether there are predictable benefits in moxibustion for cephalic version.
Early studies suggest moxibustion may reduce symptoms of PMS. Further study is needed.
Early studies suggest different forms of moxibustion, as well as moxibustion and acupuncture may be beneifical in the treatment of prostate inflammation. Additional information is needed in this area.
A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may provide benefit in the treatment of psoriasis. Further study is needed.
There is preliminary evidence suggesting that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disorder, may experience improved immune function as a result of acupuncture and moxibustion. However, evidence is insufficient at this time for making concrete recommendations.
Early research suggests that schizophrenia may respond to a treatment regime including acupuncture and moxibustion. However, more studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Evidence regarding moxibustion for people recovering from stroke is conflicting. More studies are needed to determine whether or not moxibustion may contribute to recovery from stroke.
Cake-separated moxibustion may improve symptoms of and thyroid function in those with an inflamed thyroid. Additional research is required.
Use of moxibustion may improve symptoms of athlete's foot compared to traditional creams. Further study is needed.
A combination moxibustion plus exercise may provide some benefit in symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. Additional research is needed.
Moxibustion is widely used in China for respiratory tract infections in children. However, at this time evidence is insufficient for making concrete recommendations.
Mild-moxibustion on the back may provide benefit to children with upper respiratory tract infections. Further study is needed in the area.
Moxibustion given with western medicine may provide additional benefit to those with symptoms of tuberculosis when compared to western medicine alone. Further study is needed.
There is preliminary evidence suggesting that moxibustion combined with acupuncture may help reduce urological symptoms in women with urethral syndrome (inflammation of the urethra resulting in painful urination). However, more studies are needed before definitive recommendations for or against this approach can be made.
The effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on uterine gland disorder is unclear. Additional research is needed in this area.
A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may provide benefit for an inflammation of the aorta. Further study is needed.
Moxibustion may improve symptoms of vertigo, according to early studies. Additional research is required.
Early studies suggest a combination of moxibustion and western medicine improved symptoms of various viral infections, such as skin rash, indigestion, and oral herpes. Further study is needed.
Evidence does not support use of moxibustion to aid in weight loss at this time, although it may contribute to increased psychological well-being and improved eating attitudes in obese patients. More studies are needed to determine whether or not moxibustion may play a role in weight loss.
A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion may improve symptoms of extreme eye dryness in comparison to other conventional therapies. More studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Frequency of adverse events in acupuncture practice is rare and even rarer in its adjunctive technique of moxibustion. It has been suggested that serious cases of adverse events caused by moxibustion are actually cases of negligence; e.g., not removing the moxa from the skin at the appropriate time, or accidentally dropping ash from the burning moxa cigar onto the skin.
Moxibustion may cause skin discoloration (temporary), minor scarring, pinhole pain, flushing pinhole, blisters, skin burns, skin redness, face rash, burn injury, stomach upsets, tenderness, nausea, throat problems, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, fainting, asthma attack, discomfort due to smoke, death, liver inflammation, too much sleep, infection, increased rate of contraction, premature birth, premature membrane rupture, placental bleeding, unpleasant odor and fever.
Use cautiously in all people due to the potential for side effects, such as skin and stomach and intestinal side effects.
Use cautiously in people with asthma, neuropathy, diabetes or using blood sugar lowering agents, and thyroid disorders or using thyroid agents.
Use moxibustion at sites other than the lower back and stomach area cautiously in pregnant women.
Use cautiously in people using anti-arrhythmics or sedatives.
Use cautiously in patients with reduced blood pressure or using agents that lower blood pressure.
Use cautiously in patients with immune disorders or using immunomodulating agents.
Use direct moxa cautiously over large blood vessels or on elderly people with large vessels.
Avoid use of herbs or agents to which the patient is allergic.
Avoid in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Avoid over the stomach area and the lower back during pregnancy.
Avoid moxibustion on the face, head, nipples and genitals.
Avoid on areas with skin adhesions.
Avoid needling points that would be contraindicated for the individual patient.
Avoid on patients with any kind of "heat syndrome."
Avoid in patients with strong heat signs (eg. fever).
Avoid on or near inflamed and/or red areas of the body.
Avoid in any situation where the patient may not respond to the sensations of heat.
Note: Patients are often advised not to bathe or shower for up to 24 hours after a moxibustion treatment.
Chen R, Chen M, Kang M, et al. The design and protocol of heat-sensitive moxibustion for knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter randomized controlled trial on the rules of selecting moxibustion location. BMC.Complement Altern Med 2010;10:32.
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Joos S, Wildau N, Kohnen R et al. Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of ulcerative colitis: a randomized controlled study. Scand.J Gastroenterol. 2006;41(9):1056-1063.
Liu MR, Li L, and He, ZW. [Efficacy observation on osteoarthritis of the knee treated with the ultrastructural acupotomy therapy at the counter-Ashi points]. Zhongguo Zhen.Jiu. 2012;32(7):621-624.
Mei ZG, Cheng CG, and Zheng JF. Observations on curative effect of high-frequency electric sparkle and point-injection therapy on knee osteoarthritis. J Tradit.Chin Med 2011;31(4):311-315.
Ren XM, Cao JJ, Shen XY, et al. [Knee osteoarthritis treated with moxibustion: a randomized controlled trial]. Zhongguo Zhen.Jiu. 2011;31(12):1057-1061.
Shi Y, Cui YH, Wu HG, et al. Effects of mild-warming moxibustion on Bcl-2 and PKC expressions of peripheral blood in elderly people. J Tradit.Chin Med 2012;32(1):45-51.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.