Temperature and safety profiles of needle-warming techniques in acupuncture and moxibustion

X. Y. Gao, C. Y. Chong, S. P. Zhang, Ka Wai Eric Cheng, B. Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The needle-warming technique combines acupuncture and moxibustion, and it is commonly practised in China to relieve pain conditions. However, burning of moxa has many disadvantages. This study examined the temperature and safety profiles of such technique. First, skin temperature changes during needle-warming were examined in anesthetized animals to determine the safe distance for needle-warming moxibustion in human subjects. Then, the practical distance for needle-warming in human subjects were verified. Finally, the temperature profiles of the needle during needle-warming moxibustion were examined using an infrared camera. Our results show that during needle-warming moxibustion there is little heat being conducted into deep tissue via the shaft of the needle, and that the effective heating time to the acupoint is rather short compared to the period of moxibustion. These findings suggest that the needle-warming technique is an inefficient way of acupoint thermal stimulation and should be modified and improved using new technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168393
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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