Can Moxibustion Treat Childhood Asthma?

Moxibustion and asthma

The Mugwort plant is used in Moxibustion.

This question of whether moxibustion can help treat a child’s asthma condition is a good one. Why? Because moxibustion is a non-drug remedy. And the research says yes, it can treat childhood asthma.

Childhood asthma affects millions of children around the world. This is worse in places where the home or school is built with toxic materials such as formaldehye or the air in the home or school is otherwise polluted. Mice infestations can also produce asthma in children according to other research.

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a process whereby a ‘cigar’ or ‘cone’ of rolled mugwort herb is burnt and after it smolders, it is pressed against the skin at acupuncture meridian points. Burning the skin is prevented by using a variety of protective devices, making it completely safe.

Mugwort comes from the Artemisia argyl herb. This herb commonly grows in Asia and has been used for thousands of years not only as a medicinal herb, but for moxibustion. The mugwort herb is dried and bundled into a cigar-like shape. After burning the herb, a number of medicinal compounds become available, which transfer onto the skin.

Moxibustion can also be used by heating acupuncture needles with lit mugwort herb before using the needles. Suspended moxibustion does not incorporate the needles.

Moxibustion has a great track record of success in Chinese Medicine, and has been the subject of thousands of clinical trials.

Moxibustion tested for childhood asthma

Researchers from China’s Southern Medical University and Hospital of Integrated Chinese have determined that moxibustion applied to acupuncture points with or without a new massage apparatus successfully treats asthmatic infants.

Read more:  Acupuncture is Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis

The research tested sixty infants with asthma. They were randomly split into two groups of 30 patients each, and given either standard suspended moxibustion to six points or moxibustion with the moxibustion-massage apparatus to the same six points. The treatments were given daily for a period of three months.

After the three months, the moxi-massage apparatus group had a “total effective rate” of 90% (27 out of 30 patients), while the moxibustion-only treatment resulted in a total effective rate of 83%.

The acupoints used by the researchers were Fengmen (BL 12), Feishu (BL 13), Geshu (BL 17), Pishu (BL 20), Juque (CV 14) and Zhongwan (CV 12).

Total effective rate was gauged on whether the treatment resulted in a significant reduction of asthma attacks and asthmatic symptoms.

The researchers concluded that:

“It is held that the combination of new moxibustion-massage apparatus and Chinese medicine for infantile asthma in remission stage has obvious therapeutic effect, which can reduce the attack of asthma and alleviate symptoms. The result is better than suspended moxibustion.”

No adverse side effects

The research also found that moxibustion treatment resulted in no adverse side effects. No adverse effects is quite an accomplishment for a healing program This is typical for acupuncture and moxibustion. Acupuncture also helps manage Parkinson’s disease according do other research.


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Tian XF, Xu ZL. Treatment of infantile asthma with Chinese medicine and moxibustion-massage apparatus. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Feb;32(2):163-5.

Case Adams, PhD

Case Adams has a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, is a California Naturopath and is Board Certified as an Alternative Medicine Practitioner, with clinical experience and diplomas in Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 27 books and numerous articles on print and online magazines. Contact: [email protected]

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