Background: Moxibustion has been widely used in Chinese medicine treatment and health care, it is necessary to study the mechanism and characteristics of moxibustion treatment. The warm effect of moxibustion is closely related to the therapeutic effect. Studying the distribution and change of thermal field is an effective way to understand the mechanism of moxibustion.
Methods: The finite element analysis software COMSOL was used to establish the heat transfer model to simulate the whole moxibustion process. Two kinds of suspended moxibustion methods, including mild moxibustion and sparrow-pecking moxibustion, were used to perform moxibustion trial at Zusanli acupoint (ST36) of volunteers, with Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, and the thermal field on the skin surface was detected with an infrared thermometer.
Results: Moxibustion method and moxibustion distance are the factors that affect the temperature change. The temperature rising speed of mild moxibustion was slower than that of sparrow-pecking moxibustion. When the moxibustion distance changes, the temperature changes obviously. If the moxibustion distance does not change, the body temperature will continue to rise slowly. If the distance increases, the body temperature will show a downward trend. On the contrary, it goes up. The thermal fields of mild moxibustion and sparrow-pecking moxibustion were distributed in concentric circles around Zusanli. After natural cooling, the temperature of subcutaneous tissue was higher than that of epidermis.
Conclusion: The speed of skin temperature change is affected by the method of moxibustion. The temperature field characteristics formed on the skin surface and acupoint are affected by the moxibustion distance and the moxibustion duration. Moxibustion will produce warm heat stimulation to the subcutaneous tissue.