Temperature characteristics of warm needles with clinical moxa cones.

Seung-Ho Yi. – PhD. Prof.


Warm needle acupuncture (WNA) is one of therapies in East Asia region to deliver thermal stimulus and needle stimulus simultaneously, and has been applied to treat chronic pain. Since the combustion heat from a moxa cone indirectly transfers to the human skin or acupoint via a metal needle, the set up of the WNA seems to be crucial to determine the amount of heat delivered to the final designation.


It is of importance for clinicians to control temperature of the WNA to obtain the maximum efficacy of the treatment. Therefore we measured temperature of WNA to scrutinize factors to affect the temperature.


For heat source of WNA, two sizes of cylinder-shape moxa cones were employed. A needle handle was inserted to the cone at three positions, respectively. Temperature of the needle body was measured at two positions of 8 mm and 15 mm from the handle bottom. The schematic of the measurement set up was described elsewhere1)


The temperature at 8 mm was increased considerably as moxa cones were approached to the handle bottom and that at 17 mm was varied a little for the same set up. Similar results were obtained by two sizes of moxa cones. The temperature difference between two positions was increased. suggesting the importance of insertion depth for WNA treatment. Duration was also increased with its position and was a little longer for the bigger cone,


There was not much difference in the temperature with the size of moxa cones. Instead, the position of a moxa cone at a needle and the insertion depth of WNA are crucial to determine WNA temperature. Therefore, these two factors are needed to be well controlled for effective WNA treatment.

This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program Through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R11-2005-014).