Chinese Medicine properly applied involves a range of techniques including acupuncture, herbal medicine, tuina massage, cupping, moxibustion, etc.. Used together these tools are used to treat a range of pain related conditions including osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Moxibustion (see What is Moxibustion?) is a technique that can be used both within a clinical setting but is often prescribed as a home treatment that is relatively easy to perform once the patient is shown which points to use and the general technique. The following study from researchers at Nantong University in Jiangsu Province, China, looks at the beneficial actions of moxibustion on osteoparthritis in the knees.
Researchers divided 59 patients experiencing pain and lack of mobility from osteoarthritis in the knee into a moxibustion treatment group and a placebo moxa treatment group. Treatment involved moxa cones (chinetsukyu) placed on the knee extra point xiyan, ST 35 and ashi points (where the patient experiences the most pain). 3 cones were used on each point and treatment was provided every 2 days, 3 times/week for 6 weeks.
Researchers used the WOMAC index and a walking speed test along with a temperature check at the skin level of the points used to gauge effectiveness of the treatments. They found that the moxibustion group saw noted improvements in mobility and decreases in pain. There were also temperature changes at the knee points used which can be read as an indicator of better local circulation.
Moxibustion is a relatively safe and easy to apply home treatment and should be considered in many pain cases, particularly arthritic ones.
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