Is Moxibustion Or Infrared Heat Therapy Used ?

Moxibustion is the application of heat to acupuncture points by burning various forms of the herb artemesia vulgaris (Moxi or Ai) over them. This herb burns at a low uniform temperature and some have attributed benefits to its aroma. Moxibustion is still used by the “barefoot doctors” of China, especially in areas where electricity is not yet readily available.

Research on 3,000 patients comparing moxibustion with infrared light for potentiating the effect of acupuncture at the Washington Acupuncture Center in 1973, however, indicated that infrared light was equally effective, as safe, and esthetically more pleasing to patients. Therefore, it does not seem important to use moxibustion for treatment here, since electricity and infrared lamps are readily available.


Electric nerve stimulation is the product of blending traditional acupuncture and modern scientific technique. After acupuncture needles are inserted, electrodes through which a special wave form of electricity is delivered, are attached to the top parts of a pair of needles. The body tissues between the needles complete the electric circuit for the electric current, which makes use of the liquid in the body to flow from one pole to the other. The current used is less than 200 microamperes, and can barely be felt by the patient. The needle supplies the mechanical stimulus, and the electricity augments it. Both are physical factors. It seems that electricity can change the electric polarities of the meridians and acupuncture points.

Electric nerve stimulation functions to increase the action of the needles, thus increasing the effectiveness of the treatment. Scientists in the United States, Asia, and Europe, have demonstrated that after electro-acupuncture there is an increase in polymorphonuclear leucocytes, as well as a marked increase in their antibacterial activity. Other studies have demonstrated a lowering of blood cholesterol levels by electro-acupuncture. Dr. Lee was one of the pioneers in designing electro-acupuncture instruments for potentiation of acupuncture therapy, analgesia, and for point location.