March 2013

Moxibustion for Fatigue

A recent study suggests that moxibustion may benefit individuals with chronic fatigue.

Moxibustion is a healing technique used in oriental medicine for over 2,000 years. Moxibustion is related to acupuncture, as it is applied to specific acupuncture points. Usually, a mugwort cone is placed on a point and burned above the skin or on the acupuncture points, introducing heat to alleviate symptoms.

The new study included 44 individuals with chronic fatigue. Participants were randomly assigned to a placebo or moxibustion group. Indirect moxibustion was performed three times weekly, for a total of four weeks. During indirect moxibustion, the mugwort cone does not contact the skin directly.

Fatigue was evaluated by a self-rating numeric scale (NRS) and a visual analog scale (VAS). Compared to the placebo group, the moxibustion group had a significantly lower fatigue severity on the both the NRS and VAS.

Individuals receiving moxibustion also had significantly reduced levels of a marker for oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is characterized by an excess of free radical groups, creating a potentially unstable cellular environment. Oxidative stress is linked to tissue damage, accelerated aging and degenerative disease.

Further research on this topic is warranted.

For more information about moxibustion, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Kim HG, Yoo SR, Park HJ. Indirect Moxibustion (CV4 and CV8) Ameliorates Chronic Fatigue: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):134-40. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.

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