A search in PubMed (English Database) by keywords “moxa, moxibustion” would reveal 266 articles (June 2020). These studies mainly relate to the thermal, radiation and pharmacological effects of moxa and its combustion products. Experimental results show that moxibustion thermal stimulation affects both shallow and deep tissues of the skin, and the warm-heat effects of moxibustion have a close relation to the warm receptors or/and the polymodal receptor. The burning moxa radiation spectrum lies near the infrared portion of the spectrum. There is an amazing consistency in the infrared spectrums of three types of indirect moxibustion and the unified spectrum of acupoints; all have their peaks of radiation near 10 μm.
Lots of ingredients had been identified from mugwort leaves and moxa smoke, which have a variety of biological activities; they were considered to participate in the comprehensive effects of moxibustion. Therefore, there is a growing recognition of the therapeutic benefits of moxa based on contemporary research, Chinese Classics (The Yellow Emperor Canon, Materia Medica of Qing Dynasty) and empirical knowledge. However, there is a need of more research to fully understand the mechanism of moxibustion.
The research on moxa in the Chinese Database is significantly larger. A leading researcher published in both; English and Chinese languages is Prof. Chen Ri-Xin. He is author of 8 books and over 100 academic research papers on Moxibustion.
In the last decade, research papers on the therapeutic effects of moxibustion were published in the following areas:
• Obstetrics and Gynecology:
- Electroacupuncture combined with penetrating moxibustion can strengthen the pelvic floor muscle contractility of patients with postpartum pelvic organ prolapse, and are superior to biofeedback electrical stimulation in improving the pelvic organ prolapse status and quality of life (PMID: 32100501)
- Turning babies from breech presentation (bottom first) to cephalic presentation (head first) [Cochrane Collaboration Review of 8 studies]
- For Female Stress Urinary Incontinence: Heat-sensitive moxibustion combined with kegel exercise therapy achieves better effect than simple kegel exercise therapy on female stress urinary incontinence. (PMID: 29072016)
- Moxibustion on acupuncture point CV4 can prevent post-operative dysuria after procedure for prolapse and hemorrhoids and reduce the urethral catheterization (PMID: 24386005)
- Female Infertility, including ovulatory dysfunction, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET): most of the existing studies suggest a positive effect of acupuncture and moxibustion in infertility treatment
- To improve Ovarian Reserve Function (PMID: 29354973)
- Male Infertility: the Chinese Traditional Medicine acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients with oligoastenoteratozoospermia without apparent cause. (PMID: 14695986)
• Orthopaedics: applicable for lumbar disc herniation (PMID: 23297550), knee osteoarthritis (PMID: 25998755), cervical spondylosis (PMID: 20518173), primary osteoporosis (PMID: 21644308), myofascial pain syndrome (PMID: 18630532), knee arthralgia (PMID: 32275373)
• Neurology: primary trigeminal neuralgia (PMID: 23885613), peripheral facial palsy (PMID: 24579365)
• Gastrointestinal: Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS (PMID: 24673056)
• Miscelenious: chronic persistent asthma (PMID: 24660579), allergic rhinitis (PMID: 29318861), allergic diseases (PMID: 32100508)