A January 2016 study from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health demonstrated the positive effects of moxibustion therapy in the treatment of thyroiditis in the subacute phase. The article is titled "Ginger-partition moxibustion with glucocorticoid for thyroiditis at subacute stage: a randomized controlled trial."
Thyroiditis is a problem occurring in the thyroid--a small gland in the front of the neck that is a key component of the endocrine system and releases many important hormones. It is known for having the shape of a butterfly. Inflammation of this gland happens for numerous reasons. Often the gland initially displays signs of overacting, called hyperthyroidism. Given enough time, an overactive thyroid may become tired and start under-producing, which is called hypothyroidism.
In the study, researchers put 41 patients in a treatment group that received moxibustion therapy plus the pharmaceutical drug methylprednisolone. Another 40 patients in the control group only received the drug therapy at the same dosage levels of the treatment group. Moxibustion is a heat therapy which consists of burning a dried form of a special herb called mugwort. One common way to administer moxa is to burn it and let the smoke and heat penetrate into the patient's body. This is applied near specific acupuncture points.
Many tests were performed before and after all the treatments for both groups. This included the measuring of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Both groups underwent general evaluations at the end of the second, fourth and eighth week of treatment. By the end of the trial at week eight, the treatment group outperformed the control group in all medical tests. This even included superior results for the treatment group who enjoyed a faster reduction in their physical pain.
Researchers concluded that moxa plus the oral administration of hormone drug therapy is safe and more effective at addressing the signs and symptoms associated with subacute thyroiditis compared to just drug therapy on its own.
Eshkevari Publishes New Study on Acupuncture, Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://nhs.georgetown.edu/news/eshkevari-acupuncture-stress-study
Hu G, Chen H, Hou Y, He J, Cheng Z, Wang R. A study on the clinical effect and mimmunological mechanism in the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis by moxibustion. J Tradit Chin Med. 1993 Mar;13(1):14-8. PubMed PMID: 8501952.
Lu J, Wu S, Liang F, Liu J, Yang S, Wang L, Zhou H, Wang H. [Ginger-partition moxibustion combined with glucocorticoid for thyreoitis at subacute stage: a randomizd controlled trial]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2016 Jan;36(1):7-11. Chinese. PubMed PMID: 26946725.
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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.