The wider research on immune response from moxibustion

In fact there exists a record of Japanese research into the immunological and serological effects of moxibustion which spans over eighty years. More recently its focus has been on its effects on tumour growth, however. Also, of course, since the advent of AIDS a far deeper appreciation of the complexities of the immune system has developed than that which was understood by Doctor Hara in the 1930’s.

We amassed as much of this data as we could to try and make sense of it, all the time examining it through the lens of Doctor Hara’s research.The story is not conclusive, although it remains persuasive enough to be encouraging. Problems arise particularly from the fact that the published research uses widely varying approaches, especially in terms of cone sizes, cone numbers and points used. It also more often than not employs small mammals for subjects, with different papers also asking differing questions from similar but different treatment approaches.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, quite widespread variations in immune response are reported. What is of primary importance, however, is that immune responses are indeed most definitely confirmed. In this regard these papers endorse what is also reported by every experienced moxibustion practitioner we have encountered or contacted based on their clinical experience: moxa strengthens the body's immune system.

We have prepared a two part paper from our research on this subject which is due for publication this year in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine. Because most of the Japanese research on this subject is not currently available in English, the wider acumoxa community remains relatively unaware of much of this data so we beileve our paper will prove informative to many. In brief, our analysis also leads us to believe that moxa response is both point and dosage specific, and may be predictably discrete to specific components of the immune system dependant upon how it is applied.

A selective list of research papers

1.Histological study of skin treated with moxa.Shimetaro Hara. Fukuoka University Medical Journal. 1929; 22:2. Old Japanese.

2.Recovery tendencies of tuberculous animals treated with moxa. Shimetaro Hara. Fukuoka University Medical Journal

. 1929; 22: 5. Old Japanese.

3.Tuberculosis and moxibustion.Shimetaro Hara. Jiechi Ika to Rinsho. 1929: 6: 9. Old Japanese.

4.Effects of moxa on subcutaneous histocyte cells. (1 & 2) Shinji Ota 1930. Nihon Biseibu-tsugaku Zasshi; 24: 4. Old Japanese.

5.Effects of moxibustion on splenic function of leucocytes and in gamma-irradiated mice under general and local anasthaesia.Chinese Publication of uncertain provenance – approx 1980.

6.Effects of Electronic Moxibustion on Immune Response 1. Watanabe S, Hakata H, Matsuo K, Hara H, Hara Shimetaro. Journal of Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 1981;31(1): 42-50. Japanese.