Treatment of acute soft tissue injury with moxibustion

Chinese Medicine Paper II

Treatment of acute soft tissue injury with moxibustion

A Report of 187 cases


Since 1987, our clinic has treated 187 cases of acute soft tissue injuries using a combination of moxibustion—with "Zhou's All-Power Moxibustion Pen" invented by Dr. Meisheng Zhou—and conventional Western medicine. We found that moxibustion offers a satisfactory therapeutic effect for acute soft tissue injuries. The details are as follows.

Clinical Data

We examined 187 patients, including 117 males and 70 females. The age range varied from 11 to 78 years, with a majority falling within the 20-50 age bracket. The injuries occurred within a maximum of three days, often within six hours. The most common injury sites were the waist (76 cases) and ankle (69 cases). All patients exhibited closed injuries and primarily suffered from acute muscle sprains, excluding ligament contusions, ruptures, and fractures.


The main symptoms included localized pain, swelling, and restricted movement in the affected area. Pain intensified during maximal static contractions and repetitive movements. Most patients presented with localized tender spots and muscle spasms.

Therapeutic Methods

Moxibustion Group

In the moxibustion group, acupoint selection was strategic, focusing on the areas around the injured site and following traditional meridian pathways. Positive tenderness points identified on the back of the injured area were also included. The approach differed based on the location of the injury:

  • For Elbow Injuries: The acupoints targeted were Zusanli (ST 36), Quchi (LI 11), Quliao (LI 14), and Chize (CV 12).

  • For Wrist Injuries: The acupoints used were Yangxi (GB 34), Yangchi (GB 34), Yanggu (GB 34), Waiguan (GB 26), Daling (GB 39), Zhigou (GB 34), and Taiyuan (GB 39).

  • For Waist Injuries: Shenshu (BL 23), Weizhong (BL 40), Kunlun (BL 60), Yaoyangguan (GB 34), Zhibian (GB 26), Yinmen (BL 21), and Mingmen (BL 21) were targeted.

After the moxibustion pen was ignited, it was held between the thumb and index finger. Medicinal paper was laid flat over the selected acupoints, and the ignited pen was used to lightly tap over the paper 4-5 times. This avoids burning through the paper and prevents scalding. After moxibustion, patients typically reported either no pain or only a slight, mosquito-bite-like sensation. The treated skin area either remained unchanged or turned slightly red.

Care was taken to moderate the intensity of the moxibustion. Too much heat could lead to burns and blisters, whereas too little heat would fail to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. After the moxibustion, peppermint oil was applied to the treated acupoints to prevent blistering. If accidental burns occurred, a specific ointment could be applied for fast healing without scars. The ointment recipe included 6g of toad skin, 6g of borneol, and 250g of sesame oil, mixed and left to sit for 7 days.

Moxibustion was performed twice a day, with each course of treatment lasting three days.

Local Sealing Group

In the Local Sealing Group, treatment involved injections comprising a mixture of 1% lidocaine (2-10 mL) and dexamethasone (5-10 mg). The quantity of the injection varied based on the location of the injury and the age of the patient:

  • For Wrist Injuries: Typically, 2-4 mL of the mixture was administered.

  • For Waist Injuries: Generally, a higher volume of 5-10 mL was used.

The critical aspect of this treatment was the precise location of the injection. The medication had to be injected directly into the muscle at the points where the muscle attaches to the bone. In the case of waist injuries, the injection was administered into the belly of the sacrospinalis muscle. This ensures that the medication is not merely injected into the subcutaneous loose tissue, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment.

Treatment Outcomes

The efficacy of the treatments in both groups was compared using statistical analysis. The chi-square value of x is , with a significance level of P <0.01. The results indicate that the Moxibustion Group demonstrated significantly better outcomes compared to the Local Sealing Group.

Table: Comparison of Treatment Outcomes Between the Moxibustion Group and Local Sealing Group (%)

Categories Moxibustion Group  Local Sealing Group 
Number of Cases 113 74
Cured 69 (61.1%) 18 (24.3%)
Markedly Effective 22 (19.4%) 18 (24.3%)
Improved 13 (11.5%) 15 (20.3%)
Ineffective 9 (8.0%) 23 (31.1%)
Overall Effectiveness Rate 92.0% 68.9%


Treatment results

The curative effects were compared between the two groups. The statistical treatment showed that the x-square was 16.68, P < 0.01. The curative effect of the moxibustion group was significantly better than that of the local sealing group. 

Experiences and Insights

Acute soft tissue injuries are common in clinical practice, particularly affecting the waist and ankle regions. In Western medicine, localized sealing therapy is often the preferred treatment approach. This method aims to facilitate the absorption of stagnant blood, reduce swelling, interrupt the local reflex arc of harmful stimuli, and expedite the resolution of aseptic inflammation, all in an effort to alleviate pain and restore function.

Our experience demonstrates the unique efficacy of moxibustion therapy. After applying warm stimulation to the acupoints, the injured muscle tissue undergoes rhythmic, intense contractions before transitioning into a relaxed state. This process improves the microcirculation at the affected site, elevates metabolic rates, and smoothens the flow of 'qi' (life energy), while harmonizing blood circulation and unblocking meridians. These physiological responses accelerate the absorption of exudates, giving moxibustion therapy its beneficial properties: it alleviates muscle spasms, reduces inflammation, diminishes swelling and pain, and speeds up the recovery of function in the injured area.


Date of Receipt June 09, 1998 by Qi Lizhen

This article was originally originally published in "Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture," February 1999, Volume 18, Issue 1 (Clinical Report)    
By Li Yangzhen & Li Mingjie
Author's affiliation: 241000 Wuhu, Second Affiliated Hospital of Southern Anhui Medical College (Li Yangzhen); Wuhu Changhang Hospital (Li Mingjie)





立委博士,问问副总裁,聚焦大模型及其应用。Netbase前首席科学家10年,期间指挥研发了18种语言的理解和应用系统,鲁棒、线速,scale up to 社会媒体大数据,语义落地到舆情挖掘产品,成为美国NLP工业落地的领跑者。Cymfony前研发副总八年,曾荣获第一届问答系统第一名(TREC-8 QA Track),并赢得17个小企业创新研究的信息抽取项目(PI for 17 SBIRs)。


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注