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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:214089. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep110. Epub 2011 Feb 13.

Changes of blood flow volume in the superior mesenteric artery and brachial artery with abdominal thermal stimulation.

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Center for Asian Traditional Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan.


In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is a local thermal therapy that is used for several conditions. Quantifying the effects of moxibustion therapy has been difficult because the treatment temperature depends on the physician's experience, and the temperature distribution in the target area is not uniform. This prospective observational study aims to quantify the effect of local thermal stimulation to the abdomen. We developed a heat transfer control device (HTCD) for local thermal stimulation. Twenty-four healthy subjects were enrolled and they underwent abdominal thermal stimulation to the para-umbilical region with the device for 20 min. Blood flow volume in the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and brachial artery (BA), the heart rate and the blood pressure were measured at rest, 15 min after starting thermal stimulation and 10, 20, 30 and 40 min after completing thermal stimulation. Blood flow parameters were measured by high-resolution ultrasound. In the SMA, blood flow volume was significantly increased during thermal stimulation (P < .01), as well as at 10 min (P < .01) and 20 min (P < .05) after stimulation. In the BA, blood flow volume decreased at 40 min after stimulation (P < .01). In conclusion we could quantify the effect of local thermal stimulation with an HTCD and high-resolution ultrasound. Thermal stimulation of the para-umbilical region increased blood flow in the SMA 20 min after stimulation in healthy subjects.

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