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Chin J Integr Med. 2016 Feb;22(2):130-40. doi: 10.1007/s11655-014-1849-8. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Effectiveness of moxibustion for exercise-induced fatigue--a systematic review for randomized controlled trials.

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Chinese Evidence-Based Medicine Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.
Teaching and Research Office of Pediatrics, The Second School of Clinical Medicine, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, 611130, China.
Department of Orthopedics, The Third People's Hospital of Chengdu, Chengdu, 610031, China.
Institute of Hospital Management, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.
Chinese Evidence-Based Medicine Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.



To review and assess the effect of single moxibustion for exercise-induced fatigue: (EIF).


Computer-search for 8 medical databases and 5 clinical trail registries were conducted for: randomized controlled trials (RCTs), added with hand-search for 10 Chinese acupuncture-moxibustion journals and additional references. Data from included RCTs were pooled by RevMan5.1. Methodology quality of RCTs was judged by Cochrane Collaboration assessment tool while quality of primary outcomes was evaluated by GRADE3.2.


Five RCTs were finally included, all reported in small sample size with high risk of: bias. Comparisons on single moxibustion and rest relief (without treatment) were studied. Six outcomes were reported, all favored moxibustion to rest relief for EIF. Primary outcomes showed as rating of perceived exertion (RPE) with mean difference (MD)=-0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-0.80, -0.19], 800-m race performance with MD=-2.21, 95% CI [-3.57, -0.85], and Harvard Step Index (HSI) with MD=14.75, 95% CI [8.35, 21.15]. Moreover, all primary outcomes as RPE, 800-m race performance and HSI were rated low quality.


Single moxibustion might be considered effective for EIF. However, due to small samples of included RCTs, high risk of bias among studies and poor quality of primary outcomes and subjects restricted to Chinese athletes only, these results present limitation, and should be taken with caution for practice. More large-size studies with rigorous design are warranted to further test effectiveness of moxibustion for EIF.


exercise-induced fatigue; moxibustion; randomized controlled trial; systematic review

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