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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Nov;98(44):e17793. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017793.

Medicated thread moxibustion for alopecia areata: A case report.

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Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Department of Ultrasound Diagnosis and Treatment, Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University.
Department of Cardiovascular, Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan.
Department of Toxicology, Guangxi International Zhuang Medical Hospital, Nanning.
Department of Cardiovascular, Taian Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taian.
Department of Prevention and Health Centres, Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan, China.



According to the literature reports and clinical studies on alopecia areata (AA) from 2008 to 2018, most clinical treatments have been oral drugs and external ointments. At present, systemic immunosuppressive therapy has been widely used in AA, but there are various side effects such as elevated liver enzymes, gastrointestinal discomfort, poor drug compliance, and repeated illness. We present a case report describing a traditional medicine treatment for AA that uses an ethnic therapy of Zhuang medicine, a kind of Traditional Chinese Medicine, namely, medicated thread moxibustion.


A 36-year-old man endured AA after going through a family misfortune. Half a year ago, his father passed away suddenly. Since then, he suffered continuous anguish, alcoholism and hair loss, especially in the past 2 months. A coin-shaped area of hair loss began to appear at the top of his head and gradually expanded to the surrounding region.


A diagnosis of AA was made in the dermatology department of a local hospital.


The patient was treated with the medicated thread moxibustion method of Traditional Zhuang Medicine at the Kuihua (special points of Zhuang medicine), Zusanli (ST 36), Xuehai (SP 10), Baihui (DU 20), and Taichong (LR 3) points every other day for 4 weeks.


The area of hair loss showed slight improvement after 1 week of treatment. Only just a sprinkling of wooly hairs, whose color and thickness were similar to those of fine facial hairs, began to emerge sporadically from the follicles; they could be seen only in a bright light. When the patient saw the obvious curative effect, we continued the treatment for 2 weeks with the patient's consent. Three weeks later, the patchy AA area was covered with small cotton-like hairs of different lengths and uneven colors.


The medicated thread moxibustion method of Zhuang medicine can be an effective alternative treatment in patients with AA.

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