Objective: To study the effects of temperature on different facial areas by suspended moxibustion at two points, Zusanli (ST 36) and Hegu (LI 4), and probe the phenomena underlying self-regulation in the human body after thermal stimulation.
Methods: Thirty healthy volunteers accepted moxibustion over Zusanli (ST 36) and Hegu (LI 4), and the order of moxibustion points was randomly determined. Moxibustion method: suspension of moxibustion over Zusanli (ST 36) and Hegu (LI 4) on both sides was performed using an ignited moxa stick stuck in a support for 20 min. Observation method: An infrared thermal image of the face was taken before and after suspended moxibustion using a CK350 medical infrared thermal imaging instrument.
Data analysis: A thermal microscopic section view system (TMTSys) was used to analyze the change in temperature in special facial areas. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS 14.0 software.
Results: Before moxibustion was suspended, the facial thermal image showed a T-shaped thermal area related to the vascular distribution with even temperature and good symmetry on both sides. Suspended moxibustion over Zusanli (ST 36) have a very significant increase in temperature at the forehead, around the nose, at the corners of the mouth, and at the cheeks and lips (P<0.01). Suspended moxibustion over Hegu (LI 4) also have a significant (P<0.05) increase in temperature around the nose, the corners of the mouth, the cheeks, and lips, where has a new high temperature area was formed (P<0.01). Suspended moxibustion over Hegu (LI 4) raised the temperature at the middle point of the lips more obviously than did Zusanli (ST 36) in the same person,(P<0.05). After 10 min of moxibustion over Zusanli (ST 36) and Hegu (LI 4), the change in temperature in the facial area reached its peak value.
Conclusions: Facial infrared thermography of healthy people revealed a T-shaped thermal area reflecting a physiological thermal area. Moxibustion over Zusanli (ST 36) or Hegu (LI 4) raised the temperature in this facial T-shaped thermal area. Hegu (LI 4) led to the formation of a new thermal area in the lips. The time required for moxibustion to regulate human body temperature was 10 min.