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JKM > Volume 40(3); 2019 > Article
Bora, Juyeong, and Jungnam: The Effect of Moxibustion Treatment for Cardiac Arrhythmia : A Systematic Review



The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of moxibustion treatment for Cardiac arrhythmia through a systematic review.


Electronic database including Cochrane library, Pubmed, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Embase, DBpia, and Korean studies Information Service System were searched by combining the keywords such as “arrhythmias”, “cardiac arrhythmias”, “心律失常”, “moxibustion” and “艾灸”. Through the searching, 5 randomized controlled trials(RCTs) were included except animal testing and cellular experiment etc. The quality of each RCTs was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.


We included 5RCTs involving 468 participants. Two RCTs compared moxibustion versus conventional treatment, another RCT compared moxibustion plus acupuncture versus conventional treatment, another RCT compared moxibustion plus herbal medicine verus conventional treatment, the other RCT compared moxibustion plus herbal medicine and ointment versus conventional treatment. These studies were evaluated by the efficacy rate of treatments. Studies measured outcomes in efficacy, heart rate, electrocardiogram and symptoms. Each of 5 trials statistically showed a significant differences in efficacy rate. One study reported about side effects and another study reported about complications. The overall risk of bias was unclear in 5 studies.


The evidence suggests that moxibustion treatment may help to reduce cardiac arrhythmia, however, it is limited, low-certainty and we cannot rule out benefits or risks with this treatment. High-quality studies that report adverse effects are needed.

Fig. 1
Flow chart of the trial selection process.
Fig. 3
Risk of bias summary.
Fig. 2
Risk of bias for included studies.
Table 1
Number of studies searched for Arrhythmia and Moxibustion.
Database No. of studies
Cochrane 16
PubMed 23
Embase 4
DBpia 0
Table 2
Characteristics of Randomized Controlled Trials Included in the Systematic Review.
Study Paricipants Sample size (range of age) Experimental group Control group Outcome measurements Results
Intervention Duration/Dates of session/ No. of session Acupoint
Liu10 (2010) CA A: 32/32
B :32/32 (16≤age≤75)
MOXA Moxa : 1 session : 30min/day(10days)+5days rest
total : 2~4 session
BL14, BL15, BL16, BL17 (Bilateral) Amiodarone, Metoprolol aspirin Digoxin
  1. Heart rate

  2. ECG

Yu11 (2013) CBA A: 30/30
B: 30/30 (54≤age≤75)
MOXA Bamboo salt moxa: 50min/1day
total : 10 days
BL15 , CV14 xinbao-wan
  1. Heart rate

  2. ECG

  3. ST-T changes

  4. tongue and pulse condition

Zou12 (2009) CA A: 38/38
B: 37/37 (16≤age≤69)
MOXA+ACU Ginger moxa: 1 session : 1time/day+5days rest/ 1 set : 10 session
total : 2~4 set
  • Moxa: PC6, SP4, HT7, PC5, HT5, BL15, BL20, BL14, BL17, ST36

  • Acu: PC6

Amiodarone, Metoprolol, aspirin, Digoxin
  1. Heart rate

  2. ECG

  3. atrial fibrillation

A: 97.4% (35/38)
B: 81.1% (30/37)
Qu13 (2018) CBA A: 49/49
B: 49/49 (20≤age≤85)
MOXA+ Herbal Medicine Salt moxa: 1 seesion : 1time/day+ 1day rest (3Zhuang/1time)/ 3 session
Drug: You gui-wan 1session : 3time/1day (4 weeks)
total : 3 session
CV17, CV8, CV4 Atropine sulfate tablets
  1. subjective symptoms (heart palpitation, chest tightness, weakness, dizziness, Reduced memory)

  2. Heart rate

  3. ECG

A : 89.8% (44/49)
B : 81.6% (40/49)
Feng14 (2013) CA A: 86/86
B: 85/85 (65≤age≤90)
MOXA+ Herbal Medicine+ Ointment Moxa: 40min/1day
Zhi gancao-tang
Zhi gancao-tang
Ointment: 6H/1day / total : 1month
  • Moxa: CV8, CV12, CV6, CV4

  • Ointment: CV8, CV12, CV6, CV4

  1. Heart rate

  2. ECG

A : 93.02% (80/86)
B : 69.41% (59/85)

* CA : Cardiac Arrhythmia;

† CBA : Cardiac Bradycardia Arrhythmia;

‡ MOXA : Moxibustion ;

§ ACU : Acupuncture;

|| A: Experimental group; B: Control group.

ECG : electrocardiogram, A>B* : P value < 0.05, A>B** : P value < 0.001


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