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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 214089, 10 pages
Original Article

Changes of Blood Flow Volume in the Superior Mesenteric Artery and Brachial Artery with Abdominal Thermal Stimulation

1Center for Asian Traditional Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
2Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
3Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
4Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
5Research Division on Advanced Information Technology, Cyberscience Center, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan

Received 18 November 2008; Accepted 17 July 2009

Copyright © 2011 Shin Takayama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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 ( ), as well as at 10 min ( ) and 20 min ( ) after stimulation. In the BA, blood flow volume decreased at 40 min after stimulation ( ). 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.