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Moxibustion is a form of acupuncture that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine by doctors and therapists for thousands of years, and its usage is increasing worldwide. To ensure the safety and quality of the instrument that is used, a new International Standard has just been published.

Osteoarthritis, digestive complaints, asthma and soft tissue injuries are just some of the wide array of medical complaints that can be helped by moxibustion, a form of heat therapy targeting acupuncture points in the body.

Traditionally using the ‘moxa’ plant, modern moxibustion can involve using an infrared moxibustion-like instrument that simulates the heating effect and infrared spectrum of burning the plant to irradiate the body at these points.

With the rising number of different infrared radiation devices now available on the market, distinguishing between them to ensure their safety and effectiveness is more important than ever.

ISO 20493, Traditional Chinese medicine – Infrared moxibustion-like instrument, aims to do just that, by setting minimum safety and quality requirements for manufacturers and regulators alike.

Dr David Graham, Chair of the technical committee that developed the standard, said: “The infrared moxibustion-like instrument used in traditional Chinese medicine uses specific wavelengths to treat various diseases, so for these to be effective, and to regulate the market, we decided to develop an International Standard.

“ISO 20493 defines the scope and technical requirements needed to ensure safety and quality, providing a basis on which regulations can be made, and ultimately facilitating international trade as well.”

ISO 20493:2018 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 249, Traditional Chinese medicine, whose secretariat is held by SAC, ISO’s member for China. It is available from your national ISO member or though the ISO Store.

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Clare Naden
Clare Naden

+41 22 749 0474


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