Title:
Moxa cone removal instrument
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a moxa cone removal forceps instrument made of heat resistant material and designed for removal of burning moxa cones from the skin of patients undergoing acupuncture treatments. The removal instrument has pivoting legs with scoops at the ends most distal from the finger grip portions of the legs. The scoops are designed to grasp and hold the moxa cones within an enclosed volume having a flat bottom.



Inventors:
Gray, Leslie (San Clemente, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/104742
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
04/13/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G21/10; B25B7/02; B25B7/14; A61B18/06; (IPC1-7): A47G21/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DORNBUSCH, DIANNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOWARD M COHN (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A moxa cone removal instrument comprising: two elongate members joined together; and a pair of end scoops, one on each of the two elongate members, said end scoops disposed so as to come together and form a hollow enclosed volume wherein can be captured an object without applying clamping pressure upon said object.

2. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 1 where in the hollow enclosed volume formed by the said end scoops form the volumetric shape of a polyhedral volume having a flat polygonal base.

3. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 1 where in the hollow enclosed volume formed by the said end scoops form the volumetric shape of a conical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base.

4. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 1 wherein the end scoops are constructed of a heat resistant material.

5. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 4 wherein the heat resistant material is metal.

6. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 4 wherein the heat resistant material is high temperature plastic.

7. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 1 including means for locking the two elongate members together.

8. The moxa cone removal instrument of claim 7 wherein the means for locking the two elongate members together includes a locking tang on each of the elongate members for locking together when the two elongate members are locked together.

9. A method for removing burning moxa cones from the skin of patients undergoing acupuncture treatments involving moxibustion, the method comprising the steps of: providing a moxa cone removal instrument comprising two elongate members joined together with a pair of end scoops, one on each of the two elongate members, said end scoops disposed so as to come together and form a hollow enclosed volume when the elongate members are brought together; positioning the pair of end scoops upon the patient's skin on opposite sides of the burning moxa cone; closing the elongate members of the moxa cone removal instrument so as to enclose the moxa cone within the hollow enclosed volume defined by the pair of end scoops; and lifting the burning moxa cone away from the skin.

10. The method of claim 9 including the step of: opening the moxa cone removal instrument to remove the moxa cone therefrom.

11. The method of claim 9 including the step of: closing the elongate members of the moxa cone removal instrument so as to enclose the moxa cone within the hollow enclosed volume defined by the pair of end scoops without applying clamping pressure upon said moxa cone

12. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of providing a moxa cone removal instrument includes the step of providing said volume defined by the pair of end scoops to be a polyhedral volume having a flat polygonal base.

13. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of providing a moxa cone removal instrument includes the step of providing said volume defined by the pair of end scoops to be a conical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base.

14. The method of claim 9 further including the step of providing a moxa cone removal instrument of two elongate members joined together with a pair of end scoops constructed of a heat resistant material.

15. The method of claim 9 further including the step locking the two elongate members together.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the step locking the two elongate members together includes the step of providing a locking tang on each of the elongate members for locking the two elongate members together.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/562,041 filed on Apr. 14, 2004 which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to the direct moxa method of acupuncture treatment and more particularly to an apparatus for removing a burning moxa cone from a patient.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many think of Chinese medicine as being synonymous with acupuncture, but even the Chinese term for acupuncture, “Zhen Jiu,” literally translates into “Acupuncture & Moxibustion.” Rarely in the medicine practiced in ancient China were acupuncture needles inserted without also treating patients with moxibustion, a therapy which involves the burning of specific herbs at acupuncture points. Today, moxibustion is frequently used alongside acupuncture for conditions ranging from bronchial asthma to arthritis with amazing success.

In moxibustion, the leaves of the Chinese herb mugwort (Artemesiae Vulgaris) are dried and then burned using one of several methods.

The ‘moxa stick’ is the most common form in which moxibustion is used to promote healing. Here the dried mugwort is rolled up tightly and wrapped in paper forming a cigar-like stick. The moxa stick can be held in one place, rotated in circles, or ‘pecked’ in a motion similar to a sparrow pecking at food over the area of an acupuncture point.

Another form of moxibustion involves the ‘heating needle.’ In this method, a roll of dried mugwort is applied directly on the head of an acupuncture needle. The roll is then lit and burns slowly like an incense stick. Heat penetrates through the acupuncture needle and transfers deeply into the acupuncture point. This infusion of heat brings instant relief to rheumatic pain in the muscles and joints and is commonly used as a treatment for arthritic pain.

‘Ginger moxa’ is yet another method that combines the therapeutic properties of moxibustion with those of ginger, one of the most popular herbs used in Chinese medicine. Practitioners cut a slice of ginger, approximately one to two centimeters thick, and pierce it with tiny holes. Dried mugwort leaves are then rolled up into a cone that is about the size of a lima bean. The ginger is placed on the umbilicus of a patient suffering from diarrhea or abdominal pain. The moxa cone is placed on the ginger and then carefully lit with a small flame. The burning nugget of moxa and ginger remain on the umbilicus until the patient perspires and the area turns red. New cones are added as the original cone burns down. The ginger slice should be changed after 5 moxa cones. In addition to treating digestive symptoms, ginger moxa is also beneficial in the treatment of painful joints.

‘Direct moxa’ is a method where the dried herb is rolled into a small cone (about the size of a rice grain) and burned directly on the skin. Vaseline may be spread onto the skin to ensure that the moxa cone will stick. The moxa cone is lit with the end of a burning incense stick, barely touching the top of the cone until it ignites. Tweezers are used to take the cone off when the heat becomes uncomfortable.

Direct moxa is commonly used to stop heavy menstrual bleeding. Women suffering from excess bleeding will have moxa cones applied to a point at the corner of the nail of the big toe. The moxa is burned two thirds of the way down to avoid scarring or blistering the skin. This procedure is repeated with three to five cones per toe. Here again, in the vast majority of cases, the direct moxa treatment brings relief where Western techniques offer little help for patients.

Traditional treatment of asthma requires that moxa cones be burnt directly on the upper back. In this treatment the moxa cones burn all the way down in order to actually cause some degree of scarring.

As discussed in http://www.sadhanadojo.com/index2.phtml/2002-06-14-140631/1/, Moxa treatment is based on the same Chinese yin and yang principles that activate the healing properties in acupuncture and shiatsu. When using raw moxa punt apply a good burn ointment, such as Ching Wan or aloe vera. This will help prevent unnecessary damage to the skin. (It is also used to anchor the moxa cone to the skin.) You then take a pinch of moxa punk between your thumb and index finger and roll it into a tight tiny cone. Place the cone directly on the selected acupuncture point or tsubo and light it with a stick of incense. Allow the moxa to burn down to the receiver's skin and then wipe it away with a cotton square dampened with alcohol. Depending on the depth of tsubo usually three to six applications are used on a point. When finished, wipe the affected tsubo area with alcohol to help close the pores and protect against infection. Treatments are often to be applied every day, perhaps lasting up to 6 weeks, and again this is dependent on the desired affect and the tsubo being stimulated.

The invention relates to the direct moxa method, and removing burning a burning moxa cone from a patient. The cone (or pyramid) of moxa is placed on an acupuncture point of a patient, base down (base of the cone on the patient's skin), and the tip (apex) of the cone is lit. The moxa cone burns like incense, from the tip down to the base. While burning, the acupuncture point on the patient is slowly heated. When the cone of moxa is nearly burnt down, or the patient cannot tolerate the heat, the stub of the cone, which is largely ash plus any unburned base portion of the cone is removed.

In the past, the practitioner could remove the burnt down moxa cone with his/her fingers, but this can cause burning of the fingers. Gloves could be used. It is also known to use tweezers, but the stub of the moxa cone is quite crumbly, and using tweezers which would apply direct pressure to the cone could cause is to crumble, leaving hot moxa on the patient's skin. Wiping away with a cotton square dampened with alcohol is also discussed, but anytime you apply alcohol to a patient's skin, abrupt cooling occurs due to the evaporation of alcohol, and this is not or may negate the desired effect.

What is needed is an instrument (tool) for removing a burning (or burnt) moxa cone from the body of a patient without damaging either the practitioner or the patient.

Tweezers are known. A tweezer has two elongate members joined at one end. The two elongate members form an acute angle with one another, typically about 10-20 degrees. The other (“far”, “business”) ends of the elongate members are spaced apart and are typically either pointed or blunt. The material of the elongate materials is somewhat resilient (springy). When the two elongate members are squeezed together, at a midpoint thereof, the two “far” ends (which oppose each other) come together and can capture an object therebetween by applying clamping pressure on the object. As discussed above, it is not desirable to apply direct pressure to a burnt, crumbly moxa cone.

Forceps are known. A forceps has two rigid elongate members pivotally joined to one another at a midpoint. The two elongate members form an acute angle with one another, typically limited to 0-90 degrees. (Think of a pair of scissors, or pliers.) At one end (“handle”) of the elongate members are finger holes. At the other (“far”, “business”) end, the elongate members are typically provided with “grabbing” surfaces or structures. The material of the elongate materials is relatively rigid (not springy). When the user squeezes the handle ends together, the other (“far”) ends (which oppose each other) come together and can capture an object therebetween by applying clamping pressure on the object. (Some forceps are provided with ratchet teeth on the handle end so that the forceps can be “locked” in a closed position.) As discussed above, it is not desirable to apply direct pressure to a burnt, crumbly moxa cone.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a moxa cone removal forceps instrument constructed of a heat resistant material and comprising two elongate members joined together and a pair of end scoops, one on each of the two elongate members, said end scoops disposed so as to come together and form a hollow enclosed volume wherein can be captured an object without applying clamping pressure upon said object. The hollow enclosed volume is a polyhedral volume having a flat polygonal base, or it is a conical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base, or it is a flat based spherical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base, or it is a flat circular or elliptical base, or it is a flat based cubical volume having a flat square base, or it is a flat based rectangular volume having a flat rectangular base. The heat resistant material of forceps instrument of the present invention is constructed of is metal or high temperature plastic.

The present invention is a method for removing burning moxa cones from the skin of patients undergoing acupuncture treatments involving moxibustion, the method comprising the steps of utilizing a forceps like instrument constructed of a heat resistant material and comprising two elongate members joined together and having a pair of end scoops, one on each of the two elongate members, said end scoops disposed upon the ends of the elongate members so as to be brought together to form a hollow enclosed volume wherein can be captured a moxa cone without applying clamping pressure upon said moxa cone when positioning the pair of end scoops upon the patient's skin on opposite sides of the burning moxa cone and closing the elongate members of the forceps instrument so as to enclose the moxa cone within a volume defined by the pair of end scoops followed by lifting the burning moxa cone away from the skin and then opening the forceps instrument to remove the moxa cone therefrom. The method further includes the step of having said volume defined by the pair of end scoops be a polyhedral volume having a flat polygonal base, or a conical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base, or a flat based spherical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base, or a flat based cylindrical volume having a flat circular or elliptical base, or a flat based cubical volume having a flat square base, or a flat based rectangular volume having a flat rectangular base. The method includes the steps of using a forceps like instrument constructed of metal or of high temperature plastic.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The structure, operation, and advantages of the present invention will become further apparent upon consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures (FIGUREs.). The figures are intended to be illustrative, not limiting.

Certain elements in some of the figures may be omitted, or illustrated not-to-scale, for illustrative clarity. The cross-sectional views may be in the form of “slices”, or “near-sighted” cross-sectional views, omitting certain background lines which would otherwise be visible in a “true” cross-sectional view, for illustrative clarity.

In the drawings accompanying the description that follows, often both reference numerals and legends (labels, text descriptions) may be used to identify elements. If legends are provided, they are intended merely as an aid to the reader, and should not in any way be interpreted as limiting.

Often, similar elements may be referred to by similar numbers in various figures of the drawing, in which case typically the last two significant digits may be the same, the most significant digit being the number of the drawing figure.

These and other features of the present invention will be apparent with reference to the following description and drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A is an orthogonal side view of an embodiment of the moxa removal forceps instrument of the present invention, shown in open position;

FIG. 1B is an orthogonal side view of an embodiment of the moxa removal forceps instrument of the present invention, shown in closed position;

FIG. 2 is a view into one embodiment of the scoop end of the present forceps invention; and

FIG. 3 is a view into a second embodiment of the scoop end of the present forceps invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention is a moxa cone removal instrument or forceps instrument 10, as shown in FIGS. 1A and 2B, designed for removal of burning moxa cones from the skin of patients undergoing acupuncture treatments involving moxibustion wherein burning moxa cones are placed near to or on the surface of a patient's skin. The forceps 10 according to the present invention allows the removal of burning or hot moxa cones without risk of burn for the person administering the moxibustion treatment. The forceps 10 comprise two pivoting legs 12, 14 similar in general shape and size to a hemostat, but having scoops 18, 20 at the ends most distal from the finger grip portions 21a, 21b. The scoops are designed to grasp and hold the moxa cones without crushing them.

Referring now to FIG. 1A, the moxa cone removal instrument 10 according to the present invention is a tweezer- or forceps-like instrument (structure) comprising two elongate members 12, 14 joined either at one end (tweezer) or pivoted at a midpoint (forceps) 16, and having end scoops 18, 20, respectively, which oppose each other and which are shaped to capture an object without applying clamping pressure on the captured object. As shown in FIG. 1A, the elongate members 12, 14, when the instrument 10 is in the ‘open’ position as shown, make and angle of A that is variable and larger than it would be when the instrument 10 is in the closed position as shown in FIG. 1B.

The scoops 18, 20 have faces 24, 25, respectively, that open into internal volumes 28 and 30, respectively, as shown in the two cut-away portions of the view shown in FIG. 1B.

Each elongate member 12, 14 of the forceps 10, according to the present invention, can also include respectively locking tang portions 22a, 22b of a locking mechanism 22 that engage each other when the elongate members 12, 14 are in the closed position, as shown in FIG. 1B, wherein the open faces 24, 25 of the scoops 18, 20 are in contact and enclosing a volume comprising the two volumes 28, 30 of each scoop. The locking tangs 22a, 22b are equipped with interconnecting locking ridges 23 (shown on 22a in FIG. 1A; they are out of view on 22b) that engage when the forceps 10 are closed, such as upon a moxa cone. The locking tangs 22a, 22b can be disengaged by gentle twisting or bending of the elongate members 12, 14 so as to disengage the ridges 23 on tang 22a from the corresponding ridges (not shown) on tang 22b. The locking tangs 22a, 22b are similar to those typically found on such an instrument as a hemostat. While locking tangs are shown, it is also within the terms of the present invention to form the elongate members 12, 14 without a locking mechanism 22.

When the two opposing far end scoops 18, 20 of the forceps instrument 10 are closed upon each other (i.e., when the angle A between two elongate members 12, 14 is at a minimum), they form a combined volume V, shown in FIG. 1B that is the sum of the volumes 28 and 30 of each scoop 18, 20, respectively. The two opposing far end scoops 18, 20 can “scoop” up an object such a burning or burnt moxa cone during their closing and then completely encase the object without applying direct pressure to the object. The flat bottoms 18a, 20a of the scoops 18 and 20, respectively, make contact with the skin of the patient. The ability of this forceps instrument 10 to scoop and encase an object will enable a burning moxa cone to be easily scooped up and removed from the skin of a patient without allowing the burning moxa cone to injure either the patient or the acupuncture practitioner.

For example, as shown in FIG. 2, the scoop 18, at the end of the elongate member 14, encloses a polyhedral volume corresponding to half of a four-sided pyramid. Note the offset region 29 between the elongate member 14 and the scoop 18, said offset being present as one of many ways to accommodate the inherent offset of the elongate members 12, 14 as they are joined and hinged about the pivot point 16 illustrated in the FIGS. 1A and 1B. As shown in FIG. 1B, the scoop 18 (as shown in FIG. 2) mates with a substantially identically shaped scoop 20 to create an internal polyhedral volume V having a four-sided pyramid shape. The corresponding scoop 20 is shaped like scoop 18, albeit having a mirror image shape and offset conformation.

More specifically, in relation to the scoop 18 shown in FIG. 2, the two side surfaces 32a, 32b are two of the four facets of the pyramidal volume V when the scoop 18 is in contact with the scoop 20, and the base facet 34 is half of the base of the pyramidal volume V of the two scoops when in contact at their faces 24, 25. The three edges 26 of the scoop 18, and the two corners 27 can be blunted so as not to present sharp edges or points that might injure the patient or the practitioner.

It is within the terms of the present invention to use other enclosed volumetric shapes of the combined volumes of the two scoops. For example, FIG. 3 shows a scoop 36 disposed at the end of an elongate member 38, also incorporating an offset 40. The scoop 36 enclosed a semi-conical volume 42 consisting of a semi-conical wall 44 and a semi-circular base 46, such that when a corresponding mirror-image scoop member (not shown) is brought face to face with the scoop 36, the enclosed volume is that of a right angle circular cone.

The inventor envisions that in addition to the aforementioned circular conical enclosed volume, the enclosed volume might also be that of an elliptical cone, i.e., a cone whose base, at right angles to the cone, is an ellipse that is divided half and half between the respective two far end scoops.

Generally, the enclosed volumes of the closed scoops 18, 20 should be oriented so that the flat part of the scoop—the base of the pyramid 18a, 20a or the base of the cone-shaped scoop—can “skim” across the patient's skin between the skin and the moxa cone, as with a dustpan and a brush. Another similar object would be a dredge which has two somewhat semi-cylindrical scoops which come together to scoop up objects.

Additional enclosed volumetric shapes are also envisioned by the inventor. For example, a right cylindrical enclosed volume with a circular base, said base being divided between each scoop. Enclosed volumes that are cubical or rectangular volumes are also envisioned for the closed pair of end scoops, though always having flat bases. A hemisphere for each of the end scoops, which when combined would enclose a spherical volume, is generally not preferred, since it does not have a flat base, but the two hemispherical volumes could be flattened a bit on the skin-contacting side to provide a flat base to skim along the patient's skin.

Any of the aforementioned enclosures formed by the end scoops 18, 20 preferably have solid walls. The moxa cone removal forceps 10 are designed to pick up and contain the moxa, i.e., not to let it fall out. The removed moxa cone can them be removed to a suitable location, such as a disposal bin, and the forceps can then be opened and the spent moxa properly discarded.

The material of the instrument 10 can certainly be metal, just like standard tweezers or forceps. However, metal always feels cold to the skin. A high density, heat resistant plastic such as polyimide would be preferred. Or bone, or even ivory (if legally available).

Alternatively, the enclosed volumetric shapes (cones, pyramids, etc.) described hereinabove could be formed as accessory “tips” which would removably fit onto the ends of standard forceps. Sets of different size and shape tips could be provided. The tips could either fit snugly (and removably) on the ends of the standard forceps, or a screw end or even an adhesive could be used.

Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain preferred embodiment or embodiments, certain equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described components the terms (including a reference to a “means”) used to describe such components are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any component which performs the specified function of the described component (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been disclosed with respect to only one of several embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more features of the other embodiments as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application.