Breast engorgement is a common problem that affects the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. Limited solutions are available to relieve the discomfort associated with breast engorgement. Thus, further investigation of methods to achieve effective relief of symptoms is critical to promote breastfeeding success.Purpose:
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of two breast care methods, that is, scraping (Gua-Sha) therapy (administered to the experimental group) and traditional breast care (i.e., massage and heating; administered to the control group).Methods:
A randomized controlled trial was conducted on 54 postpartum women at a Level III medical teaching hospital. Participant inclusion criteria included postpartum breastfeeding women (a) who had an uncomplicated delivery and (b) who were experiencing breast engorgement problems. The Gua-Sha protocol selected appropriate acupoint positions, which included ST16, ST18, SP17, and CV17. Each position was lightly scraped seven times in two cycles. For the control group, we used hot packs and massage for 20 min in accordance with recommendations given in an obstetrical technique textbook.Results:
Results showed no statistical differences between the two groups at baseline. Body temperature, breast temperature, breast engorgement, pain levels, and discomforting levels were statistically different between the two groups at 5 and 30 min after intervention (p < .001). The results of generalized estimating equation analysis indicated that, with the exception of body temperature, all variables remained more significant (p < .0001) to improving engorgement symptoms in the experimental group than those in the control group, after taking related variables into account.Conclusions and Implications for Practice:
Our findings provided empirical evidence supporting that Gua-Sha therapy may be used as an effective technique in the management of breast engorgement. By using Gua-Sha therapy, nurses can handle breast engorgement problems more effectively in primary care and hence help patients both physically and psychologically.