Effect of Gua sha therapy on perimenopausal syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective:

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of Gua sha therapy on perimenopausal symptoms, quality of life, and serum female hormones in participants with perimenopausal syndrome.

Methods:

A prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial was conducted at the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine in China. Eighty women with perimenopausal syndrome were recruited and randomized into an intervention group or a control group. Participants in the intervention group received 15-minute Gua sha treatment sessions once a week plus conventional treatment for 8 weeks, whereas participants in the control group received conventional treatment alone. The primary outcome was the change in perimenopausal symptoms and quality of life as obtained through the modified Kupperman Index (KI) and the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life. The secondary outcome was the change of serum female hormones including estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone.

Results:

Seventy-five out of 80 participants (93.8%) completed the study—38 in the intervention group and 37 in the control group. The baseline levels of demographic and outcome measurements were comparable between the two groups. After eight sessions of intervention, the reduction in the total modified KI score was, however, 16.32 ± 4.38 in the intervention group and 11.46 ± 5.96 in the control group, with a difference of 4.86 ± 6.15 (P < 0.01) between the two groups. Also the reductions of hot flash/sweating, paresthesia, insomnia, nervousness, melancholia, fatigue, and headache were greater in the intervention group than in the control group (P < 0.05). The reduction in the total Menopause-Specific Quality of Life score was 17.87 ± 3.84 in the intervention group and 13.62 ± 7.40 in the control group, with a difference of 4.46 ± 7.52 (P < 0.01) between the two groups. And the scores for vasomotor, psychosocial, and physical domains in the intervention group were significantly lower than those in the control group (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in serum estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone between the two groups.

Conclusions:

The results of this study suggest that Gua sha therapy was effective and safe in relieving perimenopausal symptoms and improving the quality of life in participants with perimenopausal syndrome. The therapy may serve as a promising, effective, nondrug treatment for perimenopausal syndrome in clinical work. Additional research is needed to better understand its effectiveness and examine its mechanism for treating perimenopausal syndrome.

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