Gua Sha Therapy Helps Relieve The Symptoms Of Perimenopause

According to a recent study, a Chinese medicine technique that rubs or scrapes certain parts of the body with a smooth-edged tool may help alleviate vexatious symptoms women suffer from in the years leading up to menopause.

As levels of estrogen ebb and flow and begin falling, perimenopause can commence eight to 10 years prior to menopause, although menstrual cycles still continue. Throughout this period, and for a year or more after the cessation of menstruation, women may suffer from dyspareunia (pain during sex), vaginal dryness, pains and aches, forgetfulness, mood swings, tiredness, insomnia, and hot flashes.

In the journal Menopause, authors of a study believe that around 75 percent to 92 percent of women experiencing perimenopause manifest some of these symptoms, while around 40 percent are finding them so intolerable that they’re forced to seek medical help to relieve the symptoms.

According to these authors, one of the traditional Chinese medicine techniques most commonly used to treat the abovementioned symptoms is Gua sha therapy. It is believed that the procedure works by generating an anti-nflammatory effect and improving surface circulation.

One of the authors, a Chinese researcher from Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Nanjing named Duan says “Gua sha treatment is widely practiced in a lot of hospitals throughout China”.

Older research has proven that the therapy helps treat or prevent a lot of frequently-occurring or many common conditions like emphysema, asthma, heatstroke, fever, chronic and acute pain, flu, and colds.

The researchers enlisted 80 women all suffering from perimenopausal symptoms for the study. The patients came from a clinic in a hospital in Nanjing. They were randomly divided into two groups.

One group was given standard treatment where they were required to drink a liquid obtained from conventional Chinese herbs named Chinghsin Hsishen Tang two times a day and treated with Gua sha therapy for 15 minutes once a week. In this therapy, a practitioner utilized a scraper formed from the horn of a water buffalo and skin lubricant to activate acupuncture points located on the upper limbs, lower limbs, and back for eight weeks. The other group only also received the same herbal treatment.

Purple or red Gua marks on the skin develop in the scraping procedure. According to the authors, the marks usually slowly dissipate within seven days.

After eight weeks both groups showed improvements on the scores on a menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire although for the group given Gua sha therapy, those improvements were significantly higher. This group also had a more reduced rate in headaches, fatigue, melancholia, nervousness, insomnia, sweating, and hot flashes compared to the group that only received conventional treatment.

According to Dr. Francesco Cardini, an Italian researcher in the Health and Social Regional Agency in Emilia Romagna, “Unfortunately, studies on this subject are weak and scarce few and weak.” “In women who were not brought up in Chinese culture, Gua sha therapy produces temporary superficial skin lesions that are not acceptable to them”.

Going back to the old research, Duan says “Gua sha treatment therapy symptoms of perimenopause were tolerated well by the subjects. No serious negative events happened and only a couple of mild negative and temporary events were reported both of which were seen as unrelated to Gua sha. The two events involved mild dizziness; one was due to nervousness at the initial therapy while the other was due to hypoglycemia caused by the patient not eating her breakfast”.

Duan said that the Gua sha therapy’s long-term benefits are still not determined. In theory, Chinese women can all avail of this therapy, but only at major Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) hospitals. To get the treatment women living in rural regions need to travel a long way to the major cities in China where the hospitals are located, and for them, this can be extremely expensive and inconvenient

American celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow have endorsed this therapy. Some licensed massage practitioners in the U.S. do offer Gua sha therapy in their list of services.

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983

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