Health Intuitive

Perimenopause Symptoms Treated With Gua Sha Therapy

According to a new study, a Chinese medicine practice using a smooth-edged tool to rub or scrape certain regions of the body may alleviate bothersome symptoms women tend to suffer in the years leading up to menopause.

Perimenopause may start eight to 10 years prior to menopause, as levels of estrogen undulate and begin decreasing although menstrual periods may still continue. During this time, and for a few years after the menstrual cycles ceases, women may have to deal with pains and aches, forgetfulness, mood swings, tiredness, insomnia, hot flashes, and during sex, pain and vaginal dryness.

In a study published in the Menopause journal, 75% to 92% of women undergoing perimenopause showed some of these symptoms and about 40% have symptoms so severe that they are forced to seek relief from their problems.

One of the most widely therapies used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is Gua sha therapy, which works by producing an anti-inflammatory effect and improving circulation on the skin surface.

“This ancient healing art has been widely utilized in China in clinical practice,” said Pei-bei Duan coauthor of Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Duan said ”Past clinical trials have found that gua sha can treat or prevent a lot of frequently and commonly-occurring illnesses, such as emphysema, asthma, heatstroke, fever, flu, colds, and chronic or acute pain.”

Eighty women with symptoms of perimenopause volunteered for the trial which was conducted at Nanjing China, at the First Affiliated Hospital of Chinese Medicine. The researchers randomly grouped the subjects into two groups.

One group was only given one traditional conventional treatment, which involved imbibing a liquid two times a day made from Qingxin Zishen Tang, a traditional Chinese herbal remedy. The other group was also given the same traditional treatment along with a session of gua sha therapy once a week, 15 -minutes per session. The session involved applying a lubricant on the patient’s skin and scraping the skin with a horn scraper to stimulate pressure same as those targeted by acupuncture in Bellingham. The treatment, which lasted for two months, focused on the upper and lower limbs and back of the patient.

The authors of the study noted the scraping procedure causes purple or red marks on the skin which often dissipate within a week.

For both groups of women, scores on a questionnaire regarding menopause-related quality of life showed improvement after eight weeks, but the scores were significantly higher for the subjects in the Gua sha therapy group. The gua sha group also showed greater diminution in sweating and hot flashes, headache and fatigue, melancholia, nervousness, and insomnia than the group that received only traditional treatment.

Like any other conventional healing modalities, Gua sha therapy, may not be a welcome form of treatment for European women because it tends to produce unappealing temporary shallow skin lesions.

Researchers of the study said that the treatment of perimenopausal symptoms with gua sha therapy was well tolerated by the subjects and only a few mild and transient side events were observed and no serious side effect occurred. The two side effects were seen as not connected to Gua sha. In both instances, mild dizziness was experienced; one was due to extreme nervousness at the first treatment and the other was due to hypoglycemia since the patient didn’t have breakfast.

No studies have been done to test the long–term benefits of gua sha therapy. In theory, women in China can avail themselves of this therapy any time, but only at major TCM hospitals.

Women living in provinces have to travel a long way to the cities to receive the therapy. The women should try it if they have access to it.

In the States, gua sha therapy has been promoted by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and there are a number of certified massage therapists who offer this type of therapy in their services.

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