To examine the effect of Gua Sha therapy in the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DNP).
An open-label randomized controlled study was conducted with usual care as the control (60 subjects in Gua Sha group and 59 subjects in usual care group). Outcome measures included Toronto Clinical Scoring System (TCSS), Vibration Perception Threshold (VPT), Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), and fasting plasma glucose (FPG). There were 12 consecutive sessions of Gua Sha, one session per week.
After the first cycle of Gua Sha intervention, only performance of sensory function measured by the VPT, and peripheral artery disease symptoms by the ABI were statistically significant differences between the two groups (both P values < 0.01), and the total TCSS score and the FPG level were no group differences (P = 0.14, and 0.25, respectively). At the eight-week and 12-week post intervention assessment, Gua Sha therapy significantly reduced severity of neuropathy symptoms, improved performance of sensory function, reduced peripheral artery disease, and better controlled plasma glucose by comparing with the control group (all P values < 0.01). The changes of mean scores of TCSS, VPT, ABI and the plasma glucose levels in the Gua Sha group showed a significant change from baseline to week 12, indicating that Gua Sha therapy induced progressive improvement in the management of DPN symptoms, sensory function, peripheral artery disease and glucose levels. No serious adverse events were reported in either arm. Gua Sha therapy in this study was effective, safe and well tolerated by patients.
Gua Sha therapy appears to be effective at reducing the severity of DPN in a clinically relevant dimension, and at improving other health outcomes in patients with DPN. While this study found that Gua Sha therapy is a promising treatment in reducing the symptoms of patients with DPN, further, larger sample studies are required to confirm the effects of Gua Sha therapy in patients with DPN.
Authors: Xie X, Lu L, Zhou X, Zhong C, Ge G, Huang H, Zhang X, Zeng Y
Published in: Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 May;35:348-352. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.03.018. Epub 2019 Mar 25.