Effects of acupressure on menstrual distress in adolescent girls: a comparison between Hegu-Sanyinjiao matched points and Hegu, Zusanli single point

J Clin Nurs. 2010 Apr;19(7-8):998-1007. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.02872.x.


Aim and objectives: To examine a comparison between Hegu and Sanyinjiao matched points and Hegu, Zusanli single point on adolescent girls' menstrual distress, pain and anxiety perception.

Background: Primary dysmenorrhoea is a major cause of temporary disability, with a prevalence ranging from 60-93%, depending upon the population and study. No one has yet compared the effects of single point and multiple point acupressures. Design. A single blind randomised experimental study was used.

Methods: Adolescents (n = 134) randomly assigned to experimental groups Zusanli (n = 30), Hegu (n = 33) and Hegu-Sanyinjiao Matched Points (n = 36) received acupressure intervention protocol for 20 minutes, while the control group (n = 35) did not receive any acupressure intervention. Four instruments were used to collect data: (1) the Visual Analog Scale for Pain; (2) the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire Short Form; (3) the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire and (4) the Visual Analog Scale for Anxiety.

Results: During the six-month follow-up, acupressure at matched points Hegu and Sanyinjiao reduced the pain, distress and anxiety typical of dysmenorrhoea. Acupressure at single point Hegu was found, effectively, to reduce menstrual pain during the follow-up period, but no significant difference for reducing menstrual distress and anxiety perception was found. Zusanli acupressure had no significant effects of reducing menstrual pain, distress and anxiety perception.

Conclusion: This controlled trial provides preliminary evidence that six-month acupressure therapy provides female adolescents with dysmenorrhoea benefits.

Relevance to clinical practice: Acupressure is an effective and safe non-pharmacologic strategy for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. We recommend the use of acupressure for self-care of primary dysmenorrhoea at Hegu and Sanyinjiao matched points and single point Hegu, as pressure placement at these points is easy for adolescent girls to learn and practice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Adolescent
  • Dysmenorrhea / nursing
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Taiwan