Aim. This paper presents the findings of a study that assessed the effects of acupressure at the Sanyinjiao point on symptoms of primary dysmenorrhoea among adolescent girls. Background. Dysmenorrhoea is the most common gynaecological disorder among adolescents. Traditional Chinese acupressure derived from acupuncture is a non-invasive technique. Despite renewed interest in the use of acupressure, relatively few studies have been undertaken to examine its effects on primary dysmenorrhoea. Methods. An experimental study was conducted between December 2000 and August 2001. Participants were female students attending a technical college in Taiwan. None of the 69 participants had a prior history of gynaecological disease or secondary dysmenorrhoea, and all were rated higher than five for pain on a visual analogue scale from O to 10. The experimental group (n = 35) received acupressure at Sanyinjiao (above the ankle) while the control group (n = 34) rested for 20 min, while the control group underwent rest in the school health centre for 20 min without receiving acupressure. Fifty participants (30 experimental, 20 control) completed the 4-6-week follow-up session. Five instruments were used to collect pretest and post-test data at each session: (1) Visual Analogue Scale for pain; (2) the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire; (3) the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire; (4) the Visual Analogue Scale for anxiety; and, for the experimental group only, (5) the Acupressure Self-Assessment Form. Data were analysed using the chi-square test, two-sample t-test and repeated measures two-way ANOVA. Results. Acupressure at Sanyinjiao during the initial session reduced the pain and anxiety typical of dysmenorrhoea. In the self-treatment follow-up session, acupressure at Sanyinjiao significantly reduced menstrual pain but not anxiety. Thirty-one (87%) of the 35 experimental participants reported that acupressure was helpful, and 33 (94%) were satisfied with acupressure in terms of its providing pain relief and psychological support during dysmenorrhoea. Conclusion. The findings suggest that acupressure at Sanyinjiao can be an effective, cost-free intervention for reducing pain and anxiety during dysmenorrhoea, and we recommend its use for self-care of primary dysmenorrhoea.
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