(Natural News) In this study, researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University designed a randomized crossover pilot study and evaluated its feasibility on elderly subjects. The results of their clinical trial protocol, which focused on the effects of gua sha on inflammatory biomarkers, were published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
- The researchers used a hydrocollator-based hot pack therapy as an active control.
- They considered pain intensity, physical disability, depression, general health status, and salivary biomarkers as outcome measures.
- Although they did not observe any significant difference in the outcome measures attained using either gua sha or the control, the researchers noted important differences during the one-week follow-up period.
- They reported that elderly subjects in the gua sha-treated group experienced greater pain reduction and disability improvement than those in the control group.
- While both treatments improved flexion and the extension and bending movements of the lower back, areas of improvement varied between the two.
- Gua sha treatment decreased the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1).
- In the control group, the levels of these biomarkers rebounded one week after the hot pack treatment.
- The researchers also reported that the decrease in TNF-a in the gua sha group strongly correlated with the improvement of physical disability. Physical disability was correlated with the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain intensity.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that their clinical trial protocol is feasible for evaluating the effectiveness of gua sha and other therapies and that gua sha provides a longer-lasting anti-inflammatory effect and pain relief than hot pack treatment in elderly patients with chronic lower back pain.
Yuen JW, Tsang WW, Tse SH, Loo WT, Chan ST, Wong DL, Chung HH, Tam JK, Choi TK, Chiang VC. THE EFFECTS OF GUA SHA ON SYMPTOMS AND INFLAMMATORY BIOMARKERS ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN: A RANDOMIZED ACTIVE-CONTROLLED CROSSOVER PILOT STUDY IN ELDERLY. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. June 2017;32:25–32. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.03.010