BERLIN: A smartphone app can help women effectively reduce and cope with menstrual pain and cramps using self-acupressure, a study has found. About 50 to 90 per cent of young women experience pain during their periods. While this pain primarily manifests itself as lower abdominal cramping, other symptoms include headache, backache, nausea and diarrhea. Acupressure is a technique derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In contrast to acupuncture, this technique can be used as a form of self-care and is suitable for use at home. Rather than using needles, this technique involves massage or pressure being applied to specific points on the body.Researchers from Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany wanted to evaluate whether in a group of women suffering from severe menstrual pain, aged between 18 and 34, self-acupressure would be more effective at achieving a sustained reduction in menstrual pain than usual care alone (eg pain medication and hormonal contraceptives). For the study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 221 participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups, both of which received a study app and short introduction.Acupressure-based features – with instructions on how to administer self-acupressure shortly before and during menstruation were only made available to the intervention group. One advantage of an app-based intervention is its ability to provide visual descriptions of the pressure points users need to target in order to achieve the desired effect. It can also send regular reminders.
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