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How to treat dysmenorrhea with Gua sha

Dysmenorrhea, or painful periods, is a symptom which appears often in the clinic and in many cases it is a chronic problem which has lasted a long time. A sequence of areas known as a protocol is common in modern TCM whereby rather than treating with the focus on the individual, the focus is on the disease, and therefore the same for everyone. While there are distinct problems with this Western medicine influenced approach, it can be very useful to know. In the clinic you have to be pragmatic and use what will get the person back to health as effectively as possible.

So, here is the Gua sha and cupping protocol on dysmenorrhea recommended by the Reproductive Center of Tianjin First Affiliated Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and based on a study in 2006 by Xia Junbo and Shi Li.

Areas to apply Gua sha strokes:

On the abdomen:

  • Qihai (Ren 6)

  • Guanyuan (Ren 4)

  • Zhongji (Ren 3)

  • Qixue (Kidney 13)

Ren 3, Ren 4, Ren 6 & Kd 13 on the abdomen
Ren 3/ 4/ 6 & Kd 13 on the abdomen

On the leg:

  • Sanyinjiao (Spleen 6)

Spleen 6 Gua sha point
Spleen 6

On the back:

  • Sanjiaoshu (Bladder 22)

  • Shenshu (Bladder 23)

  • Bladder Shu (Bladder 28)

Gua points on the back
Bl 22, Bl 23 & Bl 28 on the back


1. Apply lubrication on the selected points, scrape for 10 minutes.

2. Use cupping on Bladder 23, Ren 6, Ren 4, Ren 3, and Xuehai (Spleen 10) for 5-10 minutes.

3. Repeat the above treatment once every 3 days - 4 times is 1 course of treatment

4. Observe the effect after 4 courses of treatment

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©2021 Clive Witham