Table 4

Studies examining the effect of treatment timing

Study (number of participants)InterventionComparator group(s)Outcome measureTreatment outcome for pain
Ma et al30
(n=600)
MA at Shiqizhui before menses
(n=100)
Treatment before menses at multiple points
(n=100)
Treatment during menses at Shiqizhui
(n=100)
Treatment during menses at multiple points
(n=100)
No treatment control
(n=100)
CMSS
VAS
Immediate:
Both acupuncture groups using treatment during menses had significant reductions in VAS (p<0.01 for both)
Short-term:
Treatment before menses at multiple points produced the greatest reduction in pain compared with treating at the single point Shiqizhui (SMD −3.22, 95% CI −3.55 to −2.88, p<0.01). When treating during menses the single point was superior to multiple points (SMD −3.55, 95% CI −3.9 to −3.2, p<0.01)
Bu et al29
(n=80)
Preconditioning
acupuncture (PA)
1/day for 3–7 days before menses
(n=20)
Acupuncture (A): 30 min 1/day for 3–7 days from 1st day of menses
(n=20)
Control group: untreated
(n=40)
CMSSShort-term:
Acupuncture given before menses (PA) was significantly better at reducing pain intensity (SMD −0.93, 95% CI −1.62 to −0.24, p<0.01) and pain duration (SMD −0.94, 95% CI −1.63 to −0.25, p<0.01) than acupuncture starting from the first day of menses (A). Both groups showed greater pain reduction than the control group (p< 0.05)
  • CI, confidence interval; CMSS, Cox menstrual symptom scale; MA, manual acupuncture; SMD, standardised mean difference; VAS, visual analogue scale.