Back in 1999 there was a review of all available clinical trials related to constipation and it was concluded that there was no clinical evidence that suggested any type of massage could provide benefits for constipation.
In the last 20 years or so since then, interesting research has shown that some massage techniques can help stimulate peristalsis which is contraction of muscles that helps move food a long through the digestive tract.
What Is Constipation?
You can be classed as constipated if your bowel movements are less frequent and you find it difficult to poop. You may feel like you have to strain and when finished, feel like your bowels aren’t completely empty. According to sources, in the USA it’s thought that 16 out of every 100 adults experience symptoms of constipation but this number could of course be higher or lower.
If you ever experience any symptoms related to constipation your first port of call should always be to your own doctor since only they will have your full medical history and will be able to rule out anything more sinister.
How To Massage The Stomach For Constipation
According to this 2009 randomized clinical controlled trial, the abdominal massage was able to increase bowel movements. 60-people with constipation were included in the study and they were split up into two groups. The first took only laxatives and the second took laxatives along with the massage for 8-weeks and it was clear the massage complemented the laxatives.
One of the great things about massaging for constipation is that it’s easy to self-massage your own abdomen and you don’t need book an appointment with a massage therapist. To massage your stomach for constipation, follow these 3 simple steps.
- Lay on your side or back.
- Use your both hands to apply gentle pressure starting in the lower abdomen with your fingers.
- In a circular motion begin moving up towards beneath your ribs and then back down again.
Repeat this massage technique between 5-10 times and make it part of your morning routine. This doesn’t help everyone but for a lot of people it may help them poop by stimulating the stomach muscles that control bowel movements. It cantake up to 1-week of daily massage.
Perineal Massage For Constipation
With this next perineal massage technique, you probably won’t want anyone to help you with it unless you have someone who likes tantric massage. The perineal area is the area between the anus / testes in males and vagina / anus in females. In this randomized controlled trial from 2014 via the UCLA Department of Medicine, the perineal massage was tested in 100 adults who had functional constipation according to Rome III criteria. The participants first received basic training in perineal self-acupressure and then were split up into placebo groups.
After the training 91 participants eventually fully completed the trial with no adverse events reported. Amazingly, the group that carried out the perineal massage showed improvements in bowel function and quality of life.
To carry out the perineal massage yourself follow these easy-to-follow steps.
- Wash your perineal area and find somewhere private to sit.
- Using your index finger, gently press the Perineal area holding for 1 second and then releasing.
- Repeat these steps until you feel an urge to poop.
Foot Massage for Constipation
Reflexology is a type of foot massage that some people believe triggers reflex points in the feet, hands and ears that connect the entire body together. It is thought that reflexology originating from India, China & Egypt is Pseudoscientific but a 2003 clinical study on children showed some interesting results.
The study took 50 children with Encopresis and chronic constipation and had them receive six 30-minute sessions of foot reflexology over the course of 6-weeks. It was found that the number of bowel motions increased and the incidence of soiling decreased.
Likewise with the abdominal massage for constipation, for most people massaging your own feet is also possible to do by yourself provided you are flexible enough. You can follow these steps to help you poop.
- Begin by sitting cross legged, on your back or on a chair.
- Start at your heel and work your way up to your toes with your thumb and fingers.
- Move the sides and massage the inner and outer edges of your feet.
If you aren’t flexible enough then you can ask someone close to help you out or visit a reflexologist. You can combine this with the abdominal massage as well for maximum pooping results but more studies on reflexology and constipation are needed.
Other Tips for Constipation
The best thing you can do for constipation is to throw the kitchen sink at it and do everything at once and not only just a massage. You should drink enough fresh chlorine free water throughout the day and limit caffeine.
Make sure to walk for at least 30 minutes per day, limit stress by meditating and finally make sure to eat foods that are high in both probiotics and fiber. According to ProbioticReviewGirl, probiotics & fiber have been shown to increase bowel movements and also help with constipation.
Some good foods options are vegetables that are fermented since they contain both fiber and probiotics. Kimchi or Sauerkraut are popular options for those who are constipated.
Since, 1999 it’s clear that more studies have shown that massaging for constipation may provide benefits in some people but it’s also clear that it works better as a supplementation to healthy lifestyle that includes adequate water, fiber and probiotic intake. If you have constipation, you could always ask your doctor what they think about massaging for constipation. They may be able to offer some more clear guidance. We hope this art of healthy living blog post helps with your stomach issues.