It is possible to perform a massage to relieve constipation at home without equipment. It consists of exerting light pressure on the muscles and organs involved in the passage of waste. Although there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of massage for constipation, there is some evidence that it may provide relief. Massages are generally safe, may provide relief and improve well-being, whether or not they help with constipation, so they may be worth a try. This article examines massage techniques that can relieve constipation and how to practice them.
What is constipation?
Constipation occurs when a person has difficulty having a bowel movement. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but a common definition of constipation includes:
– less than 3 bowel movements per week
– hard or lumpy stools
– pain when passing stool
– the feeling that not all stools have passed
Can massage relieve?
Abdominal massages could help relieve constipation. Small studies support the use of massage therapy to help relieve this condition.
Below are different types of massage and their effects on relieving constipation.
Abdominal massage to relieve constipation
There is evidence that abdominal massages can help relieve symptoms of constipation. Although most studies are small, the results are generally positive.
How to Perform Abdominal Massage
To perform an abdominal massage, a person must:
1 lie on their back, knees bent and feet on the floor.
2 Begin the massage on the right side, near the pelvic bone, and apply pressure in a circular motion, bringing the hands up to the rib cage.
3 Move the hands to the left side, continue to bring them down to the hip bone, then back up to the navel.
4 Repeat if necessary.
Colon massage for constipation
Although people may draw parallels with colon massage and abdominal massage, the main difference seems to be the amount of pressure applied.
Practitioners claim that massage of the colon is a deep abdominal technique that stimulates the organs to release gas and pressure.
How to perform a colon massage
A colon massage is similar to an abdominal massage. To practice this technique, a person must:
1 lie on their back, knees bent and feet on the ground
2 Use knuckles or fingertips to apply pressure to the left side, moving from the rib cage to the pelvic bone.
3 Begin then on the right side and slide the fingertips to the left under the rib cage, then lower the hands to the pelvic bone.
4 Finally, on the right side of the stomach, go up massaging from the navel towards the rib cage, then on the other side, and finally again towards the pelvic bone.
5 Repeat these steps 10 to 25 times.
Other types of massage for constipation
Massaging other areas of the body can also help with constipation. Here are some of these techniques.
The interconnected nature of the muscles of the back and colon means that back massages can help with constipation.
There are currently no studies that look specifically at this effect, but back massages are not likely to cause harm and may aid relaxation.
In a 50 study on reflexology, researchers found that children who received a foot massage saw their constipation improve.
Like other research, this study was small, with only 50 participants, which means that the results may not be the same for all age groups or all types of people.
In a more recent study , the researchers examined 60 older adults to study the effects of reflexology on constipation. As with the study on children, scientists have found positive results using this technique.
How to perform a foot massage
For practicing reflexology, a person should
1 Sit in a comfortable position with one foot crossed over the opposite knee so that they can easily touch the bottom of their foot.
2 Starting in the middle of the heel, massage with the thumb and work towards the outer edge.
3 Following the edge of the foot, continue to apply pressure, moving the thumb towards the middle of the foot.
4 Switch feet and work from the center of the foot to the inside to the outside edge.
5 Move the thumb towards the heel and finish by massaging the inside of the middle of the foot.
A perineal massage uses a pressure point between the vagina or scrotum and the anus to help relieve constipation.
According to a study carried out in 2014 with 100 adults, self-administered perineal massage helped participants pass stools and improve their quality of life.
To perform a perineal massage, a person should
1 use the first two fingers to apply pressure between the anus and the scrotum or vagina
2 exert pressure on the anus
3 hold the pressure, release and repeat several times
Other tips to relieve constipation
There are several methods to relieve constipation, alongside or instead of massage therapy. These remedies include:
– stay hydrated
– exercise more
– keep a regular bathroom schedule
– eat more fibre
Constipation is a common problem that often resolves with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Massage techniques can help relieve constipation, but they may not work for everyone. If the symptoms do not disappear, consult your doctor about other treatment options.
Do you like our content?
Receive our latest publications every day for free and directly in your mailbox