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Abdominal Massage To Improve Your Gut Health In 2023
Don’t be so quick to reserve a doctor’s appointment whenever you experience digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
There are other better, more subtle ways to deal with gut-related problems. One of them (and probably the best) is by performing a gentle abdominal massage for gut health. If you prefer using supplements, it’s still fine, provided you don’t exceed the dosage.
In this post, we’re going to explore everything there is to know about belly massages. Stick around to learn the different abdominal massage techniques, their benefits, and other significant info.
Abdominal Massage Benefits
Abdominal massages have a wide variety of benefits that you may not be fully aware of. The following are some of them:
- Boosts digestive function
- Relieves constipation
- Lowers premenstrual syndrome symptoms
- Releases emotional and physical Stress
- Improves Immune system strength
- Improves physical posture
Abdominal Massage Benefits
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Boosts Digestive Function
Probably the most obvious fact about abdominal massages is that they aid in proper digestion. Gentle and continuous pressure in clockwise motions will help smooth food flow in your gut for digestion.
Regular abdominal massages will help those suffering from serious digestive problems. To put this into perspective, a 2018 research looked into the effects of abdominal massage on individuals with an endotracheal tube.
The results of that study revealed that a 3-day 15-minute massage yielded positive results compared to those with no treatment at all. The massages helped in lowering the levels of stomach liquid, along with their constipation and abdominal circumference.
Abdomen massages aid in the relaxation of stomach muscles. A relaxed stomach translates to no constipation and stimulates digestion. A 2016 study looked into the effects of post-surgical gut massages on constipation. The study revealed that those who received a massage had:
- Better bowel movements
- Lowered constipation symptoms
- Little time between bowel movements
Abdominal massage also had a positive effect on their life score qualities. Deeper studies are needed to expound on these results and shed more light on the effects of massages on constipation.
- CV6 (two finger widths below the navel/belly button)
- CV12 (along the middle of your torso, at the center of your rib cage and navel)
Avoid these acupressure points if you’re pregnant.
Lowers PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Symptoms
A study from 2005 showed that abdominal massages were highly effective in alleviating cramping and menstrual pain. Eighty-five women who had a five-minute gut massage every day for six days before their menses had incredibly lower levels of cramping and pain in comparison to women who had no treatment at all.
Additionally, researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine revealed that massage styles such as circular abdomen stroking lowers PMS symptoms like distress, water retention, and pain.
Relieves Emotional And Physical Pain
One of the common reasons for getting a massage is to release stress. A similar benefit is present in the practice of a professional stomach massage.
There are certain societal pressures that surround our midsections. When you let go and allow a qualified massage therapist to work on that area (or even do it yourself under the right instructions), you can offer yourself some much-needed self-care.
Dismiss your insecurities and judgments to take care of your stomach. You don’t need to wait until you experience severe abdominal pain. Anytime is a good time to cleanse your gut and offer yourself some physical and emotional comfort.
Improves Immune System Health
A good part of our health and well-being centers around our gut. In fact, you’ll be more surprised to find out that a massive part of your immune system is your GI tract.
The GI tract includes the organs that liquids and food pass through once they’re digested and absorbed. The organs include the mouth, throat (pharynx), esophagus, stomach, ileum, colon, rectum, and anus.
In the event that your gut health is under stress, you’ll feel the painful ramifications all through your entire body. Stomach massages help to stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Improves Physical Posture
When you constantly suffer from stomach and gut ailments, your posture is bound to suffer. The best way to deal with discomforts such as cramping within your midsection is through a thorough abdominal massage. It will help a lot in relieving tension and will consequently correct misalignment.
Which Are the Different Abdominal Massage Techniques?
There are two major ways of administering a thorough belly massage:
- Pelvic floor abdominal massage
- Self abdominal massage
Pelvic Floor Abdominal Massage
Perform this technique specifically around or before the time you have a bowel movement. It’s mostly effective at the start of the day rather than any other time. Do this once or twice every day for 10 to 15 minutes to maintain a healthy bowel movement pattern.
How To Perform A Pelvic Floor Abdominal Massage
- Rest your back on a firm surface, then bend your knees directly into your chest. This helps to relieve the tension in your abdomen and back. Slowly stretch out your legs until you’re completely comfortable.
- Place your left hand under your left ribcage and gently massage the area around it in a clockwise motion. Your hand movement should go as low as your hip bone and as high as your left rib cage.
- Repeat that motion around ten times for both sides of your gut.
- Stroke down your lower abdomen as you incorporate a horizontal stroke in the form of the letter ‘L.’ Perform this at least ten times.
- Complete this move by massaging your stomach in a clockwise movement. Do this about 2-3 inches from your navel. This helps to stimulate your small intestines.
Perform this technique at any time of the day. It’s easy to implement and helps a great deal in manipulating the abdominal area. It also helps to rid your colon of any stool that may be stuck. Abdominal self-massage also relieves symptoms of bloating, cramping, pressure, and tightness. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay down on a firm surface and bend your knees. Ensure your lower back is evenly laid out and that there’s no space between the surface and your back.
- Place your hands on the right side of your lower belly. Using your palms, press gently while breathing out, then stroke up toward your ribs. Repeat this part 10 times to prepare yourself for a deeper massage and get your abdominal muscles warmed up.
- Next, lay your palms next to your lower back and exert a gentle amount of pressure. Do this as you move your hands gently to your front, above your hips, then down to your pelvis. Perform this twice for two minutes to improve bowel movement.
You can also perform a pelvic floor massage using a kneading technique in a clockwise motion. When you apply pressure, ensure you make small circular motions before moving on to the next massage points.
Place your hands on your belly firmly, then make upward and downward movements, followed by back-and-forth motions. These movements will cause vibrations that trigger a bowel movement.
When Shouldn’t You Perform An Stomach Massage?
Although abdominal massages are good for you, there are certain instances where you should think twice about it. Never have a stomach massage when:
- You’ve had abdominal surgery recently. Wait for some time (approximately 6 to 8 weeks) to ensure the incision has healed completely before receiving a deep tissue massage.
- You have any health concerns, or if you’re pregnant. Having an abdominal massage within your first trimester increases the risk of a miscarriage. Some experts also fear that the high rate of blood flow during the massage may be harmful.
- You’ve eaten spicy or heavy foods. If you really must eat something, make it light. Ensure you have something in your stomach to help stimulate your digestive system. Having a massage on an empty stomach might lead to excess hunger by the end of the session.
The Bottom Line
Stomach massages serve as a low-risk treatment alternative to take care of a variety of health conditions. You can do it on your own or schedule a session with a qualified massage therapist.
Even if you receive regular professional massages, it’s advisable to spend short amounts of time every day to perform a self-massage. This should be the case, especially if you’re looking to treat a certain problem. Ensure you see your doctor in case of any serious condition or if your abdominal symptoms become severe.
+ 8 sources
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- Dehghan, M., Fatehi poor, A., Mehdipoor, R. and Ahmadinejad, M. (2018). Does abdominal massage improve gastrointestinal functions of intensive care patients with an endotracheal tube?: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, [online] 30, pp.122–128. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388117304693?via%3Dihub [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
- Turan, N. and Atabek Aşt, T. (2016). The Effect of Abdominal Massage on Constipation and Quality of Life. Gastroenterology Nursing, [online] 39(1), pp.48–59. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26825564/ [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
- Kim, J.S., Jo, Y.J. and Hwang, S.K. (2005). The Effects of Abdominal Meridian Massage on Menstrual Cramps and Dysmenorrhea in Full-time Employed Women. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, [online] 35(7), p.1325. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16418559/ [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
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- Michigan Bowel Control Program -1 – Abdominal Self Massage. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/MBCP/AbdominalSelfmassage.pdf [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
- Ugboma HA;Akani CI (2021). Abdominal massage: another cause of maternal mortality. Nigerian journal of medicine : journal of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, [online] 13(3). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15532228/ [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].