Massage is extremely beneficial for the body and therapeutic for the mind. Massaging the legs after a run gets lactic acid moving to reduce soreness. Massaging stiff shoulders and neck helps reduce tension. Massaging the abdomen offers a dual action approach to supporting digestion. Since digestive problems can be the result of stress, relieving stress can encourage healthy intestinal function. Additionally, abdominal massages can help stimulate the muscles and organs required to produce a bowel movement. If constipation or indigestion is a problem in your life and you’re interested in a completely natural and chemical-free mode of therapy that you can do yourself, give abdominal massage a try.
Abdominal Massage: How-To
Unlike some other forms of massage, abdominal massage is easy to self perform. Various techniques exist, but there are two I typically suggest for those just starting:
- Start below your sternum, with one whole hand, move down your abdomen with a downward stroke and follow with the other. Cycle one hand over the other and continuously repeat the motion in a backwards bike-pedaling motion. This will encourage the movement of waste down into your bowels.
- Use your fingertips and massage in small circular motions. Move from the sides of your abdomen inward and downward. Go progressively deeper with your fingertips but always keep it comfortable.
When you’re first starting abdominal massage, proceed slowly and gently. If you find some tender areas, lighten you pressure. Lying down and sitting up are both effective but most beginners experience the best results when lying down on the floor or in a bed. After you feel comfortable performing the techniques lying down, do them while sitting up straight on a stool.
3 Tips for Effective Abdominal Massage
- Massage helps to dislodge and stir up toxins. It’s always advisable to up your water intake when participating in massage therapy. This helps your body flush away toxins.
- When you perform the techniques while lying down, alternate moving your knees to the right and left sides.
- Consistency is key. Aim for two twenty minute sessions every day. Most people report noticeable improvements within one to two weeks of maintaining a regular abdominal massage protocol.
Has Abdominal Massage Worked For You?
Do you massage your abdomen to support digestion and regular bowel function? How long have you practiced the technique and how has it changed your life? Do you have additional tips for success that you can offer? Please leave a comment and share your experiences!
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM