Constipation
and how Massage Therapy helps!

Constipation massage techniques are performed to stimulate bowel movement. It involves kneading motions to the intestinal/abdominal area, followed by vibrational therapy.

The goal of this therapy is to stimulate peristalsis waves within the colon to initiate movement and alleviate painful abnormal bowel issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.

The massage can be done by you or someone else and performed in your home or by a health care provider in a clinical setting.The first step is to lie flat on the bed or floor and apply an oil or lotion to the stomach/abdominal area.

Working clockwise, from right to left, use short, firm strokes to move in circular motions starting at the edge of the right ribcage. Do this 5-6 times.

Next, using the tips of your fingers, again start at the edge of the ribcage and, adding gentle but firm pressure, stroke slightly left and downward to below the belly button. Do this 5-6 times.


Now, massage upward and toward the left edge of the ribcage from just below the belly button. Do this side 5-6 times.

Then, using a long stroke and the whole hand, massage from edge of ribcage to groin area. Do 7-8 strokes on each side.

As you perform this massage, you may notice tenderness around intestinal organs, this will most likely decrease with daily self-massage and regulation of bowel movements.

Rosemary, lemon, and peppermint essential oils are great to use in your massage oil or lotion for this treatment. Herbal teas are also good to promote bowels, using honey to sweeten, not sugar.

Warm baths are helpful to relax muscles around the bowels, as well as throughout the entire body, which can encourage bowel movement.

Drinking lots of water helps too!

This DVD, Medical Massage for the Abdominal Wall - 2 DVD Set by Ralph Stephens teaches how to give a massage on the abdominal area that encourages peristalsis, and bowel movement. Relaxation and Deep Tissue techniques are introduced to effectively relax muscles, relieve pain, and release blockages or restrictions. This is a short video clip of Ralph Stephens discussing the techniques involved in massage of the abdominal wall:

This is a short video clip of Ralph Stephens discussing the techniques involved in massage of the abdominal wall:

By learning how to work both superficial and deep muscles in the abdomen and around the diaphragm, you may also be releasing stubborn tension in the muscles which cause neck, shoulder, and even back pain.

Other Resources

Step-by-step directions for Massage for constipation: http://www.wewomen.com/wellbeing/self-massage-in-a-few-simple-steps-d37876c468919.html

Abdominal massage has been referred to as the "key to unlocking stubborn pain", as many unrecognizable restrictions that cause and help constipation are often held in this area.


Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage

Go back to Massage Therapy Benefits for Pain from Constipation and Massage


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