So many of us know that massage therapy is great for keeping the soft tissues of the body healthy and strong. We also know that it has a positive effect on our nervous system, which is why we often feel so relaxed during and after having a massage. But did you know that massage can also have positive effects on other systems of the body?
Let’s talk about poop baby. . . Massage can have a positive impact on your digestive system. A full body massage will increase circulation, including in the abdomen. It is said to help produce enzymes that aid in the digestive process. That’s great and all, but what if you experience constipation, discomfort or cramping, bloating, or IBS – is there a more specific massage application that can help? Experts say yes.
Stomach massage targets the specific area where these issues originate or culminate. In addition to massage helping produce enzymes that aid in digestion, direct massage to the abdominal area stimulates peristalsis. That’s the involuntary constriction and relaxation of muscles in the intestines. Basically, it creates a movement that pushes contents forward through the pipes. Massaging the stomach can help relieve constipation, discomfort, and bloating in an all natural way.
There are things to consider, of course. Understanding the cause of your issue can help determine whether or not to add in a stomach massage on your next appointment. Are you bloated or constipated because of something you ate, is it codeine use, IBS, etc.? These are important to discuss with your massage therapist. Folks with IBS, for example, should not receive a stomach massage during a flare up. It’s what we call contraindicated, because it could make matters worse for the client. Always wait for remission. Stomach massage is also not a substitute for consulting with a physician if you have a persistent issue.
Uneasy about having someone massage your tummy? Here’s a self-care tutorial.
What you’ll need:
Comfortable place to lay flat
- Lie down on the floor or another surface where you will be relatively flat
- Expose your tummy from the lower ribs to just above your pelvic area
- Find these bony
landmarks for reference: Hip bones, bottom of your rib cage
- Apply lotion to your finger tips
- Use a medium pressure
- Starting just above your left hip bone, massage in small circular motions and complete 4-6 circles
- Use gliding motions to move on in a clockwise pattern that spirals inward toward the belly button
- Continue gliding along or use circular motions as you complete the pattern
- Stop and focus some on areas that are tender
- Repeat for a total time of 5-10 minutes
Stretching the digestive system:
- Cobra pose is a great stretch for the digestive system
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