It is natural to rub your abdomen when you have a stomach ache and any form of abdominal massage, however basic, is extremely comforting.
*Contraindications to massage*
Massage is non-invasive, relaxing and natural, however, the following massage should not be performed if you have any of these conditions:
- cancer unless with medical permission
- areas of undiagnosed pain
- menstruation- for the first few days or depending how you feel
Please seek approval from your doctor before commencing massage if you suffer from any serious medical condition, such as cardio-vascular conditions, or have had any recent operations/surgery.
Self-massage on the abdomen
This is a guide for a simple abdominal massage you can do on yourself which can help relieve constipation and release the build-up of gas.
If you are experiencing many frequent bowel movements then this may help to consolidate them.
*It is best to do this massage on an empty stomach so ideally 2hrs or more after your last meal. Before you begin your massage, you should empty your bladder and drink some water.
*Do not do this straight after a heavy meal.
We recommend that do your massage first thing in the morning or before going to bed. The massage can be performed during a bowel movement while you are sitting on the toilet but for maximum relaxation you can do this lying down somewhere comfortable such as on your bed or on the sofa or floor. Make sure that your knees are bent, as it will be more effective. Put a small pillow under your knees so that both your back and abdomen are relaxed. Having your knees raised keeps your tummy nice and soft.
You can use a little oil or cream to provide some slip for your hands on your skin.
Start by placing your hands on your tummy, palms down (see fig.1). Breathe deeply, into your diaphragm. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen with your in and out breath. Begin with gentle and slow circles with one or both palms in a clockwise direction from right to left. Slow and gentle circles on your abdomen.
Repeat this circular massage a few times. It follows the direction of your colon in the shape of a horseshoe or an inverted "U".
*It is important to massage from right to left because your stools move on this direction.
- Do this movement as slowly as you like. When starting the massage, apply pressure slowly and easily. Adjust the depth of pressure to your comfort, progressively applying more pressure. You can stop and work more into certain sections where you might find blockages. You can dig in and move back and forth, pushing the stools through the colon.
- If you find some tender areas you can lighten up your pressure. If you feel pain, stop your fingers at that spot, ease up the pressure and massage slowly. The pain may or may not disappear on that day. Be patient and return there another day.
- Be kind to yourself. If it feels good, do it. If it does not then slow down and be more gentle. It should always be comfortable, never painful. If done slowly, deeper pressure can be very relaxing but do not overdo it. Avoid pressing down too hard, as this will compact the faecal matter and possibly result in more stagnant matter. The goal is to loosen it up and get it out of there!
- The more you do this massage the more you'll notice where the blockages are, and where you need to spend time.
- As the massage helps to dislodge toxins please increase your uptake of water to help your body flush away these toxins.
- It's great to do this massage daily, if you can, to maintain a healthy digestion.
- After you feel fairly proficient at this and want to step up the effect, switch from lying down to sitting on a chair, firm stool or on the toilet, with thighs parallel to the ground and calves perpendicular.
*NOTE: The belly does not change overnight. It takes months and years of gentle physical attention to affect powerful and lasting change.
*When practicing this massage, notice if you feel any areas to be particularly painful. If a deep pain persists, consult your doctor or nurse.
Benefits of abdominal massage:
Alleviates abdominal distress issues and stimulates internal organs
The massage helps to stimulate the peristaltic motion of the large intestine, aiding your colon in moving waste through your system to help alleviate issues with constipation.
Self-performed abdominal massage helps to remove toxins from the body and brings fresh blood to the abdominal area. The flow of fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients help improve and stimulate the functioning of the internal organs including your gall bladder and liver, meaning more efficient release and removal of waste products. Improved blood circulation benefits the blood vessels of the entire abdominal cavity.
Doing abdominal massage on yourself is one of the most effective ways to eliminate toxins and strengthen the stomach, both the large and small intestines, and strengthen weak and relaxed abdominal muscles. Applied pressure with gentle circular motion can also release deep muscle spasms, promote internal heat and break down adhesions or scar tissue.
Anxiety and stress can often lead to that uneasy feeling of having a "knot" in the stomach. You may experience stomach aches or cramps accompanied by gas and pain. Abdominal massage can help you enter a state of relaxation which helps to decrease the overall feeling of stress and soothe these painful symptoms.