Press firmly into your belly and slide your hand in a circular motion up toward your ribs, across your belly, down to your left hip bone, and back across the bottom of your belly. Repeat 10 times. With your hand still in a fist, start at your left ribs and make firm circular motions.
Massaging gently but firmly into your belly can help you go to the bathroom. Start by pressing your fist in deeply and making circular motions, first across your belly and then up toward your ribs and down again. Repeat 10 times. Then, use a gentle massaging motion starting at your left ribs and moving outward across your tummy.
Tummy massage can help relieve symptoms of constipation by increasing stool speed, softening your stools, and helping you have bowel movements more regularly. You can perform this technique by yourself or with the help of a partner. Start by sitting on the floor or in a chair with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor
Constipation is a common problem with seniors and is often made worse by being immobile in bed. For seniors who are too weak or have difficulty moving, it can be tough to get enough physical activity. However, an alternative way to help yourself feel better and improve your digestion is through tummy massage. Follow these simple steps at home to ease the pain of constipation
Tummy massage is a very effective way to relieve constipation. It’s simple to do and can help your bowels pass more easily. It also improves digestion, reduces gas, relieves bloating, helps fight acid reflux, and eases nausea.
Tummy Massage for Constipation Newborn
Constipation is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor. Massage may be one way to help relieve long-term (chronic) constipation.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation happens when you have difficult, uncomfortable, or few bowel movements. Normally, your colon absorbs water and minerals from the waste, which makes it solid. Your muscles contract to move the solid waste through your rectum and out of your body.
If your digestive system moves slowly or if the muscles don’t contract enough, your colon absorbs too much water. This makes the waste hard, dry, and difficult to move. This is constipation.
Lots of things can cause constipation, including:
- Not enough exercise
- Not enough water
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Thyroid disease
- Misusing laxatives
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Brain disorders that keep your intestines from working
- Spine injuries
- Ignoring the urge to poop
- Lifestyle changes like traveling
Symptoms of Constipation
Constipation can be uncomfortable, but it’s not usually a serious health problem. Some people feel that they need to have a bowel movement every day, but it’s different for everyone. Some can go a few days without passing stool.
You might be constipated if:
- You strain while passing stool
- You feel bloated
- It hurts to pass stool
- You feel sluggish
- Your stomach hurts
- Your stool is hard and lumpy
Using Massage for Constipation
Most people can find constipation relief by drinking more water, getting more fiber in their diet, and exercising more often.
An abdominal massage for constipation is best for certain people and causes of constipation. This includes:
- Long-term constipation
- Constipation with stool leakage
- Constipation with loss of bowel control
- People with stable spine injuries or disabilities
- People with brain disorders like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis
- People who are immobile
- Older people
Abdominal massage can help teach your bowel muscles what to do and ease some of your symptoms. Research shows that massaging your abdomen when you’re constipated can help:
- Ease pain and discomfort
- Lower the time it takes for waste to move through your intestines (transit time)
- Trigger muscle contraction and relaxation
How to Do a Belly Massage for Constipation
Massage techniques for constipation have different names, including:
- Self-abdominal massage
- I love you massage for infants
If you want to try it, start by lying on your back. Put a small amount of massage oil on your abdomen. Next:
- Bring your knees to your chest and gently squeeze for 1 or 2 minutes. This can help release some of the tension in your abdomen.
- Put both hands at the bottom of your abdomen in the middle and below your belly button. Pull your hands up with moderate pressure toward your ribs. Repeat 10 times.
- Put both hands on the small of your back. Bring them around to the front and down over your hips toward your groin. Repeat 10 times.
- Make a fist with your right hand and place it on your abdomen at hipbone level. Press firmly into your belly and slide your hand in a circular motion up toward your ribs, across your belly, down to your left hip bone, and back across the bottom of your belly. Repeat 10 times.
- With your hand still in a fist, start at your left ribs and make firm circular motions. Slide down to your left hip bone. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the right side. Start on your right side at your hip level and move up to your ribcage.
- Finish the massage with 2 minutes of full circular massage around your belly, starting from the bottom right.
Time your massage to when you would normally expect to have a bowel movement: about 30 minutes to 1 hour after eating.
Who Should Not Do Stomach Massage for Constipation
Stomach massages work well for people who have long-term health problems, older people, and people with disabilities. But some shouldn’t use massage to help constipation, including those who:
- Have inflammatory bowel disease
- Have a swollen colon with irritable bowel syndrome
- Are pregnant
- Have an unstable spine injury
- Have a stomach wound like stitches or other sores
If you have constipation with any of these symptoms, you might have a bowel emergency:
- Waves of severe cramping
- Throwing up
- Severe pain
- Loud gurgling noises in your belly
- Feeling gassy but can’t pass wind
If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. If you’re struggling with constipation, talk to your doctor about ways to manage the problem.
Tummy Massage for Constipation Toddler
Constipation occurs when your bowel movements become less frequent (fewer than three times per week) or are difficult to pass. This decrease in bowel movements can last for several weeks or longer. Sometimes your stools can be hard and dry.
Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States. Approximately 16 out of every 100 American adultsTrusted Source experience symptoms of constipation, estimates the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
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Regular massages can relieve constipation by helping you release gas and waste products. They may also help treat any underlying or accompanying conditions. For example, regular massage can reduce stress and in turn reduce pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
Abdominal massages are thought to be especially beneficial for constipation, but you may also find other types of massage help, too.
You can use castor, argan, or coconut oil for these massages. Or experiment with these essential oils for added benefit.
Research shows abdominal massage can be effective in treating chronic constipation. Studies have found it can:
- increase the frequency of bowel movements
- decrease colonic transit time
- relieve pain and discomfort
Abdominal massage has also been shown to stimulate the muscle contractions that help pass a bowel movement in people with postsurgical ileus. This is a temporary lack of movement of the intestines that can lead to an intestinal obstruction.
Here’s how to massage your abdomen:
- Lie on your back and use both hands to put gentle pressure on your abdomen.
- Start at the right lower side of your abdomen. Slowly make circles in a clockwise direction using gentle pressure.
- Then, use the palm of your right hand to apply gentle pressure to the inside of your hip bone.
- Release and apply pressure to the right side, underneath the center of your ribs, and the left side.
- Switch to your left hand to apply pressure to the inside of your left hip bone.
- Use your fingertips on both hands to press into your abdomen and pull up.
- Again, start in the bottom right and move clockwise.
You can repeat any of these steps multiple times, but be careful not to overdo it.
Massages for the colon are sometimes referred to as deep abdominal massage or internal organ massage. Massage practitioners claim that colon massages can be used to:
- remove gas, blockages, and waste
- reduce abdominal fluid
- improve overall digestive health
However, there’s currently no evidence to prove these claims. If you want to try it, here’s how to perform a colon massage:
- Sit or lie down with your knees bent so your torso is loose and your belly is soft.
- Use your fingertips, knuckles, or the heel of your hand to stroke or apply pressure to your belly.
- Massage in the horseshoe shape of your colon.
- Start in the lower right corner of your abdominals and move up.
- Then massage under the ribs and over to the left, then down the left side, and then into the center.
- You can stop and focus on any part that needs extra attention.
There are several other massage options you can use to treat constipation. Massages that focus on other parts of the body may be used alone or combined with other types of massages. This allows for some variety as you check out which options best suit you.
Foot massages (reflexology)
Foot massages, also known as reflexology, may be used to treat constipation.
Research from 2003 found that children with constipation showed symptom improvements after receiving reflexology. The children had six 30-minute sessions over the course of six weeks. The treatment also helped with encopresis, also called fecal soiling.
To do this:
- Use your thumb to massage the middle of your right heel, working your way over to the outside edge.
- Then move upward toward the middle of your foot.
- Massage all the way across the middle of the right foot, then cross over to the left foot. Massage over to the outer edge.
- Then massage down along the edge and move inward to the center of the left heel.
- Finish by massaging over to the inside of the left foot.
Having a back or full-body massage may help relax the entire body. Full-body massages are helpful in improving digestion, relieving stress, and reducing muscle tension. All of these may be beneficial in treating constipation.
You’ll need to have a back massage by a massage therapist or your partner.
A 2015 study found that perineal self-acupressure paired with standard care was more effective than standard care alone in treating constipation. After doing the massage for four weeks, study participants showed improvements in:
- bowel function and health
- constipation-related quality of life
To do this:
- Use your first two fingers to press your perineal skin. It’s the area between the anus and either vagina or scrotum.
- Push on the skin in the direction of your anus.
- Continue pushing in pulses of 3 to 5 seconds each.
- You may want to do this massage when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement.
In babies, tummy massages can be used to:
- treat constipation
- promote relaxation
- reduce stress
Massages can also deepen the bond between you and your baby.
To do this, gently massage your baby’s stomach and lower abdomen in a clockwise direction. Do this a few times throughout the day.
Wait at least 45 minutes after feeding before massaging your baby. If your baby has any underlying conditions, talk to their doctor before trying infant massage.
See a doctor if your child:
- has stomach or rectal pain that lasts more than one hour
- is bleeding from the anus
- has constipation that lasts more than one week
- has signs of illness, such as vomiting and weakness
You can have a gentle abdominal massage for constipation while you’re pregnant during the second and third trimesters. Make sure to use soft movements. You can have your partner or a professional perform the massage, or you can do it yourself.
Avoid abdominal massage during the first trimester of pregnancy.
You can make lifestyle changes to prevent future constipation. Here are some tips:
- Drink plenty of water and caffeine-free fluids throughout the day.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Include high-fiber foods in your diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Stay active and exercise regularly. Try to walk, cycle, or swim a few times per week.
- Take time for stress-reducing activities, such as meditation, yoga, or listening to binaural beats.
Going more than three days without a bowel movement isn’t considered healthy. If this happens every now and again, it’s usually not a cause for concern.
But see a doctor if you have:
- severe stomach pain
- frequent constipation
- constipation that lasts more than two weeks
You should also see a doctor if you:
- alternate between having diarrhea and constipation
- have sudden weight loss
- notice blood in your stools
Your doctor may prescribe medications or advise you to stop taking certain medications that can cause constipation.
More severe conditions will require a procedure to clear the colon, therapy to retrain the muscles, or surgery.