To treat digestive disorders, by massaging the affected area of the abdomen it can help stimulate the spontaneous movement of the digestive tract (a process called peristalsis) and reduce symptoms such as cramping, bloating, gas, and constipation.
Massage can also be used to relieve anxiety and tension that often worsen irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, abdominal massage should not be used during an acute IBS flare-up as it can aggravate symptoms. Neck, shoulder, back, and leg massages are helpful in reducing tension and can be performed during an IBS flare-up without complications.
Massage can be used during periods of remission for patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease to manage chronic pain, but it should also not be used during an active flare-up of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease as it can exacerbate the pain and increase the risk of intestinal perforation.
How Can Massage Help After Procedures to Diagnose or Treat Digestive Disorders?
For patients undergoing a colonoscopy procedure, abdominal massage is helpful immediately after the procedure to eliminate the air that was used to inflate the colon during the examination. Massage has also been shown to help patients after colectomy surgery, in which all or part of the colon (also called the large intestine) is removed. One study showed that massage of the abdomen decreased postoperative pain and ileus (obstruction of the intestine due to it being paralyzed from surgery).
What Massage Techniques Are Used for Digestive Disorders?
A combination of massage techniques performed by an experienced massage therapist can provide relief, including:
Swedish Massage: Long strokes and gentle kneading movements applied to the surface muscles to help release muscle tension. Swedish massage practitioners suggest that this type of massage can help the body deliver nutrients and remove waste products from various tissues.
Deep Tissue Massage: Applied pressure to the deeper muscles and connective tissues that is focused on releasing adhesion (“knots”) or scar tissue. It may be performed along with Swedish massage.
Trigger Point Massage: Steady pressure is applied to targeted areas to release abdominal muscle spasms and promote blood flow to the area to aid healing.
Shiatsu: A form of Japanese massage in which the practitioner uses his or her body weight to apply rhythmic pressure to acupressure points in order to feel and simultaneously adjust the flow of energy ("Ki") through the meridians in your body.
If you are currently or ever have suffered from a digestive disorder remember alternative therapies can and do help! At Lemon Drop we would like to know if are suffering from any of these conditions so we can better treat you.