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HealthSheets™

Pelvic Wellness Program 

About Abdominal Massage

 

Abdominal massage, also called external colon massage, is a self-treatment circular massage technique that can reduce and eliminate gas and ease constipation. The colon naturally contracts in waves in a clockwise direction starting from inside the right hip, moving up toward the ribs, across the belly, and down inside the left hip.  When you perform circular abdominal massage, you help stimulate your colon’s normal wave pattern of movement called peristalsis.  It is most beneficial when done after eating.

 

Positioning

You can practice abdominal massage with oil while lying down, or in the shower with soap.  Some people find that it is just as effective to do the massage through clothing while sitting or standing.

 

How to Massage

Start by placing your finger tips or knuckles on your right side, just inside your hip bone.

 

  •  Make small circular movements while    

        you move upward toward your rib cage.                                          

  •  Once you reach the bottom right side of your rib cage,                           

       take your circular movements across to the left side                 

       of the  bottom of your rib cage. 

  •  Next, move downward until you reach

       the inside of your left hip bone.          

       This is the path your feces travel in your colon.

  •  Continue to perform your abdominal massage

        in this pattern for 10 minutes each day.                                                             

You can apply as much pressure as is comfortable in your massage.  Start gently and build pressure as you continue to practice.  Notice any areas of pain as you massage; areas of slight pain may be relieved as you massage, but if you have areas of significant or intense pain, consult with your healthcare provider.

 

Other Considerations

  • General physical activity including bending and stretching can have a beneficial massage-like effect on the colon.  Deep breathing can also stimulate the colon because breathing deeply activates the same nervous system that supplies the colon. 

  • Abdominal massage should always be used in combination with a bowel-conscious diet that is high in the proper type of fiber for you, fluids (primarily water), and a regular exercise program.

 

Contraindications and Precautions

Please consult your doctor, or other qualified health care professional, before using abdominal massage if you are already experiencing any of the following symptoms or conditions. If these symptoms develop after using abdominal massage, please consult your doctor, or other qualified health care professional immediately.

  •  Bloody Stool
  • Recent or sudden onset of abdominal pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Ostomy pouching system
  • Abdominal aneurysm
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Kidney transplant
  • Recal or abdominal tumors
  • Abdominal hernia
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Abdominal or pelvic infection
  • History or current cancer in the abdominal region