How To Relieve Constipation Through Abdominal Massage

Constipation can really hold you back (no pun intended). From bloating to experiencing pain, constipation is never a welcome feeling. While over-the-counter laxatives are often a helpful remedy, they might not be something you want to take regularly, especially if you experience constipation often. Luckily, an abdominal massage is an easy, at-home way to help relieve constipation without needing to turn to medication.

Constipation is commonly defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week, according to the Mayo Clinic. You may have hard or lumpy stools, strain to have them, feel like there's a blockage preventing you from having a bowel movement, or feel like you can't have a complete bowel movement. If you've experienced two or more of these symptoms for three months or longer, you may be experiencing chronic constipation. This can happen when waste or stool doesn't properly move out of the system, causing it to become hard and dry. This may be due to a blockage in the colon or rectum, nerve problems around the colon or rectum, muscle difficulty, or hormonal conditions. You may be more at risk for chronic constipation if you're an older adult, female, are dehydrated, eat a low-fiber diet, get limited physical activity, have a mental health condition, or take certain medications.

How to try an abdominal massage at home

Constipation can be frustrating, but a simple at-home abdominal massage may help clear your system. According to a 2011 review in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, massages can not only help alleviate pain and discomfort, but they are an effective method for increasing the frequency of bowel movements, decreasing the amount of time waste spends in the colon and stimulating the muscles that help the bowels move.

To massage your abdomen, start lying on your back with both hands applying some pressure to the abdomen (via Healthline). Starting at the lower right side, make clockwise circles using gentle pressure with both hands, then gently apply pressure to the inside of your hip bone. Release and apply pressure just under the ribs, on the right side and then on the left. Using your left hand, apply pressure to the inside of your left hip bone. Using both hands, use your fingertips to gently press into the abdomen and pull up. Repeat as needed, but start slowly and don't overdo it. To help relieve constipation, you should also drink plenty of water, consume high-fiber foods, exercise regularly, and try to minimize stress.