How to do self-abdominal massage for bloating and constipation
This article is useful for those who want to learn how to do self abdominal massage. Generally speaking, self-abdominal massage is something that your practitioner may recommend you do at home in addition to undertaking a course of treatment with a specialist at Perfect Balance Clinic. You may be suffering from uncomfortable bloating constipation or other digestive discomfort and had a thorough medical assessment with one of the teams at Perfect Balance Clinic before you start carrying out this technique on your stomach.
Looking around the internet there are many forms of abdominal massage. Most of the articles we come across are written to allow the basic use of the technique at home we feel it’s important that anyone carrying out these techniques at home has a detailed understanding of the anatomical regions they’re able to influence with the use of this technique and others. It is also vital to know that you have a type of constipation or bloating that will respond to self-massage. It is always advisable to seek advice before learning how to do self abdominal massage.
Whilst there are many forms of abdominal massage we tend to carry out abdominal massage techniques based on sound anatomical principles and structures inside the abdominal cavity. There are as with most abdominal massage techniques things that you need to pay particular attention to as they may affect the success of the technique and you learning how to do self-abdominal massage techniques.
Should you know that you suffer from any of the following conditions you should not carry out self-abdominal massage as this may be contraindicated and as such may cause harm to one’s self. Some of the conditions listed here are definite reasons why you would not do a self-abdominal massage but some are reasons that you may want to seek advice on prior to the self-administering abdominal massage to one’s abdomen.
Contra-indications, cautions, and modifications of self-abdominal massage
There are particular times when abdominal self-massage may not be suitable and indeed contraindicated all the techniques may require modification. It is advisable if you suffer from any of these possible conditions to consult with a practitioner if you have any questions.
- Immediately after abdominal surgery
- Active infection or cancer present in the pelvic area all while undergoing chemotherapy
- Active and acute infection
- Abdominal aneurysm
- Rectus diastasis
- Inflamed diverticular disease
- Blockage or suspicion of blockage of the stomach region
- Suspected appendicitis
- IUD (Intrauterine device for contraception) is present
- Pessary for uterine prolapse (remove prior to your session)
- Any serious health condition that causes you concern
The best technique when learning how to do self abdominal massage
The technique described here for learning how to do self abdominal massage is a very easy technique so that you can reduce one’s own bloating and begin feeling a little lighter and a little freer in one’s stomach and digestive system.
The position that you need to be in is resting on one’s back with one’s knees bent up and preferably supported with a pillow or a rolled-up towel for support under your knees. This is mainly so that the muscles in one’s stomach region are more relaxed and less resistant to you carrying out the massage techniques. The position will make it much easier to move one’s digestive system and allow a flowing movement to occur during one’s self-abdominal massage. This is vital for the technique to be effective as the digestive system also works in a very rhythmic fashion called peristalsis. This allows you to work with one’s digestive system not against it and thus encouraging the return of normal function. One may also choose to work through their clothes as this may be more convenient at times when you cannot work directly onto the skin and abdominal wall. By having one’s head slightly raised also can assist in relaxing the anterior abdominal wall and the upper chest region which may also affect the outcome of the technique.
The direction of movement in one’s hands needs to follow a clockwise direction (once the stomach has been cleared by working lightly the other way (anti-clockwise) this helps to unblock the stomach ahead of working in a clockwise manner) to replicate the flow in one’s digestive system. The easier of the two areas to work on is the large intestine region and one can achieve some significant improvement in symptoms of bloating and digestive pain by improving the flow of digestion through the large intestine. It is through doing this we can indirectly affect the stomach and small intestines as you may be reducing the backlog in the large intestines and thus improving the overall transit time in the small and the large intestine.
Some Important landmarks when learning how to do self abdominal massage
Before one starts learning how to do self abdominal massage and carrying out abdominal self-massage it is important to understand a few landmarks on the lower stomach region. This will allow you to understand where to start and stop treatments as well as what direction to move around the stomach in. Generally, the depth of pressure is about 1 to 2 cm. This allows you to put enough pressure on the stomach/colon to encourage the digestive system to begin to start to move. Generally, more pressure than this may result in abdominal pain or discomfort should you experience any pain or discomfort please stop and contact us for any help or advice with these techniques or getting a clear understanding of conditions affecting your stomach that may be affecting you before you learn how to do the self abdominal massage yourself.
If you divide the abdominal region into 9 equal boxes this allows you to understand the main regions of the stomach area and indeed the area that you’ll be working in. These boxes are often referred to as 9 quadrants, each containing specific organs which you may need to be aware of if you were carrying out this self-abdominal massage technique yourself, without any guidance.
When looking at your stomach the other boxes are bounded by the lower ribs and diaphragm region. These three quadrants contain the specific organs related to the early stages of digestion and the organ related to the immune system. The upper right quadrant contains the spleen and splenic flexure of the descending colon, care should be taken here if any discomfort or swelling is present in this region as it may relate to underlying pathology. The upper left quadrant contains the Liver, gallbladder, and the hepatic flexure of the ascending colon. These are important landmarks for self-massage of the abdominal region. The central quadrant above the umbilical area but below the ribs contains the transverse colon, the stomach part of the liver the duodenum, and the esophagus. This has a particular interest as it may be related to sliding or rolling Hiatus Hernia and may result in episodes of bloating or digestive discomfort. Other conditions affecting this region may be duodenal ulcers or gastric ulcers, gastritis, or other conditions related to the stomach esophagus duodenum and sometimes the liver. These upper quadrants are called anatomically in relation to the regions that they are close to. The central quadrant is called the Epigastric region. Therefore the left and right quadrants are often called the left and right hypochondrial regions.
As you move down into the next 3 quadrants the contents become a little bit fewer which makes it easier to understand if there’s any pain in these regions which organs this may relate to. From left to right the regions are called left lumbar, Umbilical, and right lumbar regions. the left lumbar region contains the descending colon the umbilical region contains mostly the small intestines and the right lumbar region contains the ascending colon.
Of particular importance to the technique and learning how to do self abdominal massage, the left, and right Iliac regions that lie underneath the left and right lumbar regions contain digestive related organs. The central quadrants in the lower part of the stomach are called the hypogastric region this area can contain small intestines but largely begins to contain more pelvic organs and in women, the upper part of the uterus may sometimes be palpable here and occasionally a distended bladder may be palpable in this region as well.
Where should I start when learning how to do self abdominal massage
Generally, most massage techniques will focus on the starting point being the right lower abdominal region within the right iliac crest region when you actually start working on the stomach. So looking down at your stomach the right hip and just above here about two finger distances away from the bony prominence on the outer right hip is where you start from ( but don’t start here yet – read on to find out why)
If you think of the digestive system as being a tube and the tube been full of fecal matter or contents you would understand that before carrying out any abdominal massage is firstly important to try and clear any contents that may be accumulated in the more terminal parts of that tube. this allows us not to create any further backlog or congestion when working to improve the digestive system transit through the large intestines. It is therefore important to start at the end of the colon working backward from the left iliac fossa where the sigmoid colon is located up the left lumbar region to the left hypogastric region across the stomach to the right side and down through the right lumbar region to the start of the ascending colon. Generally, as fecal matter becomes more concentrated through the transit in the digestive system and the colon, in particular, It is imperative to try and remove or soften fecal matter already accumulated in the sigmoid descending colon and a transverse colon before working on the ascending colon. Symptoms of discomforts may arise if this is not carried out due to faecal impaction.
With this clearing technique, it may be possible to eliminate a lot of the obstruction occurring in the sigmoid ascending and transverse colon which may in itself alleviate a lot of discomforts causing abdominal bloating or constipation. This can be of great benefit in anyone suffering from abdominal discomfort related to these conditions.
The next stage of the technique when learning how to do self-abdominal massage requires the previous anatomical knowledge mentioned as well as a thorough understanding of the reasons why you may be experiencing pain or discomfort within your stomach. As the first stage is relatively light and slow circular movements are used to aid peristaltic movement in the digestive system it is important to realise the second stage requires a little bit more pressure however the same small circular movements are used to stimulate peristaltic movement in the digestive system, in particular, the large intestine.
Within this stage, we would hope to apply enough pressure to allow us to go to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. this will allow is enough pressure to stimulate gradual peristaltic movement within the large intestine and hopefully to stimulate greater peristaltic movement in a clockwise direction around the abdominal wall thus stimulating normal digestive transit.
Once you’ve located this region the depth of pressure should be very light to start with and strokes should be slow and flow to replicate peristaltic movement within the digestive system and large colon. You need to take a little bit of care in this region as the area underneath is typically the appendix in most people, so don’t press too hard here. There are a small number of people who have the appendix located in the lower-left region this area is called the iliac crest region or lower left and right quadrant of the abdominal cavity.
Generally working around the stomach in a clockwise direction from the appendix region all the way up and around to the sigmoid colon region in the left iliac fossa results in the total clearing of the large colon. Movements should be small and circular in this clockwise direction as mentioned before. With each complete pass from the appendix to the sigmoid colon is advisable to carry out a slow smooth sweeping movement in the same direction as a clockwise from the appendix region all the way up and across and down to the sigmoid colon this is typically carried out as a repetitive movement with 3 to 4 successive passes and circular movements carried out.
It is advisable to increase water intake as well as look at nutritional supplementation or lifestyle advice in relation to managing constipation or bloating there are many other reasons why constipation and bloating may affect somebody. Your specialists at Perfect Balance Clinic will be able to help you with any advice with regard to these particular conditions. For now, I hope you found this user guide on how to carry out self-abdominal massage for bloating and constipation useful. If you have any questions or would like further advice please contact us.
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This article was written by our team of specialist therapists at Perfect Balance Clinic. If you would like more specific advice about how our team can help you with this condition or symptoms you may be having, please complete the contact form below and one of the team will get back to you shortly.
Perfect Balance Clinic accepts no responsibility for self-prescribed exercises without classification of the stage or condition you have. The information contained in this article or any others on this website should not be used in isolation to self-manage conditions but are provided for reference only to accompany a specialist managing your condition specifically and a review of the current advice surrounding each condition.