Constipation cases have risen within the past few years to the point where there’s been an increase of individuals visiting the emergency room for relief. Everyone has experienced constipation at least once in his or her life. Chronic constipation affects nearly two percent of the U.S. population. There are prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that can help people find constipation relief; however, there are other natural alternatives that can accomplish the same effect.
Some common natural remedies to relieve constipation include drinking plenty of water, increasing fiber intake and recognizing food intolerances. If these have helped, but not as much as you would like, abdominal massage is another solution that has grown increasingly popular.
What is Abdominal Massage
Abdominal massage involves the use of massage therapy techniques on the abdomen, mainly focusing on the area where the digestive tract lies. Compressing and releasing this area can stimulate digestion and even encourage bowel movements. You have received abdominal massages from a professional or learn to do the technique yourself.
How Does it Work?
Researchers believe that an abdominal massage is able to increase muscle contractions within the digestive tract, causing peristalsis (moving waste through the digestive tract). Also, it has been noted that bowel movements are associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, which means that an abdominal massage may be able to stimulate this portion of the nervous system to help move things along in the digestive tract.
The Effectiveness of Abdominal Massage
Abdominal massage has been proven to be very effective and has actually resolved cases where changes in diet and laxative intake have not helped. In one randomized, controlled trial, the participants who were assigned to receive 15 minutes of abdominal massage for five days a week reported less severe gastrointestinal symptoms, less severe constipation and more bowel movements than those who had undergone eight weeks of a prescribed treatment.
There are many natural alternatives to relieving constipation, such as soaking in Epsom salts, using castor oil packs, ingesting magnesium supplements and taking probiotics. Abdominal massage is just another solution to add to the list.
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