You may be surprised to learn that massage can help relieve constipation and abdominal pain. In fact, it is one of the most effective natural remedies for this condition. Massage helps stimulate the digestive system and encourages bowel movements. It also helps improve blood circulation and relaxes the muscles in the abdominal area. In this blog post, we will discuss how massage can help constipation, as well as some of the other benefits associated with this treatment.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is a common digestive condition characterized by infrequent or difficult bowel movements. In individuals experiencing constipation, the stool becomes hard, dry, and challenging to pass, leading to discomfort and straining during bowel evacuation. This condition occurs when the muscles in the colon contract slowly, causing a delay in the movement of waste through the intestines.

Various factors can contribute to constipation, including a lack of dietary fiber, inadequate fluid intake, a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, and underlying health issues. While generally not a severe medical concern, chronic constipation can negatively impact a person’s quality of life, and it is essential to address the condition through dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and, if necessary, medical intervention.

Understanding Constipation

Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages, significantly impacting their quality of life. It’s characterized by infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, or both. Understanding its symptoms, how it affects bowel movement frequency and transit time, and its causes is essential in finding effective relief.

Symptoms of Constipation

The symptoms of constipation can vary but typically include fewer than three bowel movements per week, straining during bowel movements, hard or lumpy stools, and a sensation of incomplete evacuation. Sufferers may also experience abdominal bloating and discomfort. These signs are more than just inconveniences; they are indicators that your body isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should, emphasizing the need for a solution to restore comfort and regularity.

Frequency of Bowel Movements & Colonic Transit Time

In a healthy individual, bowel movements generally occur anywhere from three times a day to three times a week. Constipation affects this frequency, leading to less regular and often more challenging bowel movements. Alongside this, the colonic transit time — the time it takes for food to travel through the large intestine — is significantly prolonged. This delay can result in harder stools and more difficulty passing them, as the colon absorbs more water the longer the waste remains.

Causes of Constipation

Several factors can contribute to constipation, but some of the most common are a poor diet lacking in fiber, insufficient water intake, and certain medical conditions or medications. A diet poor in fiber can slow down the digestive process, making stool hard and difficult to pass. Similarly, not drinking enough water leads to dehydration, which can cause the body to extract more water from the waste in the colon, resulting in hard stools. Additionally, medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, and hypothyroidism, among others, can affect the body’s ability to digest food and expel waste, leading to constipation. Understanding these causes is crucial in addressing and managing the condition effectively.

By recognizing the symptoms and understanding how constipation affects bowel movement frequency and colonic transit time, as well as the common causes, individuals can take the first steps toward finding relief and improving their digestive health. Whether it’s making dietary changes, increasing fluid intake, or seeking medical advice for underlying conditions, there are several ways to address and alleviate the discomfort of constipation.

Can Massage Loosen Your Bowels?

There’s no doubt that a good massage can feel relaxing. But can it also help alleviate constipation?

The short answer is yes! Massage can help to loosen the stool and make it easier to pass. It can also help to stimulate the digestive system, which can be helpful in restoring regularity. The massage therapist will massage your abdomen. Typically clients who receive these massage techniques need to have a bowel movement within a few hours.

So if you’re struggling with constipation, don’t hesitate to give massage a try. You may be surprised at just how effective this home remedy can be.

Can Massage Help With Other Digestive Issues?

In addition to constipation, massage can also help with other digestive issues like gas, bloating, and indigestion and possibly even irritable bowel syndrome. So if you’re experiencing any of these problems, consider giving massage a try.

It’s important to note that massage is not a cure-all for digestive issues. But it can be a helpful tool in managing these problems and keeping your digestive system healthy.

Could The Bacteria In Your Gut Be Tanking Your Mood?If you’re interested in trying massage for yourself, consider finding a qualified therapist, like the massage therapists at Body Ache Escape, in your area. Massage can be an incredibly effective way to improve your digestive health. So don’t hesitate to give it a try!

Where Do You Massage For Constipation?

Massaging your stomach can be an effective and natural way to alleviate constipation and promote better bowel movement. By gently applying pressure and performing specific massage techniques on the abdomen, you can stimulate the muscles and nerves in the digestive tract, encouraging peristalsis—the rhythmic contractions responsible for moving waste through the intestines. This can help to soften and mobilize stool, making it easier to pass. The “I-L-U” or “I Love U” belly massage, where you trace the letters “I,” “L,” and “U” on your belly, is one such technique that has shown positive results for constipation relief (described in detail below). Additionally, abdominal massage can help to relax the abdominal muscles, reduce bloating, and improve overall gastrointestinal function. It is essential to perform the massage gently and consistently, following proper techniques, and it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if constipation persists or if there are any underlying health concerns.

Is there a pressure point to relieve constipation?

There may be. In a 2012 study, researchers found that stimulating the perineum—the area between the anus and scrotum in men, or between the anus and vulva in women—could help to manage constipation discomfort. The researchers concluded that perineal stimulation may be “a new promising non-invasive therapy” for constipation.

But before you start giving yourself a perineal massage, there’s one important caveat: The study was very small, involving only 30 people. And it’s not clear how long the effects of perineal stimulation last. So more research is needed to confirm whether this approach is effective for relieving constipation.

If you’re interested in trying perineal stimulation for constipation relief, ask your doctor or another healthcare provider first. They can help you to determine whether this approach is right for you. While this is not something we perform at Body Ache Escape Massage Center, you are able to perform it on yourself.

The SJ6 acupressure point helps in the relief of constipation.  Apparently, these points stimulate the lower jaw, including kidneys, intestines, and bladder. For acupressure: Locate SJ6, three fingers wide at your wrist creases on the outer part of your arm. Press on the point with your opposite thumb or index finger. Apply circular pressure for 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat on your other arm.

Does massage for constipation work?

The abdominal massage relieves irritants caused by several physiological reasons. This stimulates peristalsis, lowers intestinal time, and increases frequent abdominal bowel movements. Yes, it really does work!

How do you Massage Yourself for Constipation?

There are a few different ways that you can massage yourself to get rid of constipation. One way is to stimulate the perineum, as mentioned above. Another way is to massage the lower abdomen in a clockwise direction. This technique is called “self abdominal massage”.

Abdominal Self Massage may help to improve bowel movements by breaking up stool and helping it move through the intestines more easily. To try self abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation, apply massage oil to your stomach. Castor oil is a superb choice for massage for constipation. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and place your hands on your lower abdomen. And then massage your lower abdomen with gentle pressure in a clockwise direction for two to three minutes. Also, you can check out the video on this page for a great abdominal massage. For another variation of a good belly massage follow the steps below.

DIY Massage for Constipation: Show Your Gut Some Love!

Engage in a soothing abdominal massage using three simple steps. Begin by tracing the shape of an “I” on your belly, followed by an “L,” and finally, complete an “U.” This technique is referred to as the I-L-U or “I Love U” belly massage—an affectionate gesture for your internal well-being.

To perform this massage, follow these steps:

1. Lie down on your back.
2. Starting from the left side of your belly, gently apply pressure as you move your hand down in a straight line, resembling the letter “I.” Begin just beneath the rib cage and proceed down to the top of your left hip bone. Repeat this motion ten times.
Purpose: Initiates peristalsis, the intrinsic contractions that stimulate movement in the digestive system, aiding in bowel movements.
3. Now, continue applying gentle pressure as you run your hand across the top of your belly, just beneath the rib cage, moving from right to left, as you did in the “I” motion. Simultaneously, repeat the “I” motion on the left side, just as you did earlier (similar to the letter “L”). Perform this sequence ten times.
4. Time to complete the inverted “U”: Start at your right hip bone and gently apply pressure as you move upwards, then go across. Finally, trace back down the “I” line. Repeat this sequence ten times.

For best results, perform this abdominal massage in the morning after breakfast to stimulate bowel movement. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of having regular and happy bowel movements in no time.

If you’re looking for a natural way to help constipation, massage may be the answer for you. Massage helps increase blood flow and stimulates the bowels, both of which can help get things moving again. Call us today to schedule your next massage or schedule online and start enjoying the benefits of this natural way to treat constipation! Please tell us prior to your appointment that you are having trouble with constipation so we can change the protocol as needed!

Please note: The information in this article does not replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak with a doctor or other healthcare provider.


Efficacy of Perineal Stimulation in Patients With Chronic Constipation: A Randomized Clinical Trial [Abstract]. (2012).

When performing a stomach massage to aid in relieving constipation, it’s generally recommended to use gentle to moderate pressure. The goal is to stimulate the digestive organs without causing discomfort or pain.

Abdominal massage after abdominal surgery should be approached with caution and is generally not recommended until a person has fully healed and received clearance from their healthcare provider. The safety and appropriateness of abdominal massage post-surgery depend on several factors, including the type of surgery, the healing stage, and the individual’s overall health. Here’s what to consider:

Consult Your Healthcare Provider:

  • Medical Advice: Always seek medical advice from your surgeon or healthcare provider before starting abdominal massage post-surgery. They can provide personalized guidance based on your surgery and recovery status.
  • Control Group/Scientific Research: Your healthcare provider might refer to studies or guidelines that indicate when massage is safe based on the experiences and recovery timelines of a control group of patients with similar conditions.

Considerations and Precautions:

  • Healing Process: The abdominal area needs time to heal after surgery. Massaging the area too soon can interfere with the healing process, potentially leading to complications like hernias, reopened incisions, or internal damage.
  • Type of Surgery: The nature and extent of the surgery are crucial. For example, major surgeries like organ transplants, cesarean sections, or any surgery involving the digestive organs will require a longer recovery period compared to minor procedures.
  • Symptoms of Complications: Be aware of any symptoms of complications, such as increased pain, swelling, or signs of infection. If you experience any of these after starting abdominal massage, stop immediately and consult your healthcare provider.

Safe Practice When Cleared:

  • Gentle Abdominal Massage: If and when you’ve been cleared for abdominal massage, start with very gentle techniques. Avoid applying pressure directly to the incision site or any area that feels tender or sensitive.
  • Physical Therapist or Professional Guidance: Consider seeking guidance from a physical therapist or a massage therapist trained in post-surgical care. They can teach you the right techniques and pressure levels to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Monitoring Changes: Pay close attention to how your body responds to the massage. Any discomfort, pain, or unusual symptoms should be taken seriously and checked by a professional.

Abdominal massage during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy should be approached with great caution and is generally not recommended without the explicit guidance of a healthcare professional. The abdomen is particularly sensitive during this late stage of pregnancy, and improper massage could potentially cause discomfort or harm to the mother or baby. However, there are gentle techniques and considerations that can be made for those interested in massage during this time:

Professional Guidance is Crucial:

  • Consult a Healthcare Provider: Always consult with your obstetrician, midwife, or a healthcare professional experienced in prenatal care before attempting any form of abdominal massage during the 3rd trimester.
  • Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist: If massage is deemed safe, it should be performed by a massage therapist certified in prenatal massage. These professionals are trained in techniques that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy.

General Considerations:

  • Avoid Direct Abdominal Pressure: Direct pressure on the abdomen is generally avoided, especially in the 3rd trimester. The focus, if massage is allowed, might be more on the surrounding areas to provide relief and support.
  • Comfort and Positioning: Special care should be taken with positioning during any massage in the third trimester. Lying flat on the back is often uncomfortable and not recommended for long periods; side-lying positions with support are usually preferred.

Gentle Techniques and Alternatives:

  • Light Touch and Gentle Strokes: Any allowed massage would likely involve very light touch and gentle strokes to help with relaxation and to alleviate some of the discomforts associated with late-stage pregnancy.
  • Foot and Leg Massage: Instead of abdominal massage, pregnant women might benefit more from foot and leg massages to improve circulation and reduce swelling, which can be common in the 3rd trimester.
  • Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Incorporating gentle breathing and relaxation techniques can also be beneficial and pose less risk than abdominal massage.

Safety and Symptoms to Watch For:

  • Warning Signs: Understand the warning signs for when to stop the massage and consult a healthcare provider immediately, such as any pain, contractions, bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms.
  • Understanding Limits: Be aware that even gentle touch can be too much for some pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. Listening to the body’s signals is key.

Abdominal massage can have various effects on the body, including potential benefits for the immune system and alleviation of bloating symptoms. The mechanisms behind these effects involve stimulating digestive organs, promoting circulation, and facilitating the movement of lymph. Here’s how abdominal massage might impact these areas:

Impact on the Immune System:

  • Stimulation of Digestive Organs: Abdominal massage can stimulate the digestive organs, potentially leading to improved gut health. Since a significant part of the immune system is housed in the gut, better gut health can lead to an enhanced immune response.
  • Lymphatic Circulation: Gentle abdominal massage can help stimulate lymph flow. The lymphatic system is a critical part of the immune system, helping to remove waste and toxins from the body. Improved lymphatic circulation can thus support better immune function.
  • Stress Reduction: Massage is known for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Since stress can negatively impact the immune system, the stress-reducing effects of massage might indirectly bolster immune health.

Alleviation of Bloating Symptoms:

  • Movement of Gas and Waste: Proper abdominal massage techniques, especially those that follow the natural movement of the intestines (like clockwise motion), can help move trapped gas and waste. This can alleviate the pressure and discomfort associated with bloating.
  • Improvement in Digestive Function: By stimulating the stomach region and other areas of the body involved in digestion, abdominal massage can help enhance overall digestive function, which in turn can reduce the incidence and severity of bloating.
  • Activation of Parasympathetic Nervous System: Massage can activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the ‘rest and digest’ mode. This can help the body to better process and eliminate food, reducing symptoms of bloating.

Colon massage, also known as abdominal or visceral massage, is a technique used to stimulate the intestines and promote bowel movement. It’s particularly beneficial for alleviating constipation. Here are specific techniques often used:

1. Circular Motion Technique:

  • How It’s Done: Using the fingertips or the palm of the hand, apply gentle pressure to the abdomen. Start on the right side of the abdomen near the pelvis (near the ascending colon), move upward towards the right rib cage, then across to the left rib cage (transverse colon), and down the left side of the abdomen (descending colon).
  • Purpose: This mimics the natural path of the colon and can help to move fecal matter through the intestines.

2. Deep Abdominal Technique:

  • How It’s Done: After warming up the abdomen with gentler strokes, apply deeper, slow pressure along the same path as the circular motion technique. The pressure should be firm but not painful.
  • Purpose: This technique can help break up and move hard stool that’s been stuck in the intestines.

3. Kneading Technique:

  • How It’s Done: Using your hands, gently ‘knead’ the abdomen in areas that feel tight or full. This is similar to kneading dough and involves pressing and rolling the skin and muscles.
  • Purpose: Kneading can help to soften stool and stimulate the muscles of the colon.

4. Palm Pressure Technique:

  • How It’s Done: Place the palm of your hand flat against the abdomen and apply steady, gentle pressure. Move your hand in slight circular motions or hold in place for a few seconds before moving to the next area.
  • Purpose: This technique helps to stimulate bowel movements and can alleviate gas and bloating.

5. Vibration Technique:

  • How It’s Done: Place your hands on the abdomen and quickly and gently shake the area using a light bouncing or vibrating motion.
  • Purpose: This can stimulate the nerves of the colon and relax the muscles, helping to induce a bowel movement.

6. Shape of the Letter Technique:

  • How It’s Done: Massage the abdomen in shapes that mimic the letters ‘I’, ‘L’, and ‘U’ to cover the different sections of the colon.
  • Purpose: This ensures that all parts of the colon are stimulated, which can be especially helpful for more severe constipation.

Safety and Precautions:

  • Consult a Professional: Before attempting any colon massage technique, especially if you have medical conditions or have had abdominal surgery, consult with a healthcare provider.
  • Gentle Pressure: Always use gentle pressure. The abdomen is a sensitive area, and too much pressure can cause harm.
  • Listen to Your Body: If anything feels painful or uncomfortable, stop immediately and seek medical advice.

Additional Tips:

  • Consistency: Regular massage therapy can be more effective than a one-off session.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to help soften stools and make them easier to pass.
  • Diet: Combine the use of abdominal massage with a diet high in fiber to aid digestion and prevent future constipation.

Colon massage techniques can vary, but they generally focus on stimulating the natural movement of the intestines and helping to facilitate the passage of stool. When done correctly and safely, these techniques can be a valuable part of a constipation relief strategy. Always remember to approach these techniques with care and consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure about anything.

For those dealing with chronic constipation, finding effective treatments is crucial. While abdominal massage is a popular option, there are several alternative treatments that can also provide relief. Here are some worth considering, incorporating the suggested keywords:

1. Use of Laxatives:

  • What It Is: Over-the-counter or prescription medications that help to stimulate bowel movements or soften the stool.
  • Considerations: While laxatives can be effective, they are typically not recommended for long-term use as they can lead to dependency. It’s essential to use them under medical supervision.

2. Dietary Changes:

  • High Fiber Foods: Incorporating more fiber into your diet can help to bulk up and soften stools, making them easier to pass. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Olive Oil: Consuming a small amount of olive oil daily can act as a natural lubricant for the digestive system.

3. Hydration:

  • Drinking Water: Adequate water intake is crucial for preventing and treating constipation. It helps to hydrate the stools and facilitates easier passage through the small intestines and right side of your abdomen.

4. Physical Activity:

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help to stimulate bowel movements and is often an ideal solution for those who experience constipation.

5. Electrical Stimulation:

  • Biofeedback Therapy: This involves using sensors to monitor muscle activity and provide feedback, helping individuals learn how to control certain bodily functions, potentially alleviating symptoms of constipation.

6. Herbal Remedies:

  • Herbal Teas: Certain herbal teas are known for their laxative properties and can provide gentle relief from constipation.
  • United Kingdom and United States Approaches: Check reputable web sites in the United Kingdom and United States for evidence-based herbal remedies that are safe and effective.

7. Probiotics:

  • Gut Health: Probiotics can help to balance the gut flora, potentially improving bowel regularity and alleviating constipation.

8. Foot Massage and Reflexology:

  • Stimulation Points: Reflexology targets specific points on the foot that correspond to different parts of the body, including the digestive system, which might help relieve constipation.

9. Tennis Ball Therapy:

  • Self-Abdominal Massage Alternative: Rolling a tennis ball gently over the abdomen can mimic some massage techniques, potentially providing relief without the need for a therapist.

10. Behavioral Changes:

  • Scheduled Toilet Times: Establishing a regular bathroom schedule can help train the body to have regular bowel movements.

11. Acupuncture and Acupressure:

  • Traditional Techniques: These ancient practices can sometimes provide relief by targeting specific points on the body that correspond to the digestive system.

12. Yoga and Pilates:

  • Targeted Exercises: Certain yoga poses and Pilates exercises can help stimulate the digestive tract and may provide relief from constipation.

13. Prescription Medications:

  • Medical Treatment: In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary to treat chronic constipation, especially when it’s caused by an underlying medical condition.

14. Squatting Position:

  • Ergonomic Toileting: Using a squatting position during bowel movements can align the body in a way that eases the process.


Chronic constipation can be a frustrating condition, but the good news is that there are multiple treatments available. Whether it’s making lifestyle adjustments, trying physical therapies like foot massage and tennis ball therapy, or seeking medical treatment, the ideal solution often involves a combination of methods. It’s always a good idea to start with the least invasive options and then work up to more intensive treatments if necessary. For any treatment, it’s crucial to consult healthcare professionals, especially when considering the use of laxatives, or prescription medications, or if you’re part of a sensitive group like elderly people. Remember, significant improvement can take time, and finding the right direction for treatment might require some trial and error.

Today was my first massage at Body Ache Escape, and it was an incredible experience. I came in with a number of complaints, including a back that felt like a tied up ball of knots. However, Eric went above and beyond to address my concerns. Not only did he work wonders on my back, but he also introduced me to a unique technique – abdominal massage for constipation – that provided immense relief from tension and pain. I didn’t know this but back pain could be caused from tightness in the stomach!

I must admit, the way he approached the session made me feel like it wasn’t just my body he was working on; it was a transformative experience in a good way. Eric’s skills and approach were nothing short of amazing, and I felt completely comfortable with him throughout the entire session.

After the massage, I felt incredibly loose, almost as if I were a kid again. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. So much so that I made my next two appointments with Eric before I left. His friendly demeanor and expertise are truly praiseworthy. Thank you, Eric, for an outstanding massage session!

Penny K, Columbus, Ohio