Benefits of Abdominal Massage for IBS, Constipation,
Post-Surgery, Acid Reflux Conditions
Overview by Catherine Carver
Many people suffer from abdominal disorders like IBS (Crone’s or Ulcerative Colitis), spastic colon, chronic constipation and lower back/abdominal aches and pains for no apparent reason. Often, patients take drugs to alleviate the bloated conditions caused by such symptoms. Sometimes over time, the drugs lose the initial effect leaving the patient with more of the same or worse symptoms. X-rays and tests show nothing out of the ordinary, yet the patient suffers.
Anatomically, the abdominal cavity houses the stomach, diaphragm, colon, small intestine, liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. When the digestion process is impeded because of illness, malabsorbtion, or inactivity due to a stagnant lifestyle there are additional stresses put onto the muscles that attach from the spine to the pelvis for support as well as a mesh, fascia network that contain the organs within the cavity. Patients may experience side pain, lower back pain, inguinal and joint pain at the pelvis. At times, even the ribs are involved.
A patient may experience relief from this strain and pain if an abdominal massage is done and the attachments sites of the muscles are released. The process for this massage is such that the patient initially lies on their back, knees bolstered and chest and pelvis draped. The belly is exposed for the therapist to begin warming the fascia. Working from the descending colon, around to the transverse and then to the ascending colon, the therapist assists the release of the connective network, and often frees the bowel to perform it’s function more freely.
Visual evaluation done by the therapists, mark a decrease in abdominal swelling in some of the patients, immediately. Patients who follow up by drinking lots of water and being aware of themselves over the next days have stated that their clothes are fitting more comfortably and that they feel the release within a day or two of the massage. Lower back pain is gone as is inguinal pain.
This treatment can be done with warm castor oil or regular massage lotions. Heat may be applied for a better result though it is not necessary. This procedure can be done as an entire massage session, or integrated with a full body massage.
This treatment does take a while and may be repeated in the same session. Usually the patient feels immediate relief from pressure and pain.
In cases where there is no known reason for such for chronic pain in this region, these patients also report reduction in pain and return to a normal routine of daily living.
If you have questions or would like to recommend a patient, please contact Catherine Carver, LMBT #3978 at 919.836-0445.