In the day and age of modern medical intervention, we sometimes forget the body’s innate ability to heal. While modern medicine is an integral and crucial part of healthcare and this article is in no way, shape, or form suggesting otherwise, there might be instances where we might be overly reliant on synthetic medication.
Let’s take, for example, common ailments such as indigestion. Some research has shown that massaging your abdomen gently with the use of natural essential oils can alleviate the symptoms of bloat or discomfort arising from indigestion or constipation. Not only is this option non-invasive, but it is also easy to do. You can do it yourself, any time, in the comfort of your own home.
You may benefit from the effects of abdominal massage after only 5 or 10 minutes of massage per day.
Massaging the abdomen may help to relax your stomach muscles. That, in turn, helps stimulate digestion and relieve constipation.
A small 2016 study examined the effects of abdominal massage on constipation following surgery. The researchers found that people who had an abdominal massage — compared to the control group who didn’t receive massage — had:
- reduced symptoms of constipation
- more bowel movements
- less time between bowel movements
Further, research from 2018 which examined the effects of abdominal massage on the digestive issues of people who had an endotracheal tube indicated that people who had a 15-minute abdominal massage twice a day for three days showed improvements in their symptoms compared to people who received no treatment. The massage group also had reduced amounts of stomach liquid, and their abdominal circumference and constipation decreased significantly.
In addition, A 2015 study found that abdominal massage was effective in relieving some symptoms of bloat.
Studies have also found that abdominal massage was very effective in relieving menstrual pain and cramping. Women who had a five-minute massage daily for six days before menstruation had significantly lower levels of pain and cramping compared to women who had no treatment.
Using therapeutic grade essential oils in an abdominal massage may provide more benefits than a massage alone. Using essential oils may help to reduce friction and enhance your olfactory senses during a massage. It may also offer some additional pain relief.
According to Sanko, a lifestyle medicine platform that enables people to find proven therapies, self-management tools, natural remedies, nutrition, trusted resources and connect with expert practitioners, all tailored to the specific health needs of individuals, an abdominal massage can be practiced in the steps set out below:
Apply oil mixture to the whole abdomen (use 2 teaspoons of carrier oil with 4 drops blue camomile flower essential oil).
- Lying of your back, place a pillow under your knees to ensure your back is comfortably flat on the floor/bed and the abdominal muscles are relaxed for the massage
- With your stomach exposed, use the whole hand, connecting the palm and fingers to the abdomen, and slowly and gently massage your entire stomach in a clockwise direction a few times
- Moving to the centre line of your abdomen, massage with gentle circular motion from below the sternum to the pubic bone, move 3 cm to the left, and repeat. Repeat this pattern 3 more times (each time moving 3 cm to the left) then back to centre and repeat the same massage pattern on the right.
- Next, press your fingers into your navel, and continue massaging with gentle pressure and tiny circles around the navel in clockwise direction, spiralling outwards as you complete each circle, eventually covering the whole abdomen.
Enjoy the warmth of your hand and notice the sensations and feedback from your body; some areas might feel tight and others soft. You might find that areas of tension start to soften after a while.
The oil will be well absorbed into your skin by now, however, you are welcome to clean the residue with a soft face-cloth and warm water with some bicarbonate of soda.
Cautionary note: avoid massage when you have a temperature.
*This article is not a replacement for professional medical advice.