Probiotics have been shown to promote gut health and relieve a variety of GI related issues ranging from constipation to inflammatory conditions. Although the regular use of probiotics can help alleviate these conditions, in some individuals with chronic or long term issues the use of probiotics alone may not be enough. In such individuals, the probiotic benefit can be enhanced by diet and also by a very simple massage technique called abdominal massage (figure 1).
Abdominal massage is a self-administered process that involves using ones hands to perform a clockwise massage over the abdomen. The process takes 10 to 20 minutes, as shown in figure 1, where steps 2 to 4 are repeated at least 2 – 3 times. Abdominal massage aims to relieve stomach cramps, constipation, reduce the need for chronic use of laxative medication or enemas, and helps relieve trapped gas and bloating. The massage can be done in sitting or lying positions.
Research has shown that the use of abdominal massage techniques, as well as probiotics, can improve bowel function. Overall, this approach to GI health offers a better and safer alternative than the use of laxatives and medication, which have been shown to become less effective over time and are often no better than probiotics and abdominal massage therapy at improving GI and digestive health.
Figure 1: Abdominal massage technique