As well as helping to ease sore muscles and relax your mind, massage can also be used to soothe the pain and discomfort of constipation.
Osteopath, physiotherapist and massage therapist Andrea Rippe, who works at Kennington Osteopaths, offers some simple self-massage techniques.
“Massage helps to move waste products around the bowel if you’re constipated,” she says.
As well as that, it also helps to indirectly relax your nervous system which can, in turn, ease the pressure from your gut.
Although lying down is preferable in terms of comfort, you can massage while sitting up.
Massaging your stomach
“Stroke up from the right hand side of your stomach with your hand and across and then work your way down to your left hand side,” says Rippe.
“From the left-hand side - the left lower abdominal wall - do small circling motions with your finger tips and then move back the way you came, so up the left, across to the right and then back down the right to the right lower abdominal wall. Repeat.
“You need to press reasonably hard to be able to get past your abdominal wall muscles. You’re making a dent into your abdomen possibly an inch or two deep.”
Massaging your belly button
“You can also vibrate your hand over your belly button to loosen things up. Place the palm of your hand over your belly button. Press in lightly - you're not poking - and then just make a small vibrating movement. You will generally be affecting some part of the large bowel from there.”
Top massage tips
Spend about 10-20 minutes doing these techniques. Try them once a day for maximum benefit.
Don’t try these techniques if you’re full from a meal.
Avoid these massages if you’re pregnant, have inflammatory bowel disease, bowel disease or if you have bowel cancer.
If you’re still in discomfort, consider seeing an osteopath.