Holistic medicine

Abdominal massage - application and instructions

Abdominal massage - application and instructions

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Abdominal massage

An abdominal massage can be beneficial. It relaxes the muscles, leads to flatulence, stimulates the blood circulation and ensures that the organs in the abdominal cavity get oxygen. It also relieves pain during the period, helps against stress and promotes digestion.

The most important facts

  • An abdominal massage not only serves wellness, but is also suitable for relieving less severe pain.
  • It helps against flatulence, constipation and digestive problems and promotes both blood circulation and oxygen absorption.
  • Many abdominal pains arise from tension in the muscles on the abdominal wall. This can be alleviated by massaging the abdomen.
  • Abdominal massages take place without or with only gentle pressure. An exception is the colon massage for irritable bowel syndrome. This is about building moderate pressure at certain points.

Abdominal massage for constipation and flatulence

Digestion is a complex process and all complex processes are prone to disruptions. Disorders in the biochemistry of the stomach or intestines interfere with digestion as well as difficult-to-digest food that contains a lot of fat, for example. Here, a healthy gastrointestinal tract also has to deliver high performance - and it doesn't always do that. Typical complaints with digestive problems are:

  • Flatulence,
  • Hardening of the abdominal wall,
  • Constipation,
  • diarrhea
  • and heartburn.

Chronic gastrointestinal diseases require medical treatment. An abdominal massage can be done complementarily. Digestive problems caused by an unhealthy diet, too much fat, sugar and alcohol only go away if you eat a more balanced diet. But with acute symptoms, massaging the abdomen works well - for example, if, to put it bluntly, you overeat.

Which ailments does it help to massage the stomach?

Massaging the abdomen helps:

  • Bloated stomach: The massage relaxes the abdominal muscles and the jammed gases can escape more easily. The relaxation also helps with certain abdominal pains, if these arise from tense abdominal muscles.
  • lack of blood circulation: massaging promotes blood circulation and so more oxygen and more nutrients can get into the abdomen.
  • emotional stress.
  • Menstrual pain, which often occurs together with cramps in the abdomen.
  • some back pain.
  • Constipation: The massage stimulates the bowel movements, the digested food is transported and blockages are released. Abdominal wall massages stimulate the nerve connections in the intestine.
  • Abdominal pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • In babies, abdominal massages not only help against flatulence, they also increase well-being and promote physical development.

The stomach and intestine massage

In order to stimulate the intestine, you should massage the abdominal wall in a circular motion about 15 minutes before going to the toilet. A calm atmosphere is important. The intestine blocks when stressed. In addition, you should take a long and deep breath in and out. Abdominal breathing is particularly popular. It works on the intestine in a similar way to massage, because the organs slide a little downwards towards the pelvis when inhaling deeply.

You have to give the intestines a quarter of an hour. If you are too impatient, do a relaxation exercise before your massage using your most popular relaxation method.

How does a classic abdominal massage work?

For an abdominal massage, lie down and create a calm environment beforehand. Then breathe calmly and circle without much pressure with both palms on the abdominal wall. You always start with the right hand. The right hand circles counterclockwise, the left in the other direction. Both circle in the direction of the head.

You first place both hands on your bare stomach, with your thumb on your navel and your fingers towards the pubic bone. With your right hand, you now circle over your stomach for three minutes and then let it rest on your skin. Then draw the circles with your left hand, also three minutes. Then circle with both hands. In contrast to a shoulder massage, you apply little or no pressure. It takes three minutes again.

Then move your right hand down so far that the thumb touches the navel and the little finger touches the pubic bone. The left lead you to the upper abdomen, but leave it in contact with the skin. Then circle again with both palms on the skin. You repeat these movements about ten times, then swap hands and circle again ten times. Now move your hands to the left and right edge of the abdomen and finish the massage there.

If you do not massage with strong pressure or too quickly, you could achieve the opposite of relaxation - the stomach cramps.

The colon massage

In contrast to the "normal" abdominal massage, the colon massage is about building pressure - at five points. The colon is the middle part of the large intestine and the massage pressure stimulates the muscle there.

This is not a massage against rather unspecific digestion complaints, but a special technique against the pain of irritable bowel syndrome, which creates a vegetative balance in the lower abdomen. But it also stimulates digestion and helps against constipation.

Physiotherapists usually perform this massage. You can also do it yourself, but only after professional instructions. To do this, apply gentle pressure with two fingers in a circular motion at the corresponding five points on the colon. Do you have severe pain or acute inflammation? Then this method is only suitable if a specialist considers it to be harmless. You can increase the effect of the massage against irritable bowel pain by tying warm wraps around your belly and / or taking a warm foot bath.

Abdominal massage: babies

The touch of the skin relaxes the baby and causes the release of the feel-good hormones. In this respect, massages are also a good means of lulling the little ones to sleep. Regular massages promote the formation of myelin, a protein that connects the nerve fibers with the muscles and thus also serve the child's physical development. The physical touch has a positive effect on the child's attention and curiosity; Massages stimulate digestion, promote blood circulation and support deep breathing. As with adults, massaging the baby bump helps bloating to escape.

The German Society for Baby and Child Massage offers courses in which parents can learn the massage techniques. The essentials only briefly here. Baby massages should only be done with gentle pressure, in a warm room in which the child feels comfortable. The baby should be healthy and not tired and, above all, want to be touched. Do not massage if the baby has just drunk or eaten. Use vegetable oils such as olive, almond or jojoba for the massage and wash off excess oil in warm bath water - this enhances the effect of the massage.
Place the baby on the changing table or on a soft blanket. Warm up the oil on the palms of your hands before spreading it on the baby bump. They lay their hands flat on the child's stomach and stroke them about ten times from the breastbone to the upper arms. Then move a hand diagonally from the torso to the groin, several times on each side.

For flatulence and abdominal pain, stroke the navel with the flat of your hand, first in small, then in larger circles. The baby's legs should be slightly angled, this will relax the abdominal wall. Place both thumbs on the right and left of the baby's belly button, pulling them to the sides. Then move the left hand on the left side of the abdomen up to the chest. The right hand now strokes the right side of the abdomen and follows the course of the intestine. Pay attention to the baby's reaction: if he doesn't like the massage, screams or cries, stop it.

In the end, put a hand under your chest and stroke your belly from there. You now repeat the same movement with the other hand and then again with the first hand. Repeat this process several times.

Abdominal massage for menstrual pain

To relieve period pain, massage clockwise around the navel. Warmed oils with chamomile, fennel or juniper are well suited. This relaxes the muscles. The massage works even better if you support it with warmth. In addition, a massage on the lower back often helps, since many women unconsciously contract the muscles there during their period. Massages that work with cold are unsuitable for menopausal pain. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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Video: Tutorial: Abdominal massage, belly breathing, and the vagus nerve (November 2022).