Stress & Digestion
Think “body massage” and words like ‘soothing’, ‘relaxing’ and ‘pure indulgence’ come to mind right? The fact, however, is a body massage actually goes far beyond indulgence into the realm of therapies. Massage improves blood circulation in the body and therein lie most of its benefits. The therapy has been used for several centuries to cure various ailments in the body and is today a popular alternative healing technique.
Apart from the conventional uses like relieving muscular pain, calming the nervous system, reducing tension and stress, etc, the therapy also has its uses in improving one’s digestion. Here’s how it works …
Stress can reflect itself as a physical trouble in the abdominal region. Massage Therapy treats digestion by increasing peristalsis (the involuntary contraction of muscles that help food move along the intestine).
Abdominal massage is therefore considered to be extremely helpful for reducing constipation issues. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for instance, receiving a massage therapy session could be of immense help in controlling pain and aches caused due to constipation and cramps.
Abdominal massage can also help in the discharge of enzymes that break down food. Not only does this make digestion easier but also helps absorb important nutrients. It helps in the full processing of food and removal of toxins from the body.
Stomach massage is done very gently in a clockwise direction to aid in digestion and bowel movements. If done on a regular basis the uneasiness one feels from indigestion and constipation will eventually reduce and your bowel movements will show tremendous improvements. Even if you are not a licensed massage therapist you can conduct a similar daily massage on yourself to support your digestion in between your treatments. As indicated, using your fingers tips, place them at the outer right side of your stomach area. Moving your finger tips in small tiny circular motions in one spot for five to seven movements, then move your finger tips up (towards your head) by the width of your hand, again moving your finger tips in small circular motions five to seven times. Continue this till you get to your rib cage. Then begin moving your fingers to the left, then down, then to the right; when you get back your starting point, move your finger tips in towards your belling button and start again. Continue this path until you are at the very center of your stomach area. Think of a spiral or coil when moving your fingers around your stomach.
Acupressure based massage therapies can also help in alleviating digestive ailments. These therapies may not necessarily involve massaging the abdominal area; they focus on digestion related acupressure points in the body. Putting pressure on these points is believed to help in stimulating the digestive organs. An acupressure based massage session may not be as soothing as a regular Swedish massage session, but the results are said to be amazing.
Foot reflexology is another massage therapy that can aid in digestion. As the name suggests this involves pressing certain pressure points on the feet that are believed to be connected to the digestive organs.
So the next time you feel guilty thinking about massage as self-indulgence, Rethink as you could be doing your tummy a great favor by that massage!