Should You Massage Your Tummy For Constipation? Can It Help?

Constipation – it’s a common issue that most of us have experienced at some point. It’s uncomfortable, frustrating, and can seriously affect our day-to-day life.

But what if there was a simple, natural remedy you could try at home? Abdominal massage might just be the answer you’re looking for.

In this article will delve into the potential benefits of massaging your tummy for constipation relief, backed by research and expert advice.

Key Facts:

  • Abdominal massage is a natural method that may help relieve constipation.
  • Research suggests that this technique can be beneficial, although most studies are small.
  • Oils such as castor, argan, and coconut can be used to enhance the massage.
  • There are additional benefits to abdominal massage, including gas relief and muscle relaxation.
  • However, abdominal massage may not be suitable for everyone, and other remedies or lifestyle changes can also help with constipation.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the world of constipation, understand why it happens, and explore how abdominal massage could be your new go-to remedy.

So, let’s get started and uncover the potential of abdominal massage for constipation relief.

Understanding Constipation

Constipation is more than just a minor inconvenience. It’s a health issue that can significantly impact your comfort and well-being.

But what exactly is constipation, and why does it occur?

Image showing inflamed bowel causing constipation

Defining Constipation

In simple terms, constipation is a condition characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools.

It’s a common problem that affects people of all ages, but it’s more prevalent among older adults and during pregnancy.

Chart showing prevalence of constipation (based on the table data below it)
Population GroupPrevalence of Constipation (%)
General Population (Europe)17.1
General Population (Oceania)15.3
General Population (China)8.2
Elderly Population (China)18.1
Pediatric Population (China)18.8
Obese/Overweight Children~50
Table showing the prevalence of constipation.

Symptoms and Causes

The symptoms of constipation can vary, but, for the most part include:

  • Fewer than three bowel movements per week
  • Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
  • Straining or discomfort during bowel movements
  • A feeling of incomplete evacuation

The causes of constipation are numerous and can range from lifestyle factors to underlying medical conditions.

Some common causes of constipation include:

  • A diet low in fibre
  • Insufficient fluid intake
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Changes in routine or lifestyle
  • Certain medications
  • Stress or emotional issues

Understanding the causes and symptoms of constipation is the first step towards finding a solution.

Now, let’s explore how abdominal massage can potentially help alleviate this uncomfortable condition.

Abdominal Massage for Constipation

Did you ever think that a regular massage might help you out with your stubborn constipation problem? There’s actual scientific evidence to back it up. 

The Science of Massage

Research suggests that abdominal massage can help stimulate the muscles that propel digestive waste through your system, known as peristalsis.

This can potentially alleviate constipation symptoms and promote regular bowel movements.

Diagram of the bowel

Choosing the Right Oil

While the massage itself is beneficial, using the right oil can enhance the experience and effectiveness.

Here are some oils that are commonly used:

  • Castor Oil: Known for its laxative properties, it can help soften stools and stimulate bowel movements.
  • Argan Oil: Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can help soothe the digestive system.
  • Coconut Oil: Its moisturizing properties can help lubricate the digestive tract.

Remember, it’s essential to choose an oil that suits your skin type and doesn’t cause any allergic reactions.

Photo of massage oil

In the next section, we’ll guide you through the process of performing an abdominal massage for constipation relief.

It’s easier than you might think, and the best part is, you can do it right at home!

How to Perform an Abdominal Massage

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Remember, the goal is to stimulate your digestive system, not to cause discomfort.

Always listen to your body and adjust your technique as needed.

Step-by-Step Guide To Abdominal Massage At Home

  1. Find a Comfortable Spot: Choose a quiet, relaxing space where you won’t be disturbed. You can perform the massage while sitting, standing, or lying down – whatever feels most comfortable for you.
  2. Apply Your Chosen Oil: Take a small amount of your chosen oil (castor, argan, or coconut) and warm it up by rubbing it between your hands.
  3. Start the Massage: Place your hands on your stomach. Using gentle, circular motions, start massaging your abdomen. The direction of your massage should follow the path of your large intestine: start on the right side of your abdomen, move up towards your ribs, across your stomach, and then down the left side.
  4. Adjust the Pressure: The pressure should be firm but comfortable. If you feel any pain, reduce the pressure.
  5. Take Your Time: Spend at least 10-15 minutes massaging your abdomen. You can do this daily or as needed.

If abdominal massage doesn’t seem to help, or if your constipation is severe or persistent, it’s important to seek medical advice.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the benefits of abdominal massage and who should avoid this technique.

Benefits of Abdominal Massage

While the primary goal of abdominal massage is to relieve constipation, this simple self-care practice offers a host of other benefits.

Let’s delve into some of these additional advantages:

  • Minimizes the Need for Laxatives: Regular abdominal massage can potentially reduce your reliance on laxatives, offering a natural alternative for managing constipation
  • Relieves Gas: The gentle pressure and movement of an abdominal massage can help disperse trapped gas, providing relief from bloating and discomfort.
  • Reduces Medical Intervention: By managing constipation effectively at home, you may reduce the likelihood of needing medical attention for this issue.
  • Promotes Relaxation: Beyond the physical benefits, the act of massaging your abdomen can be calming and therapeutic, helping to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
  • Eases Muscle Tension: The massage can help relax your abdominal muscles, which can indirectly ease your bowels and promote regularity.

While these benefits are promising, it’s important to remember that abdominal massage isn’t suitable for everyone

In the next section, we’ll discuss who should avoid this technique and why.

Who Should Not Perform Abdominal Massage

While abdominal massage can be a beneficial practice for many, it’s not suitable for everyone.

Certain conditions or circumstances may make this technique potentially harmful

Let’s explore some of these risk factors:

  • Pregnancy: Pregnant individuals should avoid abdominal massage, as it could potentially stimulate uterine contractions.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): If you have a condition like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, abdominal massage may exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Recent Surgery: If you’ve recently had abdominal surgery, you should avoid abdominal massage until you’ve fully healed and received clearance from your doctor.
  • Hernia: A hernia is a condition where an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Abdominal massage could potentially worsen this condition.
  • Certain Medical Conditions: If you have any medical conditions involving your digestive system, such as diverticulitis or stomach ulcers, consult your healthcare provider before trying abdominal massage.

Remember, your health and safety should always come first.

If you’re unsure whether abdominal massage is safe for you, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. 

In the next section, we’ll explore other remedies and lifestyle changes that can help manage constipation.

Other Remedies for Constipation

While abdominal massage can be a great tool in your arsenal against constipation, it’s not the only method available.

There are several other remedies and lifestyle changes that can help manage this common issue:

  • Dietary Changes: Consuming a diet rich in fibre can help promote regular bowel movements. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are excellent sources of fibre.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help soften your stools and make them easier to pass.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help stimulate your intestines and promote regular bowel movements.
  • Over-the-Counter Remedies: There are several over-the-counter products available that can help with constipation, including fiber supplements, stool softeners, and laxatives. However, these should be used as a last resort and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and promote overall digestive health.

It’s all about finding the right combination of remedies that works for you – so don’t be shy about asking for professional advice if you need it. 

Photo of high fibre food

In the next section, we’ll wrap up our discussion on abdominal massage for constipation.


Navigating the world of constipation remedies can be a bit overwhelming, but we hope this article has shed some light on the potential benefits of abdominal massage.

To recap:

  • Abdominal massage is a natural, at-home remedy that can potentially help relieve constipation.
  • The technique involves applying gentle pressure to your abdomen in a specific pattern to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Certain oils, like castor, argan, and coconut, can enhance the effectiveness of the massage.
  • While beneficial for many, abdominal massage isn’t suitable for everyone, particularly those with certain medical conditions or circumstances.

Remember, constipation is a common issue, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

It’s about finding what works best for you, whether that’s abdominal massage, dietary changes, or another remedy.

If you’re struggling with persistent constipation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized advice and treatment options to help you find relief.

Thank you for joining us on this journey into the world of abdominal massage for constipation.

We hope you found this information helpful and encouraging. Here’s to your health and well-being!


  1. The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation: A study on PubMed discussing the use of abdominal massage for treating chronic constipation.
  2. Short and long-term efficacy of massage for functional constipation: An article from the Medicine journal discussing the short and long-term efficacy of massage for functional constipation.
  3. Abdominal Massage in Functional Chronic Constipation: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial: A randomized placebo-controlled trial on PubMed studying the effects of abdominal massage in functional chronic constipation.
  4. Effects of abdominal massage in management of constipation–a randomized controlled trial: A randomized controlled trial on PubMed discussing the effects of abdominal massage in the management of constipation.
  5. Massage for constipation: Colon and abdominal massage: An article from Medical News Today discussing the use of colon and abdominal massage for constipation.

1. Should I massage my tummy for constipation?

Yes, massaging your tummy can help relieve constipation.

2. How can massage help with constipation?

Massage can stimulate the muscles in your abdomen, which can help loosen the stool and promote bowel movements.

3. What techniques can I use for tummy massage?

There are different types of massage techniques that can be used, such as circular motions around your belly, clockwise movements, or applying gentle pressure around your belly button.

4. How many times should I repeat the massage?

It is recommended to repeat the massage around 10 times to effectively treat constipation.

5. Where should I focus the massage?

The massage should focus on the left side of your abdomen, around the area of your left hip bone.

6. Can I use massage oil for the tummy massage?

Yes, applying a small amount of massage oil to your abdomen can make the massage more effective and soothing.

7. Can a massage therapist help with constipation?

Yes, a massage therapist who specializes in abdominal massage may be able to provide relief for constipation.

8. Are there any risks or side effects of tummy massage for constipation?