Massage Therapy Helps with Digestion

Many Americans see the health benefits of a good massage done by a registered massage therapist. In fact the number one reason that Americans visit massage therapists is for relief from various aches and pains caused from stress. Neck and leg tension, along with sore backs from long driving commutes, and long days sitting in office chairs, are amongst the most common reason people seek out a massage therapist to help bring much needed relief from pain.

One little known reason for visiting a massage therapist, is for relief from gastrointestinal distress, and various gastrointestinal illnesses. In fact, people began learning about the effects of massage therapy on various digestive illnesses quite by accident, when a study was done, on how babies react to massage therapy.

Almost all massage therapy training programs contain a component on the proper way to massage a newborn or infant. Often, babies who are colicky or fussy are taken to a therapist, who gently massages their back and tummies to calm and sooth them. Later, it was suggested that adults suffering from acid reflux disease, crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome would also benefit from massage therapy.

When you first make an appointment with a registered massage therapist, they will ask you exactly what you are seeking relief from. While massage therapists are not doctor’s who can prescribe medications for any gastrointestinal difficulty, they can provide relief and some management from some of the symptoms.

Your first visit to the massage therapist will involve a detailed intake of all your present illnesses and symptoms. This is terribly important; because it is then that a massage therapist can determine which type of massage will best aid you in recovery or management from a gastrointestinal problem.

Acid reflux is often characterized by sharp burning pains in the chest and throat. Often a person with acid reflux develops a lot of gas and stomach bloating, due to the improper digestion of food. While it is essential to take any prescription medications needed to monitor these symptoms, physical relief from massage therapy is often done through the use of Swedish massage therapy.

Lying on your back a massage therapist will begin by using five deep strokes beginning just under the top rib, below the breast. This is generally repeated for at least fifteen minutes, and what happens is that acid traveling up towards the throat is gently redirected back towards the stomach, promoting proper breakdown of food and waste particles.

For someone with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, the pain is often intolerable. The intestines or the small bowel simply feel like they are tied up in knots, which often they are! After Swedish massage therapy is performed a massage therapist will generally apply trigger point therapy on the swollen areas of the bowel to make it easier for food and waste products to break down, and pass through the intestines.

The result of applying these two types of massage therapy for gastrointestinal disorders is that pain is relieved along with much of the bloating. Having a handheld massager in hand can also be helpful. While gastrointestinal problems will almost always require medication, massage therapy can bring much needed physical relief.