How healthy is your digestion? You may experience bouts of gas or bloating, or things could be worse with regular episodes of constipation, heartburn, or a more serious condition.

Or, you be may regular with little to no stomach issues. Lucky you! To keep the gut in working order, many people take OTC or prescription medications to ease their symptoms and pain. Others handle things with home remedies, teas, or alternative supplements.

But what about making the digestive process feel a bit better without having to ingest anything? It’s possible to do it with your own hands. How? Through self-massage!

Prevention cites advice from registered dietitian McKel Hill, who wrote on her blog about mindful eating and digestion. Hill discusses the impact of stress on the body and nervous system, and how in turn, it can impede a natural and healthy digestion.

Not only can poor chewing lead to poor digestion, but a stressed-out mind can cause inflammation and tension in your belly. Being backed up and feeling weird pangs in your tummy could be directly related to stress levels. That’s why Hill suggests engaging in some self-care before and after a meal to help your system.

Here is the technique for the two-minute stomach massage that she recommends:

  1. Lie Down

    Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your fleet are flat. Take several deep breaths.

  2. Position Your Hands

    Put both hands on your abdomen, push down gently and begin massaging using wide, circular motions, going across your entire stomach and sides.

  3. Touch the Points

    With your fingertips or palms, apply some gentle pressure to tense points along the stomach muscles and under the rib cage. Don’t forget the top of the stomach area that is in the middle of the ribs. Repeat these motions and continue until your stomach feels relaxed.

You may do this a few minutes before a meal or a couple hours after eating. Hill emphasizes that by doing this massage, your brain and stomach muscles trigger a “rest response” in the body. This sets you up for an easier time when it comes to digestion and elimination.

Further, she states that it is also important to chew your food thoroughly and to take small sips of your drink during a meal to help everything break down properly.

Several studies support the benefits of stomach massage for people seeking relief from constipation, bloating, and even menstrual cramps. Although Hill suggests doing this for a quick two minutes, you can do it for ten or fifteen, either once per day or two to three times.

If you’re feeling extra inspired in the self-care department, take it the extra mile by incorporating some essential oils. Spend a few extra minutes on those points on your stomach that need extra attention. Be gentle on yourself with this massage and you can experience improved bowel habits and digestive function.

Do you experience constipation or other digestive issues? Would you try this self-massage for any amount of time? What other practices help your digestive process?

Sources:

NIH

ScienceDirect