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Massage for Constipation

Cathleen McCauley L.M.T.

by Cathy McCauley, LMT

Discomfort, pain, bloating, gas. While broaching the topic of constipation may be embarrassing, it’s a common side effect of many fertility medications. What can you do when you’ve become more than a bit irregular during a fertility cycle? Try receiving abdominal massage.

A review of research from 1999 to the present shows that abdominal massage can be effective in the treatment of constipation. The review, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (Volume 15, Issue 4 , Oct. 2011), states that scientific evidence over the past 12 years has demonstrated that “…abdominal massage can stimulate peristalsis, decrease colonic transit time, increase the frequency of bowel movements in constipated patients, and decrease the feelings of discomfort and pain that accompany it.”

So what does that all mean? Basically, abdominal massage can help get things moving so you can go more frequently and easily.

Many clients have never received abdominal massage and voice concern that it might be painful. Some clients cringe at the thought of having anyone come near their tummies while undergoing fertility treatments. Others feel embarrassed because of how their bellies look and fear being judged.

These feelings are valid and heard. Therefore, one of my therapeutic goals is to work with a client’s comfort on whatever level necessary to create positive change. I approach abdominal massage slowly and with care. Additionally, I honor each and every client who receives massage, and I truly believe this makes an enormous difference in how the client experiences the treatment.

In the Hawaiian tradition of Lomi Lomi, the belly holds our energetic and authentic being. It is referred to as the bowl of light. As we go through life we collect stones that block the light. By having our bowls cleansed on occasion we allow the white light to shine through so it can continue to guide us on our path of authentic living.

I’m happy to discuss the benefits of abdominal massage as well as Pulling Down the Moon’s four-part Fertility Enhancing Massage (FEM) series. Please contact me at  I look forward to meeting you along your journey.


Sinclair M. The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies . 2011 Oct; 15(4):436-45.