Tui Na Massage for Digestion
If you suffer from a digestive issue such as IBS, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, you will know how distressing these conditions can be. As well as frequently having to deal with constipation or diarrhea, you may also suffer from abdominal bloating and pain on a daily basis.
Fortunately, Chinese medicine can offer relief from these conditions in a number of ways. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs offer a fantastic way to relieve pain and other digestive symptoms, but in this article we are going to focus on tui na massage.
What is Tui Na Massage?
Tui na is a form of massage which is based on the principles of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It uses a variety of movements such as pressing, rolling, pinching, and rubbing to encourage movement of qi and blood, and to help remove stagnation and blockages.
Tui na massage can be particularly helpful in the treatment of digestive disorders as you can either visit a professional, or learn some basic moves to try at home. Learning some simple tui na and acupressure techniques is a great way to relieve symptoms such as bloating and cramping when they strike. You can also use some of these techniques to keep your bowels regular and avoid constipation.
How does Tui Na Massage Help Digestive Symptoms?
According to TCM, a large proportion of digestive symptoms are due to imbalances in the Spleen and Liver organs. The Spleen is one of the main digestive organs along with the Stomach, and it is responsible for controlling intestinal function.
The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi within the body. When the Liver becomes imbalanced, the movement of qi becomes erratic, a condition known as Liver-qi stagnation. The Liver and Spleen are closely related in the five element cycle, and so this stagnation can easily begin to impact the Spleen.
If this happens, the muscular contractions of the intestines become irregular, resulting in symptoms such as bloating, distending pain in the abdomen, noisy digestion, belching, and alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Tui na massage can help to relieve these symptoms by moving qi in the intestines and helping it to flow freely again. It can also help to encourage food waste to move along your intestines if your digestion has become sluggish and slow.
Tui Na Self-Massage for Digestive Symptoms
It is always best to have tui na massage performed by a trained professional as they will be able to carry out an accurate diagnosis and choose the most appropriate techniques for you. They may also recommend acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs to supplement your treatment, and give you personalized dietary advice.
However, sometimes your symptoms may occur at a time when you cannot get in to see your provider. This is why it is worth learning a few simple techniques to relieve your symptoms as they occur.
The simplest way to relieve symptoms of pain and bloating, and to encourage regular bowel movements is by performing a simple abdominal massage daily. You can do this through your clothes, or if you prefer, you can use oils and massage your skin directly.
When you massage your abdomen, you need to work in the direction of your bowel. Start in the bottom, right-hand corner of your abdomen, just above your hip. Using medium to firm pressure, move up and around in a clockwise direction, massaging the whole area beneath your ribs. Repeat these circular, clockwise movements until you feel some relief.
You can also try applying acupressure to a point known as Stomach 25, or Heavenly Pillar. This point is located directly above the intestines and is great for relieving digestive symptoms.
You can find this point at the same level as your belly button, three finger-widths out to the left and right. Use your index, middle, and ring finger together to measure the distance to the point, or lie down and raise your head slightly to expose your abdominal muscles. The point is located just on the edge of this muscle on both sides of your belly.
Once you have found the points on both sides, use the flats of your fingers to massage them in small, circular movements for 1–2 minutes each time. When you do this correctly, you should feel your symptoms gradually melt away.