Digestive problems account for a very large percentage of over the counter medication sales. Acid reflux, bloating, indigestion, constipation and diarrhea are very common in the modern world. Poor diet and lack of exercise- specifically sitting for long periods, contributes to this problem. Many of these problems are related to slow or blocked movement of material through the gastrointestinal tract. The long term solution for many GI problems is of course to eat healthy and get exercise. At times, a more immediate solution is often needed.
There are many herbs and treatments that can be specifically targeted to the problems a patient is facing. For those acute GI problems, massaging the abdomen often can provide quick relief without resorting to medication. This of course is easier to do on someone else rather than be self administered.
The trick is following some basic principles of human anatomy to get the most out of an abdominal massage. Basic biology of the digestive tract is that the human body essentially has one long tube from mouth to colon. Many problems involve food or material not moving efficiently through this system. At any point along the way if material gets blocked, everything behind the blockage stops or backs up in the wrong direction. This can result in bloating, pain, acid reflux or a general feeling of uncomfortableness. If the lower abdomen is massaged in such a way to move material along, it will help alleviate some of the symptoms. Pushing on the intestines will help move material. The important part is to push and massage in the direction of the flow of material. For the human colon that means massaging the abdomen in a clockwise direction, pushing up on the right side of the abdomen, across to the left side under the ribs and then pushing down on the left side of the abdomen.
If problems are relieved by this method, it is important to find ways to keep the system moving in the future to prevent this blockage from happening again. Regular exercise that twists and moves the abdomen can be very helpful. Adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet can also help. If there is a dry constipation, more water and more nut and seed oils can help keep the stool moving. If there is more of a cold feeling in the digestion and the stool is soft and pasty, then increasing ginger in the diet will often help. Bloating and gas can often be relieved by the spice fennel seed. Hawthorn berry candy can also be helpful if there is more of a blocked feel in the stomach.
Simple abdominal massage can often help people avoid those over the counter medications. It can also be used as part of a plan to improve overall health, rather than repeatedly treating symptoms. It is a simple to use "try this first" solution that often works faster than some over the counter medications.