The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.

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    Abdominal massage for constipation

    It decreased the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms, according to researchers at Umeå University in Sweden.

    First, the details.

    • 60 people with constipation were randomly assigned to 2 groups.
      • Abdominal massage in addition to an earlier prescribed laxative
      • Control group that took only laxatives according to earlier prescriptions
    • Gastrointestinal function was assessed with the Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Scale (GSRS) at the start of the study, week 4 and week 8.

    And, the results.

    • Abdominal massage significantly decreased severity of gastrointestinal symptoms, constipation, and abdominal pain.
    • Abdominal massage was associated with a significant increase of bowel movements compared to the control group.
    • There was no difference in the amount of laxative used after 8 weeks.

    The bottom line?
    Based on the finding that laxative use did not change, the researchers concluded, “Abdominal massage could be a complement to laxatives rather than a substitute.”

    There’s limited research in this area. A PubMed search of massage and constipation yielded the following studies.
    Functional bowel disorders

    • Massage therapy was used by 12% of patients

    Children with cancer

    • A review of the literature revealed that massage therapy might be useful to treat constipation and other symptoms.

    A video that illustrates abdominal massage technique is here.

    2/18/09 17:23 JR

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