What has a massage got to do with digestion?
Quite a lot!
Like any relaxation technique it is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your digestive capacity. If you suffer from different symptoms of bloating, gas (especially smelly gas), cramps, nausea, burning sensations, acidity, diarrhoea or constipation you can ease them by having a massage. Lots of my clients with digestive problems feel embarrassed when towards the end of the treatment their tummies start rumbling. For the clients it is often an uncomfortable moment but for me it is a sign that my treatment is working (or the client is hungry, of course). The tension in the gut has calmed down and peristalsis, or intestinal transit has taken off again.
Relaxation really is at the basis of any healing, not only good digestion. For the body to operate in any kind of situation relaxation guarantees optimal results.
Stress undermines proper activity and causes failures in homeostasis, the control of the variables in an organism.
Under stress your cells go through a process where they expect to release an unusual amount of energy and have to speed up your metabolism. This is orchestrated by stress hormones like cortisol. For this they need an extra boost of sugars, or carbohydrates, which act as an emergency fuel for energy production.
Stressful situations are a part of life and the body should be able to cope with them with relative ease. For this the cells need also to be well hydrated. Dehydrated cells do not behave dutifully and can affect the stress response negatively.
Hydration, like relaxation, not only helps in tight situations but is also very beneficial for good digestion. The digestive system is lined by a mucous membrane and this is kept well lubricated by drinking an appropriate amount of water. It should not be too much, not too little and it should be taken warm. Warmth also speeds up the activity of the digestive enzymes and makes it easier to break down food we eat and prepare it for proper absorption. Well hydrated cells of the mucous membrane are able to harbor good bacteria, which are able to deal with nutrition and waste, what to absorb and what to push down for elimination.
If you have doubts of going for a relaxation treatment but think it is only a luxury, think twice. It does not only feel nice but has huge health benefits. After a massage you drain lots of liquids from your body so remember to increase your liquid intake for next 24 hours. Make sure your water is warm and you take it in sips. Too much water at one go (cold or warm) dilutes digestive juices and makes digestion harder.