Chinese Massotherapy and Gastrointestinal Disorders - Relief from Indigestion, Constipation, and IBS
By Craig Cormack, BA, RMT
Chinese massotherapy is a frontline therapy for gastrointestinal disorders. Used in combination
with healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and herbal remedies, it provides relief for indigestion,
constipation, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and many other conditions that affect the stomach and
Chinese medicine sees the body as a unified energy system. The body contains energy highways called
meridians. These meridians transport "chi" (energy flow) throughout the body. A free circulation of chi
equals a free and unobstructed flow of blood to all parts of the body. This flow enhances health and
Chinese massotherapy is an integral part of Chinese medicine. Like Tai Chi and Chi Kung, it helps the
body self-regulate and achieve optimum wellness without the use of drugs or other intrusive therapies.
Also known as Tuina ("push-pull"), Chinese massotherapy employs hand techniques such as shaking,
lifting, pinching, rolling, tapping, and acupressure (finger pressure on acupoints; acupressure works like
acupuncture, but without the needles).
Chinese massotherapy helps the body achieve
optimum wellness without the use of drugs
Relief from Constipation
Chinese medicine considers constipation an imbalance in the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, large intestine,
and stomach, caused by a lack of water and excessive heat in the body. It views the respiratory, digestive,
and elimination systems as three burners called the "triple burner." Constipation is seen as a blockage in
the elimination or "lower" burner.
Tuina for constipation includes Tai Chi circles (circular abdominal massage) and acupressure on
specific acupoints to help the elimination process. Acupressure on the bladder and kidney meridians helps
to boost water circulation. Massage strokes bring heat to the skin surface and expel it. Once the lower
burner is brought into balance constipation is relieved.
Relief from IBS
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome comes in two major forms: diarrhea-based or
constipation-based IBS. Chinese medicine considers these two forms either a problem of excess water in the lower burner (diarrhea) or excess fire in the lower burner (constipation). Organs affected are the spleen, liver, large intestine and stomach.
Tuina increases the circulation of water in the body where there is excessive heat. It dries out the
body where there is excessive water. Massage treatments release excessive heat through the skin, and
excessive water through the kidneys. Tuina hand techniques—including acupressure on the large intestine
and liver acupoints—also move toxins to the lymphatic system to be expelled. This further helps to restore
a natural healthy balance to the internal organs, which in turn helps remedy both forms of IBS.
Relief from Indigestion
Indigestion has many causes. Among the most common are stress, lack of exercise, and a poor diet.
Stress-induced indigestion is quickly and effectively remedied by Tuina. Exercise and dietary changes,
quitting smoking, and reducing or eliminating alcohol also usually help to resolve indigestion—and Tuina
can help. Case studies have shown that acupressure on the stomach, spleen and other acupoints can help
relieve most forms of indigestion.
Chinese massotherapy has been a gentle, non-intrusive, and drug-free medical treatment for
gastrointestinal disorders for more than 2,500 years. Consult a registered Chinese massotherapist for an
effective and natural solution to your indigestion, constipation, IBS or other stomach or intestinal
About the Author
Craig Cormack, BA, RMT, is a registered Chinese massotherapist, Chi Kung meditation master and senior
Tai Chi instructor based in Montreal, Canada. He is a consultant at the McGill University Health Centre
and President of l’Association de massage chinois Tuina du Québec.