Skip to content

Benefits of Abdominal Massage and the use of Essential Oils

By Rakhee Dodhia
from Sacred Space Healing

When contemplating a massage, the abdomen may not be the first area that comes to mind. However, abdominal massage has a rich history spanning centuries and cultures and boasts numerous health benefits. This often-overlooked practice has been demonstrated to not only alleviate stomach complaints and enhance digestion but can fortify the body’s immune function.

Abdominal massage is a gentle form of massage concentrating on the muscles surrounding the abdomen, and it employs various techniques that are both painless and non-invasive.  This therapeutic approach extends beyond mere relaxation, offering relief from an array of symptoms such as constipation, bloating, and muscle tightness. The positive impact of abdominal massage is not confined to physical well-being alone; it extends to mental health, providing relief from pain and anxiety associated with the stomach, digestive system, and reproductive organs, including the pelvic floor.

The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda has a strong focus on Nabhi massage, which literally translates as wheel, centre or naval.  Warm oil, often medicated with herbs depending on your dosha, is applied to the area around the belly button.  The area is massaged in a clockwise direction, following the path of the large intestine, travelling up the right side of the abdomen, across and then down on the left side.

Stomach massage is also rooted in ancient Chinese medicine and has been used for centuries to detoxify the body and enhance digestive health. Emotional stress often manifests in the gut, and abdominal massage aids in reducing tension, promoting emotional healing, and resulting in fewer digestive complaints. Tongmai Tiaoshen Chinese abdominal massage has also been shown to improve sleep quality in chronic insomniacs.  The gentle pressure applied in a clockwise motion stimulates muscle relaxation, leading to improved digestion and a reduction in issues like gas, bloating, and cramping.

Benefits of abdominal massage

  • Alleviating constipation

Clinical trials demonstrate that regular abdominal massage can improve chronic constipation by increasing bowel movements and decreasing colonic transit time.  Abdominal massage is also very safe and effective to use on babies and children who are suffering from constipation.

  • Reducing PMS pain

Abdominal massage can be very beneficial for women experiencing pain and dysmenorrhea symptoms, mitigating pain, cramping, bloating, gas, and indigestion. By reducing muscle spasms, relaxing the stomach and pelvic floor muscles, and improving overall mood. Abdominal massage offers relief from abdominal and pelvic discomfort associated with menstruation, ovulation, and reproductive conditions.

  • Boosting immune health

A significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut, with an abundance of lymph cells and a healthy gut contributes to overall health and immunity. Abdominal massage stimulates the areas around the lymphatic ducts and helps to propel immune cells into the blood stream to combat viruses and diseases.

  • Improving posture

The abdominal muscles play a crucial role in the core muscle group, impacting posture and susceptibility to injury.  Tight abdominal muscles can result in a change of posture due to the constant contraction of a muscle.  Abdominal massage can help to loosen tight muscles and increase strength in weak muscles.  Regular abdominal massage can enhance elasticity, fluidity, and enhance range of motion.


Various essential oils can also be added to a carrier oil to enhance efficacy; the following are good choices for abdominal massage.

Ginger oil
Ginger can be used to soothe a stomach internally; however, it can also be applied topically to reduce bloating.

Chamomile oil
Chamomile is very soothing and calming and not only eases cramping pain but can also reduce bowel inflammation.

Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil can help to reduce the symptoms of bloating and help to eliminate gas.  It can also calm the muscles reducing cramping pains.  Peppermint can also be drunk as a tea to help with bloating.

Cumin oil

Cumin oil is used for pain, cramps, and detoxing.  It can help with IBS symptoms like diarrhea and constipation.  Avoid exposure to sunlight and avoid whilst pregnant.

Fennel oil

Fennel can help with digestive ailments including constipation.


When you perform abdominal massage and employ a range of soothing and comforting techniques, such as deep strokes, skin rolling, wringing, and kneading, you will find it can help balance the body in several ways… leaving you feeling relaxed and well!

More about the author

Rakhee Dodhia
Rakhee Dodhia
– Sacred Space Healing

Rakhee is a Remedial Massage Therapist, with a practice in Bilgola, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Of Indian origin, Rakhee, grew up surrounded by the ancient healing world of Ayurveda and has developed a keen interest and practice of the same.