Constipation is a topic that very few of us like to talk about, and although most of us have experienced this condition at some point in our lives, we like to keep it as our own little secret. While for some people constipation is an occasional problem caused by some foods, in others it reveals itself as a chronic health issue where they need to take regular medication or laxatives to keep things moving.
Although constipation is commonly defined as having bowel movement less than 3 times a week, inbut in reality, it has different meaning for different people. While some refer to it as irregular bowel movement, others associate it with difficulty to pass stools. In some cases constipation may be an associated symptom of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or diarrhea. Constipation can occur in people of all ages from new-born babies to olderelder people. Other than medications and laxatives, applying acupressure points for constipation is an effective way of treating constipation. It provides lasting relief without any side-effects.
Common Causes of Constipation
Poor diet and not getting enough fluids on a daily basis are considered the most common causes of constipation. Let us take a look at a few of the causes to understand the issue in a better way.
Diet – A diet that is low in fiber rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains and fruits is one of the leading reasons of constipation. Also, a high protein diet rich in meat, dairy products and eggs can also lead to constipation. Processed and ready to eat meals are low in fiber and high in sugar and salt and it leads to irregular bowel movement. Constipation is more common among older people because they don’t drink enough water and other fluids along with their meals.
Excessive Use of Laxatives – Laxatives are an effective cure for constipation, but using it too often reduces the body’s own capacity to function. Excessive dependence on laxatives signals your body to depend on them and stops you from having normal bowel movements. It can also lead to diarrhea.
Lack of Exercise – The modern sedentary lifestyle with long periods of inactivity has led to constipation and problems in bowel movement in people of all age groups. Being more physically active and devoting at least 30 minutes to exercise daily can work as a natural cure for constipation.
Holding Back Bowel – Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation at a later stage. Some people are strict about having bowel movementsmovement only at home and they don’t usesue the toilets in the office of public places. But this habit can cause constipation if bowel movement is delayed too long.
Medications – Certain medications and drugs such as antacids, medicines for depression, allergies, pain killers, hypertension and diuretics can cause constipation.
Medical Conditions – Certain health issues like diabetes or blocked intestines can cause constipation. In these disorders, the muscles and nerves involved in normal bowel movement are affected.
Signs and Symptoms of Constipation
The symptoms of constipation include:
Infrequent bowel movement – less than 3 times a week
Difficulty in having bowel movement
Sense of incomplete bowel movement
Abdominal pain or swollen abdomen
Pain and vomiting
Occasional diarrhoea caused by obstruction of the colon
6 Useful Pressure Points for Constipation Relief
Stimulating these acupressure points for gas and constipation with your fingers can help relax the abdomen and promote regular bowel movement without any pain or discomfort. They also help in relieving the associated symptoms of constipation such as abdominal pain, bloating and gas.
CV6 or Conception Vessel 6 is an important constipation acupressure point for treating constipation. It is also named the Sea of Qi and this point is located exactly three finger widths below the belly button. This point should be stimulated using the fingertips gradually. The pressing should be no more than 1 inch deep. You will peel something firm with your fingers as you press. Maintain this firm pressure for 30 seconds as your breathe normally, keeping your eyes closed. This pressure point for constipation helps in relieving pain in the abdomen. It is also useful for treating irregular menstruation, hernia, impotence in men, digestive disorders and fatigue.
CV12 or Conception Vessel 12 is yet another vital acupressure point that is a solution for all types of digestive problems and provides quick constipation relief. It is known as the Center of Power and it can be found on the midline of the body, halfway between the base of the breastbone and the belly button. This constipation acupressure point should be stimulated with great care and should not be pressed for more than 2 minutes at a stretch. It should be pressed on an almost empty stomach. It is best to avoid this point if you are suffering from heart disease, cancer or hypertension. It relieves constipation along with abdominal spasms, stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn and emotional stress. It is also an effective pressure point for dysentery, jaundice, insomnia and vomiting.
St36 or Stomach 36 is one of the most beneficial acupressure points for constipation. It helps relieve stomach and intestinal disorders, promotes digestion and strengthens the whole body. This is also known as the Three Mile Point and it is situated four finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width towards the outside of the shinbone. When you reach the correct spot, you will feel flexing of a muscle as you move your foot up and down. Use your palms to briskly rub this point for one minute on both legs. It is also a useful pressure point for asthma, PMS, insomnia, depression and nervousness.
LI4 or Large Intestine 4 is by far the most famous acupressure point that is a solution for various health issues and is an important acupressure for constipation. It is called the Joining Valley point and it is located on the fleshy muscle between the index finger and the thumb. Spread your thumb and indexand in index finger apart and stimulate this point by squeezing the fleshy webbing with your fingertips for 1 minute while you take long, deep breaths. Now, switch sides and press the point on the other hand for 1 minute. It helps to relieve constipation, chronic pain, eye problems, toothache, allergies and boosts the immune system. This point is forbidden for pregnant women because stimulating this point can lead to premature contractions of the uterus.
LI or Large Intestine 11 is a functional pressure point to relieve constipation. This point is also called the Crooked pond and it is situated at the outer end of the elbow crease. Press this point firmly using your fingers for 1 minute as youyour breathe deeply. Switch hands and stimulate the point on the other arm as well. This is an effective point to relieve indigestion and constipation. This is a vital trigger point for the colon. It also aids to reduce high fever, skin diseases, diarrhea and heat stroke. It is also a local point for elbow pain and tennis elbow.
PC6 or Pericardium 6 is an effective acupressure point that is located on the medial aspect of the hand, four finger widths below the wrist, in the hollow between the tendons. This pressure point for bowel movement is also called the Inner Gate point, and it should be stimulated by pressing the point with your fingertips. Apply pressure on the point for 1 minute and then switch side and apply pressure on the other arm. In addition, it is also used to treat upset stomach, motion sickness, headache, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, angina and chest tightness.
Apart from all the acupressure points for constipation mentioned above, there is another crucial pressure point for relief from constipation known as ST25. To Stimulate ST25 acupressure point, find SP15. It is located four finger-widths to the right of your belly button. Press on the point with your thumb or index finger and apply circular pressure for 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat on the left side.
Infographic: Acupressure Points for Treating Constipation
Some of the potential downsides of acupressure
Acupressure is generally considered safe. But, if you are pregnant, some of the pressure points for constipation can be risky. Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of complications, you must consult a trained acupressure professional. You must also avoid acupressure if you are suffering from lung, kidney, or heart disease or inflamed or injured skin.
If applying acupressure points for constipation relief do not help to ease your problem, then, you must seek appropriate medical care and attention to treat the constipation.
Acupressure is certainly a natural and excellent remedy for constipation. According to studies, it triggers bowel movements by promoting peristalsis and helps to increase gastric juices. It also relieves stress, which is a common cause of constipation. You can easily perform acupressure at home but try to avoid applying hard pressure. And, if you are pregnant or have a chronic disease, you must talk with a doctor before going for acupressure therapy.
1.Can acupressure relieves symptoms of constipation?
Acupressure can help to relieve some symptoms of constipation. It promotes peristalsis, the movement of your intestinal muscles. This can help to move stool through your digestive system.
2. What can I eat to relieve constipation immediately?
Consumption of certain foods can help to improve the frequency of bowel movements. Many dairy products contain microorganisms known as probiotics. These are good bacteria that may help to improve gut health and soften stools.
3. How can yoga help constipation?
Yoga helps manage your stress response. This can greatly improve the functioning of your digestive system. Secondly, yoga benefits your digestive system through twisting poses, inversions, and forward folds.
4. Who should not use acupressure?
People with high blood pressure and pregnant women should avoid going for acupressure therapy. Some of the acupressure points can cause miscarriage.