New research shows abdominal massage therapy alleviates constipation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Constipation affects many people with MS, negatively impacting on their quality of life, according to an abstract published on

The objective of this randomized controlled feasibility study
was to determine the feasibility of undertaking abdominal massage in people with MS.

Following ethical approval, 30 patients with MS and constipation were recruited. After providing informed written consent and completion of baseline outcome measures, participants were randomly allocated to a massage group or a control group, the abstract noted.

The massage group participants were provided with advice on bowel management, and they or their carers were taught how to deliver abdominal massage and were recommended to perform it daily during the four-week intervention period. The control group received bowel management advice only.

Outcomes were measured pre (week 0) and post treatment (week 4), and at week 8 and showed that although both groups demonstrated lessened constipation, “the massage group improved significantly more than the control group.”

“The results of this small study suggest a positive effect of the intervention on the symptoms of constipation, and support the feasibility of a substantive trial of abdominal massage for the alleviation of the symptoms of constipation in people with MS,” the researchers noted.

“Abdominal massage for the alleviation of constipation symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled feasibility study” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis. (2010 Oct 12.)

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