Using Ginger and Abdominal Massage for IBS Relief

GingerChi recently contacted me to review a few of their products; the first of these is their Tummy Tone Massage Oil, which I have been using almost daily since the 24th of August.

Why is Ginger Important for Intestinal Health?

According to GingerChi,

“Ginger [is a healing herb that] supports the flow of Chi throughout the body by stimulating both the immune and circulatory systems. Ginger is known for its ability to boost and sustain energy levels, awaken the mind, and soothe the digestion.

Ginger is known for slowing the aging process, enhancing skin tone and fortifying the body; you can read more about this herb here. I believe, by looking over the ingredients list, that this product would also be beneficial in the wintertime, rubbed onto the hands and feet to draw warmth to your icy digits.

GingerChi’s Tummy Tone Massage Oil combines specially distilled ginger with the following ingredients: coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, thistle oil, vitamin E, and essential oils of organic peppermint, cypress, organic juniper, grapefruit, lemon, black pepper, organic basil, and rosemary antioxidant. Read more about the company’s ingredients.

What is Chi (Qi)?
GingerChi tells us that “Chinese Culture considers Chi the life force present in all living things.” It is, essentially, a flow of energy throughout the meridians (channels) of the body. This energy flow can be disrupted for various reasons, including illness, diet and other lifestyle choices or habits; our Chi can then stagnate and accumulate toxins, affecting our health and emotional well being.

I did a little research on abdominal meridians to see why they are important and how I should be using them to relieve IBS. Here is what I found:

Acupressure meridian massage for IBS symptoms

meridians

  • Point CV 6 (located two finger widths below the belly button) – Massaging this point can relieve the symptoms of IBS, menstrual cramps, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and it’s great for improving sexual problems as well. If you don’t believe me, just massage this area for a bit and tell me if you don’t feel the energy flowing to your groin! Read more about acupressure point CV 6.
  • Point P 6 (located two-and-a-half finger widths below the wrist crease on the inner arm) – Massaging this point relieves nausea and anxiety (as well as wrist pain).
  • Point SP 16 (located just beneath the ribcage, directly below each nipple) – Massaging these two points can relieve indigestion, ulcers and gas pains. Read more about point SP 16. I often find that one or both of these meridians is tender to the touch.

GingerChiMy Review

I’ve found the purpose of GingerChi’s Tummy Tone Massage Oil is not as much to improve the appearance of the abdominal area, as it is meant to assist the user in the manipulation of the body’s Chi to achieve better digestive health. While rubbing oil on your stomach is not going to give you 6-pack abs if you aren’t also exercising and eating right, abdominal self-massage can firm and tone your skin and the organs inside the abdomen. It also encourages the intestines to move along any food or air that might be trapped. In these ways, abdominal massage can be very effective in treating IBS symptoms.

The oil comes with a set of instructions on how to do the massage, and GingerChi instructs that

“These sets of simple exercises done upon waking and at night before sleeping stimulate and tone the abdominal organs, burn off excess fat, regulate digestion, prevent constipation and improve Chi and blood circulation. It is also a good remedy for nausea, indigestion, overeating and diarrhea.”

I took it one step further, however; and while I do perform the instructed clockwise circular massage GingerChi recommends, I have also been doing a deeper colon massage (I’ll explain this below). In full disclosure, I should admit here that I have not been using the product twice a day, as is instructed. I have a hard time adding things to my morning routine (oops). Actually…although I do use it daily, I’ve had a hard time fitting it into my routine at all; despite the fact that every time I do the abdominal massage, I notice tender spots that dissolve as I apply pressure. This tells me that I’m fixing a problem and that this practice is good for me – I know I should be doing it at least twice a day. Yet…I resist it like an unpleasant chore.

I imagine it to be something akin to going to the chiropractor – the adjustment is a little unpleasant, but you feel relief afterward; and while you feel good for awhile, your body still wants to resist that change and go back to the way it was, because that’s what it was used to. I think that my resistance to doing the self-massage with GingerChi’s oil has to do with my body being used to the imbalance that exists there, and although repairing the imbalance would make me healthier in the long run, it’s unpleasant for my “Chi” in the short term.

I hope this makes sense. It’s the only explanation I can offer, because the oil smells nice and it’s a relaxing experience to use it (once I just make myself do it). Using the oil has made me more aware of problem areas in my intestines, and because of that, it’s been a worthwhile experiment. Healing from IBS can be a lifelong journey, and while some experiments are failures, those that educate us about our bodies and/or provide even a little relief from our symptoms, should be considered a success.

How to do the colon massage

Start a little to the right of halfway between the bellybutton and the groin, and using firm pressure, begin massaging the abdomen with your fingertips in a small, circular motion. You may need to use two hands to create enough pressure. Follow the path of the colon in a clockwise circle, pausing on any area that feels tender and massaging there until the sensation goes away. Then, continue with your small, circular massaging motion the rest of the way around. I find I’m most tender where the small and large intestine meet, underneath the rib cage on both sides (but most frequently the right), and in the lower left bend of my colon.

I hope you all will visit GingerChi and take a look at their entire product line. It includes great skincare items, like facial cleansing oils, facial serum and toner; as well as other body care items, like sugar scrub and dry brushing tools. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter, as well.