Abdominal Massage Therapy for Chronic Constipation: A Systematic Review of Controlled Clinical Trials
Abstract: Abdominal massage therapy was once an accepted treatment for constipation. Subsequently interest faded, but recent years have seen a revival of interest in massage. lt is therefore timely to ask whether or not it is an effective form of treatment for this condition. Computerized literature searches were carried out to retrieve all controlled clinical trials. Data were extracted in a standardized, pre-defined fashion. Four studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. None of the four studies is free of methodological flaws. They are heterogeneous in terms of trial design, patient sample and type of massage used. Nonetheless the results of these trials collectively imply that massage therapy could be a promising treatment for chronic constipation. Future, more rigorous trials should evaluate its true value.