One of the best tips I have ever received for Gastroparesis came from a friend of mine who is a medical massage therapist. She highly recommended (and heckled me) to try a “Digestive Massage”. My friend lives on the other side of the country so she was unable to be the hands that started me on this journey, but she gave me the long distance nudge.
I thought to myself, “my stomach hurts like heck, why in the world would I want anyone touching it or pushing on it.” Think about it, you don’t feel well and any at moment you are prone to vomiting so why on earth would someone pushing and prodding your stomach be a good thing? My friend swore by the benefits of a digestive massage and heckled me until I found an AMAZING medical massage therapist in my neighborhood.
I can now say that after about 5 months of receiving my monthly Digestive Massage, I SWEAR by it & would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with Gastroparesis (or any other stomach ailment). The process also involves the use of heated Castor Oil Packs, some essential oils such as basil, a lovely weighted heated pillow, and some reflexology.
The first time I went I was rather nervous about how it would feel. It started off questionable, because I was not used to anyone touching my stomach (or showing it to the general public for that matter). Then once we got further into the session I became a believer. I could feel my stomach muscles starting to loosen from all of the tension that they carry, I could feel the pressure in my bloated belly start to diminish, and I started to relax from all of the worries that Gastroparesis creates. This has been hands down one of the best decisions of my life.
(I should interject here that I am one of the fortunate GPers. To date, I have been able to work full time which provides me the financial means to try such endeavors. There are a significant number of Gastroparesis fighters that are unable to work and as such are on disability. I think we all know that disability means limited income, which in turn means trying things such as digestive massage is out of the question.)
Now back to the praises of Digestive Massage! The castor oil packs will have you beginning to feel like you are being basted to be the main course for a holiday dinner! The process happens as follows: the massage therapist applies heated castor oil (with essential oils added) to your belly, she rubs it in, then places a towel over your belly, and then adds a heated weighted pillow. She then heats you at 350 degrees for about 30-60 minutes while she does some reflexology and other tense points. Once you are done baking, she will remove the pillow and towel and then work the magic of the massage. She hits various pressure points and just works the heck out of those muscles! They always feel so loose afterwards & every month I am in just as much shock as I was the first time.
For those of you on a more limited income, you can do the castor oil packs at home. There are several on-line resources to describe the process. (If you are lucky, you will find the treasure that is a cheesy circa 1980s instructional video.) The basic premise of the homemade castor oil packs is the same as the professional massage. Heat some castor oil, give your self a good sloppy lather, add a towel & then something heated like a heating pad or heated neck pillow, and lastly add pressure through a weighted pillow or a book or whatever you enjoy most. Wait about 30-60 minutes and then serve yourself up as the main course to a delicious meal! We can’t enjoy the meal, so we might as well be the main course!
**Please note that I am NOT a trained medical professional. You should always seek advice from a trained medical professional as to your specific medical situation before trying any of my recommendations!