Can A Massage Cause Diarrhea

8 min read
Updated: 20.06.2022

Is it really true that a relaxing massage session can cause diarrhea? 

You may have heard the rumor if you are excited about your upcoming first massage appointment or have experienced the massage after-effects first-hand. 

“Is it true or just a myth?” 

Unfortunately, yes, a massage can cause diarrhea. Lengthy and intense massage, like deep tissue massage, can stimulate bowel movements and trigger your metabolic wastes and stomach muscles, leading to diarrhea and other digestive issues.

Constipation and Diarrhea

How Massage Affects the Digestive System: What Causes Diarrhea

A trained hand of a masseuse can relieve the tension in your intestinal and abdominal muscles, aiding in stimulated kidneys and liver activity along with waste elimination.

Massage and Digestive System Relationship

Besides, the Uric Acid and Lactic Acid surrounding your muscles are typically dispersed into your bloodstream during a massage.

These extra hormones and fluids trigger your body to evacuate these sudden unfamiliar compounds as soon as possible, and cause diarrhea right after the massage.

Why Diarrhea Happens After a Massage Session

A common massaging method is repetitive flowing motion along your sides and back. Massage professionals or maybe electric massage tools give these motions to relax your muscles, tissues, and ligaments.

Relief After Massage

When we think about the areas of initial encounters, we consider the effects of massage therapy on the outer part of our body. 

However, we forget that our internal organs and circulatory system are actually made up of muscles and other parallel structures and are likewise affected by increased blood circulation.

Similar to the reaction of external muscles and bones, the continuous pressure applied is also enough to relax the muscle responsible for housing your digestive tract. 

It again stimulates bowel movements and causes circulation of lymph. 

So, in short, it triggers your body to excrete any toxic buildup and cause diarrhea right after the massage session.

Are There Specific Pressure Points where Help to Poop

Yes, some of the acupressure points in your body, namely, ST25, SP15, SJ6, LI4, LV3, and KI6 might influence bowel movements. 

According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), when stimulated, this specific pressure point can help ease constipation, promote fluid production, and go to the toilet as a result.

Acupressure Points

The exact locations of the pressure points (see the image for details);

  • Stomach 25 (ST25) – 2 finger-widths on both sides of the belly button
  • Spleen 15 (SP15) – 4 finger-widths on both sides of the belly button, on the lower ribs
  • San Jiao 6 (SJ6) – 3 finger-widths above the wrist, the outer side of the arm
  • Large Intestine 4 (LI4) – top of both hands, between the thumb and index finger
  • Liver 3 (LV3) – both feet, between the big toe and second toe 
  • Kidney 6 (KI6) – both feet, under the inner ankle bone.

How Long the Bowel Movement  (Diarrhea) Stays after the Massage

Diarrhea caused by a massage session does not last for a long time. Within a couple of hours, all your symptoms will subside.

However, in rare cases, you might deal with diarrhea caused by an intense massage like deep tissue massage for around 2-3 days. 

“More than that, we advise seeing your practitioners.”

The extended affection time mainly happens if the individual has a higher toxicity level than usual. 

Here are some quick reliefs that can help if you fall under this category:

  • Eating food items like plain toast, applesauce, bananas, and rice will help as they can bind loose stools,
  • There are many OTC medications available; you can ask your local pharmacy,
  • Keep yourself hydrated during this time.
  • A warm water compress can also relieve abdominal pain and discomfort associated with diarrhea. 

Is it All Bad? Benefits of Using the Toilet Right After the Massage

Massage has tons of usefulness like regulated bowel and smoother digestive tract functions.

Experts recommend massage therapy to patients dealing with constipation and its symptoms as it can relax the abdominal muscles. 

They also suggest massage therapy to decrease irritable bowel syndrome’s adverse impact. The release of toxic helps by moving stool out of your body quicker with minimum effort.

It also allows for an easier expulsion of waste and gas, along with sudden relief from slight distress and pain, upset stomach, and abdominal bloating. 

So, often the movement of waste from your body caused by a massage session may not be diarrhea. It can be just clearing the blockage you were suffering from. 

The best way to determine if you indeed have diarrhea is by checking the duration of the discomfort and consulting the Bristol Stool Chart.

Types of Poop Shapes

This universally accepted chart has categorized the different types and shapes of poop into 7 different classes. Check the chart, and if you see your body waste is in the categories 5, 6, or 7, then you are dealing with diarrhea.

What if I suffer from Shy Bowel Syndrome (Parcopresis)

Parcopresis or Shy Bowel Syndrome is troublesome for the people dealing with it. 

Suppose you suffer from this condition (also known as Poop Anxiety). In that case, we recommend consuming fiber-rich food and plenty of water a few days before your massage session to progress bowel elimination.

However, if you are still not comfortable, then opt for an at-home massage service. 

But, if you are not willing to pay the extra amount for such a service, then your best option will be to invest in an appropriate Home Massage Therapy tool.

Are There Any Other Side Effects from Massage?

Some other common side effects or after-effects of massage are:

  • Nausea
  • Inflammation
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Migraines and/or headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Lingering pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Mood changes
  • Skin redness

Home Massage Therapy Tools

Tools that provide massage therapies in the comfort of your living place are available in different types and technology. Innovators have designed these tools to give you the sensation and effects of traditional massages. 

Depending on the technology and size, they can be either battery-operated or electric-powered. If you do not want to risk getting diarrhea right after the massage outside of your home, then get any one of the following to save from Poop Anxiety: 

  • Massage Chair: The combination of rollers, gears, motors, and vibrating mechanisms offer a total massage effect,
  • Massage Gun: Portable and efficient, these devices are perfect for targeted massage sessions. 
  • Massage Pads: Turning any chair into a massage chair is cheaper with a simple massage pad.

The mechanism of these at-home massage instruments can reduce muscle tension and inflammation. Plus, they boost blood flow to the applied area.

Benefits of Having a Massage Therapy Tool at Home

If you invest in a high-quality and effective massage therapy tool at home, then the benefits you can enjoy are as follows:

  • No need to book expensive massage appointments at the concerned center or spa anymore,
  • Quick, effortless relief from general discomfort and pain as and when needed,
  • Eliminate the whole long process of preparing for a session as you can use it while continuing with your daily activities.

Summary

Even though massage is such a beneficial medical facilitator, it may cause short-term bowel activities. If more toxins are accumulated in your body than essential, it can cause sudden reactions with the relaxation provided by the massage and the pressure applied to the muscles.

As a primary defense mechanism, our excretory system promotes bowel movement and triggers your body to discharge buildup toxins after a massage therapy session.

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