According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases. Digestive problems can range from common complaints like indigestion and flatulence (gas) to life-threatening diseases such as colorectal cancer. If you have recurring digestive problems, including mild stomachaches or severe abdominal pain, a persistent change in your bowel habits, blood in your stool, weight loss, or ongoing bouts of heartburn, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what remedies might be right for you.

For some digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and chronic constipation, massage therapy might be helpful in reducing symptoms. But before considering massage therapy for any digestive problem you may be having, be sure to check with your healthcare provider first.

Massage therapy may be helpful in relieving stress, which can disrupt the digestive process and aggravate IBS symptoms, and help alleviate the pain and discomfort of digestive disorders. However, massage therapy shouldn't be used during active flare-ups of IBS, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease because it can worsen symptoms.