Abdominal massage for constipation in children
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Abdominal massage for constipation in children

Melanie Smith Registered nurse, Newcastle Community Team for Learning Disabilities
Lucy Moss Research psychologist, Newcastle Community Team for Learning Disabilities

Melanie Smith and Lucy Moss introduce a simple massage technique that can be applied as an adjunct to standard treatments for constipation. Although the techniques discussed were developed specifically for use with children with learning disabilities, they are equally applicable to the treatment of constipation in people of all ages

Physical contact between people is a powerful form of communication, and also a basic behavioural need (Bowlby 1969, Bowlby 1973, Ainsworth et al 1978, Main 1990). Positively applied, it can be a non-threatening demonstration of care and social acceptance that cannot be replaced by words alone (Watson and Watson 1997, Keltner and Shiota 2003). If such contact can be developed in a positive way to help alleviate suffering through controlled therapy such as massage, then the benefits for patients and clinical management are readily apparent (Huntley and Ernst 2000). This is especially the case if the massage can be applied by the primary caregiver, rather than a clinician (Cullen and Barlow 2004).

Learning Disability Practice. 11, 4, 33-36. doi: 10.7748/ldp2008.05.11.4.33.c8205

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