Review of Studies Evaluating the Efficacy of Abdominal Massage in Neurologic Diseases
Aim: Abdominal massage produces stimuli through the skin, which initiates a reflex response in sphincters and results in clenching and flexing of sphincters. Abdominal massage has been used to prevent constipation for several years. Digestive secretions and muscle motility increase due to this stimulation of the parasympathetic system. Consequently, the rates of gastric emptying and bowel peristalsis increase, leading to defecation. Studies conducted till date have shown that abdominal massage decreases distension and pain and increases the frequency of defecation and gastric motility. The purpose of this article is to review the studies evaluating the efficacy of abdominal massage in patients with neurologic diseases. Method: Studies that were published in PUBMED, CINAHL and Google Scholar databases between January 2005 and July 2016, have been screened using "abdominal massage", "neurologic disease" and "constipation" keywords. Twenty six articles have been found. Ten of these studies were experimental, while the others were definitive and review articles. Four of experimental studies have been conducted in neurology patients while 6 were in other patient groups. Six studies that were conducted to investigate abdominal massage's efficiency in neurologic patients have been reviewed in this current review. Results: It has been reported that, abdominal massage for average 15 minutes per day for the duration of 3 to 6 weeks in neurology patients reduced constipation severity, gastric emptying disorder and pain while increasing bowel motility and defecation frequency. Abdominal massage, one of the independent roles of nurses, is a recommended method in constipation management in neurologic patients since it is cost efficient and convenient technique without a known adverse event. Conclusion: Studies have shown that abdominal massage decreases distension and pain; and increases number of defecations and gastric motility in neurologic diseases. However, there is not enough evidence based data to reach a conclusion on efficiency of abdominal massage in neurologic diseases.