Effect of abdominal massage on constipation and quality of life in older adults: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102219. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102219. Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Background and study aim: This study aimed to examine the effects of abdominal massage on constipation management and quality of life.

Material and methods: In this study conducted in a nursing home, 220 older adults (over 65 years old) were identified with constipation based on the Rome II Diagnostic Criteria for Constipation. This controlled trial using blocked randomization was stratified by sex and age and was conducted with 35 elderly participants, of which 17 formed the experimental group and were applied abdominal massage and 18 formed the untrained control group. The experimental group underwent abdominal massage training for eight weeks, five days, for 30 min/day after the meal under a research team member. The control group received no intervention. Data were collected from both groups by using a personal information form, the Constipation Quality of Life Scale. After the practice, each group was re-subjected to the same scales.

Results: Our results showed that abdominal massage is effective in constipation management (p < 0.005). Moreover, the difference between the experimental and control groups was statistically significant (p < 0.001) in terms of Constipation Quality of Life Scale post-test scores. Constipation Quality of Life Scale subscales of the experiment and control group; the difference between the post-test scores of Physical Disability (p < 0.001), Psychosocial Discomfort (p < 0.001), Anxiety (p < 0.001) and Satisfaction (p < 0.001) was found statistically significant.

Conclusion: Abdominal massage, as one of the independent nursing initiatives, may be suggested to be used in constipation management.

Keywords: Abdominal massage; Constipation; Nursing home; Older adults; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires