Bowel Management Table 8: Abdominal Massage

Author Year; Country
Research Design
Total Sample Size





Hu et al. 2013;




Population: Thoracic SCI(13M, 7F); Mean (SD) age: 39.70 (5.25) yrs.

Treatment: Abominal massage was applied to the surface of the abdomen along the small intestine, the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon, for 60 sessions during the bowel routine (5 times/wk for 12 wks).

Outcome Measures: Bowel time, dosage of glycerine enema.


  1. A statistically significant improvement was found in the mean(SD) time of bowel movement (decreased from 94.0 (16.4) min to 60.5 (10.5) minutes) and dosage of glycerine enema (decreased from 68.15 (8.9) mL to 31.5 (11.8) mL) after abdominal massage treatment for 3 months.

Ayas et al. 2006; Turkey



Population: Age: mean 39.8yrs, range 33.1-46.6yrs; Level of injury: C4-L3, 10 subjects with supraconal lesions, 14 with caudal/conal lesions; 15 with complete SCI and 9 with incomplete SCI; FIM score: mean 76.3, range 68.9-83.7; Duration of injury: mean 136.5 days, range 70.1-203

Treatment: Addition of abdominal massage beginning at the cecum and extending along the length of the colon to the rectum (phase II) to a standard bowel program (phase I)

Outcome Measures: Colonic transit times, frequency of defecation

  1. Mean (SD) frequency of defecation significantly increased from 3.79(2.15) (range 2.75-4.55) to 4.61(2.17) (range 3.67-5.54) per week.
  2. Mean (SD) total colonic transit time significantly decreased from 90.60(32.67) (range 75.87-110.47) hours to 72(34.10) (range 58.49-94.40) hours with abdominal massage.