Why does my tummy gurgle on the massage table?

why does your tummy gurgle during massage at clarity wellness

Why does my tummy gurgle on the massage table?


If I had a dollar for every client who said “OH, I’m so sorry about my tummy grumbling!” during a session over the years; I would be writing this email from my private island in the Pacific with a mimosa in hand and a lovely man called Juan fanning me with a waxy green leaf. But, I digress….

Despite what your dear grandmother might have told you, you must not apologise for your tummy’s tones. Wanna know why?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

Your tummy grumbling is the ULTIMATE compliment to your massage therapist!

That’s right! ‘Borborygmus’ (the technical term) is your body’s sign that you have mellowed out, relaxed and dropped down a gear.

In short: it’s a sign that we are doing a good job.

You might remember from my earlier blog about stress that our body’s Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) has 2 states: the “Fight or Flight” state, when our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated and we are poised for action; a state which is useful when we need to jump to action to rescue a kitten from a car, but detrimental when experienced over a long period of time (ie: work stress, anxiety, lack of sleep).

Our body doesn’t have the capacity to recognise the difference between “real” evolutionary stress (eg. being chased by a lion) and our “modern” stress (eg. 6786 emails in your inbox and a bad selfie). So our SNS goes into overdrive; ultimately creating conditions associated with chronic stress.

This is where the importance of our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) comes into play. Also known as our “Rest and Digest” state; evolutionarily this state was activated when the aforementioned lion who was chasing us has been slaughtered and cooked and is ready to be gobbled in comfort with our family by the fire.

Nowadays, it is activated when we are blissed out, calm, and most notably: sleeping soundly. It’s also when listening to Sigur Ros and having a bath whilst eating a block of chocolate….but, I digress again…

In addition to releasing restricted muscles and easing pain, our primary aim in massage is to activate your Parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. Research has proven that massage can: lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, relax your muscles, increase the production of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine (your “happy” chemicals) and reduce cortisol and insulin (your “stress” hormones).

Essentially, when your tummy starts a-grumblin’ during your treatment; it is a sign that the switch from your “fight or flight” system has flicked over to your “rest and digest” system. Your body is in the ideal zone to rest, repair and restore – and that makes us feel very happy, indeed.

Do you have any other curious questions about massage that you would like answered? Let me know by dropping me a line at sarah@claritywellness.com.au

Sarah Watson

Clarity Managing Director (…and lover of chocolate in the bath, just sayin’)

Clarity Admin

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