A self-administered colonic massage can really help if you’re experiencing constipation, blockages in thickened areas of your colon, or blockages in diverticulae (hollow pouches that occur when the inner intestinal lining has pushed through weakened areas of the colon wall), where food is getting stuck and causing a lot of pain.

To treat diverticulitis blockages, perform the massage on an empty stomach and experiment with drinking two glasses of warm spring water fifteen minutes before your massage, and then two more glasses immediately following, to try and further help flush out the stool particles.

*To really power-pack this massage, add a hot castor oil pack either before or after the massage.

Lie down on your bed or the couch with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the bed/couch. Take several slow, deep breaths to relax and calm yourself. Lift your shirt up,undo your pants and start at the lower right quadrant of your abdomen. Stroke your fingertips upwards until you reach the bottom of your ribcage. Now stroke your hand left across the underside of your ribcage and then down again to the lower left quadrant of your abdomen. You’ve just roughly traced the path of your colon, starting at the end of the small intestine in a horseshoe shape until it joins the rectal canal.

Follow the path of your colon in a soothing, stroking motion (always in the same direction as described) and notice as you become more sensitive to where it is and how it feels. The next step is to apply a bit of pressure with your fingertips and move them in a circular, probing motion as you follow the colon around. Experiment with both the probing motion and the amount of pressure you use.

As you get to know your colon better, you’ll be able to notice any areas that feel harder and/or thicker than the rest. If you’ve got stool stuck in a diverticula (intestinal pouch), the pain and irritation should tell you where it is. Focus on this area now and gently massage in and around it with your fingertips. Imagine yourself gently breaking up the stool clogged there and helping it move through the thickened section, or out of the pouch, and stroking/massaging it along the path towards the rectal canal.

When you think you’ve cleared most of the blockage from the problem area, go back to the lower right quadrant and begin massaging the colon, moving upwards toward the ribcage, across, and then down to the lower left quadrant. When you get to the blockage again, spend a little more time, massaging the food through there and then continuing on the path to the rectal canal.

At any point in this process, you may feel the need for a bowel movement. If so, go sit on the toilet and continue with the massage. Remember to take deep breaths and stay relaxed. Keep your abdomen and anal sphincter muscle loose, open and relaxed.