May 5, 2023
Ageing is a physiological period of life in which various changes take place, meaning that the elderly individuals must be given special consideration as a group with regard to health care. Negative changes occur in health status and systems with advancing age. Elderly individuals face many complex health problems and negatively affect their quality of life. Constipation is one of the common problems in the elderly individuals. Although constipation is a common problem, if it is not treated and it can cause many complications including fecal incontinence, anal fissures, bowel perforation, gas and bloating, back and waist pain, rectal pressure, nausea and vomiting, urinary dysfunction, fissure, rectal prolapse, hemorrhoids, intestinal obstruction, and syncope.
The main non-pharmacological methods commonly used in the treatment of constipation are lifestyle changes, including increasing physical activity, fluid consumption, and fiber consumption. In addition, biofeedback, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, abdominal and aromatherapy massage are other preferred methods for constipation management.
Aroma massage, a complementary and alternative treatment, has been used as an effective treatment method for constipation for several centuries. Abdominal and aromatherapy massage is a safe, effective, non-invasive and non-pharmacological method with no side effects. Abdominal massage has an important place in nursing care and is an independent nursing intervention. It can be applied by the person himself, a relative or a professional. According to this study, the heat generated during the aroma massage application reduces muscle spasm and reduces spasticity, loosening the sphincters and facilitating the passage of feces, resulting in a decrease in distress during defecation. In addition, the oils used in aroma massage have the effect of relieving bowel movement disorders. The use of appropriate aromatic oils increases the effectiveness of abdominal massage. The aroma massage applied with rosemary, ginger, mint, lavender, coral mansion and pepper oil for approximately 15–20 min can strengthen abdominal muscles, stimulate peristalsis, reduce colonic transit time, increase the frequency of bowel movements in constipated patients, and decrease the feelings of discomfort and pain that accompany it. Therefore, it can be said that abdominal massage can be used as an alternative approach to relieve constipation.