Many people, my clients included suffer from digestive problems, ranging from IBS and Chrones disease to constipation. It is important to stress that if there is a change in bowel habit that lasts more than two weeks without an obvious cause such as major diet change or there is blood in stools then this needs to be checked out medically.
Once sure that there is not something that needs medical intervention such as cancer or herniation, I know it is then safe to treat using essential oils in massage.
There are a lot of oils used in Aromatherapy that can aid digestion including but not limited to the citrus oils and all the oils derived from culinary herbs. This last should come as no surprise as the culinary herbs have been known to aid digestion for thousands of years.
Some of my favourites are coriander, the mints and lemon. All of these are good for both diarrhoea and constipation and also flatulence. The mints especially for the last. If there is an inflammatory process I will most likely add one of the chamomiles or Blue Tansy to the mix.
Remember that these oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil and not used neat as this can cause irritation or damage to the skin.
Massage itself can be helpful in this, stimulating peristalsis through abdominal massage but also through the increased action of the para-sympathetic nervous system.