Q. I learned in a yoga class that rolling my stomach–somewhat like a belly dancer–cures constipation. Put “yoga exercises for constipation” in a computer browser and you’ll find additional exercises. Everyone I have ever shared this with says it works.
Constipation isn’t a subject that comes up in a conversation ordinarily, so many folks don’t know about this. I have taught folks in nursing homes to roll their stomachs. (A person who has had surgery needs to check with the doctor first.)
A. We appreciate your story. The references we found suggest that people with functional bowel disorders experiencing constipation as a symptom do turn to yoga along with other complementary therapies (BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, July 24, 2008). We could not find a well-controlled trial evaluating efficacy, so anyone who tries this exercise will have to judge its benefits for herself.
We can’t describe the yoga exercise, but you will find many other non-drug alternatives for better bowel function in our Guide to Constipation.