A question for you, when you are just beginning to really relax and start enjoying a massage does your tummy gurgle and make some strange noises, which you then hear and sometimes feel a tad embarrassed about?

If your answer is “YES, oh it really does, but I don’t know why!?”

“Yes, I’m so sorry about it, I don’t know why this happens!?

Firstly, let me assure you when this happens I do not ‘hear it,’ I’m aware of course but I don’t think anything of it, it’s not unusual and you are not alone. Most people that lay on the massage bed apologise, you really don’t need to!

Secondly, It’s actually a good thing and here’s why, it’s a huge compliment to me as your massage therapist, honestly!!

“What’s that, you say, I’m normal? and it’s a compliment – hmmmm”

Yes indeed…and whilst I accept that everything is quite normal, I know a few of my ladies have mentioned it, so I thought I should really clear it up and explain all….your tummy making all those noises that you are worried about, is quite honestly the best indicator to me, it is means that you are now in ‘The Rest and Digest’ phase of your massage.

‘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 your message therapist is doing a good job.

I’ve written before about ‘What happens when we Relax‘ and touched on the digestive system also relaxing, because massage works with our Sympathetic Nervous System.

So your state of relaxation, or starting to relax, is all to do with our Autonomic Nervous System and our Sympathetic Nervous System

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” stresses anything from being late for an appointment (it’s rural France, it happens, especially if you are catching the one and only bus) to coping with everything and dealing with everyone in a minute!

So our SNS goes into overdrive; ultimately creating conditions associated with chronic stress.


This system controls the body processes that occur at rest. It regulates the everyday functions of body systems under relatively stable conditions,

The parasympathetic nervous system is activated when the body experiences certain stimuli or situations that provide feelings of safety or relaxation. “This includes activities such as deep breathing, gentle stretching, yoga, meditation, slow walking and listening to calming music, blissed out from your massage or sleeping soundly.

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-gurglin’ 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 a M.T feel very happy, indeed.

So next time your hear the gurgles starting up – don’t focus on that sound, enjoy the fact you are now in one happy cocoon of relaxation.

And to finish, you will love this one – another “apology not needed” Scientists have proven that yawning is something that signals the parasympathetic system to activate, which results in stress reduction and lowers the risk of high blood pressure. If you practice yawning, you can intentionally put your body into this rest and digest state with a simple yawn. So, again when you start coming to after your massage, and the yawning starts – embrace it – yawn as much as you wish! I love my job!

disclaimer *I’m not a doctor! – these articles are purely for your own takeaway. There is by no means any medical advice given and all articles are sourced from trusted sources, coursework and books I have read and am reading. If you have any health issues then please seek advice of your doctor before approaching a nutritionist. If you would like to talk about any of the issues or foods on my website for a holistic nutrition approach then please contact me directly. I cannot offer advice other than what I have gained holistic nutrition and massage diplomas.
October 2023

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