Have you heard of the word borborygmus?* Do you suffer with borborygmus during a massage?
Well, the first answer is probably “no” and the second the answer is “yes”. Borborygmus means the rumbling sounds made by the movement of gas in the intestines! It is perfectly natural.
I am a massage therapist. Many of my clients try to apologise for a “rumbling stomach”. I always tell them the noisy stomach is a compliment. Those noises are indicating that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are being re-balanced. What?!
Your body's involuntary nervous systems are wired for survival. The parasympathetic system keeps you going: breathing, eating, sleeping, and other life functions. The sympathetic system is the flight or fight system. It gets your body ready for action to get you out of danger. These two systems have opposite effects on the body. The activity of one system affects the other. So when the sympathetic system is active , it “dampens down” the activity of parasympathetic nervous system.
When you are stressed, it is the sympathetic system that is turned on. To relax, it is the parasympathetic system that needs to be stimulated.
It is not only the client who may have rumbling stomachs! There are the occasions when my own stomach starts to make noises – is it lunchtime? I normally don’t say anything so as not to disturb you, the client. As you relax, you may be in your own world and completely oblivious of extraneous noises. My talking would only disturb your “thoughts”.
This did create a laugh recently. My stomach was doing a lot of rumbling (not particularly loudly). My client could hear noises and finally said “Is my stomach making those noises? I can hear stomach rumblings but I don’t feel them!!” I laughed and said “No, it is my stomach. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice!" We both laughed.
So borborygmus is telling me that your body is starting to relax. It is no longer “wired for action”. Yes, your body can speak – you just have to know what it is saying!
*I came across this term from a short article done by Walt Fritz, PT. Here is the original article.