Viral TikTok Shows How a Simple Acupressure Motion May Relieve Constipation

On TikTok, licensed acupuncturist Anita Tadavarthy shares simple acupressure movements meant for relieving constipation.

Kelly Corbett - Author

Oct. 22 2021, Published 1:38 p.m. ET

Let’s be real: Constipation is just plain-out crappy. While I’m sure we’re all familiar with the fiber-rich foods that we’re supposed to be regularly consuming (veggies, bran, nuts, etc.), maintaining a healthy diet 24/7 can sometimes be unrealistic. I mean, do you ever just have a really good weekend filled with lots of yummy, empty calories foods? But then, Monday morning comes along and you find yourself camping out on the bowl?

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It happens. And for some people, it happens more than others. Not to mention that sometimes it still happens even if you do maintain a balanced diet. Pretty unfair, right? Well, if you're struggling with constipation and have only made dietary tweaks, consider trying something totally different — like this acupressure hack that went viral on TikTok.

Keep scrolling to learn more. Also, you might want to get near a bathroom STAT if you're going to try this.

Bathroom toilet
Source: Getty Images
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This viral TikTok shows how a simple hand movement may get rid of constipation.

Licensed acupuncturist Anita Tadavarthy went viral on TikTok (follow her @empiricalgraceacu) after demonstrating a simple hand movement that she said can help induce a bowel movement. According to her clinic website, she represents Empirical Grace Acupuncture in Virginia, has done more than 40,000 acupuncture treatments, and has even treated NBA and NFL players.

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In the video, which currently has nearly 4 million views, she makes a fist with both hands, but doesn’t tuck her thumbs in. Then she presses her fists together so that her thumbs and pointer fingers touch as she firmly rubs them together in a back-and-forth motion. However, she also strongly warns against pregnant women trying this motion.

Does the constipation trick on TikTok actually work?

According to TikToker @ClaudiaKathryn — whose profile consists mostly of videos relating to her various stomach problems, which includes IBS and bloating — it does.

In a video, Claudia explained that her diet got off track after she stayed at a hotel for the weekend. Although she had never heard of Anita's constipation trick, she decided to give it a try and began mimicking the hand motion.

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Later in the video, she reports back. “You guys! This lady was literally right. Like I don’t know what the hell that did but she’s onto something. I just pooped," said an elated Claudia, adding, "I’m doing this from now on."

Anita explained how the movement really worked to BuzzFeed.

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"Acupressure/acupuncture accesses various images through our body, like reflexology," she explained to the outlet. "There are connecting points on the hand that connect to the colon. It is key in bringing blood flow and stimulation to the affected areas. This massage at the acupressure point [known as] large intestine 4 (LI4) stimulates the large intestine or colon."

She added: "The back and forward massage on the acupressure point causes the same back and forward contraction of the colon to pass the stool.

However, that's not the only constipation hack Anita has shared on TikTok. In another TikTok, she suggests massaging the forehead and midline of your face. She also has a TikTok where she instructs viewers to massage their forearm in a perpendicular motion for a couple of minutes at a time, a few times a day.

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Bottom line: You can't trust every piece of medical information you find on the Internet. But if you're dealing with constipation, Anita's suggested motions might be worth a shot.

But as Anita told the publication, those who are pregnant should avoid trying this: "The back and forward massage on the acupressure point large intestine 4 or LI4 causes contraction of the colon to pass the stool. This massage on this point can also cause contraction of the uterus. We want to avoid it if pregnant because we don't want any unwanted contractions. We don't want to bring about labor unnecessarily."

Best of luck to those who do try it! Follow Anita on TikTok for more acupressure hacks.

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