Ask Dr. Steve

Dear Dr. Steve —

When I have a massage or a healing treatment, I find myself burping afterwards — sometimes a lot. Can’t seem to control the little noises that rise from my gut like bubbles. My massage therapist says it is “a release.” Any ideas of why this is happening?

– Michael

Dear Michael-

Your question regarding gastrointestinal ‘noises’ is extremely common. Usually, there is no cause for alarm when this occurs. It may be embarrassing but often reflects the admixture of intestinal fluids and gases which are normal.

It is true that certain individuals are more ‘sensitive’ to these normal conditions. Clearly, certain foods, however, do produce more gas and this would add to the situation. Burping after a massage may, indeed, be a sign that you have become more relaxed. Continuous burping, or eructation as it is known, however, is usually an opposite sign. Anxiety can cause some to swallow air, known as ‘aerophagia’ and the belching is a release of this air.

It can become a vicious cycle when the belching causes the patient to become concerned over some physical illness. There are cases, however, when ulcers can be the cause of belching and, if persistent, a gastroenterologist should be consulted.

Sincerely, Dr. Steve

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006

Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at

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