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Bowel Obstruction – Need Help Now?

Table of Contents

We have two goals:

  1. Help you leave the hospital without surgery if possible.

  2. Educate you about decreasing adhesions, a major cause of bowel obstructions.

Our hope is to return you to a life without future obstructions.


We share methods that may open the bowel enough for food to pass for now, so you can leave the hospital. These temporary measures can often help, but they don’t address the major cause of obstructions – adhesions.


We educate you about adhesions, how they form and how to decrease them naturally. We hope to return you to a life without another hospitalization, obstruction, or surgery.

Clearing adhesive bowel obstructions with a manual physical therapy

Before and after images show results of Clear Passage® physical therapy treating adhesive bowel obstruction. In a controlled Phase 2 study, the therapy decreased repeat total obstructions by 15 times the norm (p=0.0003).

First Ask Your Doctor

  • Did adhesions cause or contribute to this obstruction?
  • Is surgery likely to cause more adhesions?
  • If I leave without surgery, are the adhesions still there?
  • What is the chance I will have another bowel obstruction in my life?

Show your physicians the x-rays below; print this study for them; ask them to read it and advise if you should consider getting this therapy. (We can mail them info and hard copies; need name & best mailing address.)


Surgery can save your life, but the finest surgeon cannot prevent post-surgical adhesions, the primary cause of small bowel obstruction. Some patients report ongoing obstructions in life or a repeating cycle of surgery-adhesions-obstruction throughout life. Recent studies show Clear Passage® physical therapy successfully decreased repeat bowel obstructions significantly – by up to 15 times the norm.


With your MD’s permission, you can try some or all of the steps below we have found or developed to relax your gut so food will pass (for now). While these methods may help the gut relax, they will not decrease adhesions that commonly obstruct the bowel. Only surgery or Clear Passage® therapy can decrease or eliminate adhesions.

Note: we are not physicians. We want to give you and your doctor information to help you make informed decisions. Please seek advice and approval from your physician before trying any of these suggestions. Do not perform any of these without your doctor’s permission or if you have cancer or an active infection.

Muscles within the intestinal walls are designed to push food along in a process called peristalsis. During an obstruction, those and surrounding muscles can go into spasm, preventing food from passing by squeezing a partly adhered intestine shut. Clinically, we have found this method useful to decrease or eliminate intestinal spasm and allow food to pass, temporarily ending the obstruction so you can go home. Consult your physician, be gentle with yourself, and try to relax while doing them:

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. If your abdomen is wet or oily, apply some alcohol to dry it off.
  3. Place a pillow at each side of your waist so you can rest your elbows on them and support your arms.
  4. Slowly allow the full surface of your hands and fingers to sink into the front of your abdomen, one on each side like they are sinking into moist clay (about 15-20 seconds).
  5. Now bring your two hands toward each other, gently ‘scooping’ the abdominal contents within them. Bringing LEFT toward RIGHT tends to decrease the pressure, allowing intestinal muscles to ‘unwind and relax’ from any spasm (two to five minutes).
  6. While doing this, bring your knees up, so you are simultaneously relieving pressure in a TOP to BOTTOM plane. If you do this in a chair, you can bend your torso towards the floor while bringing LEFT hand toward the RIGHT. Bending forward adds TOP to BOTTOM motion to help muscles relax in an additional plane.
  7. Repeat as often as you like.
  8. When you get good at this, you can often feel what areas are tight; they will feel hard. Allow your hands to sink in on either side of these areas and slowly compress them in, towards each other.
  9. Don’t limit yourself to RIGHT/LEFT or TOP/BOTTOM planes. You can be site-specific to tight areas with diagonals, as long as you are gentle. Let your hands sink in, then bring them towards each other in a scooping movement

You can do this whenever an area feels tight, but there’s no need to overdo it. After two or three times, or if your hands now sink in easily, you have likely achieved the goal of decreasing spasm. Give it a rest; explore our website or the rest of this page to continue your education.

Ask the nurse to bring you a moist heat pack now, then another heat or ice pack a hour or more later. Place the heat pack in a cloth or pillowcase on your abdomen or pelvis where you feel you are tight or obstructing. Leave It there for 20-30 minutes. Then remove the heat pack and allow your body to relax for 30 minutes or more.

You can also place an ice pack in a pillowcase or towel, then put it on your abdomen or pelvis where you are tight or obstructing. Leave it on your body for 15 minutes, then take it off and let your body rest without ice or heat for 30 or more minutes.

You can do this up to 2 or 3 sessions, then do some ‘Compression’ or relax for 3 to 4 hours.

Ask your doctor if s/he feels comfortable prescribing LEVSIN SL. We often find this prescription medication effective for decreasing intestinal spasm. SL stands for “sub-lingual” meaning “under the tongue” so it gets into your body quickly. It may be useful to have some in your pocket after you return home, available whenever your gut is in spasm. We have not witnessed any negative side-effects, but ask your MD.

Note: Many patients report good results having a supply of LEVSIN SL nearby at all times to decrease intestinal spasm that can occur from time to time for people with a history of SBO. This prescription is only available via physician prescription in most places.

An over-the-counter medication our patients find useful is available as Chewable Gas-X. Many report good results chewing several of these tablets when boarding a flight to help prevent the change in air pressure at altitude from causing discomfort or obstruction symptoms.

Your doctor may want to insert a nasogastric (NG) tube through your nose, down your esophagus and into your stomach to relieve pressures and pump out stomach fluids. While the tube can be quite uncomfortable and used constantly for days on end, your doctor may agree to try a “Juvenile (or pediatric) N-G Tube.” The smaller diameter is more comfortable and may do the job for you just as well.

Ask if an enema may help. In rare cases, patients have told us their obstruction cleared after having a hospital-administered enema.

  • Are adhesions the cause of my obstruction?
  • What signs will tell you I can go home before surgery?
  • How long do we wait before you decide you need to do surgery?
  • Can you prescribe a medication like LEVSIN SL to help the gut relax?
  • Is it OK with you if I or my partner does some gentle massage on my gut?

Describe the procedure you envision for me.

  • How many bowel repair surgeries have you done?
  • What are the chances post-surgical adhesions will form?
  • How long will I have to stay in the hospital after the surgery?
  • What are the chances I will experience another obstruction in the future?
  • Do you envision doing a laparotomy (open surgery) or a (less invasive) laparoscopy?
  • How often have you had an inadvertent enterotomy (mistakenly cut into another organ)?
  • When you cut the bowel, how do you keep bowel contents from escaping into the abdomen?
Accordion Content


If you avoid surgery and go home, any bowel adhesions you arrived with are still in your gut, predisposing you to another obstruction, hospitalization, and possible surgery. If you had surgery, new adhesions may form because post-surgical adhesions are the primary cause of bowel obstruction.

To gain a more permanent solution, reduce bowel adhesions non-surgically and get your life back, you should consider attending a single course of our therapy. It is  designed for out-of-town patients and given in clinics throughout the USA and in England. It is the ONLY therapy anywhere shown in peer reviewed journals to decrease or eliminate adhesions, clear bowel obstructions, and help prevent future events.

To see if our program may help you get your life back, complete this online Medical History Form. We will review your history and goals – and respond within 2-3 business days.

Print these documents for your doctor

            Print and hand your doctor three documents to give them an overview of our therapy. We are glad to mail hard copies; just ask us. If you’d like copies sent to your doctor(s), give us their name and preferred address.


Available in several US and British cities, our 5-day therapy program is the ONLY treatment in the world shown in peer reviewed journals to decrease or eliminate bowel adhesions and help prevent future obstructions. During therapy, we clearly communicate what we feel within your body. We educate you about your unique situation and teach you techniques that will help you prevent further problems throughout your life.

The images above show the ability of Clear Passage®️ therapy to clear adhesive bowel obstructions without surgery. In a ‘small bowel follow-through’ (SBFT) test, the patient swallowed a radio-opaque dye (shown in white) to help doctors view the inside of the intestines.

X-rays before CP therapy show severe narrowing in two areas. In the set at left, the intestine was narrowed to the diameter of a coffee straw for three inches; only a small trickle of liquid could pass through. In the images at right, the bowel is nearly shut before therapy, squeezed to the shape of an hourglass. The patient was scheduled for emergency surgery to repair both sites; she chose to first try Clear Passage® therapy.

After therapy, the radiologist and surgeon repeated the test. Both agreed that after therapy, she had a “normal bowel.” Her physician canceled surgery as unnecessary.

Clear Passage® is a network of ‘hands-on’ physical therapy clinics. We are recognized as world experts in reversing adhesive bowel obstructions naturally, then decreasing or stopping their recurrence.

Since 1986, our focus has been to decrease adhesions without surgery. In 2004, our director had two emergency bowel obstruction surgeries: one at home, one during a vacation in India. Her second surgery was caused by adhesions from her first bowel surgery. We re-focused efforts to treat bowel adhesions, with good success. Numerous studies have been published on our treatment; as of this writing, she has been 18 years without another obstruction. Realizing the need, we developed a program to delay or stop the bowel obstructions in others and to teach our patients to keep adhesions, obstructions and hospitalizations away – hopefully forever. Click here for a detailed history.

1975: Belinda Wurn, PT graduates physical therapy school summa cum laude – at the top of her class.

1984: In her 30s, Belinda was diagnosed with aggressive cervical cancer.

1986: She was in debilitating pain from adhesions after surgery and radiation therapy. Her doctors said “nothing can be done; surgery will only create more. You must live with this pain forever.” She resolved to find another way to decrease adhesions.

1987-89: With her massage therapist husband Larry, she took courses and hired Ph.D. scientists to study the formation and structure of adhesions. They developed a ‘hands-on’ therapy to decrease adhesions naturally. Their focus was on pelvic adhesions (below the umbilicus), the site of Belinda’s adhesions. After two years of research and development, Belinda returned to work full-time. They opened a practice designed to help others with adhesions.

1990: They learned their work opened fallopian tubes blocked by adhesions in several women – a feat previously thought impossible without surgery.

1991: Recognizing the importance of a non-surgical treatment for adhesions, the local hospital Chief of Staff joined them as an unpaid Research Director to study their work.

1992 – 2004: Following the ‘scientific method’ to investigate new treatments, the team began publishing results in major peer-reviewed medical journals.

June 2004: Belinda had emergency bowel obstruction surgery in the abdomen (above the umbilicus) 20 years after her initial cancer surgery.

December 2004: Belinda had emergency surgery in India for a second bowel obstruction –caused by the prior bowel surgery. (Read their fascinating story of undergoing surgery in India by clicking here.)

January 2005 – present: Realizing that bowel obstructions are life-threatening, and that surgery is the primary cause, the couple focused on decreasing adhesive bowel obstructions, with referrals from physicians throughout the USA and other countries.

Peer-reviewed studies show Clear Passage® therapy can clear obstructed bowels and delay or stop ongoing bowel obstructions without creating new surgical adhesions. Doctors from Harvard, Stanford and Washington Universities authored studies showing their work is safe and effective at decreasing adhesions. A controlled study shows it decreased recurring total obstructions by 15 times the norm (p=0.0003).

Internal scars called adhesions can block the bowel when they form after surgery, injury, infection or other tissue damage. Once formed, adhesions tend to remain or spread over time. No drug, vitamin or body process has been shown to decrease adhesions.

For years, surgery was considered the only way to decrease adhesions, a huge problem because surgery is the primary cause of bowel obstruction. Understanding the problem, therapists at Clear Passage® have spent over 30 years focused on decreasing adhesions naturally without causing new post-surgical adhesions, or more obstructions.

At a microscopic level, adhesions are largely composed of tiny collagen fibers. These tiny but powerful strands develop strength by bonding to each other in a process called cross linking similar to the bonding that may occur among strands of a nylon rope.

The focus of our therapy is to deform and detach the bonds that attach the collagen strands, thus shredding and dissipating the adhesions that cause obstructions. As we do, our therapy appears to decrease or eliminate those bonds and return the body to an earlier state of mobility and function– back to the state it was in before the adhesions formed.

Published studies in peer-reviewed medical journals housed at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) cite Clear Passage® as safe and effective for decreasing adhesions in the abdomen and pelvis. No other non-surgical treatment or bodywork has been shown to be effective for decreasing adhesions within or among the organs of the human body.

Click here to open a 20-minute educational audio explaining how and why they form in the body, how we find them, and how we get rid of them.

We will work to get you into therapy as quickly as possible, often in as little as two weeks. First, we need to make sure it is safe to treat you. If you have had a recent surgery, we must wait 90 days before we can treat you. If you have cancer or certain other conditions, we may require recent diagnostic results or medical clearances.

Applying for treatment is free, easy and can give you further insights. Start by completing our (required) Medical History Form. We ask you to share your goals for therapy along with your lifetime history of surgery, injury, and other healing events. We examine your completed documents thoroughly to help determine:

  • where adhesions may have formed in your body
  • if we feel our work can help you, and to what extent
  • whether any cautions or contraindications appear that we need to discuss with you, your doctor or each other before we can accept you for therapy.

We respond quickly, generally within three workdays. After review, we may ask you to send in medical records, surgical or diagnostic reports. We are glad to work with your physician to keep you safe and assure your best outcome.

You can call, text or email us at any time via the following methods:

Most people drive or fly on the weekend to one of our facilities located in several cities in the USA and England. All paperwork and scheduling is done through our headquarters in Gainesville, Florida (USA).

The protocol cited in medical literature consists of 20 hours of therapy delivered over five days (e.g., Monday – Friday.) Most people receive two treatment hours each morning and afternoon with a break for lunch giving you time in the evening to enjoy the local area. Some of our locations allow weekend therapy with additional charge for the therapist. Lodging at a nearby hotel or rental is your choice, not part of our services.

We suggest you book a place with a bathtub; Epson salt baths help lessen evening soreness from treatment. We encourage you to wait an additional day or two after therapy before boarding a plane (e.g., complete therapy on Friday afternoon and fly home Saturday or Sunday.)

Adult companions are invited, but not required to attend therapy sessions. Patients under 18 years old must have a parent or guardian present for every session. You can eat at nearby restaurants. Keeping breakfast and lunch light can make treatment more effective and comfortable.

Your comfort level is important to us. While most patients simply wear underwear during treatment, we provide adequate draping, pillows, blankets and towels to keep you warm and comfortable. As you are able, we suggest you walk or swim during the week to help your body adjust to its new structure as we free you of adhesive bonds.

Bring comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a bathing suit if you might like to swim. Bring or buy a 2-pound bag of Epson salts for evening soaks and any anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen (or something natural) to help decrease soreness from therapy. It is common to feel quite tired each evening. Bring a book or tablet to entertain yourself in your room each evening.

Beginning your first day, we suggest you create a vision of walking out of therapy the last day having achieved everything you came for. Start to ‘own’ and share that vision with your therapist, as a very real goal. Be specific: imagine how you are dressed, what the weather is like, how you feel when you stand, walk and breathe. Create realistic goals for the end of therapy such as “I will walk for two hours without pain” or “I will look in the mirror each morning without fear and think “I am ready to return to my life. With the tools and education Clear Passage® has given me, I know exactly how to care for my body, myself. While I can call them without charge if I ever need, I understand my new body so much better. I know how to avoid another obstruction – so I can return to the life I envision.”

So many patients have asked us what they can eat that we created a Digestive Health Guide which we are glad to provide to anyone who has suffered bowel obstructions.

Related Content:

Research and Success Rates

Questions Answered


Patient’s Stories

If you’d like a free consult, please take 20 minutes and fill out this form and we can determine if therapy would be a good fit for you.