The abdomen is not generally a place where my clients ask to get massaged and for a long time I didn’t include it in my regular massage routine, to allow more time for the areas that my clients wanted to focus on. But recently I have been including it in more of my massage treatments and I am finding the more I treat the muscles, ligaments, and organs within the abdomen, the more benefits I see.
Improved Digestion: Struggling with what Dr.s always thought was just IBS for many years, and later finding out I was both celiac and had trouble digesting the proteins found in dairy, my digestion has always been a major issue in my life. Pain, feeling “stuck”, inflammation, etc. were always a constant. Learning self abdominal massage was a major relief for me. I would put heat over my belly and then give myself a massage, do some digestive yoga postures, and just focus on belly breathing. (Our breath is the BEST self massage)! After becoming a massage practitioner, I realized how many other people suffer with digestive issues and bloating too.
Once I began treating them with abdominal massage, I would get the most amazing feedback. “Feeling empty”, “Flat”, and many texts within hours saying that constipation had been relieved, and that they were pain free. (for both adults and the babies that I treat)
Abdominal massage always works with the natural flow of the large intestine, which helps to move waste products through smoothly. It also helps to relax and bring more blood to the digestive organs, which helps them function optimally. If you suffer with pain, bloating, constipation, etc, please don’t feel shy to let me know and I would be extremely happy to treat your abdomen with massage techniques.
Stress Relief: Im sure many of you have heard that our intestines are our 2nd brain. If you have ever had a pit in your stomach when stressed, or butterflies when your nervous, you can see the correlation between your thoughts and the way your digestive organs function. Stress can cause us to shallow breath which means our belly’s are not getting that wonderful natural breath massage, and we can start to feel..stuck! Stress can cause the muscles to be in a constant state of contraction which also wreaks havoc on the flow. Massage for the abdomen therefore, relaxes not only the digestive organs themselves, but also the mind. It helps refocus the breath and bring attention to full, deep, belly breathing.
Improved Reproductive Health: As part of my fertility massage, I always treat the abdomen. By massaging the abdomen and the organs and ligaments of the reproductive system, it can greatly increase fertility in both men and women. For woman, the ligaments surrounding the uterus can be tight causing the uterus to tilt or prolapse, which can cause reproductive organs to shift, constrict the flow of blood and lymph, and disrupt nerve connections. By treating the area with massage, it helps to relax the ligaments, which helps to restore the balance of the organs allowing for toxins to flush and for blood to come in and bring nutrients that help tone tissue and balance the hormones essential for a healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery. Massage also helps to reduce adhesions and scar tissue caused by previous surgeries, fibroids and cysts, and endometriosis. For men, massage helps to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs which can relive prostate swelling, varicose veins, premature ejaculation, and some impotency problems. Massage is recommended at any time, but can be especially helpful for fertility when timed with the womans menstrual cycle. I generally recommend both partners (if possible) coming in 6-8 days prior to ovulation, since this is the optimal time leading up to possible conception.
Post Natal Rehabilitation: Post Natal abdominal massage is extremely beneficial for new moms. After 10 months of the uterine ligaments stretching and loosening to accommodate those beautiful bundles of joy, they can become loose and weakened, causing tilting and prolapse as mentioned above. Also, during those wonderful months scar tissue can develop (or occur from C section surgery), the abdomen can separate, organs shuffle, digestion can be out of whack, sleep is disturbed and there is generally more stress. (Im not making this motherhood stuff sound great–but trust me, it is!). Abdominal massage is very beneficial in breaking down scar tissue, bringing in blood to help heal and repair, relieving stress and constipations and bringing back the body to balance. I recommend new moms coming in as soon as they feel ready after baby is born. It could be the next day even. I can check the abdominals for separation at this time and give a full body massage with the abdominal treatment included. Babies are always welcome to join their moms for the massage. Abdominal massage for moms who have had C sections, should wait until the 6-8 week check up, to insure that the incision has healed enough that there is no stress placed on it.
Having your abdomen massaged can seem uncomfortable at first, but once you try it a few times, I promise, you will feel the benefits! Let me know at your next treatment if you would like to give it a try!