I know, it is a strange one and makes many people feel uncomfortable when I ask ‘would you like me to massage your abdomen’. All the fears and insecurities arise about the shape of our bellies and what people will think of us.
For years there was not a chance you’d get anywhere near my belly. For me it was definitely one of the least favourite parts of my body and carrying extra weight added into that insecurity. I have worked on this over the years and I now adore abdominal massage and always feels a little disappointed when it is missed in a massage.
I am still working on learning to love my gorgeous belly and massage actually helps.
From the perspective of the massage therapist, I make no judgement whatsoever about your shape or size. It really does bring some great benefits, so perhaps the next time you are asked, before you jump to say no, pause for a moment and you could even ask the therapist what is involved, where will the towels be placed, can I change my mind and then maybe, just maybe give it a go. I promise you will never look back!
The Massage Feels Complete
Most clients prefer not receive abdominal work, making for a huge section of the body that has not received touch or had its issues addressed. Clients often make comments after receiving abdominal massage that describe feeling lighter, more integrated or liking themselves a little more, improving body image.
Abdominal Massage Techniques Aid in Intestinal Function
A number of studies have shown massage promotes peristalsis, soothes minor intestinal discomforts and helps with constipation. With a cancer diagnosis, many allopathic treatments make people constipated, so they feel great relief when the abdomen is massaged and constipation eased.
The Connection Between Abdominal Massage and a Sense of Wellbeing
Fascinating new information is filtering through to us, as scientists learn more about the enteric nervous system, now categorised as a third division of the autonomic nervous system and its connection to emotions and the role of the vagus nerve. I talk about this in more detail during my 5 week trauma therapeutic programme .
The enteric nervous system predates much of our more advanced brain development and has many independent features. In our early evolutionary ancestors, drives and feelings of satisfaction related to food search and eating, crucially tied to survival, were an intrinsic aspect of how the enteric “little brain” operated.
A human has more serotonin receptors in the gut than in the brain. Understanding this relationship has many implications. As we all know, emotions can have a profound impact on how our digestive system functions. It is also now becoming recognised that conditions in the gut can determine influences on mental state and development of mood disorders.
The vagus nerve is understood to be the messenger between the enteric nervous system and the brain, including playing a role in the regular dialogue between higher centres of autonomic regulation and the limbic centres of emotional expression and control.
At minimum, the connection between vagal stimulation and helping shift the body into a parasympathetic state helps support the use of abdominal massage for relaxation and sleep promotion.
Abdominal Benefits Physical, Mental & Spiritual Conditions
Abdominal massage has real benefits for people with abdominal conditions, and perhaps some mental illnesses like anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Lower back pain, postural abnormalities and post-childbirth fascial syndromes are also examples of conditions that usually indicate abdominal work as an effective treatment.
A consultation is always taken prior to any massage and pressure can and will be adapted to suit your needs.
So perhaps the next time you are asked, you might give it a try?
Enjoy your beautiful bellies!