Abdominal massage – why it is important to you and to your health
When I first started receiving massage more than 30 years ago, abdominal work was a standard part of every massage session that I experienced. I always thought that it was part of a standard massage routine. In recent years however, abdominal work seems to be left out of a basic massage more and more. This is very unfortunate, as there are many reasons why one should receive abdominal work, not the least of which is that the abdomen is a part of the body and it deserves the same amount of attention as any other area!
Needless to say, I include abdominal work as part of every standard massage that I perform with clients.
Here are just a few reasons why abdominal massage is important
• The abdomen is the center and core of the body that houses vital organs.
• These organs govern nutritional absorption for overall health and vitality, as well as detoxification
• Abdominal massage helps center and balance the client and it can be a very comforting experience, especially during times of change.
• Abdominal massage can assist in digestion. The abdomen houses the solar plexus, which is one of the largest nerve bundles of the autonomic nervous system located in the region just below the diaphragm. This nerve center supports digestion and organ function.
• The abdomen is a very personal area, and abdominal massage can help survivors of abuse and trauma reconnect with their bodies.
How is abdominal massage performed and received?
I usually incorporate abdominal work near the end of a massage session. I will undrape the stomach and provide a breast or chest drape. Massage strokes are almost always performed in a clockwise rotation – this follows the digestive tract and flow and helps assist the digestive process (peristalsis). I begin the abdominal work with slow, flowing, relaxing strokes. As the client becomes more comfortable, I will work along the diaphragm and incorporate underbody strokes. I almost always use therapeutic-grade essential oils. Clary sage, peppermint, chamomile and other blends can be helpful to clients with menstrual cramps, bloating, PMS and menopausal symptoms.
Some clients are comfortable having me work without a chest drape, and this allows me to finish the massage session with long, full body strokes up the leg, the abdomen and the up the sternum (middle chest). Long strokes like that serve to reconnect the client to her body and they are extremely comforting.
Abdominal massage should be a standard part of every massage session. If your therapist does not include this, ask her to do so at your next session.
Have you had your belly rubbed today? Schedule your massage today.