Abdominal Massage

Love your belly.

Abdominal massage, which deals with the body’s most important organs, can help with digestive, respiratory, reproductive and nervous system issues that other types of bodywork don’t address.

The needs of the anterior (nearer to the front) area of the body – from the throat to the base of the pelvis – often go unmet in the field of massage, yet so much happens there. Every day we receive gut feelings, reactions, and backtalk from grumbling stomachs. Often, there are worse problems, for which treatment can be hard to find.

Abdominal massage seeks to help the body find its natural core balance.

Nearly all of us have encountered some disturbance to our digestive, reproductive, respiratory, or nervous systems, so why wouldn’t we attend to these vital organs with healing touch as we do the rest of the body? Although the abdomen may seem too vulnerable for massage therapy, this area is actually very responsive to this work. Clients often sigh in relief after their first abdominal massage, wondering why no other massage therapist has ever worked there. The abdomen contains many layers, composed of skin, fascia (connective tissue), muscle, bone, and vital organs. As strange as it may sound, the organs, especially, love to be massaged. In fact, if our breath is optimized, they are massaged naturally by the diaphragm all day long.

Abdominal massage utilizes gentle techniques that reduce tension and release adhesions, relax abdominal muscles, increase respiration and enhance digestion. It can be applied fully clothed or as a part of the therapeutic massage session. I’ve received training for this work from Marty Ryan, LMP, of Love Your Guts. My approach combines elements of various modalities, including visceral, Mayan abdominal massage, and Biodynamic massage.

Questions about Abdominal Work

Why do you do abdominal massage?

I began studying abdominal massage after experiencing this work personally and finding significant benefits for my digestive pain. I researched a variety of different modalities including Chi Nei Tsang, Mayan Abdominal Therapy, and Visceral Manipulation, and then further engaged with the work by receiving more abdominal massage myself. As a result, I felt tremendous relief, not necessarily through the alleviation of symptoms, but simply by having my organs and belly layers touched.

I work with the abdomen because it is essential to a whole view of the body. I want to treat the whole body, and the organs and torso comprise most of it.

Who benefits from Abdominal Massage?

I believe everybody can benefit from Abdominal Massage to maintain health and relaxation.

Many people have in the past or are currently dealing with disturbance and dysfunction in the belly. Abdominal Massage is beneficial for anyone who is/has experienced digestive symptoms or diseases, fertility obstacles, abdominal trauma, or stress. Following are specific conditions in which abdominal massage is beneficial:

  • Acid reflux
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Infertility
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Abdominal adhesions
  • Sexual trauma
  • Low back pain
  • Depression/anxiety

What should I expect during and after an Abdominal Massage Treatment?

Abdominal massage is performed using draping that keeps the client as comfortable/covered as they desire. The treatment can be done through clothing, the sheet, or directly on the skin. For female clients, the breast tissue is covered with a pillowcase or bra, depending upon the client’s desires.

During the massage treatment, clients may experience some tenderness; however, the client always directs the session. Treatment will not be done if the client expresses discomfort of any kind. In fact, communication with the client is at the forefront of each session.

After receiving Abdominal Massage, a client will likely feel lighter and more spacious in the belly – often manifesting as an enhancement in breath or an ability to take deeper breaths. The client may experience tenderness (depending upon the situation and what was addressed during the session), but this usually lasts for only the first 24 hours, followed by a decrease and relief from original pain and/or symptoms. The amount and degree to which this happens varies for each client.

For recommendations on post-abdominal massage care, please see my Referral Directory.

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If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you.


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