It is said that our belly is the drum of the body. It connects the legs to the arms, the north to the south, it is our connection to the divine and the earth. It is a vulnerable area. When we are hurt or emotionally wounded, we curl in protect ourselves. Nature’s natural protection- fetal position. It houses our Solar Plexus chakra, our fire, our passion.
As a society we focus on a flat and fit stomach from the outside. We never think about the importance of the inside as it relates to health. The inside is only beginning to show its true colors. Many have found that the correlation between the brain and the intestinal wall hold the key to emotions and condition of the body as a whole called the “Gut Brain Barrier”. If we have more good bacteria vs. bad bacteria, we stay in homeostasis.
We have heard a lot recently that fiber, pro-biotics, and supplements can help to regulate our digestive system. Detox is a word that is all too common these days, but natural life cycles of our distant past has aided in this. Long ago, our food supplies ran short towards the end of winter. Causing our ancestors to naturally fast and shed the fat accumulated during the winter “meat and potatoes”. This fasting helped to change the environment in our intestines, “cleaning out the plumbing”. With the aid of spring’s first sprouts and bitters i.e. sprouts, lettuce, dandelion, and weeds with high potency of enzymes to purge our systems. Today we have plenty of food year round and our bodies are missing this natural rhythm. This causes a build-up of indigestible matter, toxins in our body.
So where does massage fit in? It is a very common occurrence to get a full body massage and end up going to the bathroom shortly after. Whether it’s the heat of the warm table as you lay on your belly or the general relaxation from your massage; the blood starts circulating, and the nervous system switches to relaxation mode, the toxins releasing back into the digestive system and forcing to evacuate quickly causing movement. It gets the job done.
As a therapist, we know some people are sensitive or vulnerable with exposing the midsection. Since there are some who have never received this portion of a massage session, lets review why we should give it a go. The benefits of abdominal massage are well worth the few brief moments of unease. After a few belly massages, all of those cares and apprehensions disappear.
Massage has a long list of benefits: help correct issues with blood pressure, hypertension, ease anxiety and depression, joint pain, respiratory issues, reduce migraines and headaches, relieve muscle cramps, relieve body aches and pains, boosting and building the immune system and the list goes on. Some unknown benefits can include relieving pain from scar tissue and phantom pains, helping to emotionally release the trauma from past injuries, reducing chronic issues such as cysts and IBS and even help infertility issues. With proper techniques and diet, you can rebuild the walls of the digestive system and toning the smooth muscles.
Massaging helps in so many ways its hard to put them all in. So lets get to how to get the most out of your massage. When receiving massage is it a good idea to not eat 2-4 hours prior to service. This will help the body have a cleaner path to eliminate toxins into the stomach. Sipping water is recommended to help ease or prevent nausea. Many techniques offer different purpose, but they all help improve circulation, remove blockage and old waste, flushing out old stagnant blood and opening pathways for new blood to be delivered, milking the organs and releasing hormones to their proper order and function. Increasing Lymph movement and assimilation into the digestive tract. Help disperse oxygen into the body and relieve stress.
When you get a massage starting on your back, when its time to flip over and lay face up, I love hearing the stomach make the familiar gurgle noise, most believe they are hungry or digesting, but really what is happening is our bodies have calmed enough to turn off our fight or flight response and turns on what our bodies are designed to do. This noise means that the cortisol production “stress hormone” has stopped so our bodies can work efficiently and get back to its main focus, healing.
Self-massage: If you have a dry brush, softly without adding pressure, rub in a clockwise motion. Smooth with opposite hand to settle the nerves. Using a small amount of oil, lightly massage your stomach in a circular motion, switching to a side to side direction. Each 5 passes around your stomach increase pressure by 5% but never going too deep to “feel it” you could cause adverse effects. There are certain areas that are tender on most people and you can always discuss with your Massage therapist on how to maintain these at home.
*Remember that clockwise speeds up and counter clockwise slows down. Also that clockwise is the same from all angles, I get that question a lot!
If you are looking to add belly massage into your regular routine at Back To Bliss, then I suggest talking to your regular therapist about adding more abdominal work into your signature elemental massage or else just get a full service devoted to belly massage. Sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes to your Signature Elemental Massage to focus on the belly gets the extra work in without losing any of the other things you love. Our Belly Ease treatment is a great way to just focus on the belly. Weekly Belly Ease services for two months will make a dramatic difference in your body.
Josiah, Emily, Crystal, and Jodi regularly include belly massage and can comfortably work with all of your modesty and comfort levels so that you don’t miss out on this important aspect of massage.