Stomach massage is highly underrated; most clients that I work on have never received it or even heard of it. I believe this area of the body isn’t talked about enough, and I’m here to teach you the benefits! The positive effects of treating the abdomen can include an emotional release, a decrease in overall tension, and regulation of bowel movements. Some things to consider before experiencing abdomen massage would be if you are pregnant or have previous stomach problems. You may want to talk with your doctor to get cleared for this type of therapeutic work.
Emotional release can be described as a rush of emotion, usually when receiving massage or another form of bodywork. These releases are powerful and show up in different ways, depending on the person. Emotional energy can get stored in spaces that we normally wouldn’t pay any mind to. When we start paying attention to these areas, your body can release that emotion and even let go of stored up tension. For some, these emotions look like grief, fear, and sadness. These sessions can sometimes result in tears or sadness, while others experience overwhelming happiness or laughter. Understanding why this works is a key component in the equation. Body memory is a term used to describe the reason for why this works. Just as a certain smell can bring back a vivid memory, touch can do so as well. Garrett Curler goes further in depth on this subject in his blog linked below.
The biggest benefit you may receive from stomach massage is improved digestive function. There are specific massage movements designed to help with indigestion and constipation. You can perform these movements on yourself or have a massage therapist do them for you. Tiffany Ayuda mentions a few movements you can perform before a meal at the end of her article. The video linked at the end of this blog is a short “how to” for at-home relief. It explains how to clear your ascending, transverse, and descending colon. I have taught many clients and friends this technique for when they need relief at home, and they have all reported great results!
Some key rules to keep in mind:
1. Always massage clockwise to relieve constipation.
2. Massage counterclockwise to slow down or regulate bowel movements.
3. Talk to a doctor if massage movements don’t help your symptoms.
Next time you receive a massage, ask if your LMT will perform stomach massage! It may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but eventually you won’t want to receive a massage without incorporating stomach work. Stay in communication with your therapist about how you’re doing, and remember to first be cleared by your doctor for stomach massage if you are pregnant or have pre-existing stomach problems.