Abdominal massage is the practice of healing hands over the abdomen and surrounding areas on top of the skin. The surrounding areas include abdominal viscera (organs), fascia, lymph, muscles and ligaments.
Abdominal massage has been used by healers all around the world. The specifics of the techniques vary by culture and geographic region, but the purpose of the massage is to improve circulation of blood and lymph, improve visceral mobility and increase the connection between the person and their body.
For those who have a uterus, this organ generally sits between the colon and bladder with its opening (the cervix) pointed down towards the vaginal canal. As such, uterine positioning, thickening and sloughing may affect these adjacent areas. All organs have the ability to cleanse and regenerate tissue. The uterus is unique in that for many decades of the uterine carrier’s life, the uterine carrier can assess the efficiency of that cleanse based on the menses. An efficient uterine cleanse will show up as a painfree, regular menstrual cycle, with a moderate flow of blood. If you are menstruating, the following questions will be used to assess the health of your uterus and its ability to cleanse: How much blood comes out? Are there cramps? Are there clots? Is the cycle regular or irregular? What color is your blood?
A healthy uterine cleanse (aka menstruation or many other names) can and should be painless and on a consistent schedule of around 28-31 days (day 1 is considered the first day of bleeding and goes until the next day 1 of the bleed). While it is extremely common for menses to be painful and irregular, common does not mean healthy! If you have a uterus and experience cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles and/or other unpleasant or even debilitating sensations related to your menses, these can be treated.
If you are no longer menstruating but still have a uterus, abdominal massage can still be beneficial for your uterus and surrounding areas.
And if you used to have a uterus but no longer have one, the abdominal massage will aide your body in negotiating the new landscape.
My initial training comes through Arvigo® techniques that were refined into a protocol by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, who learned from the Guatemalan Mayan healer, Don Elijio and many other healers. In my journey of antiracism and learning about cultural appropriation, I realize the term Mayan Abdominal Massage is not an appropriate reference to abdominal massage. The Mayan people come from many different geographical locations and techniques vary accordingly. While Arvigo® is a trademarked technique, abdominal massage cannot be trademarked any more than cooking can be trademarked. I am broadening my training and terminological reference to give credence to the many generations of midwives and healers across the globe who have always used abdominal massage for the benefit of their clients.
Oftentimes I will combine abdominal massage with acupuncture, herbs and/or genital steaming for optimal care and healing.