October 15, 2020
Massage and treatments of the abdomen have been utilised by many cultures for improvement of digestive and reproductive health in both men and women, some of which are Chei Nei Tsang of Thai Massage, Mayan Abdominal Massage used by healers in Central America, and Ayurvedic Abdominal Massage of the Indian Medicine System. In Osteopathy we also have Visceral Osteopathy. Viscera translates to organ with treatment involving manipulation and ‘massage’ of the organs and tissues to promote their health.
People often seek out these kinds of treatments to help assist with digestive discomforts such as constipation, bloating, IBS, reflux, and pain. Some people also have treatment to help with their stress, particularly if they hold tension in their abdomen, as the treatment can be quite relaxing which helps to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, known as the ‘rest and digest’ state of the body.
While having a treatment by a trained practitioner may be helpful in managing your issue, you can also do your own self-massage on the abdomen at home each day. Using self-abdominal massage regularly may be helpful in stimulating digestion by aiding peristalsis. Peristalsis is the movement which propels food and waste through the digestive tract, helping regularity of bowel movements. Massaging your own abdomen may also be helpful in management of pain and discomfort in the abdomen and pelvic cavities.
You could also combine this with diaphragmatic breathing to make a relaxing daily treatment for yourself to help your overall well-being.
If you would like to see how to perform self-abdominal massage watch the video further down this article.
To view how to do diaphragmatic breathing watch here.
Important note: If you are experiencing new and recent changes in bowel movement including discomfort, blood in the stool and generally feeling unwell it is always advised to discuss this with your GP and have it investigated.
This massage should be avoided with the following:
- Do not perform on the lower abdomen if you have an IUD/Coil fitted.
- Had recent surgery. You should wait 8-10 weeks and get clearance from your medical practitioner before commencing.
- If you have a current infection.
- If you have an acute flare up of Chron’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis or any condition of the abdominal or pelvic cavities.
- If you are pregnant.
- If you are taking pain killers that are masking the pain, especially if you have an undiagnosed problem.
This is not an exhaustive list and if you are unsure about whether this massage is suitable for you, please consult your health practitioner.
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