Abdominal Massage

Why abdominal massage should be included in a massage session.

Check out these 4 reasons as to why:

  1. Massage feels more complete and holistic clients will often make comments after receiving abdominal massage that describe feeling lighter, more integrated, calmer or even more energized.
  2. Abdominal massage aids intestinal function number of studies have shown massage promotes peristaltic, soother minor intestinal discomforts and helps with constipation. Its very beneficial for people with neurological gut-control challenges, as in Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
  3. There is a strong connection between abdominal massage and a sense of well being the enteric nervous system, now categorized as a third division of the autonomic nervous system, it’s the connection to emotions and the role of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is understood to be the messenger between the enteric nervous system and the brain, playing a role in the regular dialogue between higher centers of autonomic regulation and the limbic centres of emotional expression and control. The connection between vagal stimulation and helping shift the body into a parasympathetic state helps support the use of abdominal massage for relaxation and sleep promotion.
  4. Abdominal massage has real benefits for people with abdominal conditions and also for people with mental illnesses like anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Low back pain, postural abnormalities and post- childbirth fascial syndromes are very well treated by abdominal massage.

Contraindications of abdominal massage:

  • Gastrointestinal tract disease or inflammatory intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis
  • Pregnant women in the first trimester and high risk pregnancies
  • Some reproductive system conditions- unstable ovarian cysts, severe endometriosis
  • Some emotional and psychological factors- for example- some clients abdominal touch made miserable and some think its a private body part. Massage therapist must respect that.

Some clients would love to receive abdominal massage, but they never do, because their massage therapists would never offer to them due to the lack of confidence, discomfort, lack of training or overblown safety worries.

Obviously we need to consider cautions and contraindications, doing due diligence about massage therapy appropriateness and we need to work within our scope of practice. At the same time, we really should be more focused on the fact that there are strong indications for using abdominal massage to help many of our clients manage and perhaps sometimes successfully overcome a number of different types of disorders.

Contribution by Kamila Borutova, RMT and Owner of Wildflower Massage and Esthetics in Canmore

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