Why Are We Not Massaging Our Tummys?
When I trained in massage, abdominal massage formed an important part of the training and routine. We were taught about all the benefits and would practice on each other. I remember thinking back then how surprising it was that I had never had abdominal massage before this as it felt absolutely amazing!
Move forward 8 years and for some reason I rarely incorporate abdominal massage into Swedish or Deep Tissue treatments and I think it's time to change this.
So lets look at some of the benefits of abdominal massage and just why we need to be doing it more!
Improves digestive function
Probably the most obvious benefit of abdominal massage. Massaging in a clockwise motion follows the natural flow of the intestines and can really help get things moving.
A study carried out in 2011 found that abdominal massage can stimulate peristalsis in patients with post surgical ileus. Individual case reports also showed that abdominal massage was effective for those with long term functional constipation.
Boosts our immune system
Our gastro-intestinal tract is home to a large proportion of our bodies lymph nodes, forming a significant portion of our immune system. Abdominal massage can stimulate these nodes and improve lymph flow, helping to boost the immune system.
Increases blood flow and stimulates internal organs
Abdominal massage stimulates our internal organs and increases blood flow to the area. This increase in blood flow and oxygen helps to improve organ function, which in the case of the liver means more efficient breakdown and removal of toxins and waste products.
Alleviate stress and create a sense of well-being
We all know about the gut/brain connection, in fact there are more serotonin receptors in our gut than in our brain. When we are anxious or under stress it can be very common to experience gastro-intestinal issues as a result. Through massaging the abdomen we shift the body into a parasympathetic state, calming the nervous system, inducing relaxation and promoting sleep.
Clear energetic blockages
On an energetic level abdominal massage can be very effective at clearing blockages and improving energy flow in the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras. Increased energy flow increases our bodies self healing abilities as well as leaving us more balanced and grounded.
So there we have it, abdominal massage is epic and from now on I will be doing more of it!