When anyone thinks of getting a massage, they instantly think of a full body relaxation massage or a deep tissue, back, neck and shoulders release. However, over the last few months I have had numerous patients ask “Is it possible to massage the abdomen? If so, how is it done? What are the benefits of it?”
Well, the answer is YES!! Abdominal massage is indeed a “thing”! It can be performed as part of a regular treatment or its own specific massage. And benefits you ask? There are many… let’s take a look.
How Is Abdominal Massage Done?
I start by recommending that the patient has emptied their bladder prior to treatment. To perform an abdominal massage a patient lays on their back with sheets draped to their neck. A large towel is placed over the area of the chest and held in place by the patient to ensure full coverage. The sheets would then be carefully arranged to the level of the patients’ waist/hips and secured tightly in place. This would expose only the abdominal area itself and everything else would be securely covered. If a patient is uncomfortable with this, the abdominal massage could also be performed over the clothing with similar effects.
Gentle soft tissue work through the abdominal area and up toward the rib cage using linear strokes or circular motions is utilized. Lotion can be used, or not, depending on the wanted effects of the treatment. The therapist should explain everything they would be doing to ensure the comfort of the patient.
What Is The Duration Of An Abdominal Massage?
Abdominal massage can be added into a regular full body massage for 5-10 minutes. It can also be done as its own treatment through a 30 minute massage. Benefits can be great whether it is a short treatment or more specific.
What Are The Benefits Of Abdominal Massage?
Here are some of the many great benefits of having an abdominal massage:
1. Reduce Stress: Abdominal massage can reduce the feeling of a “knot” in your stomach. It can provide peace of mind and relief from stress, anxiety and depression, by creating a state of relaxation.
2. Reduce scar tissue: Fascial work and specific massage techniques aid in the break down of adhesions and scar tissue from surgeries.
3. Decrease low back pain: Applying pressure to the abdomen can release deep muscle spasms and relieve pressure on the front of the spine.
4. More efficient breathing: Fascial work around the rib cage, combined with deep abdominal breathing, can relax the muscles around the diaphragm. This allows an efficient flow of air throughout the body and creates balanced and complete breathing.
5. Improve gastrointestinal health: Stimulating blood flow and oxygen to the abdominal region, and stimulating the intestines and other organs like the gallbladder and liver, can help keep the digestive system working more efficiently.
6. Reduce bloating: Abdominal massage can help regulate metabolic function and reduce the buildup of wastes and gas in the body that contribute to bloating.
7. Relieve constipation: Using clockwise circular strokes stimulates peristalsis and aids your colon in moving waste through your system to alleviate constipation issues and related abdominal pain.
8. Improve Menstrual symptoms: Can help reduce painful menstrual cramps in women by loosening knots and stiff muscles.
What Cautions Are There For Abdominal Massage?
Abdominal massage should be avoided or used with extreme caution for individuals with:
· Gallstones and kidney stones
· Calcium deposits in the bladder
· Stomach ulcers or Internal bleeding
· Gastrointestinal diseases or conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis
· Following abdominal surgery
Don’t Be Shy…Abdominal Massage Is Very Helpful!
Many patients are curious about an abdominal massage but are often too afraid to ask about it. I have done abdominal massage on many patients and have seen the great benefits that it can produce. If you’ve wondered about having an abdominal massage, or have more questions about it, please come and see me at WIN Health Solutions and I would be happy to discuss it further, or answer any questions you may have.
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