When you think of getting a massage, you don’t tend to picture abdominal massage! However, massaging the abdomen has many health benefits.
Stomach massage is a practice that has been around for centuries. It has been shown to improve digestion and stomach upsets as well as improve the body’s immune function.
In addition to alleviating gut-related pain and digestive issues, stomach massage may also be used to strengthen weak abdominal muscles – improving posture and preventing injury.
Abdominal massage is a type of massage that is often neglected. Here are some of the reasons why it should be included in a practice.
What is abdominal massage?
An abdominal massage is a gentle form of massage, focusing on relaxing and healing the muscles surrounding the abdomen.
A range of techniques can be used by a massage therapist, all of which are painless and non-invasive. You can get an abdominal massage to treat a number of symptoms including constipation, bloating and muscle tightness.
Abdominal massage can have a positive effect on both physical and mental wellbeing, allowing clients to find relief from pain and anxiety relating to the stomach, digestive system and reproductive organs including the pelvic floor.
Abdominal Massage Benefits
1. Improves Digestion Function
Stomach massage has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine. It has been used as a centuries-old practise to detoxify the body and improve digestive health.Since emotional stress is held in the gut, the act of massaging the stomach can help to reduce tension and heal the emotional body – resulting in fewer digestive complaints. As the muscles in the stomach relax, digestion is stimulated and clients can enjoy fewer stomach upsets such as gas, bloating and cramping. Gentle pressure applied in a clockwise motion around the stomach can help those with serious digestive issues as well as those with an endotracheal tube.
2. Relieves Constipation
Massaging the stomach can relieve constipation and help improve bowel movements and frequency. As the stomach muscles relax with gentle, sustained pressure, the digestive system ‘wakes up’ and gets everything moving. Studies into abdominal massage and constipation found that the group who received massage to the stomach experienced a reduction in constipation and an increase in regular, healthy bowel movements. Incorporating essential oils such as peppermint may also enhance the benefits of abdominal massage. Massage therapists can also focus on the CV6 and CV12 acupressure points to further improve constipation symptoms.
3. Boosts Immune System
A significant portion of our immune system is located within the gut. A healthy gut contributes to better overall health and immunity, helping our bodies to fight viruses and diseases. By getting an abdominal massage, the lymphatic system is stimulated, leading to detoxification and a boost to the body’s natural defence system.
4. Improves Posture
The abdominal muscles make up your core muscle group. If the muscles in the core are weak or too tight, it can lead to poor form and bad posture resulting in injury. Abdominal massage can rectify this by loosening the ab muscles and improving elasticity. This makes the muscles more fluid and able to attain a full range of motion and function.
5. Releases Physical Tension and Emotional Stress
Most people have felt a “knot in the gut” when stressed or anxious. This uneasy feeling can be accompanied by trapped gas and muscle spasms, including pelvic floor dysfunction.The act of abdominal massage has both psychological and physical benefits. For one, massage induces relaxation, allowing the nervous system to regulate and induce a sense of calmness in mind and body. Secondly, physical pressure applied to the stomach releases any knots or physical tension associated with emotional stress.
6. Alleviate PMS Pain
Those who experience PMS are no strangers to stomach-related issues including pain, cramping, bloating, gas and indigestion. From menstruation to ovulation and reproductive-related issues such as PCOS and endometriosis, women’s bodies are susceptible to pain and sensitivities in the abdominal and pelvic regions. Abdominal massage can act as a natural pain relief for PMS and related symptoms by reducing muscle spasms, relaxing the stomach and pelvic floor muscles, and improving overall mood.
Incorporating abdominal massage therapy in your practice
The gentle, healing benefits of abdominal massage makes it a must in any massage practice or treatment plan. Promoting both physical and psychological health, abdominal massage improves the quality of life and is a great way to regulate crucial bodily functions for optimum health and vitality.
Discover Massage Australia is here to help you grow your massage business! Learn different types of massage and use your skills to start your own practice or to expand your in-practice treatment menu. Contact us today to find out why you should study with us!