Abdominal or belly massage.

I have written about this in the past, and recognise that not all my clients like this. (Or possibly don’t want this from a man.) At the same time, I get quite a few clients who have had massage from other practitioners but never had abdominal massage. I don’t know if that is because the other practitioners don’t feel they have time for it in their standard routine or just don’t do it per se. What I do find is that nearly all my clients who have it and have not done so before really like it.

I see abdominal massage as having many benefits. Sometimes I have clients who have, “overdone” it with a core strength routine. I use the quotes because some discomfort can be expected if working seriously on core strength in the early stages. Abdominal massage can ease the pain from this and allow training to progress at a slightly faster rate.

Another benefit is that this part of the massage can be of great help to the digestive system. While I would say that those who come to me for massage, in general have healthier lifestyles than average, I also get people with issues of constipation due to diet/sedentary habits and many clients who suffer from indigestion due to stress and or medical problems such as IBS. In these cases, coriander essential oil is one of my favourites but all of the culinary herb oils are good for this as is using the herbs in cooking. (With all gastric complaints it is important to pay attention to what your body reacts badly or well to and take action accordingly. Also, any change in bowel habit that lasts more than two weeks that is not explained by a change in diet should be investigated. This from the nice guidelines on bowel cancer.) I will ask questions about this and advise visits to the doctor if needed.

Anxiety is often felt in the belly. Think of the phrases we use such as, “butterflies in the tummy.” Massage here with oils such as Frankincense or Geranium can help with this, even when for some clients the thought of it initially increases anxiety. Over time, regular massage can also reduce the severity of stretch marks though if severe they are unlikely to go completely.

Lastly, this massage can save lives. I have on one occasion felt the strong pulse of an aortic aneurysm and advised the client to visit the accident and emergency department at Addenbrookes Hospital. She was operated on the following day. My nursing experience meant I knew exactly what I was feeling on this occasion. Statistically it is unlikely that I will come across this again but………