By Ashley Easterbrook, RMT

When one hears of getting a massage, one’s thoughts may drift to getting their shoulders and
neck worked on. Or maybe it’s the sweet bliss of relaxation that comes after getting treated for
that nagging lower back pain. But what is often not thought or spoken of is having our stomach
But wait, you say … stomach massage? There’s a massage for that? Yes indeed, as many
massage therapists can vouch for and encourage. Digestive or abdominal massage can help
with a wide variety of conditions. Have bloating? We can work on getting that better.
Constipation and bowel movement issues? No problem! PMS and menstrual cramp pain?
Abdominal massage can even help to reduce pain and allow organs to relax. Heck, it can even
work on back pain as well by helping to release the diaphragm and the deeper abdominal
However one of the most prominent reasons to have an abdominal massage is for deep and
profound relaxation. Working together with diaphragmatic breath and gentle yet rhythmic
techniques and stomach releases can not only make you feel more centred and grounded, but
it can also help you to connect a little bit deeper with your body by helping to reduce stress
levels. Which, given today’s world climate, I think we could all use a little more of.
So I bet you’re wondering: what does an abdominal massage look like, and how do I go about
asking my massage therapist for one? An abdominal massage – depending on what conditions
or concerns you are coming into the session with – usually takes about 20 minutes out of an
hour massage. While you can go in for only an abdominal massage for 30 minutes, usually it is
more beneficial to have a full hour session to work on the back and hips to support the
abdominal massage. This usually starts with the patient lying face down to help them relax and
to release any muscular stress that may be affecting the abdominal muscles. This is then
followed up by turning the patient over, whereby they are lying face up and having their
abdomen worked on last. This can be something you can discuss with your massage therapist
depending on your preference and comfort. If it’s your first time getting an abdominal massage,
you can ask your therapist to walk you through it.
The physical care portion of the treatment is then followed up with a discussion addressing
your concerns and home care, and recommendations that may help going forward. If in the
following days you notice the massage helps to alleviate some of your symptoms, having
routine appointments set up throughout the year can be a good adjunct to your self-care
As a final note, there may be instances where abdominal massage may not be recommended.
Certain inflammatory digestive conditions may be aggravated by having an abdominal
massage during a flareup episode. It is important to let your massage therapist know of any
pre-existing health conditions or medication you may be taking before having an abdominal
Now more than ever, self reflection and self care has become a vital and intrinsic part of our
lives. This time of year makes us pause, and think of resolutions going forward into the new
year. What better time to try something new while taking care of yourself? Abdominal massage
may be just up your alley, and a way forward to a new and more relaxed you.

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