By Cassandra Hall Primeau, RMT
The abdomen is by far one of the most neglected areas of the body, but it can also prove to be one of the most important.
You’ve probably heard your massage therapist say at some point, “everything is connected.” It’s absolutely true. Since the abdominal region is at the centre of the body, it’s a veritable crossroads of connections, with the potential to affect you literally from head to toe.
I love introducing my clients to the wonders of abdominal massage. They’re usually surprised at how pleasant it is, and how great they feel afterwards.
Here are my top 6 reasons why you should be getting an abdominal massage today:
You use your abdominal muscles everyday. They work in conjunction with the deeper core muscles as a foundation for every movement your body makes. So even if you’re not hitting the gym for a targeted abs workout, you’re still using and working them all the time. For this, they deserve just as much after-care as any other major muscle group, to promote optimal function and relieve the tension that will inevitably build up overtime.
2. Relieve Lower Back Pain
An abdominal massage can also be very effective when dealing with lower back pain. Your body’s muscles work in opposing groups, usually on opposite sides of a limb or region, so one always affects the other. The source of your lower back pain could be coming from its opposing group in your abdominals. Massaging the abdomen will provide you with more lasting relief than treating your lower back alone.
Digestion can be an indicator for overall health. Increasing circulation to this area with massage can have the indirect effect of helping those organs function more effectively. This includes the smooth muscle of your gastro-intestinal (GI) tract that aids in peristalsis ([the wavelike movements of the intestines that push stomach contents forward). Massage can also have a direct effect on the lower digestive tract, for example in the treatment of constipation.
4. Breathe Easy
Your diaphragm, the primary muscle of respiration, is what divides your abdominal cavity from your thoracic cavity (or rib-cage). Releasing this muscle when it’s tight can help with shortness of breath, ease compensating tension in your upper back and neck, and facilitate a deeper sense of relaxation by enabling deeper breaths, while each exhalation calms the nervous system.
5. A Better Full Body Massage
People seek massage for many reasons beyond pain and tissue dysfunction. Massage is a great tool for achieving overall wellness due to its soothing and healing nature. Including your abdomen gives a fuller sense of wholeness in a “full body massage”.
6. Stress Relief
Relaxation is an underrated goal when it comes to massage and wellness treatments in general. Relaxation means giving a break to an over-worked and over-taxed body, and returning to a state of homeostasis. You’ve probably heard the term “fight or flight response”, well with massage, we’re invoking the opposite: the “rest and digest” effect. With this, nothing is as uniquely relaxing as an abdominal massage.
Did you know that once you are in your second trimester, it’s not only safe to have an abdominal massage, it should be highly encouraged? Lower back pain, shortness of breath, stress — most are probably sounding pretty familiar if you are pregnant. Your body is coping with rapid changes and increased stresses, and including your baby belly in your next pre-natal massage is a great method for managing these symptoms.
It’s also a great way to spend some time connecting with baby, as he or she is getting a massage too! As an added bonus, massage increases circulation to the skin, helping maintain some of its elasticity, which will help it to return to normal more quickly after baby is born.
So make sure to include your abs in your next massage treatment. You’ll be glad you did and your tummy will too!
If you want anymore information or to book an appointment, please contact me at Angel Hands Integrative Centre.