1. What should I expect after I receive a belly massage?
should feel lighter and longer in the trunk and abdomen. You should
move with a better sense of things initiating from your core. You
should also feel more awareness of the entire breath cycle throughout
the abdominal space.
Many people report that these feelings stay around for several days.
You have just allowed someone to touch your core, and have released
some of the tension that has been bottled up there. Enjoy this new
feeling and the openness and expansiveness of your new belly!
See the 7 Goals of Belly Massage
for a more detailed exploration of this question.
2. No one has ever massaged my belly before and I have been getting
massage for years – why is that?
Although belly massageis not a new endeavor, many manual therapists
choose to work on the muscles and joints of the body and skip this
area all together. Many therapists do not massage the belly because
they have not been trained to skillfully work here.
One of the goals of the Love Your Guts Seminars
is to change the conversation about what can and cannot be included
in a basic massage school program so that students from the beginning
of their training are as fluent with the soft tissues of the abdomen
as they are with the musculoskeletal system.
In the modern world, the importance of belly massage cannot be overstated.
Obesity, diabetes, environmental toxicity, digestion and elimination
difficulties, partial or complete organ removals, chronic stress,
eating disorders and dysmorphia, fertility issues, and idiopathic
belly pain are rampant. These conditions and many others that decrease
energy and vitality can be treated with belly massage.
3. My belly scars are ages old, what is going to happen with them?
Many people report that their surgery scars still ache - especially
after exercise, movement or heavy lifting. Others report that things
have never felt the same after their surgery - like being “cut
off” from certain parts of themselves. Specific scar work
and general belly work will help to soften and lengthen the scar
tissue itself as well as increase the mobility of the surrounding
tissues. The actual scar will never disappear, but the old aches,
tightness and loss of sensation often changes for the better.
4. Can I receive belly massage if I am on my menstrual period?
What if I am pregnant?
Absolutely YES for menstruating women! This is
an excellent time to receive belly massage, and many people report
a large change if not a complete elimination of menstrual cramping
and discomfort after belly massage.
Absolutely YES for pregnant women as well, although
different applications are used and different structures are accessed
during the different stages of pregnancy. See Paula Pelletier-Butler’s
Bodywork for Women program for further training in
massage and bodywork during pregnancy.
5. What kind of draping is used for belly massage?
practitioners will work on the belly through the sheet for some
or all of the session. Others work directly on the skin the entire
session. Some protocols call for a small amount of massage lubrication,
while other techniques are applied directly to the belly with no
For female clients, the chest is always covered with a pillow case,
towel, sport bra or some type of undergarment.
6. Will belly massage address my core muscles?
The core muscles have received a great deal of attention recently
in certain movement and exercise programs like yoga, Pilates, martial
arts, tai chi, chi kung, and others. What they are all referring
to is the musculature which wraps the trunk and belly and supports
and moves our spine and pelvis. Holding patterns in the core muscles,
can make one feel twisted and compressed. This feeling of compression
often manifests as lower back pain, a hard impenetrable belly wall,
constricted breathing, and a lack of movement available to the abdominal
The entire Love Your Guts Seminars curriculum addresses
the core muscles by elongating connective tissue, enhancing blood
and lymph circulation, and relaxing the autonomic nervous system.
7. What are the various lumps and bumps that my practitioner rolls
over? What is in there that is so hard?
I hear this question every day in
practice. What is in there? What is so hard right there? Why does
it feel like that? I never knew my belly was so tender until you
touched me there!
When a practitioner rolls over "lumps and bumps" in the
belly it may feel odd at first. Generally those sensations are contracted
smooth muscle surrounding intestines. If there is some tenderness,
it may mean that there are adhesions or other holding patterns in
the fascial architecture surrounding these tubes. It is always a
good idea to breathe here and really notice what those sensations
Ask your practitioner to slow down and let you learn something
about your own belly. It is a magnificent thing!
8. What should I do after the massage if I am feeling tenderness
in my belly?
Rest is the best thing here. Your belly is detoxing and releasing
old holding patterns. Drink lots of water, take a hot Epsom salts
bath, eat a tasty meal - slowly of course. Smile and consider all
of the amazing things the belly does for you everyday.
9. What does it mean when my belly gurgles?
The belly "gurgle" is known as borborygmus. This sound
simply means that the autonomic nervous system is transitioning
from contraction and constriction(sympathetic) to dialtion and relaxation
In other words, old holding patterns are unraveling and movement
is returning to the organs in the belly. This is a good thing. Smile
and enjoy the sounds of your own belly!
10. Should I eat food before I receive belly massage?
Eating a light meal an hour or two before your session is a good
idea, just nothing too heavy or filling. This way you relax on the
table. Also, your practitioner will be able to work more deeply
more comfortably if your belly is not too full.
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