FAQ - Clients


1. What should I expect after I receive a belly massage?

You 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 Integrative Bodywork for Women program for further training in massage and bodywork during pregnancy.


5. What kind of draping is used for belly massage?

Some 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 lubrication.

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 organs.

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 are about.

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 (parasympathetic).

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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