In Asian medicine, abdominal massage is well known to improve health, and I have found that it is particularly important and effective for women. It’s very easy to do it on yourself, only taking about 5-10 minutes, so there is no reason not to add this to your self care routine! All the vital organs are located here, except the Lungs and Heart, and they are nearby, so also benefit. By promoting circulation and relaxing muscles in the area, we increase the health of the organs and make sure there is smooth digestive flow. In some cases, this can even alleviate disease!
The most important point to remember is to follow the flow of the large intestine:
UP ON THE RIGHT, DOWN ON THE LEFT
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor or bed. Let the knees fall together so you can really relax. Press with both hands using the flats of the fingers. Beyond that, just about any pressing you do can be beneficial, but here’s a little routine to follow:
- Start at the edge of the right ribs, near the center. Press down as you exhale. On the inhale, move a little more towards the outside, but still just under the ribs. Press again on the next exhale. Do this one more time so that on the third press you are near the floating ribs. Move back to near the center and repeat, for a total of 3 runs.
- Repeat this sequence under the left ribs.
- Now go to the right side of your abdomen, lower down near the pelvic bone. Again, press down on the exhalation, on the inhalation, move up a couple of inches and press again. Go slowly and easily, about a count of 6 at each spot. Do this a third time so you are now near being under the ribs again. Do 3 passes in this area.
- Move to the center of your abdomen, above your navel. This time do a pass going down, just to the left of your navel. Again, press in on the exhale, on the inhale, move down a couple of inches, then move down a few more inches. Exactly where you press is not so important. You may feel a tension somewhere that you want to concentrate on. That’s fine. On this pass, you may feel the strong, large pulse of the aorta as you press! This is normal.
- Again, move to the left, this time doing a pass down again, starting just under the left floating ribs, and finishing just inside the left pelvic bone. Go from top to bottom 3 times, pressing in on the exhale and moving down a little more on the inhale as before.
- Now press all around your navel, again going up on the right and down on the left, but right next to your belly button, 2 points on the right and 2 on the left.
- Finish by doing one pass again under the right ribs, and one under the left ribs, the same as at the beginning.
About ten minutes of massage can be enough to promote health, but it’s also ok to do longer if you feel you need it, 15-20 minutes. Just do more passes up and down the abdomen. Any amount you are able to do this is helpful, and trying to do it every day for a month can greatly help alleviate any stagnations. Once they are alleviated, you can do the massage less often. It’s worth it, you’ll have better bowel movements and appetite, sleep better, and therefore have more energy!