Massage Matters

Mindful musings on massage, muscles, and moxie

The Knot Whisperer Rides!

The Knot Whisperer Rides!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Your Abs Deserve a Little Love, Too!

One part of the body that routinely gets neglected during a massage is the abdomen. Often, people feel uncomfortable displaying their abs and/or having them touched. Because of that, I stopped promoting abdominal work to my clients but I think this is a mistake on my part: there are many good reasons to have your abs massaged, starting with the facts that it feels nice and is relaxing. But there are genuine health benefits to abdominal massage as well.

Actually, there is even a Taoist Chinese massage technique, chi nei tsang (CNT), that focuses entirely on the abdomen and the internal organs there. Chinese Taoists believe that the belly, as the repository of our emotional life, is the “organ” of happiness. Given that, the goal of CNT is to restore happiness and well-being. Both CNT and shiatsu intend to influence the internal organs, but the difference is that shiatsu works through acupressure to meridian points while CNT works directly on specific organs. Among the claims of CNT are relief from chronic constipation and diarrhea, spastic colon, gastritis, ulcers, abdominal pains, and menstruation issues. (If you’d like to learn more about CNT, a good place to start is

While I am not myself a CNT specialist, I do have experience with abdominal massage, the benefits of which include:

  • Promoting digestion
  • Relieving constipation, bloating, and flatulence
  • Improving circulation of blood in abdominal muscles and organs
  • Preventing adhesions and scar tissue formation postoperatively in the area (once tissues have healed)
  • Alleviating gastric upsets
  • Helping align pelvic bones

So next time you come to the spa at FFC Union Station, consider having me include the abdomen in your massage. Your belly will thank you. And who doesn’t want a happy belly?

Monday, February 8, 2010


If you tend to get congested in the face cradle during a massage, let the massage therapist know. They may not be able to offer help with that but then again they may. I, for instance, have Breathe Right strips that clients can use or I can put eucalyptus oil on a towel to inhale, which can help keep your sinuses open.

If you find yourself congested at home, there are a number of things you can do about it, beyond taking pharmaceuticals. These include:

  • Nasal irrigation (which you can read more about at a number of places on the Internet, including at
  • Breath steam—boil some water, pour it into a bowl, and tent your head and the bowl with a towel; for even more benefit, two or three drops of eucalyptus oil can be added to the water
  • Put a hot, moist washcloth across your eyes to bring blood to your sinuses and relieve sinus pain
  • Press the sinus acupressure points with your finger- or thumb tips: on either side of your nose under the eyebrow ridge and the sides of the bridge of the nose—feel free to ask me to demonstrate this for you if I haven’t already