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 http://www.holisticlocal.com.au/articles/view/362/Chi+Nei+Tsang+Abdominal+Massage+-+Healing+from+Within.)
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?