I’ve probably done close to 7,000 abdominal massages over the years and I find that every single belly is absolutely beautiful, unique and has a story to tell.
When I massage a wrinkled sun spotted hand, I think about how many tears those hands have wiped dry, flowers they have planted, hands they have tenderly held, meals they have prepared. When I massage arms, I think of how they have embraced and comforted those in need. And with bellies, I think about the sweet life that grew inside or the sadness and heartache held within.
Just for a moment, think about the history your body has experienced. What is the first thing that comes to mind? I remember years ago during my Arvigo training, Dr. Rosita Arvigo was working on my “cement post”. The cement post is the area between your xiphoid process and navel, also known as the solar plexus. It’s the area where you get that sinking feeling when something shocking or hurtful happens. Well, when emotions aren’t processed, this area can feel hard like a cement post. As Rosita massaged this area on me, a memory came up from my childhood. An image of two boys in a stairwell and they were laughing at me and calling me stupid. I felt ashamed and belittled. I don’t ever recall having this memory before, it just popped up at the moment Rosita was massaging my belly. Rosita asked if I was okay, I wasn’t crying or anything, but in her loving way she nodded her head knowing something old and painful was moving out. When emotions come up during a session, I tell my clients what Rosita told me, “Just observe the energy/feeling/emotion, not trying to figure it out, just watch and feel. Observe it as you would a train going by. You can see how fast it’s going and what color it is, but you don’t have to get on the train and no one has to get off. Just allow it to go by.”
The interesting thing is, feeling stupid was a reoccurring feeling I had experienced most of my life. I felt insecure about my intelligence even though I did well in school. I know I have been ignorant about many things in life, and I’m hyper-aware when people have recognized my naiveté. I’ve registered and stored, every eye roll or condescending laugh as a confirmation that I’m not good enough, smart enough, or lovable. I think the memory that came up that day was an accumulation of 35 plus years of all of those moments. This belief that I was stupid affected how I carried my body, my life choices I made and how I acted in social situations.
Abdominal massage helped me process and move out those old emotional charges. Restorative Exercise™ helped me as well (read about my experience here and here). I feel freer in my body and more confident now.
Now think about how amazing your body is physiologically speaking. Really think about how hard your body is working for you. All the biochemical reactions, biofeedback systems, cellular regeneration, waste elimination, PH balancing, attacking foreign invaders and delivering oxygen and nutrients to every signal cell in the body. The liver alone has over 500 known biological functions! It’s not just for processing alcohol. 🙂 The body is beautifully designed and is performing an exquisite symphony of biochemical reactions to maintain balance within. Billions of communications, and reactions every second as you sit on the couch watching back to back episodes of Untold Stories of the ER. I love that show! Instead of sitting on the couch, I lie on the floor in a psoas release or spinal twist while watching it because I love my internal organs.Pain and dysfunction are often healthy responses to unhealthy situations. Click To Tweet
Often times a physical “problem” is a healthy response to an unhealthy situation. The most rewarding part of my job is when I see someone accept and appreciate the wisdom of their physical body. Abdominal massage allows you to connect to your body’s wisdom. Many people who come in for treatments are angry at their body for causing them pain, fertility challenges, or for basically “not working correctly”. Rude insensitive people aren’t the only ones who can impact you physically and emotionally with harsh words. Take a look at the messages you’re sending to your own body throughout the day. Take the time to smile down gratitude to your liver, uterus or heart. Feel that smiling energy warm your entire body and then just listen as you would listen to a good friend.
To find an Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® Practitioner near you, click here. Or to find out about the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Thereapy® self-care class I teach, click HERE. Continuing Education Credits offered for Massage Therapists, Midwives, and acupuncturists.
Suggested Reading: This book helped me learn how to process the emotions that were held in my body. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork–all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students. (Description from the book)
Another great book that demonstrates how the emotions and physical body are entwined.
Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine “Why do we feel the way we feel? How do our thoughts and emotions affect our health? Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function together as parts of an interconnected system? In her groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert provides startling and decisive answers to these and other challenging questions that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries.
Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies — body-minds — in ways we could never possibly have imagined before. Molecules of Emotion is a landmark work, full of insight and wisdom and possessing that rare power to change the way we see the world and ourselves.”
And When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection, by Gabor Mate “Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a “cancer personality”? Drawing on scientific research and the author’s decades of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.”