Acupuncture Decatur specializes in
165 Dekalb Industrial Way, Suite D
Decatur, GA 30030
Abdominal Massage |
Abdominal massage is a highly effective way to diagnose and treat imbalance. It has a rich history in both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture, and there are many practitioners today who use it with great success.
What is abdominal massage?
It is, simply put, pressing gently into the upper and lower abdomen (sometimes extending into the chest) to see if there are spots of irregularity. Things I look for include:
- Overall temperature, skin texture and health, muscle tone and health and general level of vitality
- Temperature hot and cold spots
- Hard spots
- Empty spots
- Pulsing/Throbbing spots
- Distended spots
- Painful spots (and if/where they radiate to or from)
- And more
Beyond the sheer beauty of seeing how something so simple can be so powerful, I love this modality because it provides a way for you to care for yourself between treatments. Yes, you can do abdominal massage on yourself and experience its benefits every day. It is a wonderful way to build a loving relationship with your body, and to strengthen your intention for healing.
If you're interested in trying this at home, you can read the instructions below. If you have any questions or would like to receive an abdominal massage, feel free to contact me at 404-863-9900.
Abdominal Massage for Self-Care
The abdomen/chest houses all of your major organs. It is the center of your body and the center of your vitality. From it flow blood, nutrients and more.
Personally, I believe in self-care. I feel that no one is responsible for my health except for me. It’s my job to make sure I’m getting what I need, not my doctor’s, my acupuncturist’s, or anyone else's. Abdominal work gives us a way to work on ourselves every single day, and further our health, without any other intervention. Try it yourself and see!
First, let me begin by saying that there are perhaps a dozen or more systems of abdominal diagnosis and treatment in existence. I’m presenting the one that seems most appropriate for you to use on yourself at home. If you feel the need to consult with a licensed practitioner about anything you experience during self-abdominal palpation, feel free to contact me and schedule an appointment.
- Begin by breathing deeply into your lower belly.
Place your hand on your lower abdomen, beneath your navel. Your goal is to gently, without “trying,” inhale so that your inhale naturally moves your hand. Continue breathing deeply in this way until you feel very relaxed and at ease.
When taking a deep breath, most of us breathe only into our chests/diaphragms. But have you ever watched an infant breathe? If you watch an infant breathe you will see the area below the navel inflate first. Next, the diaphragm inflates, and finally, the chest inflates. The breath is exhaled in the opposite order - chest first, diaphragm second, lower abdomen third.
This is how we all breathed when we were born, but somewhere along the way we stopped. Why did we stop breathing from our lower bellies? As young children, when we felt strong emotions, we didn't always know how to contain them. When we encountered difficult, scary, or painful emotions at times it was difficult for us to be present with them. So we pushed them aside or suppressed them, and they often ended up in our lower abdomens.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going here…breath is life. When we breathe into an area of our body we are present with it, we feel it. So once we began putting emotions in our lower abdomens we stopped breathing there to avoid feeling them. As you begin to breathe deeply into your lower abdomen today you may begin to experience emotions, memories, belief systems from the past or present. Just stay with them as they come up - keep breathing - and they will receive your presence, which is what they need to complete themselves. Once you breathe through them they may be fully processed, and have no need to linger with you any longer. Woohoo!
- Now that you’re relaxed, begin by gently touching the area above your navel. Notice the texture and temperature of the skin. Notice how the area feels. Does it feel alive, very alive, or just barely alive? If you’re not sure about any of this, it’s okay, for now just try.
- Begin to press down, about an inch into your abdomen, as you exhale.
If you feel a strong resistance, notice it. If you feel emptiness under your fingers, notice it. Either way, breathe into whatever you feel, and stay as present as you can.
Release your pressure as you inhale.
So as your belly relaxes during the exhale, your hand presses into your abdomen.
As your belly rises during your inhale, your hand rises with it,
holding the intention that any unhealthy energy will be released as you do so. Do not press with force, and try to be patient with yourself. This is an exercise in self-love - touch your abdomen as you would touch the person most beloved to you. Never try to press through a spot that feels hard, or force a spot to relax. Gentleness is the key.
- Use the image above as your guide.
Traveling along the midline (the vertical line that splits your abdomen into 2 equal left and right halves),
palpate down from the area below your breastplate all the way down to the top border of your pubic bone (usually this is below the top border of pubic hair).
DO NOT PALPATE YOUR NAVEL! It’s just too sensitive, so just go to the rim on all sides.
- Great job! Now go back up to the area under the breastplate, below your ribs.
Place your hand about 1-2 inches to the LEFT of the midline, depending on your size.
Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Now go back up to the area under the ribs about 3-4 inches to the LEFT of the midline, depending upon your size. Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Go back up to the area under the ribs one last time, about 5-6 inches to the LEFT of the midline, depending upon your size. Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Okay, now go back up to the area under the breastplate, below your ribs.
- Place your hand about 1-2 inches to the RIGHT of the midline, depending on your size.
Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Now go back up to the area under the ribs about 3-4 inches to the RIGHT of the midline, depending upon your size. Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Go back up to the area under the ribs one last time, about 5-6 inches to the RIGHT of the midline, depending upon your size. Palpate from here all the way down to the top border of the pubic bone.
- Now, palpate under your LEFT ribcage, working from the midline out to your left side.
- Palpate under your RIGHT ribcage, working from the midline out to your right side.
- Palpate from just above your LEFT hip bone
(right above where it protrudes out in front of your body),
down to the top of the pubic bone,
across the top border of the pubic bone
to just above your RIGHT hip bone.
- It’s recommended that you do this routine once a day. I know that it sounds complicated as you’re reading it, but trust me, within a day or two you’ll have it down. Then, after you do this you can focus on particular areas of concern that you’ve found.
- It’s considered a good sign if your abdominal muscles relax as you’re working, creating equal tension between the right and left sides.
- If you find tense, tight, loose and/or tender tissue, palpate it again to confirm what you felt.
- If you find a lump, don’t press on it. Instead, work the areas around its edges. If one of the edges hurts significantly, work that until it’s released. Then you’ll probably find the lump significantly reduced. Most abdominal lumps are tense muscle tissue.
- Everything you feel is diagnostic, so if you find tension or emptiness in an area it has significance. However, you do not have to know what it means in order to work with it and heal it. If you find an area that you can feel is really off, work with it until it’s better. Track its progress over the course of days or weeks, and I’m sure you’ll find it improves.
To Make an Appointment
Make an appointment online at acupuncture.genbook.com.
Or, feel free to give me a call at 404-863-9900.
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