Many people who have regular massage have never been offered abdominal massage. Many would never consider having their stomach massaged as it is a personal space that we are not used to having touched.
Many therapists shy away from offering/including abdominal massage as they may not have been trained, they may feel uncomfortable or simply because clients don’t ask for it.
However, in a recent YouTube Video, Ian Harvey aka “The Massage Sloth” suggests that an effective abdominal massage can be a great way to calm and relax the nervous system.
He argues that abdominal massage interacts with the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. In fact, abdominal massage is the easiest way to interact with the parasympathetic nervous system in clients, control stress levels and influence the digestive system.
Harvey recommends to therapists that if a client presents with anxiety and/or stress then they should ask “do you want abdominal massage?” because they will find it profoundly relaxing.
The interaction with the vagus nerve may be particularly relevant. The vagus nerve runs down from the back of the neck, in front of your throat, into your heart, into your lungs and into your abdomen. This nerve sends signals to the heart, lungs and viscera but also receives feedback information, “it listens”. Massage therapists can activate with the vagus nerve by massage and touch in the abdominal area in a safe and comfortable way.
The full video is shown below
Please do not hesitate to contact Richard if you have any questions to any information presented on this blog. Any information, advice, recommendations, statements or otherwise contained herein, or in any other communication made by or attributed to Richard Lane, whether oral or in writing, is not intended to replace or to be a substitute for medical advice trained by a trained physician or healthcare practitioner.