The abdomen is one of the most under treated areas on the body. Few therapists include this area in a full body treatment although, it is an absolutely beneficial area to treat. The abdomen aids in respiration, tends to hold quite a bit of stress and the most important - digestion.
Abdominal massage generally includes from the diaphragm to just under the belly button, treated with clockwise, circular strokes. The abdomen can sometimes be ticklish and tender - which plays a big role into the decrease in the use of the area in treatment.
Clients that suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, digestive issues or side effects of these issues (bloating, constipation and gas) find a big relief from getting abdominal massage. The number one reason for the use of abdominal massage in my clinic is to help relieve constipation - the thing no one likes but few can escape in a lifetime. From infants to elderly, every one gets it. And, a little abdominal massage can make all the difference in relieving gas and helping ease you out of constipation.
If you've ever experienced any Psoas work, than you already know that muscle is no joke. He's a tough, painful, fiesty guy that can cause pain in the lower back as well as tight hip flexors. The psoas muscle is a very, very deep muscle within your abdomen and pelvis. It is attached to the side of your lower spine and travels down through the pelvis and attaches along the hip. It blends with another muscle called the iliacus within the pelvis and is also referred to as the iliopsoas. So, to help release some of the tension you might feel in that area, you need to access that through the abdomen. Although, generally an uncomfortable and tender treatment, a very, very effective one. I know - I'm really selling you on it.
Another great use for abdominal massage is to get a diaphragmatic release. Think of how many times in a minute you breath. Now imagine a day, a week, a year! You are using the same muscles without even thinking about it, for years with out ever getting them treated. Your diaphragm can get tight and tough and form adhesion's along the muscles. By clipping in under the diaphragm you can release a lot of tension that you didn't even know was there by stripping along that muscle.
So, if you think you're ready to give Abdominal massage a shot, mention it to your therapist and include it in your next treatment!