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Five Ways Abdominal Massage Improved My Health In Just Seven Days | Charleston Birth Doula
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It’s a new year and with that comes the idea of starting fresh and having a clean slate.  I did one of those silly Facebook games to see what my word was for 2016 and it said, “Renewal.”  I love that!  I had already decided this year was for me.  I have spent the last 4 years being pregnant and/or nursing, I have struggled with weight loss, postpartum depression, memory loss, and chronic fatigue from not applying my own oxygen mask before helping others.   To start my year off right, I hosted a two and a half day workshop in my home on the self-care level 1 training from the Arvigo Institute with Donna Zubrod.  She was absolutely fantastic.  It was like entering a red tent of self-awareness and care for a whole weekend.

What happened in the first seven days of doing the self-care work is what has amazed me.  For a routine that is easy enough for a non-professional to learn, the results are profound.  I also happened to be within the timeframe of my menses and I could not apply the lower abdominal work, so I am looking forward to seeing what will happen with 7 days of the full abdominal routine.  I am so excited to be taking the professional level training this summer and bringing this work to my area.  If the self-care response is this fast, imagine what can happen with additional techniques and positioning a therapist can do!

Here are 5 areas that abdominal massage has improved in my health:

  1. Lymphatic System – I woke up the first morning feeling like I had a head cold from the lymphatic cleansing that happened over night. It took several hours for it to clear all the way out. The thought of moving and clearing all that congestion that was sitting in my body was pretty cool. There is nothing like starting your new year with a happy lymphatic system!
  2. Rib Cage – This one has been mind blowing and, honestly, the biggest surprise. After 4 pregnancies and 3 children, my lower rib cage had flared out from all my organs being pushed up and under my ribs during pregnancy. I had begun to resign to the fact that it was just going to stay that way. Even with targeted core exercises to this area, it didn’t seem to want to move. In just 7 days of doing my self-care work, my rib cage is completely flat and back to normal.
  3. Shoulder Blades – Due to the optimal positioning of my lower ribcage, my entire thoracic spine (backbones to which the ribs attach) has begun to shift and adjust. Muscles that have spent years in chronic tension, as they compensated for the flared lower ribs, have begun to adjust and begin to let go. This hasn’t been super fun and there is a deep ache as the muscles and connective tissue begin to unwind, but the results are going to be a better, healthier, happier me!
  4. Hips/Pelvis – Just as my thoracic spine has begun to shift and align into a more optimal position, so have my hips. Again, keep in mind that I haven’t even begun the lower portion of the self-care routine yet. This is all strictly from the upper abdominal massage. My leg muscles that attach to the front (flexors) and inside (adductors) have been adjusting and shifting, I have been having pain in my right periformis/sciatic nerve, and the tendons and ligaments throughout my pelvis have a deep ache as they process the body work that has been going on. One of the things that has always been hard for me is to hold my pelvis in a correct position. I am excited to see how my posture begins to align and correct itself with continued work.
  5. Menses/Moon – I was informed in class that the first and possibly second menses after doing this work would be, well to put it mildly, interesting. I didn’t think a whole lot would be different the first time, because I was due the weekend of the class and skipped the lower abdominal portion. The first morning I woke up, my abdominal cavity was so bloated that I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. It was actually painful to feel my body expanding like that. We were told that things usually get worse before they get better, but I wasn’t anticipating that! I don’t normally get bloated or have cramping symptoms before my moon but I went with the flow and affectionately called it my Arvigo baby for the rest of the weekend! lol

When my moon started to flow, I could tell it was cleansing more deeply than usual and then it finished in half the time. I did learn in class that sciatic pain may be associated with a uterus that is not aligned properly so I am interested to see what happens throughout the next few weeks and my next moon.

Sisterhood from self-care workshop.

Sisterhood from self-care workshop.

I initially put this work on my vision board in 2007 and it took 8 years to manifest this class in my area.  I finally reached a point where I was tired of waiting for it to come to my area and brought the workshop to me.  Has a part of my experience triggered a yearning in yourself to seek out this work?  Are you interested in finding an Arvigo therapist or bringing this workshop to your area?  Are you interested in learning about how bringing lymph, nerve, blood, and chi flow to your abdominal organs may help alleviate Constipation, Digestive Disorders, Pain in the Low Back/Neck/Shoulders/Pelvis, Urinary Incontinence, Scar Tissue/Adhesions, Painful/Irregular Periods, Fertility/Conception, Postpartum, Birth by Cesarean, Endometriosis, Peri-Menopause, Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, Chronic Bladder and Yeast Infections, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Uterine Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Prostate Swelling, Prostatitis and Erectile Dysfunction and more? You can contact the institute directly at

Have you experienced this work and have your own success story?  Please consider sharing in the comments.

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