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Massage Today
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07

Bodywork Can Improve Abdominal Health

By Gay Lacy, LMT

Problems with large and small intestines, stomach, liver, gallbladder and kidneys can be helped with bodywork. Bodywork includes so much more than just muscular massage. Not knowing what it feels like, the first thing you may think is that it would be uncomfortable, but it's not. Abdominal bodywork is actually gentle.

For abdominal health, visceral (viscera is organ) manipulation (VM) and lymph drainage therapy (LDT) are a great combination to bring the body closer to wellness. Visceral Manipulation frees the movement of each organ, allowing it to function better. How can this help? I've had clients that started having gallbladder flutters and after one session, they were immediately eliminated. I had a client that had acid reflux most of her adult life and after three sessions, it was gone and she was able to get off her prescription medication. Some clients have elimination problems and this work can really help. Low back pain can sometimes come from the kidneys being stretched too far. If one organ is adhered to another, it's rocking motion and therefore its function is compromised. Gentle corrections can be done and your body will feel more at ease. VM can reset each organ's natural rhythm.

Listening techniques allow the practitioner to know where to start. Usually, no more than three organs are assisted in any given treatment. Locating a client's organ takes skill and practice. Many of us are not anatomically "by the book" perfect. Gentle hands-on with the organ and a learned practitioner can find and hold the organ. With gentle testing, any adhesions are found. Simply hold, allowing the body to let go. Most releases are quick and amazing. Our bodies are truly fascinating.

Abdominal Health - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Mobility is increased and motility is then reset, meaning the organ is able to move in its normal, unrestrictive pattern and then the organs normal rhythm, pace and direction is reset. Another technique, the resetting of your body's sphincters is a gentle way to enhance your abdominal organ's flow of solids and fluids. This can help you digest food better (bile flow), reduce acid (flow out of stomach to duodenum) or normalize elimination processes (iliocecal valve from small intestines to large).

After a treatment of VM, LDT is a great follow-up because it clears congested circulation and brings fresh, oxygen-rich circulation into the abdomen and to the organs in a very specific, gentle way. LDT cleans and detoxes your body through a series of lymph nodes and safely returns this fluid, your lymph, to your blood. This reduces swelling and water-weight. It also clears the lymph nodes to process more toxins and tissue debris, increasing your immune response. Always listening with the hands and connecting to the fluid of the body, the practitioner follows the precise direction of the individual's lymph flow patterns. Congested areas become evident with practiced palpations skills.

Reasons for congestion include traumas, surgeries, scars, tight clothes, stress and toxins. There are many tools to clear congestion and speed the lymph flow. Specific scar release techniques, for instance, enhance flow through scars and make them less constrictive. Abdominal scars can cause pulling, numbing and the feeling that they're not part of your body. LDT can make scars feel more like your skin, eliminate or reduce the pull and free up organs or the abdominal wall to move naturally.

LDT can be used specifically on the liver, kidneys, lungs, pleura and the large and small intestines, as well as the abdominal and uteral cavities. It clears stagnant fluid and brings new circulations deep within the organs and abdominal cavity. It eases up tension you didn't know you had and helps your body function better. It can also relieve pain and tone the parasympathetic system.

With abdominal bodywork, you learn to feel your specific organs better, feeling releases and feeling when they are out of balance or congested. Abdominal bodywork is preventative care to areas normally dismissed. Your organs can function better, allowing you to live a healthier life. Try it as an adjunct to your wellness program and learn when to refer clients to qualified practitioners.

Gay Lacy is a licensed massage therapist in Winter Park, Fla. She has trained in Lymph Drainage Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Reflexology and Raindrop Therapy. Contact her at or call 407.718.5326.


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