The Massage You Could Be Giving Yourself Every Day ... But Aren't
There is an avalanche of negativity about our stomachs that only contributes to our misery, tension, and body hatred. Any hint of softness seems to have us on edge. We constantly judge ourselves as too fat or too bloated. These feelings have a tangible effect on our self-esteem and happiness in our lives.
Instead, what if you relaxed and focused on the positive things about your body and the amazing things it can do? How about if we showed ourselves some self-respect by massaging our stomachs regularly? OK, I know that might sound a little weird, but showing your body love with a daily stomach massage can have amazing results.
Just like massaging any other part of your body, a stomach massage will improve circulation, bringing fresh oxygen and getting your blood moving. When your circulation is effective, the organs will be able to function much better. Massage can also release muscle tension and tight tissues that can further restrict circulation and healthy function. No one is surprised when your shoulders function better after a massage, so why not your stomach? Here are a few more benefits of a regular stomach massage:
1. Abdominal massages boost your immune system.
With your immune system centered in your guts, your health is truly in your hands when you massage your stomach. Alongside eating nourishing food, having a super-oxygenated, vibrant gut will really help you stay healthy. One study found that abdominal massage decreased gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation and stomach pain. It also led to increased bowel movements.
2. Massaging your stomach before your period could decrease PMS symptoms.
If you get cramps, brown sludgy blood, or constipation around the time of your period, an abdominal massage could help with your issues. Researchers from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine conducted a small study and found that massage techniques like kneading the feet and thighs and circular stroking of the abdomen (while lying faceup) helped to improve PMS symptoms like pain, water retention, and distress.
3. Treating your stomach positively could improve your body image.
With all the difficult feelings we have about our bodies, spending time being kind and compassionate to ourselves can have a ripple effect. Just by lying with your knees up and resting your hands on your belly, you can notice the judgments as they arise. Massaging your stomach gives you time to reflect, push away those negative thoughts, and reduce stress.
Here are the steps to giving yourself a stomach massage:
- Lie down and get comfy with your knees bent, supported by cushions.
- Rest your hands on your lower belly and notice how your abdomen moves as you breathe.
- With every outbreath, send a big smile of gratitude into your belly. Do this five times.
- With one hand on top of the other start to move your hands in a clockwise direction around your belly. Right hipbone up to your ribs, across to the left beneath your ribs then down to your left hip. Keep it slow and relaxed and at a pressure that feels good for you. Repeat 10 times.
- Complete your massage by resting your hands on your belly and sending it another massive smile of gratitude.
Self-care stomach massage is simple to learn, free, and safe. The only times you wouldn’t massage is when you have your period, after surgery, if you have an IUD, or if you’ve taken painkillers which might mask an issue.