Belly Massage is one of my favorite things EVER! A good belly massage relaxes not just my belly, but also my back, my hips, my shoulders, my mind, my metaphorical heart – essentially my whole being.
Even with someone like me that loves belly massage, you want to start gently. This is an emotional and sensitive place. Sometimes the sensitivity is emotional – past experiences and hurts. Sometimes is it physical – intestinal discomfort, painful periods. Whatever the reason, start gently and work gradually deeper. Always waiting til the belly allows you in rather than just pushing your way in. This will help your partner feel safe and secure. Move with your partner’s breath for added ease and to increase that feeling of safety and security.
If your partner is ticklish, be firm in your touch. A feathery touch will only make it worse. And you may find there are parts of the belly that are just not interested in having you there. That’s ok. You can skip those parts; they will still benefit from the work you do elsewhere.
Belly Massage helps release tension in the abdominal muscles. We spend alot of time strengthening these in our culture, not as much time stretching them. This will help improve that balance :-). As well, belly massage will help to soften the smooth muscle of the organs, thus improving circulation and function. You should both know ahead of time that belly massage sometimes physically moves things through (if you know what I mean…); so gas or even a bathroom visit after is completely normal and usually even desireable!
How to do basic Thai Belly Massage:
- Sit comfortably near your partner’s belly, facing their body.
- Begin with a few Sun/Moon strokes (one palm lightly circling while the other works in the opposite direction) to find the perimeter of their belly and help them grow accustomed to your touch. The perimeter of the belly is marked by the bony landmarks of the rib cage and pelvis.
- Place one hand on their belly and begin to mimic the movement of
their breath with your hand. Gently pressing into the belly as they exhale, releasing the pressure as they inhale. This is your rhythm of movement.
- Following this rhythm, press into each of the four quadrants of the belly with the palm of your hand, one quadrant per breath. Make several circuits.
- Now, thumb the four quadrants in the same way, using all your fingers. Thumbing here is done
with your fingertips. Placing one hand over the other hand, fingers straight, strong and tight together, is a nice, stabilizing way to do this. Rather than just pressing down, wiggle your fingers, as one unit, downward. This method allows easier access and moves more sensitive blockages out of the way.
- Make several circuits.
- Come back to palming or Sun/Moon strokes to soothe the belly.
Benefits: Aids healthy digestion and releases the abdominal muscles.
Cautions: In cases of indigestion, constipation or menstrual pain, proceed gently.
Contraindications: Not to be done on pregnant women. Not appropriate for people with hernias or any other medical conditions associated with the abdomen, digestion or organs.
–> Great Prep Poses: Half Moon Pose, Hip Rotations, Forward Fold, Windshield Wipers.
–> Counterposes: Hip Swirl, Cobra Pose, Quad Squeeze, Transitional Twist.
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