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  • Writer's pictureKirby Clark, MMT

Abdominal Massage

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Back with another video in my series on informed consent body regions. This Massage Monday, we’re talking about Abdominal Massage!

The Abdominals are considered a body region requiring informed consent because they are located below the breast tissue (which must always remain covered by a drape linen) and thus require special draping regardless of client’s sex/gender. You can see I have given my client here draping linen to cover their breast tissue while we work on the abdominals.

The Abs are also a region some clients may feel self-conscious about or may have an aversion to being touched. Clients also may not be aware how abdominal massage would be performed or the benefits of having that work done.

 

Abdominal massage is not only great for Digestive Issues and Prenatal clients, but also highly therapeutic. The human gut is often referred to as the “second brain” – this abdominal work can be systematically and incredibly relaxing.

Abdominal massage can be great to help with digestive issues (although research is inconclusive). The best practice for abdominal work is to begin working clockwise on the client’s abdomen in circles, the massage therapist makes their strokes around the naval (bellybutton). Clockwise strokes are important because that direction follows the natural and proper colonic function.

 

In terms of anatomy, there are six major muscles that are accessible to massage therapists and technically zero bones. Although, I think it’s important to frame the region we are working with by the boney structures nearby; the 12 ribs and the coxal bone- which is made up of three bones, only two of which abdominal massage is concerned with, the illium on each side.

 

Many clients will have a hesitancy and shyness about having their abdomen exposed, but I believe in body positivity and shame free massage. There should be no reason you let aesthetics keep you from receiving therapeutic bodywork. You and your abdomen are worth being worked on, regardless of what kind of shape its in. Be kind to your body and your gut.


 


Peace and Healing,

Kirby Clark Ellis, MMT, BCTMB

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