Belly Massage is one of my very favorite ways to practice self care. It can stimulate your vagus nerve, soothe the gastrointestinal issues that occur so often with fibromyalgia, offer general relaxation, and help to balance your solar plexus chakra.
We can carry a lot of emotion in this area. It can be a source of both our personal power or where we carry our vulnerability. I'll be sharing more about our solar plexus chakra and the energy around it in another blog post. It is however; important to note that belly massage can effect both the physical and energetic systems of our body. I really like to pair it with some deep breathing or even a bit of checking in with my entire body.
Start by getting into the most comfortable position possible. I recommend including belly massage into a gentle wake up routine, and it sure is a great way to begin the day. You could also opt to try it before bed to see if it helps you with falling asleep as well.
Other times to consider belly massage:
While in the bath
When having a fibro flare
When dealing with any symptoms effecting your gastrointestinal system. Especially when suffering from constipation.
When dealing with severe anxiety,or stress
When you are feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable, or sad.
If you are using massage oil, add just a few drops into your palms and gently rub together. Place your hands on your belly in any position that feels comfortable and pause. Take a few deep breaths and feel the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breath in and out.
Give yourself permission to let go of any stress, tension or any other emotion that is not serving you. Listen in to your body. Begin to move your hands using only gentle pressure in a clockwise motion wide around your belly button. You can move as high or as low as feels more comfortable for you.
This circular motion follows the direction of movement through your intestines.
Use one hand or both, and follow both your intuition or the rhythms of what feels best to you.
In this massage you do not need to follow the concept of no pain no gain. We can adjust the pressure to what feels good, but heaviest pressure for "Deep Tissue" is not needed in this area. Instead stick to slow and gentle movements increasing the pressure when it feels right and always on a comfortable level.
While following the circular pattern, I like to pause every now and then with one palm above and one palm below my belly button. Taking a nice deep breath that can be felt beneath my hands. You can follow this by a gentle rocking motion before moving on.
Feel free to increase the speed just a bit or use your breath to find your rhythm. There really are no rules except that we want to follow that clockwise direction, especially if you are struggling with some constipation.
Criss cross your belly with your hands, massaging your sides as well as your hips if that feels good to you. You can also apply a bit of pressure (not in a manor that causes pain) to massage below your rib cage where your diaphragm is located.
This is one of the best times to really listen to what your body needs. So follow that direction!
Give yourself the freedom to be fully in the moment without worry. If you need to be somewhere afterwards consider setting an alarm on your phone to let you know when to finish your session. You can set this for up to 5 minutes or even longer if you choose.
Listening to music is a great way to add to the relaxation of the moment. You can also use it to help you know when you should be finishing up your massage. For instance, if you need to get up to start the day, make a plan to massage until the song you choose is over. Alternatively, choose a track that will make it easy for your to drift off to sleep whenever you feel finished with your massage.
Remember that this can help to get your digestive system moving. So be sure to stay properly hydrated and don't be surprised if you find your urge to head to the bathroom once you are done.
Combine this practice with gentle stretching for an amazing and calm wake up routine.
Check out my blog post on Massage oils, Herbs, and Aromatherapy for your belly massage: CLICK HERE.