Exploring the benefits of Mayan abdominal massage
There may be a really easy solution to a host of physical problems many women face. It might just be that their uterus is not sitting exactly where it should, that it is tilting slightly forward or slightly back or off to one side. Whatever the case, the mal-alignment can cause an array of problems ranging from infertility, to lower back pain, frequent urination, incontinence, painful periods and even varicose veins.
This was the view of Don Elijio Panti a highly sought-after traditional healer from Belize.
Mr Panti died in 1996 at 103 years of age. In the 1990s he gained international respect and recognition for his knowledge of the healing properties of rainforest plants, and traditional healing techniques of some Mayan cultures.
Mr Panti had said: The uterus is the womans centre. If her uterus is not in proper position she will be physically, emotionally and spiritually out of balance
American naturopath Rosito Arvigo went to Belize and trained with Mr Panti for 12 years. She now carries on his work and trains others so that the wisdom is not lost.
One of the trainings is an abdominal massage that puts the uterus back in place.
Local massage therapist Laura DeCouto became certified with Dr Arvigo in Maya Abdominal Massage Therapy in May after two years of practicing the ancient technique. By gently repositioning the uterus through this manual massage technique, so many problems can be alleviated, said Ms DeCouto.
It looks at haemodynamics (blood flow) and homeostasis (the body in balance), she added. The Mayans believe that doing the massage increases blood flow to the tissues and organs in the abdominal region. So it affects arterial flow (blood flowing in arteries, venous flow (blood flowing in veins), and lymph flow (blood filtered through the lymph glands), as well as qi, she continued.
Qi is a term used to describe life energy. It is also referred to as prana and chi.
By gently and simply working on whatever blockages are in the blood flow the body moves toward homeostasis, said Ms DeCouto. In this way the therapy can help the body to heal itself.
Ms DeCouto said the technique is simple but powerful and in some instances can solve a problem that physicians were going to perform surgery to alleviate.
Body & Soul asked her if she can actually feel the uterus when she does the massage.
Oh yes, she said, and sometimes it will go back into position really quickly.
About 30 women on the Island have had the massage with Ms DeCouto. She trained in the technique specifically to try and help women who are having difficulty conceiving. This technique is not widely known in Bermuda and Ms Decouto said several of her clients were referred to her by her husband acupuncturist, Marshall DeCouto. He has quite a few clients with fertility problems, she said.
And theres been success with most of the women shes massaged for this complaint.
Several of the women who came to me for infertility are now pregnant, or have already had their babies, she said.
While she cannot be positive that the massage technique is the sole reason for the success of conception, she said she has one client who swears thats what made the difference.
I know of at least one client who directly attributes her pregnancy to the treatment, said Ms DeCouto. When I first saw her she had been trying for eight months. I treated her but also gave her a herbal tincture. Ms DeCouto said the therapy sometimes includes a herbal tincture so as to follow Mr Pantis treatment as closely as possible. She said the formula she gave to this client was to cleanse the uterus.
Sometimes the problem is that uterus is not fully expelling all the blood every month so over time it gets clogged up, she said. This client was doing the tincture and the self care steps I teach after the initial session. She had three massages with me and then she got pregnant.
According to Ms DeCouto an important aspect of the treatment is the self-care technique she teaches clients after their first massage. She said making the routine a daily practice is much more effective in moving the uterus into position and keeping it in place.
Timing is also important in working on the uterus. The sessions are timed with their menstrual cycle, she said. If they are trying to conceive there is a smaller window of time that I can see them, that is, after their period stops but before ovulation, she added. Before ovulation because if there is a chance that they are pregnant, I dont want to be working in their abdominal region.
Ms DeCouto said she typically sees clients about once a month for infertility problems. Clients coming to her for digestive problems and women in menopause may see her more often.
According to Ms DeCouto the technique is also good for normalising, irregular periods, heavy periods, PMS, cramps, fibroids, ovarian and uterine cysts, bladder problems like frequent urination and bladder infection, lower back pain and even acid reflux.
I am working in the upper abdominal region so the massage will affect other organs. I specifically work to affect digestion, she said.
It can also help women suffering with menopause symptoms including hot flashes. If there are nerve blockages signals to the brain can be affected and as a result the release of hormones, she added. Its pretty incredible.