Maya Abdominal MassageVitality Magazine December 1, 2008
Ancient Healing for Modern Lives
After decades of working in the healing arts, I accompanied a friend to a seminar in Belize on Maya Abdominal Massage (MAM). Once in Belize, my healing journey took a whole new direction. It didn’t take me long to realize the tremendous power this ancient healing form has, and the myriad ways it could benefit my clients – whether they’re seeking relief from pain, looking to conceive, going through pregnancy, dealing with digestive disorders, or wanting to prevent prostate problems.
AN ANCIENT TRADITION LIVES
Touch therapy has been used for millennia to heal and vitalize the body. Throughout the world, hundreds of massage modalities have evolved and Maya Abdominal Massage is one of them. This ancient healing form has been passed down to us from the healers, midwives, and shamans of Belize and Guatemala. Modern practitioners have learned this form of massage mainly through Rosita Arvigo, DN (Doctor of Naprapathy), who has worked for decades studying and learning the methods.
I was fortunate and honoured to be able to train under Dr. Arvigo, and to meet the Mayan healers who work with her. She herself apprenticed for 12 years under renowned healer and shaman, Don Elijio Panti, one of the last living Maya shamans in Central America. The story goes that he agreed to train her in MAM only if she promised that she would keep his knowledge alive by passing it on to others.
It was a truly powerful experience for me to enter into this amazingly effective ancient Mayan healing tradition. We worked with Dr. Arvigo in her home, and sometimes slept in casitas in the jungle, where we were introduced to the spiritual nature of Mayan healing, which is governed by Ixchel, Maya Goddess of healing. We absorbed information about the many healing herbs of the rainforest, and we learned to burn the sacred incense copal.
I first discovered healing, which has become my life’s passion, while working as a community health nurse. Since then, I’ve trained in several forms of energy healing, but I have to say that I was hooked on the energy of MAM like no other. I am amazed by how pure it is as a method of healing, and after the seminar in Belize I was inspired to continue my training with The Arvigo Institute (Massachusetts and New Hampshire, USA).
THE POWER OF MAYA ABDOMINAL MASSAGE
Maya abdominal massage is a non-invasive form of massage that focuses on the position and health of the pelvic muscles and organs in the region of the abdomen. MAM repositions and aligns organs in order to maximize the flow of blood, lymph, nerves, and energy in the body. Displaced organs can restrict the flow of these elements, and the resulting congestion is the cause of many ailments for both men and women.
Misalignment of organs occurs for many reasons. Often the demands of everyday life require us to do things that cause our organs to shift, like standing or sitting for long periods of time, pregnancy and childbirth, falls, injuries, or accidents.
MAM is a holistic method based on the premise that the body can heal itself, but may require help to do so. A MAM practitioner will gently work to realign the organs and once the organs are gently repositioned, the body can get to work on its own. My first experience receiving a Maya abdominal massage (from a 78-year old Mayan) was so invigorating, I felt as if I wanted to jump off the table. After their sessions, my own clients have told me how wonderful they feel – balanced and pain-free.
MAM also goes hand in hand with recommended dietary and lifestyle changes, so practitioners are educated in many areas including massage, anatomy and physiology, herbology, nutrition, and emotional and spiritual healing. This aspect is very important to me. As a healer, I like to provide my clients with tools that they can use for their own empowerment. Clients are encouraged to take an active part in their own healing by learning simple, safe, and easy-to-learn self-care techniques that can be used at home.
MAM AND WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
MAM has a positive effect on numerous conditions for both men and women, however it is best known for the benefits it has for women’s reproductive health.
Dr. Rosita Arvigo refers to the uterus as a “powerhouse of energy transformation.” Don Elijio Panti considered the uterus to be a woman’s center and maintained that “if a woman’s uterus is out of balance, so is she.” The uterus has a huge job to do, and it is held in place by just ten different ligaments. It shifts easily, which can have a negative impact on a woman’s health. MAM works to correct its position. Such readjustments can result in the elimination of many disorders including PMS, painful periods, and infertility. MAM also has a positive impact on conception, pregnancy, and childbirth.
MAM – NOT ONLY FOR WOMEN’S ISSUES
While the majority of my clients are women aged 34-58, people of any age, gender, or walk of life can benefit from MAM. For instance, MAM has provided relief for clients suffering from hip and back pain. It can also help relieve many common digestive disorders. And it is especially beneficial to men for the prevention and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Several of my clients have sought out MAM as a last resort; they have been told that their condition is chronic, but they’re not willing to live with it. MAM is a simple, effective, non-surgical way to find relief. One client, Pauline, shares her experience with Maya abdominal massage:
“When you allow yourself to become the recipient of a session of Maya Abdominal Massage with Nancy, you become the recipient of an incredible healing experience. The experience envelops you with a feeling of well being after just one session… I have seen Nancy on three separate occasions to obtain the benefit of her wonderful massage. I have noticed a great improvement in my digestion and I feel less scar tissue in my abdomen. Standing has become easier and the circulation in my legs has noticeably improved since she realigned my hips and tailbone. I would recommend this experience to everyone.” (Pauline Schaubel)
VISITING A MAM PRACTITIONER
Typically, the first Maya Abdominal Massage session will last approximately two hours. MAM practitioners require extensive detail about their clients’ health before they begin. Follow-up sessions are usually an hour, with their frequency dependant upon the individual client’s goals and treatment results.
During a session with a Maya Abdominal Massage practitioner (see www.arvigomassage.com for a list of practitioners), work will be done on the mid and lower back muscles, sacrum, lower and upper abdomen, as well as pelvic bone structure and alignment. The pubic area is the focal point for MAM so it is important that individuals feel comfortable with their practitioner.
The treatment sessions I conduct are very interactive – my client and I talk through the session, especially because I’m working in very sensitive areas of the body, and I need to let them know what I’m doing. I explain the entire massage so my clients feel comfortable and open to the work. I also want to know what my client is feeling as I touch her or him. Their responses will help determine some of the treatment choices I make.
There can be an emotional component to this massage as well. Like any deep tissue massage, we release issues. MAM can prompt an emotional breakthrough, particularly around issues of reproductive health.
I am excited to be able to offer people in my community a way to gain optimum health and well being with a healing method that treats the body holistically. At the same time, I am able to tap into an ancient healing tradition and participate in keeping it alive.