I just returned from a 6 week journey through Central America learning about indigenous healing and the simplicity of Mother Earth’s natural cures for physical and energetic afflictions (which is why Wellbelly has been so quiet). As I settle back into the hustle and bustle and tell my story of where I have been and with whom I have studied, I find that so many of my male friends, and even strangers, are tuning in to hear what I have to say about my work as an Arvigo Practitioner of Maya Abdominal Therapy™. As they listen a sparkle comes into their eye as though I might be inviting them into a world where they feel a calling to but still don’t know the passcode to enter. Then, they ask if any men were involved in the specific trainings and work I am involved with. As I tell them that there were few or none it is as if their hope of entry into the land of mind/body health and healing fades and their belief that connection to their bodies on a deeper level being reserved for the feminine spirit is reinforced yet again.
It is true that the majority of my clients, and my colleagues clients regardless of their profession be it health coaching, acupuncture or massage, are women. It makes sense that women address their mind/body/spirit health more. By nature we are the care takers and nurturers and the integrative healthcare system targets women mostly. Also, modern day demands challenge the balance of a woman’s body quite dramatically pushing us to seek solace and care. But, as we bring our women back into their bodies and teach them about nurturing their spirit we must not leave our men behind. Aside from our reproductive anatomy and hormones, men and women’s bodies are the same. Men also suffer from reproductive and sexual dysfunction, digestive issues and the emotional blockages of the belly but they are taught even less about embracing this area of their body so it is often overlooked and untreated.
I was discussing my work in abdominal massage with a NYC oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer. He was very disheartened by the lack of education for natural techniques and support for the men he treated. His patients, regardless of whether they had to have a Radical Prostatectomy or chemotherapy and radiation, all suffer from a sense of disconnection, depression and confusion around their sexual functioning as a man. He was explaining how the grief and shame of having this area of their body diseased and compromised was/is debilitating for most. When I told him about the benefits of non-invasive lower abdominal massage for the prostate and reproductive function in men he was excited and humbled that such simple and gentle work could truly assist in supporting men through this process of nurturing these sensitive areas. While many men seek massage therapy for pain and stress management they rarely look at the emotional layers that massage can address and almost NEVER have they even considered having a belly massage. Women from early on have a bit better awareness of the emotions that can be stored in our bellies as we deal with menstruation and childbirth. But, emotional energy is emotional energy and it lives in every one of us and can be trapped causing many of the disorders surrounding the abdomen.
Now, I completely understand the slight fear a man may have surrounding massaging the belly. Their bodies give signals that a woman’s does not. These signals are natural, rarely occur during a professional therapeutic session and need to be dispelled as shameful or embarrassing. In my own practice I have been blessed with incredible male clients who want to take their healthcare and level of understanding of their bodies to a deeper level. Once they have the treatment and are educated in the many benefits of focused abdominal massage they schedule regularly for sessions and I find them also educating others in their lives about this work. They become more open and connected and, yes, get in touch with their feminine side (which is not so bad for the love life).
Benefits of Maya Abdominal Massage for Men
• Prostate health
• Helps prevent impotency and premature ejaculation
• Improved sperm count and enhanced sexual functioning
• Proper bladder functioning reducing the need to urinate frequently
• Improved digestion
• Relaxation of the diaphragm for deeper breathing
• Did I mention improved love life…
So, whether you are a man reading this or a woman reading this that loves a man be it lover, friend, parent or brother, it is time we move down these paths of mind/body/spirit healing together and invite the men into the touchy feely club. Because from what I have seen, boys do cry and they definitely have a belly.
Schedule a session with Jamie and live a well belly!
Jamie Lashbrook, LMP, CHHC and Professional Practitioner of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy™