“The shape of your body obeys the shape of your beliefs about love, value and possibility. To change your body you must first understand that which is shaping it. Not fight it. Not force it. Not deprive it. Not shame it. Not do anything but accept and love….” ~ Geneen Roth
I am supposed to write about weight loss. I get a pang in my gut and I want to stop right there. That alone stirs a whole current of beliefs and emotions around how I value myself, my strengths, my hopes and my ideas of health and happiness. I have my own story around weight and loss and struggle and love and gain. But, my story is only a thread in the tie that binds us all in such an emotional, personal and necessary topic of discussion. So, I will take you on a journey of what I believe the root of our obsession, failure and fear around weight loss is through the experience of another- a client- a beautiful and brave soul.
I propose the idea of abdominal massage being a tool for losing weight to highlight a couple of important points. One, I am sure that most of you are reading this hoping to find “the best new weight loss secret”; and there is no judgment if you for one second thought that abdominal massage could literally help you lose weight; really, we are all contributors to that societal bandwagon. Two, we all have a deeper intuition behind what blocks us from being able to address our belief and our courage around losing weight. Sometimes that intuition is buried under the physical and emotional layers that we have “gained.” The only way to access that deep knowing is through the use of healing tools to peel those layers away- enter abdominal massage…
[The following is being shared with the express permission of Susie. Thank you, Susie! ]
I met Susie about 6 months ago. In our first session she revealed that she had never let anyone touch her belly before. However, she knew that it was time to allow someone to access that area and she decided that someone was me. We discussed the important points concerning her belly such as digestive and reproductive health. She had an IUD and was concerned that it was creating emotional and physical blockage. Her digestion, she claimed, “was ok but could be a bit better.” She saw a spiritual counselor and was happy in her job etc etc. She appeared to have a strong sense of self awareness and desire to heal, so I fully expected her to discuss the most obvious issue of all- her weight. Susie is 310 pounds.
In our next session Susie comes in with the news that her instincts took charge and she had her doctor remove her IUD. She was ready to nourish and balance her fertile center, so that she could become more fully in touch with her health. I supported her decision and again opened dialogue around her overall health. “Diet is good, digestion seems fine, and work is ok”. In my mind I just want to come right out and ask “are you sure?” But, my heart filled with the deep knowing that our journey was more about holding space, building trust and unwinding the stories in her body. Throughout the following months she revealed more and more about her personal life. And, unlike the early sessions her emotions became more surface and transparent- she was beginning to open. The massage began to penetrate her nervous system at deeper levels each time and I could physically feel shifts in her body as it opened and relaxed. Our therapeutic relationship was strong, so I felt it was time to dig a little deeper.
I began to ask Susie about her eating habits and much more about self-care. She revealed she had moments of binge eating at times but made no reference to her eating behaviors in regards to weight. I was trying to be sensitive, and I didn’t want to dig too deep as I know that alone can break trust and trigger someone’s “food issues”. As mentioned, she is very self-aware and the very fact that she was committed to weekly sessions showed that something in her was ready to transform. Finally, I found an opportunity to go into the delicate territory.
Susie was getting systemic pain all of a sudden; a sign that inflammation was running through her body. I mentioned that increased physical activity would help her circulation etc. She looked at me and said, finally, “You know I think it’s about time we talked about the elephant in the room, because I know you have been trying to find a way”. She laughed a bit at my obvious sensitivity to the topic and in that moment a barrier in her was broken down. So, the real discussions around her health, her weight, and saving her life began. She is now on a health plan with our wonderful ND team. She is a different woman emotionally than the one I met, and she has reignited trust in her own body to heal again.
So can abdominal massage help you lose weight? We all wish it was that simple. But, long term healing and transformation can only take place when our truth and the trust in our bodies can walk the same path. And sometimes that takes a journey into the “core” of who we are and in this case, by use of abdominal massage.