By Taylor Paganini, LMT, ATMAT practitioner
The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage Therapy are a noninvasive external massage to the pelvis and abdomen to help guide internal organs of the reproductive and digestive systems into their proper position and relieve tension in the diaphragm for optimum health and well-being. The technique works by relieving both physical and emotional congestion to improve the flow of blood, lymph, nerve impulses, and chi to prevent the progression of chronic disease symptomology in both women and men. It is a treatment that is widely practiced among Midwives and healers of Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.
These techniques were developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, DN, after apprenticing with Don Elijio Panti, the last of the traditional Maya Shamans in Central America, where she has lived for over 30 years. The Arvigo Techniques combine modern science with traditional healing and wisdom to produce a holistic path to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
I was first introduced to Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy when I was 22 years old at the start of my massage therapy career living in New York City. At that point in my life, I had been struggling for years with severe pelvic pain, anxiety and digestive issues. As a young woman recently diagnosed with Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD), it was very difficult to find treatment that focused on relieving symptoms of female related pain and women’s health issues without a doctor recommending the use of surgery and/or drugs. Not only did the option of surgery and drugs not sit well with me but I had an extremely hard time accepting the medical professional’s notion that I would likely be struggling for the rest of my life. As someone who comes from a Holistic background, I had and still have a strong belief that our bodies have the innate ability to be self-healing if we are able give it (HER) what she needs. One day when I was visiting a colleague and friend out on Long Island, she introduced me to castor oil packs and vaginal steams. I had never heard of any of those remedies prior and so I was a little skeptical considering I felt like I had tried everything under the stars to fix my pelvic related issues. After just a week of using castor oil packs every night and doing 1 or 2 vaginal steams, my pain level had decreased by half! I was both shocked and amazed. From that point on, I made it a mission to learn more about these modalities and in doing so I immediately came across Rosita Arvigo and her work. Not long after was I able to find myself an Arvigo Therapist right in NYC and within 6 months of doing both in office sessions and self-care massage at home, not only did my pain decrease by 90 percent but the level of emotional healing was profound. Since then, I have made it a point to focus my career on women’s health and learn the work that had changed my life so that I may also extend that wisdom and healing to others.
How does Maya Abdominal Massage work?
Normally the uterus leans slightly over the bladder in the center of the pelvis, about one and a half inches above the pubic bone. It is held in this position by muscles, the vaginal wall and ligaments that attach it to the back, front, and sides of the pelvis. Uterine ligaments are made to stretch to accommodate a growing fetus inside and to move freely when the bladder or bowel is full. The ligaments and muscles can weaken and loosen, causing the uterus to fall downward, forward, backward or to either side. A uterus in any of these positions is called 'tilted' or 'prolapsed'. Unfortunately, modern medicine has little to offer women with this problem. Some options may include using the birth control pill, muscle relaxants, or surgery. Yet women have a laundry list of physical and emotional symptoms that can be addressed and prevented with these simple, noninvasive massage techniques. When reproductive organs shift, they can constrict the normal flow of blood and lymph and disrupt nerve connections. Just a few extra ounces sitting on blood and lymph vessels can cause havoc throughout the different systems in the body. By shifting the uterus back into place, homeostasis, or the natural balance of the body, is restored in the pelvic area and the surrounding organs. Toxins are flushed and nutrients that help to tone tissue and balance hormones are restored to normal order. This is essential for healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Old adhesions from invasive treatments to the pelvic and abdominal area, including fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and cesarean delivery are diminished when addressed by uterine massage. In addition, digestion, urinary and bladder problems can be helped.
Benefits of Arvigo Massage for Women and Men
Maya Abdominal Massage is offered as a supportive modality to enhance health and wellness and is not meant to be an entire approach to health care. If you have any serious medical conditions, please consult your health care provider first.
Practitioners of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage report that many common health care symptoms are alleviated by these techniques. Organ functions are both supported and enhanced. The list below contains the most common symptoms that are improved by one incorporating this modality into their healthcare. Maya Abdominal Massage has helped many women and men with symptoms of:
Displaced or prolapsed uterus and or bladder
Painful menstrual cycles and ovulation
Irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation
Dizziness with Menses
Bladder or yeast infections
Miscarriages, difficult pregnancies
Perimenopause, menopausal symptoms
PMS/Depression with menstruation
Abnormal uterine bleeding
Enhances Pregnancy, aids in labor and birthing.
Pelvic congestion, pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
Low Back ache
Tired legs, numb feet and sore heels
Chronic indigestion or heartburn
Restricted breathing due to tension
Emotional healing with abdominal therapy
Perhaps, even more extraordinary than the physical results of this work, is the incredible emotional healing that takes place with abdominal massage. I have seen people of all walks of life store decades worth of emotional memory in their belly and hip area. This is typically why we tend to see a lot of people overprotective of their abdomen and be very hesitant to let someone else touch them in those regions. But in doing so, we are able to release old trauma(s) and emotions that no longer serve us and thus restore balance and ease to our bodies.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
During the abdominal massage, malpositioned pelvic organs are coaxed into their correct position. This helps to enhance blood and lymph flow to relieve symptoms. This technique aims to relieve stagnation, blockages of blood, lymph, chi and nerve conduction. Examples of this type of stagnation would be low back pain, menstrual cramps, fibroids, unexplained infertility, blocked tubes and other maladies. It is non-invasive.
The first visit generally takes 2 hours, which includes an in-depth consultation with your therapist to go over your thorough intake and review of your symptoms, needs and expectations. An initial maya abdominal massage treatment generally consists of massage work from the pubic bone up to the ribcage (diaphragm) and massage & bodywork on the back, spine, tailbone (sacrum). At no time are you ever exposed except for the belly and back areas. The first visit may also include the use of castor oil packs and a review of self-care massage.
*Follow-up visits consist of mostly massage and typically last 60-75 minutes leaving time for a castor oil pack if desired.
Be aware that the following times and patients are not good candidates:
• During active menstrual bleeding
• During the first trimester of pregnancy (therapeutic massage can be received at this time)
• Hiatal Hernia – gentle touch only
Taylor Paganini, LMT, ATMAT practitioner, will guide you in your reproductive health using this ancient practice of healing.