Photo by Jon Haynes Photography

Maya abdominal massage is a massage technique based on repositioning internal organs that have shifted, creating improved blood, energy, and lymph flow throughout the pelvic cavity. This massage is very beneficial for women, as our abdomens tend to go through many stages in life. For a few decades, we have monthly cycles that shift and change as we age, our abdominal muscles stretch (then retract) as we become pregnant, give birth, and live life in general.

I was fortunate to connect with Dr. Carrie Jones of Natural Women’s Health Care clinic in Sherwood, Oregon, and ask her a few questions about this therapeutic massage.

Where did you learn this wonderful technique?

I learned this massage from Rosita Arvigo herself. She does trainings at her clinic in Belize as well as on the east coast, Colorado and in Oregon. You can find out more about trainings, or find other practitioners in your area by heading to this site:

Who benefits from Maya Abdominal Massage?

The massage can help women of all ages.  It's great for younger women who have heavy periods or painful periods. It's very beneficial to those looking to become pregnant, as it improves circulation, lymphatic and nerve flow to the pelvic area as well as corrects uterine displacement.  For women who are currently pregnant, it can be really helpful for back and leg pain, abdominal heaviness associated with a growing baby, and make for a smoother birth.  I also have menopausal women who experience prolapse or urinary incontinence and want to improve the health of the area.

The massage can be very helpful to the menstrual cycle and is amazing at relieving cramps.  Because all that fresh blood, oxygen, lymph and nerve flow is moving through the area, women will report that their first period after the massage is more 'cleansing' in that it's a bit heavier with more clots.  After that it's usually a lot smoother.  I also find that women with endometriosis benefit from the work because the massage works right over the abdomen and can be helpful in reducing adhesions.

What should a patient expect from the initial session?

3) During the first session, we usually have an initial consultation where I get a better understanding of their lifestyle, menstrual cycle, overall health and their goals with the massage. I explain what I'm going to do then we begin!  It's like a traditional massage in some aspects as you lay on a massage table and usually undress so that I have access to the entire back down to the hip and tailbone and then over the stomach area.  The massage generally lasts 35-45 minutes depending on findings.  Like a traditional massage, many of my patients fall asleep or zone out while I'm working.

What can I expect from this massage?

5) The massage is all external over the skin. There is no internal work like during a gynecological exam.  Even then, it can be deeply personal or even ticklish to many women as our bellies aren't often touched. I can work right over smooth clothing for the first massage, and want the massage experience to be as comfortable as possible.

Be aware that the following times and patients are not good candidates:

  • During menstrual bleeding
  • Within the first 6 weeks following a normal vaginal delivery or the first 3 months after a c-section
  • For a woman using an IUD for birth control
  • If cancer is present or suspected anywhere in the pelvis, or the client is undergoing chemotherapy for this condition
  • During the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Hiatal Hernia – gentle touch only

Portland-based therapists who offer Mayan massage:

-Dr. Carrie Jones of Natural Women's Health Care clinic in Sherwood

-Tami Kent, MSPT who is also the author of the book Wild Feminine, is a practitioner here in East Portland, Oregon. She also offers other services to improve pelvic health for women- check out her  Wild Feminine website for more information.

-Dr. Sara Wylie of Kwan Yin Healing Arts and Red Blossom blog wrote a post dedicated to Mayan abdominal massage, including what Maya Abdominal Massage can treat, and another wonderful post on preparation for birth with the massage techniques. Sara also provides great tips and strategies in preparing for birth using abdominal massage.