If a belly massage is performed correctly, it can have a very strong effect on the body. Most therapists only think of the influence that it has on the digestive tract, but any abdominal massage can also have a very strong effect on the parasympathetic nervous system (and that not just indirectly through the digestive system)

A few years back I studied Rolfing with a very good massage therapist and teacher. He asked me: "Which is the most important muscle in the body for massage?" Hmm. I never thought about it and even though I was not sure what he was up to, I said "The heart." He responded: "Even though that is true in the ultimate sense, because there is no living without the heart, the most important muscle for manipulation is the psoas muscle." I didn't understand and was frowning, so he carried on: "The psoas muscle is the gateway to our parasympathetic nervous system and has therefore a significant influence on autonomic activities in the body. Actually it is the only muscle in our body that has this connection."

I was blown away, especially because I thought that the psoas muscle is not even palpable from the outside. Most people think that it is palpable in the groins, but if you check your anatomy books you will see that it can only indirectly influenced in the groins through the thick layer of hip flexors. But Rolfing found a way to massage it directly.

Anyway so a belly massage has way more depth than expected. It is definitely more than just a belly rub.

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