Video: Abdominal self-massage (and self-acceptance)

This is ostensibly about abdominal self-massage (it even includes 5 different techniques!), but it’s really about getting back into the therapeutic headspace.

As you might imagine, I made this one for myself. I haven’t started back yet thanks to some resurgence here in the South, but every time I get back to the planning phase I think, “do I even know how to do massage any more? Where would I start?” In my head I try to play back a whole massage all at once, along with all the techniques and draping and communication that requires, and it feels overwhelming.

But then I remember this: It all starts with one touch. If I can do that, then the rest follows. Trying to game out every moment, or imagine everything that could go wrong, those are barriers that we put up to flow. The essence of massage is self-sustaining and self-guiding, with the interplay of hand and body showing you the way. If we simply make that first contact and then get out of the way, the rest can easily follow.

In this video I talk about providing a place of sanctuary for the body under your hands. Just realize that your massage office can be a place of sanctuary for you as well — a place where you don’t have to prove anything, or live up to impossible standards. Where, as long as you’re providing conscientious contact, you are doing it right. All the other expectations we pile on top of that (e.g., doing the “right” techniques, saying just the right words, having the right emotions, providing the perfect atmosphere) can just end up getting in the way. Sure, seek excellence, but realize how striving can be self-defeating. Instead, set your intention, make that first contact, and allow everything else to follow.

Thanks to everyone who sticks around during my long absences. This has been a hard time for most of us, but we’re making it.

Let me know what you think!

6 thoughts on “Video: Abdominal self-massage (and self-acceptance)

  1. Thank you Ian. I too wonder if I know how to massage anymore! I was able to help out a family member who badly needed a massage, and I allowed my hands to do what felt right for her and stopped thinking “what would I do next, or did I miss something??”. She loved it! I got out of my head, and it worked! Thanks for still being around, I needed that post! Mary Ann in Michigan

  2. Dear Ian
    Thank you for your help over these many years. I have learned so much from your technique, which is slightly different to ours in the U.K. I will be 70 in a few weeks and, as I have worked since I was 15 years old, (not massage the whole time), feel it is time to stop. These difficult and uncertain times make everyone nervous and thanks for acknowledging that, when therapists are not sure they can still cut it, you speak for most of us, we are scared for the future. If we can still make a living doing what we love.
    Bless you and keep safe.

  3. Ian, I so appreciate you and all that you offer to this community. Thank you for sharing yourself, your many gifts, and your voice of wisdom.

    Warm regards,

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I just passed my MBLEX when Covid-19 hit and haven’t massaged a body since. It’s now time for me to apply at a spa and I’m worried that I may have forgotten how to massage. But I think your right, after that first touch, it all flows.

Comments? Stories? Tell me stuff.