Contrary to popular belief, periods are not meant to be painful.
The simple truth is – periods should not be painful. We have been led to believe that pre-menstrual syndrome and all the symptoms that are associated with it are normal. When in actual fact, while there may be some mild discomfort on the first day of the menstrual cycle, it is not natural to have cramping so severe that it interferes with daily activities.
In our culture, menstruation has many negative connotations associated with it. Whereas in many countries around the world it is a cause for celebration, ritual, and a time to connect with the natural cycles of life. In cultures where menstruation is revered, women do not have as many problems associated with their cycle and they perceive this time of the month as an intuitive time to connect with their sixth sense.
What changes can we make if we have reproductive or digestive concerns that are interfering with the quality of life?
I have found the best place to start is by massaging the belly. I know it sounds so simple that most people will just dismiss the idea. But I encourage you to experience for yourself the life-changing benefits of this massage.
Many cultures incorporate abdominal massage into their medicine, such as the Maya who have been using these techniques for thousands of years. Most Western massage therapists are afraid to touch the abdomen or the pelvis. They are often taught to avoid these areas completely. In contrast, Maya healers usually focus their entire treatment on the abdomen.
The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® are based on the work of Rosita Arvigo and Don Elijio Panti, a traditional Maya healer from Belize. This work integrates what she learned during her 13-year apprenticeship with Don Elijio and her own training as a Naprapath, an off-shoot of chiropractic that focuses on the ligaments.
ATMAT, or The Maya Work as it is often called, is an external, non-invasive massage of the abdomen and lower back that is suitable for everyone.
This technique offers many benefits including:
① Softening the musculature, especially of the diaphragm. When the diaphragm is tight, it constricts the flow of fluids and energy into the abdomen.
② Enhancing the circulation of the blood, lymph, nerves, and qi or chu’lel in Mayan, eliminating any stagnation, constriction, and obstruction to the internal organs.
③ Improving digestion, assimilation, and elimination of food and emotions. We digest, assimilate, and hopefully eliminate our emotions or else they stagnate, causing all manner of problems. Expressions like “My stomach is tied up in knots”, or “I can’t stomach her”, have their origins in physical reality. Deep-seated emotions usually underlie many chronic stomach complaints.
④ Repositioning internal organs that may have shifted (such as a tilted uterus which the Maya believe is responsible for a myriad of health problems). A Western doctor will tell you otherwise, but the position of the uterus is important to its proper function. Don Elijio believed that a woman’s center is her uterus. If a woman’s uterus is out of balance, so is she, he would say. Chu’lel (energy) emanates from the uterus, the seat of creation.
With this type of massage, we are working to restore homeostasis (balance within) and hemodynamics (blood flow within the body). By normalizing the body’s processes and removing obstructions to the flow of fluids and energy, health concerns resolve NATURALLY, restoring digestive, reproductive health, and emotional equilibrium. Common symptoms such as painful periods, fertility challenges in men and woman, fibroids, painful intercourse, prolapse, incontinence, difficult menopause, post-hysterectomy scarring, lower back ache, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, swollen prostate, and depression can be treated with these techniques.
Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer by Rosita Arvigo
Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body + Replenish Your Soul by Rosita Arvigo.
The Uterine Health Companion: A Holistic Guide to Lifelong Wellness by Eve Agee
Lisa Levine has been in the healing profession since 1992. She brings a background in massage, yoga, and acupuncture to her work as a Certified Practitioner + Self-Care Teacher of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®. Her passion is sharing this work to help clients take their health into their own hands. www.essentialself-care.com