A Journey to Center, Part I:
Healing Through Maya Abdominal Massage
by Astrid Grove
“The uterus is the women’s center. If her uterus is not in proper position and good health, nothing in her life will be right. She will be as out of balance as her uterus.”
-Don Elijio Panti, teacher to Rosita Arvigo
This story begins with my journey of healing. For thirteen years I experienced recurrent urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse. I followed many paths and uncovered a tremendous amount of information regarding the treatment and prevention of UTI’s. After applying dietary changes, herbal remedies, changes in hygiene, journeys with shamans, regular acupuncture, homeopathies, meditation and visualization, and the help of a medical doctor . . . I still suffered.
I was not able to treat the infection with herbs, only antibiotics. The antibiotics were doing a number on my body and clearly only helping me in the short term. In the thirteenth year, I decided to seek additional medical help for my case. I received a cystoscopy (a scope enters the urethra and goes up into the bladder) as well as a CAT scan (an x-ray that shows cross-sectional views of the body) to determine if there were any abnormalities with the anatomy of my bladder and urethra. The results showed that all was normal.
At this point I remembered that in midwifery school I was informed that my uterus is tipped to one side, diagnosed by the position of my cervix. Most gynecologic providers are taught that a tipped uterus is a variation of normal. How could a tipped uterus be normal? Soon after, I signed up for Rosita Arvigo’s Self Care Workshop. Here I learned the techniques that would eventually completely cure me of my UTI’s.
My practitioner told me that my uterus was positioned to the left side and laying forward (anteverted) onto my bladder. In this position there was a low flow of chi energy, lymph and blood entering my lower abdominal region. After lifting my uterus up and out of this position, I found that I urinated less frequently and no longer had any pressure on my bladder (a pressure I did not even notice until it was gone). After five months of regular self care and seeing a practitioner once per month, I no longer suffer from UTI’s at all.
After having so much success myself, I began my training to become a certified practitioner of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage. The technique applies anatomy and physiology, herbalism, and manipulation along with the Ancient Maya healing techniques to address common female and male complaints. The technique works by relieving congestion and blockages to improve the flow of chi and fluids in the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems to prevent the progression of chronic disease.
A practitioner often uses other modalities of healing alongside the massage. I personally use the context of the Six Steps of Healing and the Wise Woman Tradition in my practice and use shamanic journeying, herbalism, foot reflexology, nutritional counseling, and polarity therapy.
Many experiences can contribute to a displaced uterus. These include, but are not limited to, a fall to the sacrum, long and difficult pushing stage in birth, traumatic gynecological exams, wearing high heels, car accidents, walking barefoot on cold floors, rape, incest, and sexual abuse. In Belize when a little girl falls off her horse, her mother whisks her away to the local healer, the midwife, or even her own grandmother to receive abdominal massage.
In this way the women encourage uterine and abdominal health from youth and prevent many female problems in the future. In my travels to Belize, I met many women who practice variations of this technique within their families and communities. It is an integral part of the Maya lifestyle, from birth to menopause and beyond.
Though the technique is very physical, the benefits are seen emotionally as well. Our bellies are soft and vulnerable and we have a tendency to build up walls of protection there by tightening our muscles in the upper abdomen or solar plexus area. These tightened muscles also impede the flow of blood, chi and lymph from traveling to our lower abdomen and extremities.
Often receiving a Maya Massage can surface old stories and hard memories, stored in the muscles of the abdomen and in the uterus, and help to release these emotions. If I am feeling anxious, I take some motherwort tincture, lie down with some oil, and give myself an abdominal massage to help prevent the tightening of my abdominal muscles.
These techniques are incredibly empowering for women. We are able to heal ourselves of current problems and prevent future problems. It is my wish that all women have this wisdom to apply to themselves and their family and that all women’s health practitioners are aware of its benefits as well. It is a part of reclaiming our health care and bringing us back to center. I see it as another piece of magic to add to our medicine bags of healing.
Symptoms of a Displaced Uterus:
• Painful or irregular menses; dark, thick fluids at the beginning and end of menses, blood clots and heavy bleeding, absence of menses, headaches, dizziness and migraines with menses, premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Frequent urination, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, incontinence
• Tired legs, numb feet, sore heals, varicose veins, hemorrhoids
• sore heels and low back ache
• painful ovulation, absence of ovulation, irregular ovulation, infertility, ovarian cysts
Symptoms of Congestion:
• endometriosis, endometritis, uterine polyps, vaginitis, painful intercourse, uterine fibroids, uterine infections
• Hormonal imbalances; difficult menopause; cancer of the cervix, uterus, colon or bladder; constipation; uterine prolapse, cystocele
• Sciatic pain, pelvic pain, long labors, malposition of the baby, pubic symphysis pain, hip pain, back pain, ligament pain, post-dates pregnancy, lack of descent of the baby, persistent posterior lie, cystocele, frequent urination, prolapse
To find out more information about Maya Abdominal Massage and to find a practitioner near you, go to www.arvigomassage.com.
Copyright 2008 © Astrid Grove
||Astrid Grove is a community midwife, a wise woman herbalist, and a practitioner of Maya Abdominal Massage. She is currently practicing as a licensed midwife in the state of Vermont where she also enjoys her mountain view home where she is an avid gardener and wild plant and mushroom forager. She is also a co-creatrix of the Red Temple at Womongathering. She has created sacred circle in the form of moonlodge every dark moon for the past 7 years and offers her own moonblood to the earth every month. She will be offering Maya Abdominal Massage as taught by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, DN and Ms. Beatrice Wright.
Astrid Grove Workshops at the Wise Woman Center
WOMB•SPEAK - July 5
Access the wisdom of your belly; listen to the stories of your womb, and your sister. We will heal ourselves and generations past and future.
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Honor the heauty and power of your "reproductive" system, learn to increase orgasmic pleasure, create abdominal health, and use art to call forth the Goddess within. Please wear red.
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