Arvigo Abdominal Therapy® has been a large part of my practice for over 6 years. After seeing results and getting feedback from my patients, I can confidently say that this approach is invaluable for all women, at any age or stage of life.
Along with Acupuncture, it is my top natural therapy recommendation for many women’s issues involving reproductive health, fertility or digestion. Given how everything is often inter-related, stress and emotional health can also benefit from this timeless therapy.
What is Arvigo Therapy®?
This gentle abdominal massage is based on a treatment that is a core pillar of traditional Mayan medicine. It was adapted by an American Naprapath, Dr. Rosita Arvigo, after she studied and apprenticed with local healers in Belize. Dr. Arvigo spent most of her life learning alongside healers, herbalists, medicine men and midwives. Combining this experience with her own training, she developed her specific massage protocol, and continues to share these skills with others in Belize and worldwide.
Arvigo Therapy® is an external, non-invasive massage for the abdomen and lower back. The aim is to gently stimulate the circulation of lymph, nerve and fresh blood to the reproductive and digestive systems. It also encourages the alignment of organs in the abdomen. This helps bring the body back into a state of homeostasis and balance.
Self Care at Your Fingertips
One unique aspect of this therapy is that a trained therapist will provide the massage and also teach you how to perform a simple self care protocol at home. This self massage is a favourite of many clients, and can easily be incorporated into a daily routine (or just for when you really need it). It is meant to prolong the effect of the professional treatments, but also act as a nurturing, meditative self treatment.
You will feel more in control of your wellbeing and physically and emotionally connected to the healing process. I’ve seen firsthand how this benefits many clients, leading them to reconnect with their own body and heal at a deeper level.
What does Arvigo Therapy® help with?
- Menstrual Pain – In traditional medicine, period pain is often linked to stagnation of energy and/or blood flow in the core of the body. Arvigo Therapy® encourages a healthy clearing of both physical and emotional congestion, resulting in an easier, less painful period.
- Optimizing Fertility – If you are preparing for a healthy conception, this massage can safely help during any fertility journey. Regardless of whether you are just starting to try, or are working with a fertility clinic, the goal is to bring fresh energy and blood flow to the reproductive organs. In addition: optimizing digestion, nutrient assimilation and healthy elimination are all important factors that support reproductive health.
- Digestive Issues – A belly massage is intuitive when we are in pain, bloated or digestion feels “off”. Issues such as IBS, gastritis or dysbiosis can benefit from relaxing tense abdominal muscles, improving circulation and helping the body better digest and process nutrients.
- Endometriosis – Endometriosis is different for every woman, but if often means pain or discomfort combined with digestive symptoms, fatigue and body malaise. Improving circulation in the abdominal area can bring relief and an overall improvement to mood and energy, helping to naturally manage some of the symptoms of endometriosis.
- Pain or Numbness from Scars – Scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries (or c-sections) may cause numbness, pain or a pulling sensation. Sometimes this may appear elsewhere in the body but be related to an old scar that is causing myofascial tension. Arvigo Therapy® can be part of a recovery plan to help the body effectively break down and resolve old scar tissue.
- Frequent or Chronic Constipation – Constipation may happen for many reasons, but it is always an issue that can throw off our body’s natural balance. This therapy can help to gently improve gut health, motility and reduce stress around bowel movements, even for longtime or chronic constipation.
- Post Partum – Taking special care of a new mom is a key part of women’s health in many traditional cultures, but not yet as widely practiced in our modern society. Arvigo Therapy® is a wonderful tool for helping a woman’s body recover and re-balance after child bearing.
- Perimenopause or Menopause Symptoms – While not a disease, the life stages of perimenopause and menopause can bring on uncomfortable symptoms that may last months or years. Abdominal Therapy can help relieve the stress and discomfort that often comes about with hormonal and physiological changes.
- Displaced Uterus – A key concept in Arvigo Therapy® is that the uterus is meant to be at a woman’s centre. Even if there is no longer a uterus present, that uterine energy still exists at a woman’s centre. Shifts in organ position can happen for various reasons, and the aim of each treatment is to gently help realign uterine position to the healthiest it can be.
- Anxiety (especially related to PMS or PMDD) – Both Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder often appear with feelings of depression and/or anxiety. Women who dread “that part” of their monthly cycle may find relief with regular professional treatments. Self care massage can also go a long way in relieving anxious feelings at any time of the month. Arvigo Therapy® includes massage of the upper abdomen, which corresponds to the area of the vagus nerve. Gentle stimulation of the vagus nerve can help bring on the “rest and digest” response of the parasympathetic nervous system, which may greatly reduce feelings of unease.
What to Expect in an Abdominal Therapy Treatment
- During the treatment you will be lying on a treatment table.
- At all times you are draped for privacy, and the practitioner checks in for feedback to make sure you are comfortable.
- The treatment incorporates light massage strokes on the upper and lower abdomen, working at level of fascia and lymph.
- The treatment also includes a back massage, with focus on the lower back, hips and sacrum.
- A series of gentle shaking movements and skin brushing motions are made in order to help lymph circulate.
- A demonstration of self care massage is included with your first visit.
- Other lifestyle and self care options may be discussed such as castor oil packs and pelvic steaming (if applicable to your situation).
In my approach, I work within the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture and other TCM modalities such as cupping or gua sha may be used in combination with Abdominal Therapy.
It is possible to minimize the size and appearance of old c-section scarring with Arvigo Therapy® and adjunct therapies and self care. Boosting circulation with targeted abdominal massage and acupuncture can help speed the body's own processes of healing and resolving scar tissue. As each person's situation is unique, treatment duration and results can vary widely.
Abdominal massage, much like Acupuncture or any other natural therapy helps optimize your health and prepare the body for a successful conception. Many women find it to be a relaxing, nurturing treatment that calms and supports them in body and mind.
As with any other method (including IVF or IUI), there is no guarantee when or if you will get pregnant.
Yes, Arvigo Therapy® can be safely incorporated into most stages of IVF fertility treatment. We typically modify the massage if you are in the injection stages, and only work with the lightest strokes over abdomen. Abdominal massage is NOT done after an embryo transfer.