Since I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, I have tried to be open minded. Most of my treatment options have involved medical intervention; medications, surgery, hormone treatment, injections, the list goes on…
But every now and then I stumble upon a treatment or a theory or something that seems so ‘out-there’, it might actually work!
I was told about Abdominal Sacral Massage by a dear friend, one who is also trying to conceive. We were discussing what else we could do to improve our chances; we are already day-counting, vitamin taking, diet-watching & sexing it up at every chance we get. After a furious google search, we finally found Abdominal Sacral Massage.
This massage technique is used for digestion, helping to ease constipation and bloating (great), to support emotional health and fertility with its’ gentle healing (double great!) and can improve your menstrual health by regulating periods and helping ease PMT (GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!).
So, on paper, this ticks all the boxes, it seemed like a fantastic idea and we couldn’t believe we’d never heard of it. Especially, since I’ve been struggling to manage my Endo symptoms for over 4 years. And as no stranger to holistic therapies, I was eager to give it a go, with complete faith that it would be a positive experience.
A week or so later, we had the appointment. As we travelled over to the, salon…spa… I was quite excited, unrealistically optimistic that this would solve all my problems and hopeful that I’d be pregnant sooner than I thought. It is set in lush countryside and it was a bright sunny day. Our therapist is a down-to-earth, put me right at ease, sort of lady. I felt relaxed already. We filled out some paperwork, letting her know what we needed help with most. Where do I start? Then got down to business, choosing essential oils. We had to choose a high, middle and low note. All 3 would target problems and work differently. I chose ylang-ylang, cedarwood & clary sage. It was a heady concoction. Now that it was time to get naked (I kid, I still had underwear on!) I started to feel nervous. What would it be like? The therapist herself said it wasn’t a treatment that she does regularly, mainly because people don’t know about it but she did gush about its many benefits.
My friend went in first and I sat for an hour, glad I had brought a book. When I read I tend to get absorbed into it and the time passed quickly. My friend soon emerged, looking relaxed, happy and tired.
The massage bed had a heated mat and there were plenty of towels to protect my modesty. The lights were dimmed low and there was a steamy aromatherapy machine pumping out geranium flavoured mist; which happens to be my favourite essential oil and fragrance. I felt great.
The abdominal sacral massage focusses on the area between the ribs at the front to lower abdomen, between pelvis. It’s quite a deep tissue massage, I knew this but was willing to give it a go.
My stomach has been somewhat of an issue for me. Not out of vanity or how it looks or feels, the issue stems from self-preservation, fear and anxiety. I was not prepared for the emotional impact of having a stranger touch me in a place that has caused a lot of pain, trouble and anxiety. So, when she laid her hands on my abdomen, I had to fight the urge to push her away. I immediately guarded myself. This physically reaction prompted an emotional one. I started to mentally examine where this response was coming from, all the while extremely uncomfortable and willing myself to relax. Thinking about it, I clearly recognised that this automatic reaction to tense up when someone touches, or looks like they will touch, my stomach has been ingrained only in the last few years. Since my endo flares became so bad they required hospital admission or surgery. Even when my husband touches my stomach, I initially tense before relaxing. It only lasts a split second but my body is used to hurting there.
I was shocked that I was able to realise this change in me, triggered by this massage. I was glad to have this experience, if only because I got to learn a little bit more about my body.
The first part of the massage included a lot of ‘kneading-like’ action from ribs to hip bone. I was just thankful that I was a little bit more dough-y and heavier now than I normally am when I’m symptomatic. I can’t say it was relaxing, it was quite a deep massage which created some discomfort for me.
The second part of the massage focussed on my back; bra line to coccyx area. This was much nicer and I was finally able to relax. The essential oils had begun to permeate my skin and the air around me, I could take deep, soothing breaths, this part I liked.
The final part was a face, neck & head massage combined with some Reiki healing. The light pressure on my head and neck really helped ease some of my tension, some which I didn’t know I’d been holding! Reiki doesn’t suit everyone; it’s a treatment that you have to be open to in order to get the most from it. I could feel it work for me. Only a few minutes after she moved onto my face, my whole body started to tingle; from head to foot. I then went all goose-bumpy. I could feel little shocks, almost like I’d been electrified.
Over the next few days following the massage, I felt some discomfort. My stomach felt sore and tender to touch, as though it’d been through an ordeal. Nothing else much happened. I half expected my period to start, I was hoping it would trigger its reappearance following the end of my latest zoladex treatment, in January. But, there’s been nothing.
I don’t know whether I would have another treatment, maybe it is like acupuncture, it gets better after each session. Truthfully, I’m reluctant to try it again. It wasn’t painful and I may not have seen any benefits yet, but just because of my emotional discomfort throughout, I don’t think it is for me. Maybe in a few months, I will give it another chance.
After all, when it comes to searching for a way to improve my life with Endometriosis- I’ll try anything.