Herbal Medicine applications in Abdominal Massage are of great importance. It’s perhaps best to divide the various applications in the following categories: herbal compresses, herbal packs, herbal oils, and herbal pastes.
The types of herbs used in abdominal massages may vary significantly, much depending on the origin of the Traditional Medicine system applied, the goal of the abdominal treatment, and available (local) herbs.
In herbal compresses, and in packs, creams, and pastes, one would usually find herbs like Ginger, Tamarind, Lime, Fennel, Cinnamon, Betel Juice and Turmeric, to just give some examples.
Hot herbal compresses (and massaging with it) are used to open up the abdominal area or to soothe it, while at the same time applying nurturing herbs, which are chosen depending on the goal of the massage.
Mind that the abdomen is often a region that’s rather tensed i.e. hard and contracted, and needs to be softened first before deeper massage work can be done.
After an Abdominal Massage session, the abdominal area can be somewhat sore, and one way to relax the area is to apply herbal compresses with soothing herbs.
Herbal packs are applied just like herbal compresses, with the difference that they are not used to massage the abdominal area. They are rather simply placed on the region wanted, letting the herbs penetrate the skin and the deeper layers of the abdomen.
Like herbal compresses, they can be used to prepare or soothe the abdomen.
Herbal oils are used for their nurturing and healing properties, but moreover, they are very often applied to help with “sliding and gliding,” making it easier for the therapist to massage the abdomen.
Some oils can also be taken orally. An example is Castor Oil, which can be taken as a laxative to aid in detoxification of the Gastrointestinal Tract.
Herbal mixture pastes are used to nurture the abdomen and the organs within. They are also applied to help realigning, firm and tighten the abdominal muscles or also to expel excessive winds in the body. In postpartum use, they also cleanse out any blood clots remaining in the womb.
These herbal pastes can be applied before a massage (to be washed off just before the actual massage) or after an Abdominal Massage. Notably in Asia and Mesoamerica, herbal pastes are applied afterwards and wrapped with Abdominal Binding cloths to be able to do their healing work during a longer period.