WHAT I LEARNED AFTER 3 MONTHS OF ABDOMINAL ROLLING
The first time someone attempted to massage my abdomen, I spent the entire time resisting and wincing. It felt horrible, invasive, and terribly awkward. At a recent workshop, the instructor informed us we were going to be rolling our bellies. I felt queasy at the mere suggestion of it!
That afternoon, I rolled. It was marginally less torturous. Seeing other participants reveling in the roll, I left determined to give the rolling techniques more time and practice.
This is what happened after three months.
1: My back pain vanished
Trigger points can form in the rectus abdominis muscle due to visceral disease, direct trauma, emotional stress, poor posture and over-exercise, to name a few. Having a history of each and scar tissue from an abdominal surgery, I have long suffered with lower back pain.
"X" indicates the location of trigger points and red indicates the common referral zones.
Source: Massage Today, June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
One of the most effective ways to break up the adhesive scar tissue that refers pain to the lower back? You guessed it!
2: My core awakened
I learned from my research and trigger point exploration that the layers of the abdomen can become so full of tension that ultimately muscles grow unresponsive to physical training. Having felt, often, disconnected from my core in Pilates and yoga classes, it became plainly obvious to me. My core was checked out.
No amount of cues or willing myself to work harder could help me in certain exercises. No longer the case. No more sagging or sore back when working my planks and finally feeling the deep core stabilizers working in my dead bugs. Eureka!
3: My sleep improved
I have struggled with sleep for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I spent many a sleepless night staring at the ceiling and wishing for sleep to come to me.
So when I read that any type of soft tissue work can be greatly beneficial to aiding sleep, I made my belly rolling technique a part of my bedtime ritual. This is largely due to the fact that it relaxes the body and kick starts the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). By massaging the abdomen, you are stimulating the vagus nerve which is easiest to reach through your gut. Stimulating the vagus nerve stimulates the PNS.
4: My immune system is thriving
For someone who falls into the category of immune suppressed, I count my lucky stars any time I survive unscathed after a sick student has coughed and sneezed all over the studio. It isn't always the case, however.
"Did you know that the gut area is the most abundant site in your body for lymph? Your lymph system stores the majority of your disease-fighting cells. Your lymphatic ducts and tubing create an odd, one-way highway; there is no upward movement out of the ducts and tubes other than being pressed and squeezed through motion, position, palpation or muscular contractions. Motion surrounding your lymph ducts helps propel those disease-fighting cells into your bloodstream, where they can then fight off infection."
- excerpted from Jill Miller, see full story
Three months? Nary a sniffle and no sidelining post-nasal drip setting in upon seasonabl allergy response.
5: Things are moving smoothly
At the risk of offering entirely too much information, I will just remind of the obvious benefit of rolling over the intestines and colon for those of us who tend to have slower, more sluggish digestive systems.
So sold, I am determined to introduce these techniques to all my students. Watch this short video of The Roll Model author and Tune-up Fitness Founder Jill Miller demonstrating a basic rolling technique. Then, sign up for this Sunday's special workshop.
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.