Healing Wombs: Maya Abdominal Massage


Published:

Catherine arrived at the yoga studio looking weary and subdued. As she joined the circle and began to check in with the group, her story gently unfolded. She had been experiencing increasing digestive problems and discomfort, and awoke in the morning to discover that her uterus had prolapsed. The cervix was extending out through the vaginal opening. She felt as if she was carrying a bowl between her legs, and it was bearing down on all her organs of elimination. I was horrified for her.

In the past I had heard about women having surgeries to repair a prolapse of the pelvic floor, and had always assumed that the cause was pushing in childbearing, but this woman was childless. She was committed to healing herself through non-surgical alternatives, even if it meant wearing some sort of sling to hold her internal organs for the rest of her life. I made it my mission to search the Internet for information about prolapsed organs and to try to help my non-computer literate friend.

Through that search I learned that my own health was on a collision course with gravity. Although I had two children by caesarian section and had never “pushed,” I had almost every risk factor for prolapsed organs, including years of running and teaching aerobics, and was already suffering from over three quarters of the symptoms, including an ovarian cyst. My friend’s illness revealed to me the potential of my own possible fate. Fortunately, it also led me towards hope in changing my destiny through the grace of Rosita Arvigo. And, we saved Catherine’s uterus.

Healing the Wandering Womb

The Arvigo Techniques of Maya abdominal massage are practiced and taught by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, D.N., who has spent the last thirty years studying and teaching Maya medicine. Maya abdominal massage is a self-care practice supported by professional instruction, and is an integral part of Maya medicine. The massage is performed over clothing and greatly assists in the release of trauma after accidents, childbirth or illness, as well as resetting the position of the uterus in the female. Rosita learned these techniques from her mentor, Don Elijio Panti, the great Maya shaman of Belize, Central America, with whom she apprenticed for ten years. Before accepting her as his apprentice, Don Elijio secured Rosita’s promise that she would remain in Belize to care for “his people,” a promise she has honored to this day. Don Elijio passed away in 1996 at the age of 103; fortunately, much of his vast knowledge of herbal and physical healing was preserved. Rosita now works tirelessly both in Belize and the United States in sharing this important work. Rosita also studied with Hortence Robinson, an elder and herbal midwife of Belize who has been delivering babies since she was 13.

The Arvigo Techniques of Maya abdominal massage address the position and health of the pelvic and abdominal organs. The work is best known for the correction of the prolapsed, fallen or tipped uterus, and for the prevention and treatment of benign prostate enlargement in men. Don Elijio believed that a woman’s center is her uterus. “If a woman’s uterus is out of balance, so is she,” he would say. Midwives and healers of Central America agree that most “female troubles” are caused by the wandering womb. Normally the uterus leans slightly over the bladder in the center of the pelvis, about one and a half inches above the pubic bone. It is held in this position by muscles, the vaginal wall and ligaments that attach it to the back, front, and sides of the pelvis. Uterine ligaments are made to accommodate a growing fetus and to move freely when the bladder or bowel is full. The ligaments and muscles can weaken and loosen, causing the uterus to fall downward, forward, backward or to either side. A uterus in any of these positions is referred to as “tipped.”

Unfortunately, the causes for uterine displacement are common and varied. Some of them include: falls that impact the lower back, sacrum and tailbone; car accidents; ligaments weakened due to overstretching during pregnancy and labor; bad professional care during pregnancy, labor and delivery and afterward; carrying heavy burdens during the pregnancy or too soon after delivery; running on cement surfaces; walking barefoot on cold floors and/or wet grass; wearing high heeled shoes; chronic constipation; high-impact dancing, aerobics, horseback riding, gymnastics or other sports activity; pressure caused by sagging intestines; weak pelvic floor muscles; poor alignment of pelvic bones with spinal column; surgeries; carrying children on hips for long periods of time; emotional armoring from rape, sexual assault, or incest at any time in life; time and gravity. Modern medicine has little or nothing to offer women with this problem. Generally they are told, “Your uterus is tipped, but don’t worry about it.” Yet women have a laundry list of physical and emotional symptoms that can be addressed and prevented with these simple, noninvasive massage techniques.

When reproductive organs shift, they can constrict normal flow of blood and lymph, and disrupt nerve connections. Just a few extra ounces of misplaced tissue sitting on blood and lymph vessels can cause havoc throughout the different systems in the body. By shifting the uterus back into place, homeostasis, or the natural balance of the body, is restored in the pelvic area and the surrounding organs. Toxins are flushed and nutrients that help to tone tissue and balance hormones are restored to normal order. This is essential for healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Old adhesions from invasive treatments to the pelvic and abdominal area, including fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and cesarean delivery are diminished when addressed by uterine massage. In addition, digestion, urinary and bladder problems can be helped. This type of massage is also helpful in increasing blood flow to the pelvic region for men.

Untold numbers of hysterectomies and Caesarian births could be prevented with this simple, safe, easy to learn massage technique. Women who have had hysterectomies benefit greatly from Maya abdominal massage as well. The technique improves circulation in and around the area of the scar and allows for proper flow of the lymph, which often becomes blocked after surgery, resulting in swelling, burning and deep aching pains in the pelvis. When done properly, external massage strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries. In Belize and many other South American countries, this gentle, yet powerful technique is performed a few days after childbirth, accompanied by a herbal cleansing vaginal steam bath. In contrast, Western medicine’s D&C procedure is much more traumatic and requires the cervix to be dilated and the uterine walls to be scraped.

Training Begins

Discovering this important information about uterine health inspired me to want to learn more. The Center for Cultural Evolution in Colraine, MA serves as one of the training centers for small groups of men and women who come together to learn Rosita’s work. Maya massage is performed fully clothed and is very non-invasive and gentle. Self-care training and supervision is offered in a 3-day format and includes an evaluation by a practitioner. Qualified bodyworkers and nurses receive professional training in an additional weeklong program. I decided to register for the class.

The training began with a self-care curriculum. Rosita is a gifted and creative teacher. She explained how the fascia that surrounds each organ is sticky -- like cling wrap that gets caught on itself -- so the organ can get stuck in the wrong location and develop adhesions and scar tissue. Using scarves and her own arms, she became a uterus with its support ligaments, and contorted herself into various comical but tragic depictions of a uterus stuck on a bladder, glued to a colon, pulled over to one side and blocking circulation in a leg, and folded into a cramp. The ramifications of this four ounce misplaced organ expanding in pregnancy to the size of a watermelon were profound.

Regarding the deep inquiry into whether God is a woman or man, she questioned the wisdom of having a hallway (vagina) directly under the organs of reproduction and elimination, compared to the relative safety of men’s vital organs. But men, too, benefit from the Maya massage techniques, and I am now on a much more intimate basis with the prostate than I ever imagined. A sedentary lifestyle creates compression of the testicles and groin, increases acidity, decreases waste removal, and creates malfunction and discomfort. The Maya compliment massage with marigold seed tea and stinging nettle to relieve prostate pain; there are other herbs, including manvine, for men’s concerns.

Rosita’s training also directly addresses the impact of sexual assault and incest in both men and women. Using the work of the late William Reich, she explained how emotional armoring can be gently released using the self care protocol, Maya medicine, prayer and herbs.

Training in self care includes an evaluation and training by a certified practitioner. Lucy was my trainer for that day. As I lay down on the table fully clothed, oceans of unshed tears overwhelmed me. I was questioning whether I would survive the seemingly endless onslaught of grief that would be released, which has been activated but not resolved by other therapies. I was totally unprepared for what happened next. As Lucy began to teach me the techniques, I could feel circulation beginning to fill the front of my body. As she worked on the right side, I could sense my uterus and fallopian tube coming into center. As she came to left, she found the ovary far down in the left corner. The fascia, or connective tissue of the fallopian tubes and ovary, had been tugged down and stitched into my cesarean scar, pulling the left ovary with it. I was back in time at the birth of my second son, 16 years ago. The pulling and tugging of Lucy gently releasing my contracted pelvis was slightly uncomfortable, but accompanied by a rush of circulation and energy that washed through my pelvis and leg. I was utterly amazed as I felt a line of contraction let go from my pelvis all the way up the left side of my body, up the side of my neck, to the attachment of my skull. The rotation of my pelvis and the scoliosis curve in my spine, which I had tried to address through years of yoga, bodywork and therapy, began to release as I lay there experiencing the grief I felt for needing a section birth due to a “tipped uterus,” juxtaposed with the joy of holding a cherished infant son.

Medications and sedatives prescribed to trauma survivors do not address subterranean emotional armoring held in the body. Rosita notes that the emotion-based physical armoring that accompanies trauma will be released chronologically, beginning with the recent past. When the armoring is released from the body it resolves issues which can remain untouched in twenty years of talk therapy. Practitioners also use plant spirit medicine and herbs to assist release and integration.

Maya massage is one tool for those who understand the dangers of leaving our own unresolved issues beneath the surface in present relationships, as well as for the next generation. The commitment to a regular practice of abdominal massage, or any other practice which helps bring to the light of consciousness that which is held in the unconscious, transmutes trauma and allows us to thrive rather than simply survive.

There is a prophecy from both North American and South American First Nation people: “When the eagle and the condor fly together, the Age of Peace will manifest.” Abdominal massage is the gift to the present from the ancient lineage of Maya elders, carried forth by Rosita Arvigo.

Pat Burke is a writer and yoga teacher in Marlboro, MA. She believes that the Eastern contemplative practices and the indigenous healing traditions can greatly enhance Western treatment of trauma. She can be reached at patricia999burke@gmail.com.

Rosita Arvigo is the author of three books including: Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer, Rainforest Remedies: 100 Healing Plants of Belize, and Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul. The last book contains instructions for abdominal massage. A fourth book, The Art of Spiritual Bathing is due out in November, 2003.

Dr. Arvigo established the Terra Nova Forest Preserve and Tree Planting Camp Program and the Bush Medicine Camp for Children in Belize. Donations may be sent to: Traditional Healers Foundation of Belize, c/o Diane McDonald, 330 Stark Highway North, Dunbarton, NH, 03046.

Local Arvigo Techniques Practitioners

The following practitioners have completed the course in Professional Training in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage. Working with small groups learning these techniques in lecture and hands-on sessions, Rosita Arvigo personally ensures that all practitioners are thoroughly prepared for this sensitive, yet powerful work. Private sessions include an initial intake procedure with an attentive and skillful listener, 50-60 minutes of full-body and abdominal massage, and education in self-care techniques to follow up with at home.

CONNECTICUT

Helen Kennedy, RN
Middletown, CT
Phone: 860-680-0037
Email: lightweaver1157@yahoo.com

Lucy Mitchella, L.M.T.,
D.Ay. Herbalist
Marlborough, CT
Phone: 860-295-8879
Email: LucyMitchella@aol.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Diane MacDonald, M.S.N., A.R.N.P.
Dunbarton, NH
Phone: 603-774-6983
Email: atmam@gsinet.net

Lynn Anne Palmer, LMT, MSW
Peterborough, NH
Phone: 603-924-1077
Email: Bluevervain@monad.net

Joann Vollmer, LMT
Thornton, NH
Phone: 603-726-7600

VERMONT

Kayla Becker Lowe, LMT
Montpelier, VT
Phone: 802-223-7481
Email: erkl18@aol.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Megan Bathory-Peelor
Greenfield, MA
Phone: 413-772-0078
Email: MBP@nmhschool.org

Susan Cotta, PT, ATC
Swansea, MA
Phone: 508-674-7395
Email: suecotta@aol.com

Mandy Leo, LMT
Spencer, MA
Phone: 508-885-2900
Cell: 774-239-2633

Lucy Mitchella
Marlboro, MA
Phone: 508-480-8884
Email: esyoga@charter.net

Meg England
Sunderland, MA
Phone: 413-665-3376
Email: Megengland@yahoo.com
508-674-7395

Joanne Larson. LMT
Worceser, MA
Phone: 508-793-1678
Email: PHLarson@charter.net

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

May 23, 2017

A waning, void of course Moon in Aries causes early morning sluggishness and indecision. Pep and clarity return by mid-morning when the Moon enters Taurus. Progress is then slow and steady, if unspectacular. Relax. Find your comfort zone. Enjoy the many…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

May 2017

Learn how to give the gift of Reiki's self-care and healing to yourself, family members, pets, and others. Reiki helps us heal the heart and mind, manifest a healthy body, experience a life of...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

May 21 - June 25, 2017 3 sessions remaining Explore ancient shamanic healing techniques in this safe, experiential workshop. Learn the basic, core technique of the shamanic journey, a visionary...

Cost: $50 per session

Where:
Keene Unitarian Universalist Church
69 Washington Street
(and corner of Taylor Street)
Keene, NH
View map »


Sponsor: Cycles of Spirit Spiritualist Church & One Spirit Shamanic Arts
Contact Name: Jay Thomas
Website »

More information

May Workshop: Full Flower Moon Herbs that calm seasonal allergies Part of a content-rich and intensive 10-month series.  You can sign up for one or all. Simply email your intent to...

Cost: $20 includes all materials and handouts.

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Sponsor: Hillside Herbals
Telephone: 508-847-8615
Contact Name: Rachel Ross
Website »

More information

Welcome to our 3rd Crystal Wisdom & Wellness Gathering - this one’s focused on “The Wonders of Quartz” - we'll be exploring the human/crystal energy zones using only...

Where:
The Arlington Center
Arlington, MA


Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
Website »

More information

Hatha yoga classes are held on Sunday mornings from 10 - 11 am in the Function Room at the Village at Waterman Lake. These classes are mixed levels and open to the public. Please register at...

Cost: $12

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
View map »


Sponsor: The Yoga Workshop
Telephone: 401-261-1060
Contact Name: Barbara Fetta
Website »

More information

Sunday Reiki treatments with Reiki master and practitioner Linda Simons in Brookline, MA. Start your week off on a more balanced note with a Reiki treatment on a Sunday afternoon. Please join me...

Cost: Sliding Scale $20-$40

Where:
233 Harvard Street
Suite 36
Brookline, MA  02446
View map »


Telephone: 617-304-2205
Contact Name: LInda Simons
Website »

More information

Prayer for Peace — Lao-Tse If there is to be peace in the world, There must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, There must be peace in the cities. If...

Cost: Donation / heart offering

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Qigong is an amazing practice for health, healing and inspiration. Qigong is a series of flowing and repeated movements, stretches and breathing exercises that are very easy to learn and may be...

Cost: Drop in $20 or purchase series card

Where:
The Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: BodyWork Revolution
Telephone: 781-372-1000
Contact Name: Steve Cunningham
Website »

More information

Feeling stuck in some area of your life? Learn how to shift your energy to support your intuition, relationships, life direction. Release what is holding you back — live and act from your...

Cost: $100 each class plus book /CDs

Where:
Gracepoint Holistic Health
382 Boston Turnpike
Suite 203B
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Gracepoint Holistic Health
Telephone: 508-868-2168
Contact Name: Diane Burns
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

A 2-hour introduction to the practice of mindfulness. You will be introduced to Mindful Based Stress Reduction, MBSR, the science-based program developed at the University of...

Cost: Free

Where:
LifeCare Physical Therapy
38 Southwest Cutoff
Northborough , MA
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Resilient Living
Telephone: 508-556-7022
Contact Name: Ginny Wholley
Website »

More information

“While virtually unheard of in western society until the 20th century, meditation is having a surge in popularity as of late. Whether you’re looking to decrease stress, increase...

Cost: $20

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Telephone: 508-478-3333
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Having dealt with chronic Lyme for over 20 years and almost in hospice Jeff Hickson has been helping fellow Lymies cope with and get help for this horrific disease. After receiving treatment from a...

Cost: Free

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Telephone: 508-478-3333
Website »

More information

Brookhaven Hospice is looking for alternative therapy volunteers (Reiki, massage, aromatherapy, and more) to volunteer with patients in various cities around MA and NH. Trainings to become a...

Cost: Free

Where:
, MA

More information

A Reiki Share is a gathering of Reiki practitioners who congregate for a combination social/healing session. The primary purpose of having a "share" is for practitioners to participate in...

Cost: $10

Where:
Open Doors
395 Washington Street
Braintree, MA  02170
View map »


Sponsor: Leslie Miller Jewett
Telephone: (857) 526-3301
Contact Name: Leslie Miller Jewett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Start Date: May 26, 2017  Fri 6-9pm & Sat/Sun 10-6pm Designed to prepare individuals who are interested in helping themselves and others in a rewarding career as a Professional...

Cost: $1995 (Early Bird $1795)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

May 26 - 28, 2017 Join us as we celebrate health and energy healing. You won’t want to miss this weekend packed full of knowledge, healing and insights: High profile international...

Cost: Free to $97

Where:
Lesley University Hall, 2nd Floor
1815 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA  02140
View map »


Sponsor: Energy Healing Symposium
Telephone: 647-334-9432
Contact Name: Kathy Wilson
Website »

More information

May 26 - 29, 2017 Flying Phoenix Qigong with Sifu Terry Dunn is a 3-day and 5-day intensive Qigong workshop that teaches participants the essential core practice of Flying Phoenix Heavenly...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Sponsor: Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Lectures/classes are generally between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. If you must leave before the video ends, that is okay. Video presentations will be facilitated by varied ashram members and...

Cost: $5 donation is suggested

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga At The Ashram
Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

March 27 - 28, 2017 9am - 5pm Deepen your understanding, practice and enjoyment of the complete system of Reiki. A two-day training facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher)...

Cost: $225

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

May 27 - June 1 With Diana Medina and GTT staff. These events provide a unique opportunity to deepen your process of self - exploration. For certified practitioners, either of the modules can...

Where:
Guest House Retreat and Conference Center
318 W Main St
Chester, CT  06412
View map »


Sponsor: Grof Transpersonal Training
Telephone: 415-383-8779
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags