Towards the end of the break I took from medical infertility treatments and while using acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat my unexplained infertility, my husband returned from an appointment with his acupuncturist excited about Mayan Abdominal Massage. I had never heard of it before and I was intrigued. My husband’s acupuncturist had taken a training course with one of the first certified practitioners of Dr. Rosita Arvigo Techniques of Mayan abdominal massage who happened to live in Manhattan and so I was referred to her. Mayan abdominal massage, also known as the Arvigo Techniques, is an ancient, non-invasive treatment for a variety of ailments including infertility.
I love any excuse for a massage and so I was all for it. This was truly a unique experience. The massage was like no other I had received. It was a full body massage with a definite focus on the abdomen. A few moments into the abdominal massage my practitioner was able to tell me that my uterus was a little bit low and to the right. She continued massaging my abdomen, concentrating on the lower right area with firm upward and slightly to the left motions. She explained that the massage was a gentle guide that would coax my uterus back to its proper place.
What I found most amazing about the experience was that after she finished the massage, she taught me how to do it to myself (the abdominal part anyway). She showed me exactly how to find my uterus, how to hold my hands so that I could get my fingers just a little under the side of my uterus and with firm strokes gently lift it back towards its rightful home. In the world of infertility that consumed me, the Arvigo Techniques that are rooted so strongly in self care seemed such a compassionate option. I previously had an eight month spell of being a passive bystander who surrendered to a doctor’s idea of what was best for me, even when it didn’t feel right and in the end wasn’t right for me. This was the polar opposite. I was being given the tools I needed to help prepare my body for pregnancy. It was liberating for me and seemed counterproductive for her if she was trying to make a living out of this. I had found a softer, caring side in the often cold, clinical world of infertility.
I continued the self care practices I was taught and came back for a number of appointments. The visits were useful in confirming that I was in fact doing the massage correctly and that my uterus was steadily making its move back to where it belonged. I was also taught how to use warm castor oil packs to treat adhesions. After each self-care massage I would soak flannel in castor oil, place the flannel on my abdomen, cover it with cling wrap, and then put a heating pad on top of it and relax in the warmth for an hour. Castor oil can be used to treat cysts, fibroids, and adhesions from surgeries.
The Arvigo Technique is the abdominal massage developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo based on her ten year apprenticeship with Mayan shaman, Don Elijio Panti. Dr. Arvigo used what she learned about traditional Mayan healing and combined it with her knowledge as a doctor of naprapathy to develop the Arvigo Technique. I had never heard of Naprapathy before but according to Wikipedia it is “a derivative of osteopathy and chiropractic which focuses on the spine and subluxations. Naprapaths working with the spine emphasize the underlying ligaments.” I turned to Mayan abdominal massage while struggling with unexplained infertility but the technique can treat a variety of complaints including painful periods, a tilted uterus, and a prolapsed uterus. The Arvigo Techniques help to strengthen the ligaments holding the uterus in place and increase blood flow to the abdominal area. It is a holistic form of health care based on the belief that the abdomen is where we often store repressed emotions and the massage can release these emotions. I know that was true for me. In addition to seeing the physical benefits of the massage (my uterus moving back to where it should be), I also found that both the professional sessions and my self treatments helped to release a lot of the pent up anger and helplessness I was feeling due to my inability to get pregnant.
For me, alternative treatments were invaluable during my battle with infertility. Not only because of the very real physical benefits I saw from them but also because of the stress relief and emotional outlet they provided. I didn’t always feel like talking about how I was feeling but I needed a release for those emotions and the bodywork provided that. I believe that the alternative treatments I received, both the acupuncture and the Mayan abdominal massage, corrected some underlying problem that was never identified by mainstream medicine. It is the only way I can explain why after years of infertility I conceived naturally, without charting or trying, when my IVF baby was only five months old.
The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy website has more information about Mayan Abdominal Massage and a search engine to locate practitioners in your area. It seems to be little known, at least I hadn’t heard of it before I tried it and haven’t heard much about it since, but because it is noninvasive and so affordable in relation to other treatments I wish I had tried it when we first realized we were having problems trying to conceive.
To find out more about the practitioner that worked with me, Nicole Kruck who is now working out of the YinOva Center, please take a look at her website. It will provide a lot more details about Mayan Abdominal Massage as well as her contact details and information about other treatments she offers. I strongly recommend her if you are near NYC.
To read more about mainstream medical treatments please see “What is the Best Treatment for Unexplained Infertility: Clomid, IUI, and IVF?”