My Life Moves

For your belly

Your belly is really important. It is where your energy starts.

There are many little ways to help you keep it in good working order. Read on to learn which is the best essential oil for your belly, how to do a self massage and even the mineral that relaxes your intestines…

MARJORAM OIL Origanum marjorana is commonly known as marjoram. Its name derives from “major” meaning greater, as it was thought in ancient times to confer a greater life span. The aroma of marjoram is warm and slightly peppery, and because of its relaxing properties we also recommend it for other health issues. Marjoram is one of the best essential oils to use externally for constipation. We have also experienced its effective use for “nerves in the tummy”, when the belly is tight due to emotional stress and anxiety. The dosage for a belly massage should be around 1 drop of essential oil per 20 drops of any base or carrier oil,  such as Jojoba or Almond Oil. Apply the oil on the belly and massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction before bedtime, every night until the symptoms improve. Marjoram oil should not be used during pregnancy, and for children, use only one drop of essential oil for at least 40 drops of base oil. Keep in mind that while we use aromatherapy to support the healing of an existing health issue, it is not in itself a cure. We order our oils from Robert Tisserand; their website also offers some interesting tips and advice on the best use of essential oils.

PEPPERMINT TEA Mentha piperata, or peppermint, has been widely used for thousands of years for its digestive properties, including its beneficial action on the liver, stomach and intestines. It is helpful in treating colic, diarrhea, indigestion and vomiting because of its antispasmodic action. We recommend you drink one cup after a meal, as a digestive infusion; please do not confuse this with fresh mint tea, which will not give the same benefits. The absolute best peppermint tea, in our opinion, is from Marie de Mazet, organic and gathered by hand in the Cevennes countryside in France; luckily for us, her website is also in English. Bear in mind that the shipping is costly, but in our opinion it is well worth it.

MAGNESIUM Magnesium is a mineral that is found in the body and it is of great importance for our overall health. Here we refer only to magnesium in its use as a laxative for constipation. Magnesium is a general muscle relaxant, and it has a de-contracting effect in the stomach and intestines, therefore it is often used as a food supplement to reduce constipation and any symptoms when the belly is tight due to stress. You can obtain magnesium naturally from leafy greens, seeds and nuts, bananas and avocados, but if you feel really “stuck”, try 200 mg of Magnesium before you go to bed for a month. Not only it will gently encourage your bowels to move, but thanks to its relaxing properties it may also improve your sleep…We use BioActive Magnesium from Pharma Nord.

MASSAGE As a highly experienced Shiatsu therapist, Emile has his own opinion on massaging the belly: “If I get a client who has stomach or intestinal problems, I will not touch their belly directly. Depending on the problem, on whether it is stagnant or over-reactive, I will work on the relevant meridians (stomach, spleen, large intestine meridians…) which run along the arms, legs, and back…” As he underlines, therapeutic massage for belly troubles doesn’t always mean the area has to be massaged directly. However, for certain issues such as constipation, gas and stagnation, a gentle abdominal massage in clockwise direction can work wonders, especially if you use one of the recommended essential oils such as marjoram, peppermint or chamomile. You can do this yourself, making sure you are gentle and you use the palms and base of your hands and not the fingers, while breathing deeply in the area. Avoid putting too much pressure, especially under the sternum (located in the center top part of your abdomen). Make big clockwise circles along the outside of your abdomen for around 5 minutes, or until you feel that your belly is slowly relaxing. If your belly starts making noises, that’s a great sign!

ACUPUNCTURE In Amsterdam we are very lucky to have Dr. Wang, a lecturer and associate professor of acupuncture. Dr. Wang carefully places his needles along the correct points and meridians that stimulate or calm the energy of a particular organ, be it the stomach, liver or the small/large intestine. I have personally experienced the immediate effect of a well-placed needle on the center-line of my abdomen, as my belly started to make friendly, gurgling sounds shortly afterward. Acupuncture can help you with practically every digestive problem, but do choose your therapist wisely. Make sure he or she is fully qualified, preferably associated with a university and with at least 10 years of experience. Acupuncture does have an effect on the body, so when it comes to this technique dating from at least 6000 years BC, you don’t want to be in the hands of beginners.

SMALL PORTIONS When the digestive system is not working properly (this includes the stomach, the small and large intestine, liver, gall bladder and pancreas), overloading it with a lot of food and drinks is only going to make things worse. In fact, this rule is not only applicable to people with digestive problems, but to everyone (excluding some athletes who need to increase their caloric intake). The French have done it for years. While they eat everything, including steak and frites, the quantities consumed are moderate…and we all know about the health and small waists of the French!

In addition, when we eat smaller quantities we feel less tired, as the body doesn’t have to use a lot of energy trying to digest a large feast. So, if you’d like to spark up your metabolism, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your tummy–give your body a break and give yourself a smaller serving!


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