Benefits of Abdominal Massage and the use of Essential Oils

When contemplating a massage, the abdomen may not be the first area that comes to mind. However, abdominal massage has a rich history spanning centuries and cultures and boasts numerous health benefits. This often-overlooked practice has been demonstrated to not only alleviate stomach complaints and enhance digestion but can fortify the body’s immune function.

Abdominal massage is a gentle form of massage concentrating on the muscles surrounding the abdomen, and it employs various techniques that are both painless and non-invasive.  This therapeutic approach extends beyond mere relaxation, offering relief from an array of symptoms such as constipation, bloating, and muscle tightness. The positive impact of abdominal massage is not confined to physical well-being alone; it extends to mental health, providing relief from pain and anxiety associated with the stomach, digestive system, and reproductive organs, including the pelvic floor.

The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda has a strong focus on Nabhi massage, which literally translates as wheel, centre or naval.  Warm oil, often medicated with herbs depending on your dosha, is applied to the area around the belly button.  The area is massaged in a clockwise direction, following the path of the large intestine, travelling up the right side of the abdomen, across and then down on the left side.

Stomach massage is also rooted in ancient Chinese medicine and has been used for centuries to detoxify the body and enhance digestive health. Emotional stress often manifests in the gut, and abdominal massage aids in reducing tension, promoting emotional healing, and resulting in fewer digestive complaints. Tongmai Tiaoshen Chinese abdominal massage has also been shown to improve sleep quality in chronic insomniacs.  The gentle pressure applied in a clockwise motion stimulates muscle relaxation, leading to improved digestion and a reduction in issues like gas, bloating, and cramping.

Benefits of abdominal massage

  • Alleviating constipation

Clinical trials demonstrate that regular abdominal massage can improve chronic constipation by increasing bowel movements and decreasing colonic transit time.  Abdominal massage is also very safe and effective to use on babies and children who are suffering from constipation.

  • Reducing PMS pain

Abdominal massage can be very beneficial for women experiencing pain and dysmenorrhea symptoms, mitigating pain, cramping, bloating, gas, and indigestion. By reducing muscle spasms, relaxing the stomach and pelvic floor muscles, and improving overall mood. Abdominal massage offers relief from abdominal and pelvic discomfort associated with menstruation, ovulation, and reproductive conditions.

  • Boosting immune health

A significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut, with an abundance of lymph cells and a healthy gut contributes to overall health and immunity. Abdominal massage stimulates the areas around the lymphatic ducts and helps to propel immune cells into the blood stream to combat viruses and diseases.

  • Improving posture

The abdominal muscles play a crucial role in the core muscle group, impacting posture and susceptibility to injury.  Tight abdominal muscles can result in a change of posture due to the constant contraction of a muscle.  Abdominal massage can help to loosen tight muscles and increase strength in weak muscles.  Regular abdominal massage can enhance elasticity, fluidity, and enhance range of motion.


Various essential oils can also be added to a carrier oil to enhance efficacy; the following are good choices for abdominal massage.

Ginger oil
Ginger can be used to soothe a stomach internally; however, it can also be applied topically to reduce bloating.

Chamomile oil
Chamomile is very soothing and calming and not only eases cramping pain but can also reduce bowel inflammation.

Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil can help to reduce the symptoms of bloating and help to eliminate gas.  It can also calm the muscles reducing cramping pains.  Peppermint can also be drunk as a tea to help with bloating.

Cumin oil

Cumin oil is used for pain, cramps, and detoxing.  It can help with IBS symptoms like diarrhea and constipation.  Avoid exposure to sunlight and avoid whilst pregnant.

Fennel oil

Fennel can help with digestive ailments including constipation.


When you perform abdominal massage and employ a range of soothing and comforting techniques, such as deep strokes, skin rolling, wringing, and kneading, you will find it can help balance the body in several ways… leaving you feeling relaxed and well!

What are “practitioner-only-products”?


It can be confusing. Some “practitioner-only” brands are only available through qualified health care practitioners. Others are more easily available.

The idea behind the “practitioner-only” designation is simple. The majority of “practitioner-only” brands focus on producing higher quality, more potent products. Such products are manufactured to maximise impact and effectiveness, and therefore should only be accessed under the supervision of a qualified health professional.

Naturopaths and nutritionists for example, are trained in herbs and nutrients. They understand how the ingredients will affect you. Taking advice from a health professional on what products to take ensures safety risks are minimised and products are appropriate for your individual health needs.

This is not to say all “retail” products are inferior.



What does this mean? Practitioner products are generally of a higher quality, and more potent, but how is this defined? Within both the broad retail and “practitioner only” categories, quality can vary significantly due to many factors including active ingredients, encapsulation, dosage, molecular weight, excipients used, conditions a plant is cultivated in and supporting evidence (1). To keep things simple we’re going to focus on 3 key areas:

  • Ingredients
  • Bioavailability
  • Excipients



Along with the importance of co-factors and ingredients being at a therapeutic dose, mineral absorption and bioavailability may be enhanced by the form the mineral comes in. Chelated minerals are minerals bound to a chelating agent which is designed to enhance their absorption in your body. An amino acid chelated mineral is a mineral (like calcium) that has been molecularly attached to an amino acid. Common amino acids used to make mineral chelates include aspartic acid, lysine and glycine. In general, animal studies indicate that chelated minerals are absorbed more effectively (2).



Bioavailability is influenced by many factors from both the host (human) and from the supplement itself. Bioavailability refers to how efficiently your body can use a nutrient.  The commonly accepted definition of bioavailability is the proportion of the nutrient that is digested, absorbed and metabolised through normal pathways.

It has also long been recognised that gut microbes contribute to the biosynthesis and bioavailability of vitamins and nutrients.  Maintaining a healthy gut is vitally important for proper nutrient synthesis and absorption as the gut microbiota synthesises certain vitamins and nutrients (1).

Bioavailability is also influenced by other factors including diet, nutrient concentration, nutritional status, health, and life-stage (3).



Excipients selected for product formulation vary across the pharmaceutical and complementary medicine industries. The role of the excipient should not be underestimated, particularly when it comes to generic pharmaceuticals. A number of pharmaceutical excipients are known to have side effects or contraindications. For example, excipients may make up to 90% of a product formulation and may be synthetic or sourced from plants or animals (4).

Depending on the medication/supplement type, excipients may be nil to low. Powders and capsules generally require fewer excipients than tablets due to binding and coating ingredients required for a tablet.

Each excipient serves a specific purpose for the proper performance of the supplement dose and form, i.e. capsule, tablet, powder or liquid.


Effectiveness and accessibility 

As practitioner products are generally more potent, this lends itself to supervised use under the instruction of a qualified health professional. As such, practitioner only products are not as accessible to the general public. Indeed practitioner only products are designed specifically for dispensing by a healthcare professional in accordance with section 42AA of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (5).


How can I access “practitioner only products”? 

If you are not currently working with a healthcare professional, you can find a practitioner here via platform.



1Pressman P, Clemens RA, Hayes AW. Bioavailability of micronutrients obtained from supplements and food: A survey and case study of the polyphenols. Toxicology Research and Application. January 2017.
2Goff JP. Invited review: Mineral absorption mechanisms, mineral interactions that affect acid-base and antioxidant status, and diet considerations to improve mineral status. J Dairy Sci. 2018 Apr;101(4):2763-2813. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13112. Epub 2018 Feb 4.
3Michael, Hambidge. (2010). Micronutrient Bioavailability: Dietary Reference Intakes and a Future Perspective. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 91. 1430S-1432S. 10.3945/ajcn.2010.28674B.
4Haywood, A., & Glass, B. (2011). Pharmaceutical excipients – where do we begin? Australian Prescriber, 34(4), 112–114.
5Australian Government. Department of Health. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Australian regulatory guidelines for complementary medicines ARGCM. Version 7.2, February 2018.[Internet] [ cited 2021. September 12th]. Available from:


Natural Medicine Week – Practitioner Webinar Recordings 2020

Natural Medicine Week – Practitioner Webinar Recordings 2020

During Natural Medicine Week 2020 our accredited practitioners across different types of Ingestive Therapies, Bodywork & Massage and Chinese Medicine came together to present online events in celebration of a natural approach to health and wellbeing.

If you missed any of these fabulous events, don’t worry – they also recorded their webinars, sessions and Q and A’s so you can watch them at your own leisure.

START WATCHING NOW – check out all the links below!

And a huge THANK YOU to all our practitioners for taking the time to support Natural Medicine Week in 2020 and sharing their therapies

TO WATCH – Click  on the URLs below. 

“From Invisible to Invincible” – The Natural Menopause Revolution

Presented by Jennifer Harrington, Clinical Director / Naturopath – Menopause Natural Solutions

The Brain- Gut- Hormone Connection
How stress influences Gut Health and Hormone Balance

Presented by Jacqui Watts – Healthful Wellness ( & Danielle Elliott -Tummy Rescue (


Endometriosis? Why You Should Remove Gluten and How

Anne-Marijke Gerretsen, the Endometriosis Nutritionist – Eat Well Live Well

The Ketogenic Diet – Is It Right For You?

Sonya Reynolds, Nutritionist & Life Coach, Studio-You


Homeopathy for sleep disorders

Christina Boyd, Homeopath, Holistic Kinesiologist, Switch on Health

Natural therapies for Hormonal Skin Conditions

Deanne Apostolou, Medical Herbalist & Iridologist, Switch on Health

Natural Remedies for Pain

Sally Maizey, Naturopath & Homeopath, Switch on Health

Natural Medicine for Low Thyroid Function

Carol Hannington, Naturopath, Switch on Health

Switch on Health is the only ATMS accredited college to offer non-Bachelor qualifications in Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, and Naturopathy, and the only college in Australia offering an accredited course in Homeopathy. You can study from home in your own time at your own pace.  The courses are fully tutor supported and flexible payment plans are available.  Sample course content can be viewed for free at our learning platform:


The Gut-Brain Connection Webinar

Rachel Aldridge, Naturopath – In Natures Hands


All Disease Begins in the Stomach

Adam Tate, Practitioner of Traditional Medicine, Medicine Traditions


Cuppa with a Kinesiologist

Marney Perna –

Anika Brizuela –

Madonna Guy –

Molly Brumm –  

Vanessa Worn –

Zoie Andrews –


Benefits of Kinesiology

KinesiAlice – Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Therapy

Kinesiology and Anxiety

KinesiAlice – Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Therapy

Kinesiology and Depression

KinesiAlice – Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Therapy

Kinesiology and Sleep

KinesiAlice – Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Therapy

Kinesiology and Kids

KinesiAlice – Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Therapy


7 Secrets to Success – how to beat burnout, stress & overwhelm for good!

Kristie Hayden

For the first to know about the next Natural Medicine Week – sign up to our newsletter – click here! 

#naturalmedicineweek – natural medicine, a natural choice

Aromatherapy – Lymphatic Massage Treatments

Selection of aromatherapy oils

The essential oils used in Aromatherapy are distilled from plants which are specifically selected for their medicinal properties.  These essential oils carry a variety of health benefits ranging from assisting with headaches, respiratory ailments, skin disorders, muscular and join pain, insomnia and poor sleep quality and mood are just a few.

Studies have shown that Aromatherapy promotes the release of our four Neurotransmitter chemicals – Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin and Endorphins, better known a our ‘happy/feel good chemicals’.  Serotonin is our natural mood stabilizer as well as the chemical that helps our sleeping and digestion.  Dopamine is released when a pleasurable event is happening, such as eating desired foods or receiving a massage.  Oxytocin is released by touch. Several studies have shown that though touch, as in massage,  not only increases Oxytocin but can also reduce cardiovascular stress and improve the immune system.  Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body and they can relieve pain and stress.

Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption using products such as diffusers, inhalers, clays and masks.  The most effective and beneficial is through skin absorption by way of massage using carrier oils, balms, salves and creams all of which incorporate Essential Oils.

Aromatherapy blends can be designed based on the season. Currently with the Autumn chill I am incorporating a blend of Star Anise, Peru Balsam, Ginger and Buckthorn essential oils to support the immune system. Each element adds to the overall blend. Star Anise is a warm spiced oil which contains Thymol, Terrpineol and Anethole which are often used medicinally for colds and flu. Peru Balsam has a sweet and warm vanilla like aroma with a subtle hint of cinnamon, it helps to calm nervous tension and promotes a tranquil environment. Ginger adds a warm and spicy element and is invaluable in Lymphatic Massage for its anti-inflammatory effect. Buckthorn Berry is rich in Omega three, six and nine and assists the skin by promoting smoothness and radiancy.

I have a passion for Aromatherapy and have used it for almost 3 decades. Beginning in 1991 when I started my Skin Care and Cosmetics business to 6 years ago when I incorporated Aromatherapy in my massage treatments.

By using the combined techniques of Lymphatic Drainage with Aromatherapy and Remedial Massage as required, it is possible to stimulate the vital functions of the skin tissue and internal organs as well as also eliminating cellular waste and toxins.