Maya Massage: A Healing Practice Every Woman Should Know

My first experience with Maya Abdominal Massage left me feeling rested, connected, and curious about the origins of this unique treatment.
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My first experience with Maya Abdominal Massage left me feeling rested, connected, and curious about the origins of this unique treatment. Known today as Arvigo Maya Massage, after Rosita Arvigo, Dr. Arvigo developed the technique in part from her 10-year apprenticeship with Don Elijo Panti, heralded by the New York Times as "The last Maya master healer in Belize."

Don Elijo taught the abdominal massage to Rosita Arvigo, who carried it into the modern world as a complete package of healing. She brought to it more than 30 years of training and experience in massage, naprapathy, herbology, and spiritual healing, creating a holistic approach to healing that addresses a host of physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses.

In her book Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body & Replenish Your Soul, she details numerous Mayan remedies applicable to our modern day. The exhaustive list includes menopause, migraines, asthma, warts, toothaches, infertility, and diarrhea, to name a few. Many are extremely-simple teas that can be made from fresh plants or dried herbs. Contraindications are listed as well, so you know when not to use it. Herbal baths and homemade poultices are outlined, as well as her personal stories of treating people with unique complaints.

A little-known benefit of Maya abdominal massage is its ability to enhance fertility and correct a prolapsed or tipped uterus. Even if you're not trying to conceive or don't have a problem with fertility, you quite possibly could be among the 75 percent of women who have a prolapsed uterus [1].

Here's why:

The uterus is held in position by muscles and ligaments that connect it to the pelvis. These uterine ligaments are designed to stretch as a baby begins to grow or as our bladders/bowels become full [1]. When these ligaments and muscles become weak and loose, they can no longer hold up the uterus correctly. The result is a prolapsed or tipped uterus. The uterus can fall into any number of incorrect positions [1].

Many women are told that a tipped or prolapsed uterus is no big deal. In fact, it is a big deal. When the uterus is incorrectly aligned, the normal flow of blood and lymph are constricted and can disrupt nerve connection. The circulation of blood to the uterus, ovaries, bladder, and bowel is blocked. [1]

The Maya believe a woman's center is her uterus. "If a woman's uterus is out of balance, so is she," says Don Elijo Panti.

Also called a "wandering womb," a prolapsed or tipped uterus can be corrected by Maya abdominal massage. This external, noninvasive massage strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months to get the uterus to slide back into place. [1]

I was surprised to learn not only that the majority of women are walking around with a prolapsed uterus and don't even know it, but also that the causes of a prolapsed uterus are things modern women are doing all the time.

Here's a list of just a few of the activities that can cause a prolapsed or tipped uterus:

  • falls
  • car accidents
  • overstretching during pregnancy/labor, resulting in weakened ligaments
  • running on concrete
  • chronic constipation
  • high-impact activities like dancing, aerobics, horseback riding, or gymnastics
  • wearing heels

Maya massage is not just for fertility. It's also beneficial to women who have had hysterectomies, men, and children. In men, the abdominal massage ensures a full blood supply to the prostate, preventing swelling and inflammation. It can help also help relieve premature ejaculation and the need to urinate frequently. It is a wonderful way to naturally regulate and improve painful periods. [1]

That's right. Periods are not supposed to be painful.

Maya massage also encourages self-care, which is a simple abdominal massage one performs at home to keep the muscles and ligaments in their new, healthy position. After years of being positioned incorrectly, muscles will naturally move back into their incorrect positions if not maintained. [1]

The Mayans believe that many human emotions are stored in the abdomen. They aren't alone in that belief, as many cultures focus on the abdomen as a source of healing and power. Thai massage and Chinese medicine have specific treatments for the abdomen. The abdomen is also home to three of the six main chakras in Kundalini Yoga; Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, and Manipura.

In addition to physically releasing deep tension and refreshing the blood flow to muscles and organs, Maya massage also reopens blocked energy paths and can release blocked chi, or life force, that has accumulated due to pent-up emotions. [1]

The words of my Maya masseuse regarding a woman's relationship to her uterus rang true to me: "Love is made here. Life is made here."

As women, and even as humans, we often reach outside of ourselves for fulfillment, connection, love, or contentment. I'd suggest there is a powerhouse of energy stored in our abdomens, physically and emotionally. Reconnecting with the source of our being, of who we are, what we're capable of, and the gift of being a woman can inform our lives on a grand scale.

When you go for your first Maya massage, you will likely receive a Vaginal Steam Bath. Unusual as this may sound, it's noninvasive and involves merely sitting on a chair over a bowl of steaming herbs. The steam bath introduces healing heat to the uterus and is an effective treatment for many female complaints as well as good preventative care.

Finding a local Maya masseuse will vary depending on your location. In my county, there are only two. In other areas, it's a more popular treatment and is widely available.

If you're interested in learning more, visit the website of Rosita Arvigo here or read one of her many books.

Please share any comments or questions below!


1. Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body & Replenish Your Soul, by Rosita Arvigo & Nadine Epstein

Monique Minahan is a writer, yogi, and lover of life. She's inspired by nature's simplicity and the healing power of love. She finds true liberation in living life fully from the inside out. Her intention is to offer her heart to the world through words that motivate, inspire, and encourage. Connect with her at

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