According to the principles of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, your uterus is magic – it’s the center of your power as a woman. I had only glancing knowledge of this modality via my Goop newsletter, after Gwyneth scandalized the Internet by talking about vaginal steams in public last winter. (Turns out, vaginal steams are pretty awesome.)
After suffering through years of awful PMS symptoms, I knew I needed to try something that would move the dial on my reproductive health. I’d already attempted every possible allopathic and hippie cure for my cramps, including herbs, homeopathic remedies and more — they helped a bit, but the treatments were still lacking.
Then, a few months ago, I began a course of Arvigo abdominal massage with my (brilliant and talented) certified Arvigo massage therapist Liza Roeckl in New York City. It’s been life changing for my reproductive health. The self-care regimen is incredibly empowering — and, surprisingly, deeply sensual. I began to wonder what effects, if any, this technique might have for women’s sex lives.
First, Liza explained what this specific kind of massage actually is: "A non-invasive, external massage technique which creates homeostasis — balance within, and hemodynamics — good blood circulation in the body. The Arvigo Technique improves the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems and the flow of energy throughout the body. The technique allows the uterus and digestive organs to return to their proper position, releasing physical and emotional congestion and improving health greatly."
I had no idea that the position of my uterus mattered, because gynecologists don’t consider a tipped or prolapsed uterus problematic — they think it’s all pretty normal and par for the course. But according to the Arvigo worldview, the position of the uterus is everything.
According to Liza, when a woman’s uterus is in the optimal position, "She is in her true power, which is also her sexual power. Medically, if a woman's uterus is in the optimal position, not leaning on her pubic bone or bladder, not in a retroversion, retro-flexion, anti-flexion or leaning to the right or left, she will be in better health overall."
I was really surprised to learn some of the reasons — everyday experiences women have — that cause the uterus to get wonky. Liza listed some of the reasons for me:
All of these normal daily activities can cause the uterus to be out of position. In addition, emotional armoring, because of abuse, rape or incest, can also cause injury to the uterus.
Liza also explained that chronic yeast infections and other vaginal infections can actually be due to an out-of-position uterus. She says, "Opportunistic organisms that live in the tissue cause uterine infections and vaginal infections. You're supposed to have space between the cervix and your vagina for the circulation of all these fluids, but when the uterus is out of position, an infection can result." Aha!
But I was still curious about how uterine position affects a woman's sexuality.
According to Liza, all of the improper uterus positions can cause pain during intercourse — sex is uncomfortable for many women because the uterus is out of position. She added, "If a woman is having really bad periods and back pain and hormonal issues, and she's not feeling well, she's not going to feel sexual. If you know your cycle, you're much more grounded and you feel in charge of your own health and body." This resonated with me — I am generally not in the mood to boink when PMS-ing like a mad beast. I'd rather lie back and stream every episode of Californication on Netflix. (However, orgasms are great for cramps.)
Liza also explained that, "Getting your body back into a neutral position will help you release the tension that you're holding. If a woman is really getting to know her body, and taking charge of herself by doing self-care, she's going to have better boundaries. She will know what kind of partners she truly desires and would really like to be with."
She also told me the story of a client who'd had a major emotional shift after her first session, and later said, “I had such a deep emotional conversation with my partner, and we talked about so much stuff we couldn't face, and we had the most beautiful lovemaking.” Another client of Liza's who is in her 40s and had lost the sensation in her breasts got it back after just two sessions.
What about orgasms? I, of course, wondered.
According to Liza, "If you're already having orgasms, with Arvigo, you might begin to orgasm more mindfully. If a woman if suffering from fibroids, if there are injuries to the sacrum — all of these can cause women to not be able to orgasm. Arvigo can loosen the tightness and tension around these points."
And for women dealing with fertility issues, Arvigo helps to reduce painful ovulation, failure to ovulate and weak ovulation. It's basically magic. Liza taught me the self-care technique, which is basically your Arvigo homework. I do it every night with a bit of jojoba oil and have come to love how nurtured and sensual it makes me feel.
All in all, Arvigo can treat a multitude of “feminine” complaints from cramps (as in my own case) to fibroids, infertility, varicose veins, PMS, digestive issues, difficult labor, post-pregnancy care, chronic miscarriage, polycystic ovary syndrome, menopause symptoms and more.
Bonus: Liza totally un-Goop-ified the whole vaginal steam thing for me. She explained that vaginal steaming is one of the best treatments for bloating associated with your monthly cycle — and treats yeast infections and speeds healing after birth, amongst other benefits. So, consciously uncouple yourself from the idea that vaginal steaming is only to be made fun of and consider trying it at home. It’s super easy.
If you’re interested in experiencing a session with a trained Arvigo therapist, you can find a local practitioner here.
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