Back in February, I went to Belize for the Arvigo Technique of Mayan Abdominal Therapy (ATMAT) Professional training (in case you are new here, I have been an Liscensed Massage Therapist since 2001!). Back in January of 2012, I took the introductory level training and it blew my mind. Since that first training, I have been OBSESSED with learning about the uterus and pelvic area. For the he last two years, I’ve done self-care massage to get my uterus back into proper position, as well as seeing other Arvigo Technique Mayan Abdominal Therapists for treatments. The results have been amazing for me.
You can click here to see more information about the services I offer, but for a quick head’s up, ATMAT can help women suffering with the following:
Painful or irregular menstrual cycles
Displaced or prolapsed uterus or bladder
UTIs or yeast infections
Miscarriages, difficult pregnancies
Enhances Pregnancy, aids in labor and birthing
Pain during intercourse
Low Back Pain
Incontinence/ Frequent urination
Gastro Esophageal Reflux (GERD)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Abdominal discomfort or pain
But what I love most about ATMAT is that it helps women heal, both emotionally and mentally, by releasing the “issues” on a physical level. The saying, “our issues are in our tissues” is no joke! This work has helped me so much in healing from past miscarriages and sexual trauma. All that sadness and shame I felt was trapped in my body, especially in my pelvic area, and this type of massage therapy releases it without me having to yap about it in traditional talk therapy for the rest of my life.
My training was so inspirational and restorative. I was in Belize for 9 days, learning, getting and giving massages, relaxing with new friends, and learning some more. One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Dr. Rosita Arvigo’s house, getting to meet her and learning all about rainforest remedies. It was a honor to meet her and learn directly from her. Mayans are big about passing on information in a sacred way, person to person, mentor to student, and I am grateful to be a part of this healing lineage. You are officially forewarned, lots of amazing natural remedies posts are coming later this year!
These are little ceramic vessels that you burn copal in to help clear the energy of a space. Copal is very similar to sage. I almost bought one of these, but I wanted to try and make my own in my ceramic class, we shall see if I regret buying one or not!
Flowers and herbs Dr. Arvigo picked right before class began. I was out taking pictures of the property before class started and I bumped into her. I got to watch her carefully and respectfully cut the flowers. She then asked me to hold the flowers she had already cut so she could have two free hands to move to the next plant. She stopped and paid full attention to how I was holding the flowers, to make sure I was being respectful and wasn’t going to squoosh the flowers. Part of the reason I was so drawn to her as a healer is because she is one the few people who really talks about the importance of talking to plants and truly treating them with respect. I always thought I was such a weirdo for talking to plants and giving thanks to them when they grew for me, but I was being respectful and present.
Then we got to go on a hike with her and learn about all kinds of trees and vines first hand. Nature never ceases to amaze me. I love the way you can visibly tell some of the healing properties of a plant by what it looks like, or what it is next to. For example, the Gumbo Limbo tree is bright red with peeling bark. So, what do you think that means it is good for? That’s right, a sunburn!
We got to visit two Mayan Temples during our trip, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. I have always wanted to visit a Mayan ruin and it was surreal to be at one after dreaming about it for so long. I highly recommend going to Belize for a family trip, it is a very affordable place to visit.
This local mama and baby stole my heart. So much love and sweetness between them.
To get to Xunantunich, we got on a hand-cranked ferry to cross the river. It is beyond crazy to me that they hadn’t built a bridge yet, but a local I talked to said they like it this way; it forces them to slow down and keep the pace of life not so hustle and bustle.
Before I left, we checked out several books about Belize from the library and she was very excited for me to get to see howler monkeys and jaguars. She gave me very specific instructions to take lots of pictures of the animals. This was the only jungle animal I saw, much to Penelope’s dismay.
On our way to downtown San Ingnacio. I have traveled to Costa Rica quite a bit and half expected Belize to be similar, but Belize is basically a third world country. It is always so shocking to see how other people live across the world, which is part of why I love traveling so much, it helps me keep things in perspective. After moving to Palm Beach County, I feel so poor compared to all the people here who drive Mercedes, live in million dollar homes and have yachts like people have pickup trucks in Tallahassee. But boy, I was singing a different tune after my trip to Belize and counting my blessings.
The Saturday morning market was a highlight of the trip for me. I could have taken pictures there all day long and not got bored. It reminded me of the souks in Morocco. I bought some amazing textiles to add to my collection: I have textiles hanging up from Argentina, Panama, Costa Rica, Morocco, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, and South Africa as decoration all over my house. Textiles are my absolute favorite thing to buy when I travel.
I met some amazing women who came to this training from all over the world. If you are in their area, please look them up and experience Mayan Abdominal Therapy for yourself. And if you are near South Florida, or want to travel, come see me!
Dr. Jessica Sweet, ND, LAC -Portland, Oregon *She came up with this blog post title, it made me laugh so hard I had to steal it.