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Traditional Abdominal Therapy Shows Modern Results

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

pregnancy massage

Ancient Central American technique is rapidly gaining acceptance among the medical community, and results for its patients

Monique Davis knows about pain. She has suffered from severe Scoliosis, nuerosystem problems, and Chrons’ Disease all her life; she would, at times, black out from the pain in high school.

Despite being skeptical of so-called alternative medicines, Davis eventually decided to turn to Mayan abdominal therapy as practiced by Joanna Yañez. Ms. Yañez, who began as a massage therapist and herbalist eight years ago, learning from traditional bodyworkers in addition to becoming a certified practioner in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage Therapy. Ms. Yañez has been practicing Mayan abdominal massage for close to three years here in the San Diego area, and for Ms. Davis, and others, the work has begun to pay invaluable dividends.

Although the benefits of Maya abdominal therapy have yet to be clinically tested, the methods are rapidly growing in acceptance among chiropractors, health clinics, and gynecologists as a effective way of increasingly fertility while decreasing miscarriages and reducing painful menstrual cycles, cramps, headaches, ovarian cysts, yeast infections and pain caused by Chron’s Disease.

The technique is non-invasive, and the therapy gently massages the internal organs, especially the uterus, into their correct place.

Ms. Davis was initially unsure of Maya abdominal therapy. “I had been going to hospitals my whole life,” she said.

However, two years after spending months in the hospital in 2010 with severe abdominal infections she began to experience a daily level of pain that jumped, “from a five or a six every day, to a level of seven of eight.”

This pain, and the prodding of her mother, brought her to the office of Ms. Yañez in November of 2012. She brought her boyfriend to the first few sessions, and at first, it was slow going. “I was hesitant to even let Joanna touch me, because of the amount of pain I was in,” Ms. Davis noted.

But after seeing Joanna weekly for four weeks straight, Ms. Davis noticed a significant difference. Ms. Yañez provided not only in room massage therapy, but combined these treatments with vaginal steams, as well as recommendations for home care, diet, and lifestyle changes that accorded with the Mayan traditions from which she draws.

Ms. Davis’s skepticism continued, especially in regards to the home care and castor oil packs Ms. Yañez recommended.

“The doctor told me the castor oils packs were an old wives tale,” Ms. Davis expressed, but she now sees clear results. “I never had those days before,” she said, “where I felt fine. And now, I’m having those days, and I’m going to keep working at it and feeling better.”

Ms. Davis in turn credits Ms. Yañez’s “incredibly gentle touch” and knowledge as crucial to her recovery.

“[Ms. Yañez] took my life and she made the quality of it better,” Ms. Davis says, “She gave me the tools to have fun and experience a good day without pain; a day when I can walk around, play with my friend’s kid, and not double over in pain, well, that’s a good day.”

Joanna Yañez, an alert and passionate young woman from Ramona, California, is the link between this ancient medicine and San Diego. Joanna is a third generation body worker who started offically practicing massage at age 19. Ms. Yañez traveled across Mexico absorbing traditional folk medicine and studied under Dr. Arvigo, undergoing rigorous training before returning to San Diego where she has been practicing traditional abdominal therapy for over 3 years.

Ms. Yañez and her mother who is also named Joanna, currently practice Maya abdominal therapy in the San Diego area. Appointments can be booked through Reproductive Wellness or Nature’s Whisper Yoga Studio. Ms. Yañez can be reached by phone at (619) 320-5253, or online at

--E. Debruin

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