Based on abdominal massage techniques called ampuku in Japanese, belly massage consists of a series of manoeuvres at the level of the reflex zones of the organs of the abdomen. It aims to relax the areas showing resistance or tension and to promote a better circulation of digestive fluids, blood and energy in the abdomen.

Belly massage is a complementary approach to massage, in that it can be used with all the basic massage therapy techniques.


Developed by certified massage therapist Noémie Gélinas, belly massage, as taught at the Institut de formation en massothérapie du Québec (IFMQ), is first and foremost a well-being and relaxation treatment that focuses on the physiology and organs located in the abdomen.

Although it is generally included in a massage therapy session, it is also possible to practice the belly massage on oneself, as a self-massage.


Because it focuses on the abdominal area, belly massage has real benefits for the digestive system. Abdominal massage is also meant to be soothing, which can, to some extent, reduce stress, anxiety, anxieties, etc.

The approach shows several benefits, for example:

  • Soothing, relaxation and relief
  • Reduction of stress
  • Relief from certain gastric discomforts (e.g. bloating, constipation, etc.)
  • Improvement of intestinal transit


Belly massage should be avoided in the following situations (non-exhaustive list)* :

  • Fever and active infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver disorders, gallstones, stomach ulcers
  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in the inflammatory phase
  • Significant undiagnosed stomach pain
  • Recent surgery on the abdomen

It should be noted that the massage therapist always collects information from the client before starting the session. This information is used, among other things, to identify any contraindications to the massage. In doing so, the massage therapist can refer the client to the appropriate medical resource or adjust the treatment accordingly to ensure safety. 

*If you have a digestive system disorder, it is recommended that you obtain the approval of your doctor before receiving a belly massage. The approach is complementary and is not intended to replace medical expertise.


A massage therapy treatment that includes a belly massage can take place on a massage table or on a futon, depending on the technique used by the massage therapist. The manoeuvres are applied directly to the skin, with or without massage oil. They can also be performed over clothing or a sheet.

By means of a health questionnaire, the massage therapist will, among other things, find out about the state of the client’s digestive system (e.g. areas of discomfort, intestinal transit problems, etc.).

Through a wellness massage, the massage therapist will use the palms of his or her hands, fingers or thumb to apply gentle and progressive pressure on the organ reflex zones. Circular movements called rotational pressure will be applied to the resistances, which will promote the release of tissues and relaxation.

The duration of a belly massage may vary depending on the client’s needs and receptivity. Thus, the belly massage portion of a massage therapy treatment could last from 5 to 20 minutes.