Womens Healthcare Workshop held

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 3            January 30, 2003

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Dr. Rosita Arvigo with student instructors

A number of women from San Pedro witnessed the wonders of Maya medicine this week as Dr. Rosita Arvigo conducted the first-ever Maya Medicine & Women's Healthcare Workshop on the island. Dr. Arvigo, a well-known author, healer and Belize botanist from the Cayo District, spent three days instructing women in the techniques involved in self-care external massage, and the various methods used to correct and prevent uterine and menstrual problems in women.

    Twelve individuals attended the three-day workshop held at the Belize Yacht Club. The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage address the position and health of the pelvic and abdominal organs. This work is best known for the correction of the prolapsed, fallen, or tilted uterus, and for the prevention and treatment of benign prostate enlargement in men. Dr. Arvigo learned these techniques as a ten-year apprentice to the great Maya shaman of Belize, Don Eligio Panti who passed away in 1996 at the age of 103. She also studied with Hortence Robinson, a 73-year-old herbal midwife of Belize who has been delivering babies since she was 13. Rosita has spent the last thirty years studying and teaching Maya medicine of which Maya Abdominal Massage is an integral component. In turn, two student instructors of Dr. Arvigo's, Kimberly Hart and Briar Harvie, accompanied and assisted her with the workshop.

    Dr. Arvigo stated that Don Eligio believed that a woman's uterus is her "center" often saying, "If a woman's uterus is out of balance, so is she." Dr. Arvigo explained: "Normally the uterus leans slightly over the bladder in the center of the pelvis, about one and a half inches above the pubic bone. It is held in this position by muscles, the vaginal wall and ligaments that attach it to the back, front, and sides of the pelvis. Uterine ligaments are made to stretch to accommodate a growing fetus inside it and to move freely when the bladder or bowel is full. The ligaments and muscles can weaken and loosen, causing the uterus to fall downward, forward, backward or to either side. A uterus in any of these positions is called tilted or prolapsed. Modern medicine has little or nothing to offer women with this problem. Generally they are told, "Your uterus is tipped, but that is normal and don't worry about it." Yet women have a large list of physical and emotional symptoms that can be addressed and prevented with these simple, non invasive massage techniques.

    When reproductive organs shift, they can constrict normal flow of blood and lymph, and disrupt nerve connections. Just a few extra ounces sitting on blood and lymph vessels can wreak havoc throughout the different systems in the body. By shifting the uterus back into place, homeostasis, or the natural balance of the body, is restored in the pelvic area and the surrounding organs. Toxins are flushed and nutrients that help to tone tissue and balance hormones are restored to normal order. This is essential for healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery. Old adhesions from invasive treatments to the pelvic and abdominal area, including fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and Caesarean delivery are diminished when addressed by uterine massage. In addition, digestion, urinary and bladder problems can be helped. This type of massage is also helpful in increasing blood flow to the pelvic region for men."

Benefits for Women and Men

    Dr. Arvigo and others believe that untold numbers of hysterectomies and Caesarean births could be prevented with Maya Abdominal Massage. Women who have had hysterectomies benefit greatly from this simple, safe, easy-to-learn massage technique as well. The technique improves circulation in and around the area of the scar and allows for proper flow of the lymph, which often becomes blocked after surgery, resulting in swelling, burning and deep aching pains in the pelvis. When done properly, external massage strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries.

    Men benefit greatly from Maya Abdominal Massage techniques as well. By ensuring a full blood supply to the prostate, the abdominal massage helps to prevent swelling and inflammation. Men report that they can feel a distinct difference in blood flow after a treatment. Not only does the massage relieve prostate swelling, it helps alleviate varicose veins, premature ejaculation, some impotency problems and the need to urinate frequently.   

    Using this technique, the upper abdomen is also given a deep, thorough massage to loosen the tight muscles around the stomach and the arteries that feed the digestive and eliminative organs with vital blood supply. As a result, those with chronic stomach problems are helped by this massage.

    Dr. Rosita Arvigo was born in the early 1940s on the north side of Chicago. She earned her degree in Naprapathy from The Chicago College of Naprapathy in 1981, graduating with high honors.Naprapathy is a system of manipulation that is known for treating damage to the body's ligaments, including those along the spinal column, between the joints, and at the uterus. It ensures a free flow of arterial, venous, nerve and lymph to the tissues and organs of the body.

    In addition to Dr. Arvigo's work as a naprapathic physician, she is a master herbalist with over 20 years of field and laboratory research experience. She is a recognized authority on Maya healing techniques and medicinal plants. During her workshop she taught the medicinal and restorative qualities as well as the practical use of many of the plants found in Belize.

    Dr. Rosita Arvigo is the founder and director of Ix Chel Tropical Research Foundation in San Ignacio, an organization dedicated to the preservation and study of medicinal rainforest plants. During the workshop, she explained, in detail, the applications and use of these herbal remedies. She worked for nine years with Dr. Michael Balick of The New York Botanical Garden to collect medicinal plants for research at The National Cancer Institute and is the founder and president of The Traditional Healers' Foundation in Belize, which works to support and sustain these healing traditions.

    Each participant received a Maya Abdominal Massage. Those attending described the workshop as educational, practical, useful and fun. One woman commented, "I would recommended this for women who want to be in touch with their own bodies and who are interested in taking responsibility for their own well-being and good health. Special thanks to Vickie Campbell for arranging this for the women of the island." The workshop ended with the participants taking part in a spiritual demonstration of meditation, songs and prayer.

    Anyone interested in additional information or future workshops may contact Dr. Rosita Arvigo at 820-4031 or visit her website at arvigomassage.com.

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