Visceral Manipulation

Gentle Hands-on Treatment to Eliminate Chronic Pain from Organ Immobility

What is Visceral Manipulation (VM)?

The internal organs of your body are referred to as viscera.  Visceral organs include the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, kidneys, gall bladder, heart, etc.  Visceral manipulation is an extremely gentle manual therapy.  VM is designed to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that may cause physical pain and dysfunction.  VM involves gentle compression, mobilization, and elongation of the soft tissues.  Many people experience a significant improvement from visceral manipulation in under five sessions while others may require more time.  Unlike other therapy treatments that are applied two or three times weekly, visceral manipulation techniques to a specific organ are only rendered one time per week.  Ultimately, this allows the body to utilize the treatment to restore it’s natural movements and rhythms.

How Can Organs Cause Pain and Dysfunction?

When you examine the organs of the body, you learn they are not fixed structures within the body like a thumb-tacked note on a bulletin board.  Visceral organs have many fascial connections and those organs need to move with the movements of your body.  This movement is referred to as the mobility of the organ.  For example, as you raise your right arm, not only does your shoulder raise up, but the liver must also rise due to the soft tissue connections they mutually shared.  Another example of how visceral mobility can cause movement restriction is to imagine the presence of scar tissue around the lungs.  As you attempt to breathe, the pull of scar adhesions affects the movement patterns of other nearby structures, such as the ribs or the vertebrae of the spine.  This alteration of movement may lead to mid-back and neck pain as well as limited motion in the shoulder.

Because the fascial wrappings of your organs are essentially one big continuous piece of connective tissue, restrictions in one area can manifest as symptoms in other areas.  A good analogy is to wear a relatively tight T-shirt and twist a piece in one corner up into a knot.  You will likely see and feel the pull from your lower left abdomen all the way up in your right shoulder; this same concept effectively happens inside you.

What is the Origin of Visceral Manipulation?

Visceral manipulation originates from the work of French Osteopath and Physical Therapist, Jean-Pierre Barral.  Information from his website states that he became interested in the movement of the body while working at the Lung and Disease Hospital in Grenoble, France with Dr. Aunaud, a recognized specialist in lung disease and a master of cadaver dissection.  Barral’s clinical work with the viscera led to his development of this form of manual therapy that focuses on the internal organs, their fascial environment and the potential influence on the body’s structure and physiological dysfunctions.  Barral continues to pass along his knowledge and training to numerous body workers at the Barral Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Visceral Manipulation(VM)?

Many people stumble upon visceral manipulation after traditional therapies and medicine have failed to help them with their pain.  Several of our physical therapists have been trained at the Barral Institute and utilize visceral manipulation as one of method of treating a variety of conditions.  We use visceral manipulation skills to evaluate and treat the dynamics of motion and suspension in relation to the organs, membranes, and ligaments.  VM can increase proprioceptive communication within the body, thereby revitalizing a person and relieving symptoms of pain, dysfunction, and poor posture.

Conditions that can benefit from the use of Visceral Manipulation include:

Acute Disorders
Whiplash, Seatbelt Injuries, Chest or Abdominal Sports Injuries, Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injuries

Digestive Disorders
Bloating and Constipation, Nausea and Acid Reflux, GERD, Swallowing Dysfunctions

Women’s and Men’s Health Issues
Chronic Pelvic Pain, Endometriosis, Fibroids and Cysts, Dysmenorrhea, Bladder Incontinence, Prostate Dysfunction, Referred Testicular Pain, Effects of Menopause

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Somatic-Visceral Interactions, Chronic Spinal Dysfunction, Headaches and Migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Joint Pain, Sciatica

Pain Related to
Post-operative Scar Tissue, Post-infection Scar Tissue, Autonomic Mechanisms

Pediatric Issues
Constipation and Gastritis, Persistent Vomiting, Vesicoureteral Reflux, Infant Colic

Emotional Issues
Anxiety and Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Sources

http://www.barralinstitute.com

http://www.whythingshurt.com/what-is-visceral-manipulation-an-integrated-part-of-physiotherapy/