Jean-Pierre Barral, a French Osteopath, developed Visceral Manipulation (VM). Named one of TIME Magazine’s Top Six Innovators for Alternative Medicine to watch in the new millennium his technique is often cited as a missing link in the treatment of recurring pain. The technique this uses manual therapy for postural distortions and biomechanical dysfunction.
What is Visceral Manipulation?
The organs of the body (ie; liver, kidneys and the intestines) makeup the “viscera.” Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle hands on approach that helps your body release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. VM also evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. The Visceral Manipulation therapist feels for change within the viscera, as well as patterns throughout the body, and then applies Visceral Manipulation techniques. Ultimately, this re-establishes the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
What Does Visceral Manipulation Feel Like?
Visceral Manipulation is a soft, hands-on manual therapy. A pattern is created in the body underneath the pain or diagnosis. But, the initial source is often far from where the pain is felt. Because of this, the practitioner searches for this pattern and the source, and then treats the related tissues. The treatment is a gentle compression, mobilization and elongation of the soft tissues. Therefore, the symptoms will start to decrease as the source of the problem is released and the body returns to greater health. However, this could take several days to occur after the treatment.
How Can Organs Cause Pain and Dysfunction?
Your organs are in constant motion because your body is made up of many interrelated components such as bones, muscles, nerves, a thin connective tissue called fascia, as well as the internal organs (viscera). So, when you breathe, walk, and stretch, your organs move in your chest and abdomen. For example, when you take a breath, your kidneys move one inch; and with deep inhalation, they move 4 inches.
It’s All Connected
Through fascia, this movement of organs is transmitted to other parts of the body . When you are healthy, all the structures move fluidly. That’s why all of this movement is important as it influences other activities throughout the body. In order to achieve optimal health there must be a good relationship between the motions of the organs and other structures of the body.
How Could This Happen To Me?
There are many reasons an organ can lose its mobility: physical traumas, surgeries, sedentary lifestyle, infections, pollution, bad diet, poor posture and pregnancy/delivery, etc. The body is forced to compensate when an organ is no longer freely mobile, but is fixed to another structure. This compensation creates fixed, abnormal points of tension and the chronic irritation gives way to functional and structural problems throughout the body – musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urinary, respiratory and digestive, just to name a few.
Imagine scar tissue around the lungs. The pull of the adhesion would cause the movement patterns of the nearby structures to be altered with every breath. This could shift rib motion creating pulls on the spine. These restrictions might then show up as mid-back and neck pain, as well as limited motion in the shoulder. This scenario highlights just one of hundreds of possible outcomes of a small dysfunction – magnified by thousands of repetitions each day. This also explains how pain can often be far removed from the actual cause.