An Introduction to Visceral Manipulation – Massage Therapy

Visceral manipulation has been around since prerecorded times and refers to the manipulation of the organs (viscera) of the body. While gentle and intuitive, this type of treatment is very effective in releasing chronic restrictions. 

A modern form of visceral work was developed by a French Osteopath / Physical Therapist Jean-Pierre Barral, who became interested in the implications of manipulating the viscera through his experience in a hospital specializing in lung disease treatment and his experience treating spinal restrictions by treating the organs. He is responsible for a method of assessment that follows a line of tension in the body to locate the primary restriction or the main cause of dysfunction.

This type of assessment enables the practitioner to determine more accurately the root of the problem rather than just treating the areas of symptoms. As a Massage Therapist, my training was heavily focused on the external structures of the body: the muscles, bones, joints and external fascia, which is only part of the picture. We are also filled with information about organs and deeper layers of fascia that can have a huge impact on the external structures.

Our bodies have their own normal state and when you experience injuries or traumas (emotional or physical) the damage can cause restrictions, adhesions and scar tissue around the organs in order to protect and prevent further injury.

If you think about it, our organs are very vulnerable structures and the muscles and external frame will go to many lengths to prevent injury or ‘baby’ an area that is injured or adhered. As the body tries to compensate, it can cause a snowball effect and lead to pain, reduced range of motion or problems with the efficiency of the organs themselves.

Releasing these restrictions and addressing the injury of the internal structures will allow the muscles and frame to readjust to their normal position, reducing the strain on not only the organs themselves, but also the muscles, bones and joints that have compensated to protect the vulnerable area.

Visceral Manipulation therapy is effective for treatment of many conditions, including but not limited to: acute disorders such as whiplash, chest or abdominal sports injuries; digestive disorders like bloating and constipation, nausea and acid reflux, GERD; women’s and men’s health issues including chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, fibroids and cysts, dysmenorrhea, bladder incontinence, prostate dysfunction, effects of menopause; emotional issues like anxiety and depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For further information on how Visceral Manipulation can help you, please feel free to contact me at the clinic or visit www.thebarralinstitute.com. 

— Article provided by RMT, Lisa Schneider