What is Visceral Manipulation?
Viscera relates to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Visceral manipulation is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. Visceral manipulation does not focus solely on the site of pain or dysfunction, but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. The therapist assesses for restrictions within the fascia of the abdomen, as well as restrictive patterns throughout the body.
How do organs contribute to pain and dysfunction?
Your body is made up of many interrelated components: bones, muscles, nerves, a thin connective tissue called fascia, as well as internal organs (viscera). Your organs are in perpetual motion. 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. In a day, they move ½ mile. That’s around 19,000 miles in a lifetime!
This movement of organs is transmitted through fascia to other structures of the body. When you are healthy, all the structures move with fluidity. Organs lose mobility due to physical trauma, surgery, lifestyle, infection, inflammation, posture, and pregnancy, among other causes. When an organ is restricted and fixed to another structure, the body is forced to compensate. This creates abnormal points of tension, and chronic irritation gives way to functional and structural problems throughout the body.
Imagine scar tissue around the lungs; every breath requires movement, but the scar tissue alters the normal pattern. This could shift rib movement, creating pulls on the spine which result in mid-back and neck pain, and limit shoulder movement. This scenario highlights just one of hundreds of possible ramifications 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.