Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation (Viscera meaning organs and manipulation meaning movement is a highly specialized technique requiring depth in anatomical knowledge, highly developed palpation and manipulative skills.

Thanks to the dedicated work of Jean-Pierre Barral, a Physiotherapist (RPT) and Osteopath (DO), healthcare practitioners today can use the rhythmic motions of the visceral system as important therapeutic tools. Visceral Manipulation is used to locate and solve problems throughout the body. It encourages your own natural mechanisms to improve the functioning of your organs, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance mobility of the musculoskeletal system through the connective tissue attachments, and influence general metabolism.

Visceral Manipulation is based on the specific placement of soft manual forces to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. These gentle manipulations can potentially improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body.

Visceral Manipulation: Benefits

Visceral Manipulation is used to restore normal motion to your body’s organs. The therapy increases circulation to your affected parts and gives your body a push to restore organ function on its own. It can also relieve stress and improve your general metabolism. Visceral Manipulation is a very relaxing technique, and it can benefit your well-being in many ways. Results can include:

  • Improved and balanced organ function…decreased organ toxicity
  • Improved range of motion and freedom of movement
  • Improved posture
  • Ease of chronic back and joint pain
  • Ease of tension and stress
  • Faster healing of injuries and strains
  • Improved digestion
  • Fewer infections
  • Relief from headaches and migraines
  • Improved serotonin levels which helps to enhance mood
  • Improved vitality

Visceral Manipulation: Why It Works

To really understand why visceral manipulation works, we must first understand adhesions. Adhesions are areas of thick connective tissue/fascia which join and hold anatomical structures together which should otherwise be free to slide and glide on one another. Adhesions form as a natural part of the healing process and help to limit the spread of infection. Unfortunately, adhesions can become overly interested in healing and cause tissues to grow into each other causing many different complex inflammatory disorders. Visceral manipulation is a non-surgical approach to releasing adhesions of internal organs.

Visceral Manipulation allows therapists to locate adhesions and solve organ related problems throughout the body whether they are functional or structural. It encourages the body’s own natural mechanisms to improve the functioning of organs, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance mobility of the musculoskeletal system through the connective tissue attachments, and influence general metabolism.

By gently monitoring the motility and possibly manipulating the viscera and connective tissues of the body with soft and specific manual force, the organs, the systems within which the organs function and the structural integrity of the entire body will begin to ease, function and move more freely.

A client recently came in complaining of mid to low back pain and an inability to lie on his sides. I asked him to bend forward and we discovered he was unable to do so without significant pain. This led me to palpate his abdomen and discover that it was rock hard and tender to the touch. Upon questioning, the client stated he had had stomach issues years prior. Further palpation revealed that the stomach and intestines had almost no mobility and were somewhat stuck to his back muscles. Using visceral manipulation, I was able to gently release both the stomach and the intestines after which the client rolled onto his side and breathed a sigh of sweet relief.

Visceral Manipulation: History

Visceral Manipulation has existed as a form of treatment in Europe and Asia for many thousands of years. It was widely used by medical doctors in the late 1800s to treat many diseases, but as new technologies and treatments were discovered, the practice became less prevalent. It never fell completely out of favor, however, and in 1985 French osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral introduced it to the United States. Today it is considered an effective alternative therapy.