“Viscera” relates to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys and intestines. Visceral manipulation (VM) is a gentle manual therapy that aids the body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. VM does not focus solely on the site of pain or dysfunction, but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. A VM therapist feels for altered or decreased motion within the viscera, as well as restrictive patterns throughout the body and then applies VM techniques. VM therapy re-establishes the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
VM is a soft hands-on manual therapy. Underneath the pain or diagnosis is a compensatory pattern created in the body with the initial source of the dysfunction often being far from where the pain is felt. Because of this, a VM practitioner searches for this pattern and the source, and treats the related tissues. The treatment is a gentle compression, mobilization and elongation of the soft tissues. As the source of the problem is released, the symptoms will start to decrease as the body returns to greater health. This could take several days to occur after the VM treatment. As each person’s situation is different, the number of visits will vary. Many people experience significant improvement within three to five therapy sessions; others may require additional treatment.
The 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). The organs are in perpetual motion. When a person breathes, walks and stretches, their organs move in their chest and abdomen. This movement of organs is transmitted through fascia to other structures of the body. When healthy, all the structures move with an interconnected fluidity. All of this movement is important as it influences activities throughout the body from the tiniest cellular pulsations to rhythmic contractions of the heart and blood flow. Optimum health relies on a harmonious relationship between the motions of the organs and other structures of the body.
There are many reasons for an organ to lose its mobility: physical traumas, surgeries, sedentary lifestyle, infections, pollution, bad diet, poor posture and pregnancy/delivery. When an organ is no longer freely mobile but is fixed to another structure, the body is forced to compensate. This disharmony 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, to name a few.
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