(descriptions below courtesy of The Barral Institute)
What is Visceral Manipulation?
‘Viscera’ refers to the internal organs of the body. Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. VM does not focus solely on the site of symptoms but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. The VM therapist feels for the 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.
What does it feel like?
VM is a soft, hands-on manual therapy. Underneath the pain or diagnoses 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, the 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.
Emotions are Stored in the Organs
It is well documented that our emotions have a great impact on how our body functions, and this is greatly due to how receptive organs are to our feelings. Different emotions affect different organs. Emotional reactions can translate into simple spasms in the gallbladder or heartburn, vomiting, feeling faint, ulcers, and serious diseases. When the brain receives negative emotions it sends tension to the related organ, the organ then sends tension back to the brain resulting in a vicious cycle. Conversely, a physically damaged or imbalanced organ can stimulate emotional upset. VM can break this cycle, enhance the health of the organ, and restore emotional balance.
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 motions. 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 a deep inhalation, they move 4 inches. In a day, they move over 1/2 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. This movement is important as it influences activities throughout the body from the tiniest cellular pulsations to the rhythmic contractions of the heart and blood flow. Optimum health relies on this harmonious relationship.
Organs lose mobility due to physical trauma, surgery, lifestyle, infection, pollution, diet, posture, pregnancy and such. 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.
Note from Sonja: My heartfelt gratitude goes to Jean-Pierre Barral, the Osteopath and Registered Physical Therapist from France, who developed the technique of VM and has been sharing his knowledge, skills and decades of research with Manual Therapists worldwide so that we may continue to help others enjoy the best quality of life possible. Thank you, thank you, to Jean-Pierre and the teaching team of The Barral Institute!!