Visceral Manipulation

two hands abdomen vibration massage on woman

Visceral Manipulation

by Cora Nieuwenhuis, RMT, Registered Massage Therapist

In combination with Myofascial therapy, I also perform a type of therapy called Visceral Manipulation. Similar to Myofascial Release, Visceral Manipulation is a form of treatment that deals with the mobility of the internal organs (viscera). Connective tissue not only surrounds the various organs but also creates the framework (stroma) of each. Applying the knowledge of mechanical properties of connective tissue/fascia to the visceral is virtually the same as within the musculoskeletal system. The principles of the techniques remain the same. When treating restrictions of the viscera it is important for the therapist to recognize its tissue sensitivity, physiology, shape and relationship to other structures. It is not uncommon to find restrictions of the organs presenting as musculoskeletal dysfunction, especially after trauma, chronic stress or even indigestion. Often our symptoms of pain and decreased range of motion are attributed to an isolated area, however, the fascia or connective tissue knows no boundary within the body, therefore, restriction can spread throughout tissue layers and into “seemingly” distant areas. Very subtle techniques as well as patient positioning and breathing are used to engage and encourage the organs to release holding patterns. If restrictions are present within or around the viscera and are a part of a musculoskeletal dysfunction, the body will never fully heal until the visceral restriction has also been addressed. Some common restrictions that I treat are restrictions in the diaphragm from altered breathing patterns (this restriction will usually include restrictions in rib mobility and imbalances in respiratory musculature) and intestinal restrictions (digestive disorders, constipation and stress can all impact our intestines).

Read Related Article: Myofascial Release Therapy

Characteristics of Visceral Manipulation

Relaxation *

Therapeutic ****

Intensity: Minimum – Mild

Lubrication: No

Undressing: Yes

Tip: Less Likely

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