Osteopathy and other systems of manual medicine have developed a variety of models for understanding the mechanics of proper and improper motion of the musculoskeletal system. In this important and pioneering work, that same structural vision is applied to the visceral system. The central premise of ‘Visceral Manipulation’ is that the interrelationship of structure and function among the internal organs is at least as strong as that among the constituents of the musculoskeletal system; and that, like the musculoskeletal system, manipulation of the viscera can be beneficially used in the treatment of a wide variety of problems affecting any of the body’s systems.
The Therapeutic Value of Visceral Manipulation
Visceral Manipulation (VM) was developed by world-renowned French Osteopath and Physical Therapist Jean-Pierre Barral. Comparative studies found Visceral Manipulation beneficial for various disorders.
Chest or Abdominal Sports Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Bloating and Constipation
Nausea and Acid Reflux
Women’s and Men’s Health Issues
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Fibroids and Cysts
Effects of Menopause
Chronic Spinal Dysfunction
Headaches and Migraines
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Peripheral Joint Pain
Sciatica & Neck Pain
Pain Related to
Post-operative Scar Tissue
Post-infection Scar Tissue
Anxiety and Depression
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
VM assists functional and structural imbalances throughout the body including musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urogenital, respiratory, digestive and lymphatic dysfunction. It evaluates and treats the dynamics of motion and suspension in relation to organs, membranes, fascia and ligaments. VM increases proprioceptive communication within the body, thereby revitalizing a person and relieving symptoms of pain, dysfunction, and poor posture.
An integrative approach to evaluation and treatment of a patient requires assessment of the structural relationships between the viscera, and their fascial or ligamentous attachments to the musculoskeletal system. Strains in the connective tissue of the viscera can result from surgical scars, adhesions, illness, posture or injury. Tension patterns form through the fascial network deep within the body, creating a cascade of effects far from their sources for which the body will have to compensate. This creates fixed, abnormal points of tension that the body must move around, and this chronic irritation gives way to functional and structural problems.
Imagine an adhesion around the lungs. It would create a modified axis that demands abnormal accommodations from nearby body structures. For example, the adhesion could alter rib motion, which could then create imbalanced forces on the vertebral column and, with time, possibly develop a dysfunctional relationship with other structures. This scenario highlights just one of hundreds of possible ramifications of a small dysfunction – magnified by thousands of repetitions each day.
There are definite links between somatic structures, such as the muscles and joints, the sympathetic nervous system, the visceral organs, the spinal cord and the brain. For example, the sinuvertebral nerves innervate the intervertebral disks and have direct connections with the sympathetic nervous system, which innervates the visceral organs. The sinuvertebral nerves and sympathetic nervous system are linked to the spinal cord, which has connections with the brain. In this way someone with chronic pain can have irritations and facilitated areas not only in the musculoskeletal system (including joints, muscles, fascia, and disks) but also the visceral organs and their connective tissues (including the liver, stomach, gallbladder, intestines and adrenal glands), the peripheral nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system and even the spinal cord and brain.