Visceral Manipulation is a gentle manual therapy that treats motion restrictions in the organs, such as kidneys, bladder, lungs, etc. Muscles are attached to our skeleton through soft tissues such as fascia and membranes. Just as with our joints and spine, healthy function of the viscera requires that they move in their optimal range of motion, such as our colon bending with us when we bend forward.
In addition to being able to freely move with their fascial and membranous connections, each organ has some amount of internal motion (such as the lobes of the lungs being able to move independent from each other) that they need to be able to do to their full range. Motion restrictions in any of our viscera (organs) can result in decreased function, as well as create tension in the surrounding soft tissues, joints, and nerves.
Physical traumas, accidents, surgeries, infections, poor posture, and stress from repetitive motions can cause an organ to lose the slide and glide that is characteristic of healthy, full motion. When an organ is restricted in its full range of motion, its health can decline, and patterns to compensate for this often emerge in the body to protect the viscera. A tight hip, for instance, might come from lack of mobility in the intestines or pelvic organs which requires the body to tighten the muscles around the hip to keep the organs from being overstretched.
Because the compensations can be far from the source, the entire body is evaluated to find the root of the restriction. Treatment of the viscera involves gentle compression, mobilization, and stretching of the organ as well as the surrounding soft tissues.
The number of sessions needed varies, with people often noticing improvement in three to five treatments.