A global or whole body approach to care includes visceral manipulation. Visceral manipulation is a type of manual therapy practice, performed by an experienced therapist, where the therapist moves and releases restricted fascial issues in the body’s abdomen and pelvic region. Our internal organs are mostly supported by tissue called fascia and pleura. The whole thing is a sealed system under pressure that squeezes all our organs tightly together; each organ is wrapped in its own pleura and bathed in a small amount of fluid. Because of this tiny amount of fluid, organs and other structures are able to slide and move around their neighbouring organs. Visceral manipulation helps promote the normal movement and function of the internal organs. Visceral manipulation is a link that helps bridge a more cohesive understanding of the body coupling musculoskeletal system (including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back) and just how connected everything really is.
Different conditions such as abdominal surgery, pregnancy, blunt-trauma (car accidents, sports injures, and falls), jarring injuries, infection and emotional behaviours can all affect the mobility of our organs and/or viscera. The pressures in this system can be negatively affected, creating an inability of the organs to slide and move around in their close quarters, thus affecting the body’s ability to move and function optimally. Shear forces can spawn tearing and the formation of scar tissue. Our body tries its best to protect our vital organs during extreme force, and unfortunately, as a consequence, the formation of restrictions can occur, resulting in pain. Essentially, fascia is a large, continuous piece of connective tissue, wrapping around our organs, creating restrictions or blockage in one area that might manifest as symptoms in other areas.
Many clients have come to realize just how powerful visceral manipulation can be as a treatment modality. It can be the missing piece of the puzzle for many clients with stubborn and persistent pain issues. The treatment itself is often painless, and a light touch of manual therapy is all that is required for the therapists to really know their anatomy. Performed often in conjunction with other forms of manual therapy and movement training, it makes most conditions treatable by conservative means. Your therapists will consider a possible driving force behind their client’s pain could be coming from something inside their body that might be more challenging to get at than just treating the muscles and ligaments.