What is Visceral Manipulation Therapy?
Visceral Manipulation is a branch of Osteopathy involving manual therapy towards specific organs. Many times, our aches and pains originate from internal organs in distress sending pain signals through the nervous system. This form of therapy works to address these pain sources. An osteopath will identify and work with an organ in distress in order to release its tissue restrictions. As a result:
- the organ can move more freely
- the area receives an increase in blood circulation
- and pain sensations decrease
Often times, treatment of an organ also leads to lifestyle considerations that may have led to the restriction in the first place. Ultimately, these changes lead to improved performance of the organ, a greater sense of well being and less pain.
What is this treatment for?
Visceral dysfunctions are actually behind a large majority (an estimation of 90%) of complaints due to the connections throughout the body. For example, liver problems can cause neck pain due to the phrenic nerve connecting the two. In addition, stomach issues can cause occipital headaches (felt at the back of the head) due to the vagus nerve connection. Another example, kidney problems can lead to lower back pain due to the lumbar veins. Therefore, addressing and manipulating the organ can relieve the pain (if the organ is part of the cause).
Therefore, visceral manipulation can potentially help with:
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain – Low and High Back
- Foot Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- And many more
Visceral manipulation benefits many people including those that have sought other treatments looking exclusively at the muscles and skeleton but have yet to relieve their problem.
For example, a marathon runner is complaining of upper back and neck pain. A potential cause is placing too much stress on the respiratory system that leads to inflammation. Vitally, the runner would then need to periodize their running schedule to allow for recovery of the respiratory system while improving peak competitive performance. They may also benefit from dietary anti-inflammatory changes as well as medicinal herbs to promote healing of the respiratory tract.
Also see the other common osteopath treatment Craniosacral Therapy.