Visceral Manipulation

How Visceral Manipulation Stimulates Whole-Body Health


You’ve probably had a massage to relieve neck pain, back pain, or muscle tension. But what about a massage that goes much deeper in your body?

Visceral manipulation (VM) is sometimes referred to as organ massage. “Viscera” refers to the internal organs of the body. Using gentle manual therapy, a registered massage therapist, or Osteopath will massage the abdomen and release tension stored up around your internal organs.


History and Research

French osteopath and physical therapist Jean-Pierre Barral created the visceral manipulation technique in the mid-’80s. According to the Barral Institute:

“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.” 

The idea behind visceral massage is to create whole-body wellness that doesn’t overlook the role of organs in your body’s systems. Your soft tissues, bones, nerves, and blood vessels are all interconnected, along with your visceral organs. All of these structures of your body may be subject to tension that can cause issues, but visceral organs are often overlooked as a potential way to relieve chronic symptoms and issues.

When he was researching VM as a technique, Jean-Pierre Barral found that connective tissue around the body’s organs can tighten, causing major issues in other parts of the body. Like craniosacral massage, visceral manipulation can help improve the body’s overall function by releasing compression and restoring movement.

VM can also help prevent tissues and organs from adhering to each other, which can cause a range of conditions and issues. Finally, it can prevent inflammation due to trauma, stress, toxins. 


What Relief Does VM Offer?

Visceral Manipulation has been found to offer a range of benefits. Therapeutic Body Concepts clients come to us seeking VM treatment for various reasons, including:

  • Digestive disorders such as chronic constipation and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Tension, headaches, and migraines
  • Visceral fascial constriction caused by scar tissue from abdominal surgery or c-sections 
  • Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
  • Chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Acute disorders and sports injuries


How Many Treatments Do You Need?

As with many types of therapeutic massage and osteopathy treatments, every person has different needs. Some people may experience major benefits in just a few sessions, while others will require multiple treatments and ongoing VM therapy before the full effects are felt. Many people choose to have VM in addition to other massage therapy treatments. Your health history and primary symptoms, or ailments will help a therapist assess and determine your full treatment plan. 

Be sure to speak with your family doctor or health care professional to ensure VM is safe for you, especially if you’ve had a recent abdominal surgery. Although VM can often help with healing after these surgeries, it’s important to ensure treatment isn’t applied too early.


Visceral Manipulation in Edmonton 

Therapeutic Body Concepts’ West Edmonton and South Edmonton Massage clinics offer visceral manipulation services for clients looking to relieve pain, stress, tension, or chronic issues. Some of our registered massage therapists and osteopaths are experienced in VM and maintain a strong focus on whole-body health to help our clients live their best lives. Call today to book an appointment or learn more about visceral manipulation from an experienced practitioner.

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