In the same way that a wine or tea taster can pick up a variety of flavours lost to most of us, or that a good farmer will know which sheep in a flock is not well, a skilled practitioner of visceral manipulation can determine the precise location in the body to start work in order to unravel the myriad of symptoms that people present with.
Motion is a sign of life itself, our bodies need movement to be healthy. This same principle applies to every structure in our body, for an organ to be healthy and have optimal function it needs to be able to move within its environment, to slide and glide in relationship to all the other tissues without restriction.
A restriction, fixation or adhesion to another structure, no mater how small, implies functional impairment of the organ. When a range of motion becomes restricted due to illness, injury, surgery or trauma, the body is forced to compensate for this lack of movement. In time this can create a domino effect with the rest of the body and be the cause of a seemingly unrelated issue, for example lower back or shoulder pain, knee issues, carpal tunnel or tennis elbow and headaches.
Visceral manipulation is a manual therapy consisting of gentle, specifically placed manual forces that encourage normal mobility, tone and inherent tissue motion of the viscera (the organs), their connective tissue and other areas of the body where motion has been impaired or restricted.
Founder of this wonderful therapy, French osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral (D.O.) says the purpose of visceral manipulation is to “recreate, harmonise and increase proprioceptive communication in the body to enhance its internal mechanism for better health.”
The science of visceral manipulation is the in-depth anatomical knowledge that every practitioner is constantly building upon and refining. The art and center of visceral manipulation is the “listening” evaluation techniques to find the dysfunctional and restricted areas in the body. These are the spaces which move much less than the healthy tissues and around which the body will compensate.
As Jean Pierre Barral rightly said, “Let the body speak” and “Only the tissues know”.