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Visceral Manipulation

Visceral manipulation is a whole body treatment that addresses the deeper internal restrictions of the body. This deeply-held tension can affect your overall function, causing muscular, neural and postural distortions, dysfunction and resulting in pain or even injury.

The word "viscera" refers to the internal organs of the body such as the stomach, liver and kidneys. Visceral manipulation and neural manipulation are gentle hands-on-therapies that locate and release points of tension within and around the organs or body that are preventing them from optimal function.

Visceral manipulation can also be called "organ-specific fascial mobilisation", as it is carried out by mobilisation of the connective tissue (fascia) around the organs.

Fascia occurs throughout the whole body. It can be thick and strong like a tendon that attaches a muscle to a joint. Or it can be more elastic such as organ fascia, which gives the organs the mobility they need to move to the extent required for good health.

An optimally functioning liver, for example, should move up to 30,000 times a day.

How Can Visceral Manipulation & Neural Manipulation Help Me?

Visceral Manipulation and neural manipulation helps to both prevent and correct any restrictions of such movement, which would soon create other problems in the body, like musculoskeletal and nerve pain. Research shows that some 90% of all musculoskeletal problems have a visceral (organ) component.

When you are healthy, all of the different structures move with an interconnected fluidity. Organs can, however, lose their mobility for a number of reasons, such as physical trauma, operations, infections and pollution.

Organs that are no longer freely mobile become fixed to other structures and the body is forced to compensate. This disharmony creates abnormal points of tension which cause functional and structural problems throughout the body – musculoskeletal, vascular and respiratory to name but a few.

Our aim with treatment is to identify altered neural function or decreased motion within the viscera and other restriction patterns and then use specific techniques to address these dysfunctional patterns.

The body has a magnificent ability to adapt to stress to protect itself, but these adaptations can cause dysfunction and symptoms over time.

Visceral manipulation and neural manipulation address causes of the body’s dysfunctional patterns and starts the process for the body to create healthier movement patterns.

Visceral and neural manipulation is designed to aid the body’s ability to release these restrictions and unhealthy compensations. The entire body is evaluated to find the source of the problem.

We feel for altered or decreased motion within the viscera and nerves as well as restrictive patterns and then softly compress, mobilise and elongate the soft tissues and nerves.

Common Problems Treated With Visceral Manipulation & Neural Manipulation:

Studies have confirmed the benefit of visceral manipulation and neural manipulation for the following issues according to the Barral Institute.

  • Digestive disorders such as bloating, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, swallowing dysfunction
  • Post-operative scarring
  • Sports injuries or restrictions
  • Chronic back pain
  • Hip, knee, shoulder, elbow and wrist pain
  • Whiplash
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Women's and men's health issues
  • Fibroids and cysts
  • Emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression
  • Chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, infertility
  • And many more

Symptoms & Source

Musculoskeletal pain and tension are often secondary to a restriction of movement related to the viscera. The pathway connecting the restriction to the client's symptoms can be vascular, neurological, mechanical, or stem from an offset in the natural balance of pressures.

The list is unlimited, but here are a few examples to give you an idea of how a client's symptoms can be due to a visceral restriction in an entirely different location:

  • Right side neck and shoulder pain, due to a restriction of the liver via a neurological referred pain pattern.
  • Pelvic pain originating from a restriction of the left kidney, which in turn slows the rate of venous return, creating pelvic congestion.
  • Bladder prolapse from a thoracic surgery years ago, which disrupted the balance of pressures between the thorax and abdominopelvic regions.

Sometimes a chronic restriction will affect the stretch and pressure receptors of the tissues in such a way that the brain will not receive the proper messages and the central nervous system will “forget” the affected area.

Our manipulations stimulate the local nervous system. Overtime this may recreate the normal afferent/efferent cycle and functioning.

The Cranium

Working with the cranium is an integral part of Visceral Manipulation. Traumatic injury can lead to restrictions of the brain, membranous attachments, cranial bones, their sutures and cranial nerves.

The brain is highly sensitive to any variation in pressure. It is richly supplied with arteries and veins, therefore intracranial pressure changes can have both vascular and cerebral consequences.

By gently interacting with the cranial pressure, fixations can be released.

It is believed that these manipulations, through their action on intracranial pressure, can influence the electromagnetic fields produced by the brain and its glial cells.

Working with the cranium is also a powerful way to integrate the treatment through the whole body.

The brain and organs are intimately connected via the nervous system and when the brain receives negative emotions, signals tend to be sent to the related organ and in turn the organ sends signals of tension back to the brain, resulting in a vicious cycle of stress and tension.

Is Visceral Manipulation & Neural Manipulation For Me?

Most people will benefit from visceral manipulation, even without a specific complaint that needs resolving.

Successful resolution is about finding the areas of restriction that are specific to you, then allowing them to release in the way needed for your body to be healthier. This means, visceral manipulation and neural manipulation is for anyone who wants to feel better in themselves.

Nicola is the only practitioner in Cornwall currently practicing visceral manipulation and neural manipulation.

Contact Nicola if you'd like to know more about how visceral manipulation and neural manipulation can help you, or to book an appointment.

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