Visceral manipulation is manual fascial release for restricted connective tissues around our organs for the purpose of restoring and promoting correct movement and function. Working with our organs is beneficial for several reasons. The general health and proper functioning of our organs is dependent on their free, unrestricted movement. Part of our organ mobility comes from our breath, our overall body movement and our nutritional and emotional health.
When we breathe, our diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle that divides our chest from our abdomen, moves down and up with each inhale and exhale. Full breaths mean the diaphragm descends completely, massaging and moving our organs down and forward; our organs then follow our diaphragm back and up as we exhale. Shallow breathing means incomplete descent of our diaphragm, and therefore less movement for our organs. Over time, reduced movement results in adhesion and mobility becomes less available; this results in sluggish function of our organs themselves, and restriction webs out to other areas of the body. This can be felt as a pull or pain in an area distant from our affected organs, such as the lower or middle back, shoulder or leg. Our overall body movement contributes to our organ health by providing regular compression and decompression, creating a pumping action that keeps fluids circulating, as well as continuously preventing the formation of adhesions. Sedentary lifestyle- too much time spent sitting, and often with incorrect posture- interferes with proper breathing, and restricts organ movement. Visceral manipulation therapy helps to free the organs from their restrictions and to restore correct movement and function.
When considering our mind-body connection, patterns can emerge that may demonstrate connections between particular emotions and organs. For example, stress and anxiety are strongly associated with our stomach, whereas depression may connect more with our liver. In conjunction with emotional awareness, regular movement, healthy breathing, and nutritional care, visceral manipulation can help to break the self-perpetuating cycle of organ restriction.