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Visceral manipulation (VM) was founded by French osteopath Dr Jean–Pierre Barral. It is a gentle and unique manual therapy.

Barral studied how patterns of stress within the visceral system had potential to cause lines of stress within the body.

The term “visceral” refers to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, stomach, kidneys and intestines. It also includes connective tissue, such as fascia, nerves and vascular systems, circulation.

Visceral manipulation is a hands on therapy, with a specific goal of improving functioning of the body by facilitating normal motion patterns within the organs and tissues, to allow the body to function at an optimal level. It is a gentle but precise therapy that is not at all painful. Visceral manipulation aims to focus on aiding the body to release restrictions, or unhealthy compensation movement patterns that may cause pain or dysfunction.

The human “3D” body is made up of many interconnected systems and tissue (blood, lymph, muscle, nerves, and organs) all encased in a hard frame, the skeletal system.

All of this is cleverly designed to flow and work in harmony, although often something causes this to malfunction which may lead to restriction of movement and subsequent pain. e.g. Scar tissue has its own tension which can often impact on free movement and cause tension pain over and around a scar area. When you breathe, your organs move in your chest and abdomen, even the kidneys may move up to four inches with a really deep breath. Chronic lung infections can affect surrounding structures and can show up perhaps as rib pain, back pain or limited movement within the shoulder region.

Visceral manipulation uses gentle and specific forces to encourage normal movement, and tone of the organs, their supporting structures, such as fascia, nerves, and blood vessels. Other factors, such as emotional issues may also be addressed as the whole person is treated.

Our emotions have a great impact on our health. Often we have a physical reaction to an emotional issue. Digestive disorders or neck pain can often show as physical reactions to stress, for example.

Jean Pierre Barral: “visceral manipulation is not about forcing a correction on the body. It gently releases restrictions, and lets the body take over in order to self-correct, realign, and restore health. VM is about treating the patient as a whole, not just treating the symptoms.”

How can Visceral Manipulation help Me?

raining of Barral practitioners is done through the Barral Institute as a postgraduate modality.

Practitioners come from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as osteopaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, medical doctors. Trained practitioners will use gentle techniques that include gentle compression, mobilisation, and elongation of the tissues.

During the treatment it may feel like the therapist is contacting the body at a very deep level, and although at times this may feel strange, it is not invasive or painful.

These manipulations can improve the functioning of individual organs, and the whole body. As the source of the problem is released, the related symptoms will start to decrease as the body returns to greater health. These changes often continue several days after treatment.

In general, most people should start to see change after a few sessions. Some problems will change more quickly than others depending on the condition and how long it has been there. We are all unique and adapt to treatment differently.

Barral institute: “Time magazine has named Jean–Pierre Barral as one of the top health innovators to watch in the new millennium”

There are many issues that visceral manipulation may benefit:
  • chronic musculoskeletal pain.
  • headaches and migraine.
  • sciatica.
  • back, hip and knee pain.
  • Repetitive strain injuries.
  • whiplash and other physical trauma.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • post surgical pain and scarring.
  • acid reflux and heartburn.
  • digestion and constipation.
  • women’s health issues such as chronic pelvic pain, and bladder function
  • mens’ health issues such as prostate dysfunction and bladder function.
  • babies and children’s issues, such as reflux, colic, digestive pain, asthma.
  • emotional issues, such as anxiety and depression.