By: Erin Ziprick, RMT
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to travel down to Mexico to participate in a massage course. Not only did I get to enjoy the sandy beaches and beautiful oceans for two weeks, I was also in the presence of amazing Massage Therapists who inspire me with new treatment techniques.
The instructor truly has a unique approach to massage therapy as it was he who introduced me to Visceral Manipulation. For those of you who aren't familiar with Visceral Manipulation, I will do my best to explain more about it.
Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a manual therapy that focuses on internal organs (visceral), their environment and potential influences on structural dysfunctions. It evaluates and treats motions in relation to organs, membranes, fascia, and ligaments. With applying a gentle manipulation and specific hand placement of manual forces, it helps to encourage normal movement of the connective tissue and viscera. (Barral, J)
Visceral Manipulation was developed from a French osteopath and Physical Therapist named Jean-Pierre Barral in 1971. VM was introduced to the United States back in 1985 and since then he has trained a team of International Teachers who continue to teach around the world. Jean-Pierre is continuing research and development in this area as well as maintaining a full-time practice. (Barral, J)
Areas of the body affected from dysfunction of the viscera:
* Musculoskeletal System
* Vascular System
* Nervous System
* Urogential System
* Respiratory System
* Digestive System
* Lymphatic System
How can Visceral Manipulation help you?
If you are unsure if Visceral Manipulation is right for you, feel free to contact the clinic for more information regarding the treatment. The following are common scenarios where VM can help you;* Motor Vehicle Accident related injuries (ie. Whiplash, seat belt injuries)
* Digestive Disorders (ie. Bloating, constipation, nausea, GERD)
* Women and Men’s Health Issues
* Musculoskeletal Disorders (ie. Headaches/Migraines, chronic spinal dysfunction)
* Pain related to post-operative scar tissue
* Poor posture
* Sport Injuries
Using the technique correctly can help relieve pain, decrease dysfunction and improve functioning of the entire body.
What to expect with treatment:
A VM treatment would be incorporated into your regular massage treatment. Depending on the area of concern, there would be undraping of the abdomen with a towel to cover your chest. Usually the treatments are over skin or sheets but the comfort of the client comes first and can always be adapted to client’s comfort level. Communication is key between the therapist and client. The movements are gentle and subtle so having that open communication and trust is important.
Who can practice VM in your community?
A wide variety of health care practitioners can perform VM including osteopathic, chiropractics, physicians, naturopathic doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists and other licensed body workers.
In the 4 years that I have been practicing Visceral Manipulation, I have seen changes in people who would normally not see any differences. For example, a few years back, a middle aged women with chronic lower back pain came into my office. She was frustrated with the constant pain of moving around and everyday life. During the massage she revealed to me that she had a medical history of 3 C-sections. I then left 15-20 minutes before the end of her massage to do some direct treatment to her surgical scars and abdomen. Believe it or not, but she felt immediate change and releases that all referred into her lower back. It was a humbling experience that I was able to give her that relief. Depending on the situation and medical history, everyone may experience different side effects and benefits. The results do vary but this was one women’s perspective and I was happy to be able to help her the best I could.
If you were still unsure that this form of therapy or you or had more questions, please feel free to book an appointment and we can do an assessment or send me an email.
Barral, Jean-Pierre, Pierre Mercier. Visceral Manipulation. Eastland Press, 2005. Print
Posts inspired by the team at Platinum Health & Wellness.