What exactly is Visceral Massage?
Visceral massage concentrates on the organs with the primary emphasis usually on the abdomen. The objective is to reduce stress, increase connective tissue mobility, and enhance digestive function.
Visceral massage is a gentle, hands-on manual therapy method performed by Physical Therapist’s that is used to help your internal organs (viscera) glide smoothly within your body. It can be used to treat abdominal pain, constipation, cramps, indigestion, and much more.
Visceral massage treatment consists of gentle, specifically placed manual forces that encourage the normal mobility, tone, and inherent tissue motion of the viscera and their connective tissues.
“Abdominal/visceral motion can be impaired for multiple reasons, some of the most prominent being inflammation from infections, IBS, leaky gut, or trauma from accidents or surgery.”
Tissues lose their normal motion when they become inflamed, leading to restriction of normal blood and nutrient flow to the organs/tissues. Many factors can cause tissue inflammation including infections, direct trauma such as a fall or car accident, repetitious movement, poor diet, altered postures, scar tissue following surgery, environmental toxins and emotional stress.
The number of sessions it takes to see results varies from person to person. Based on your diagnosis and treatment needs, your Physical Therapist will be able to determine what is best for you. Many patients experience improvements in just a few sessions.
The Goal of Visceral Massage
For an organ to be healthy and have an optimal function, there needs to be motion. If an organ does not have optimal motion it can cause complaints such as neck, mid-low back pain, and stiffness/pain in the joints of the spine or extremities. Visceral massage treats a person's functional and structural imbalances with an aim to affect their musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urogenital, respiratory, digestive, and lymphatic dysfunction.
The goal of visceral massage is to restore the inherent motion of each organ and synchronize the organs’ motion to re-establish the brain-body connection. This restoration leads to improved bodily/organ function and decreased pain.
Restrictions of organ movement can cause pain and loss of motion- in the abdomen, the neck, mid-back, low back, SI joints, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and hands.
Through visceral massage, we can restore the inherent motion of each organ, leading to decreased pain and improved quality of life.
Visceral massage is utilized to help patients specifically with abdominal pain, as well as to help general population patients with chronic pain if the other treatments they have tried are failing.
Why do we use Visceral Massage?
Our bodies rely on a pressure system for breathing and keeping our organs in place. In your abdomen, this is very important as the negative pressure from the thoracic cavity is responsible for breathing. This negative pressure system also keeps the vital organs like the liver, stomach, pancreas, and spleen, suspended underneath your diaphragm. If the positive pressure from the abdomen exceeds the negative pressure, your organs can be pulled/deviated from their ideal location and cause pain.
With visceral massage, we can restore the balance of the pressure systems and encourage normal movement of your organs.