Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation (VM) was developed by world-renowned French Osteopath and Physical Therapist Jean-Pierre Barral. Comparative studies found Visceral Manipulation beneficial for various disorders.  March 14, 2019

Visceral Manipulation focuses on the membranous connections between structures of the body, primarily of the organs. It also addresses the connections between joints of the spine, ribs and pelvis.

The organs form during the first 3 months of pregnancy.  As they mature, they move to their designated positions and are held in place my membranous structures.  In a healthy unrestricted body, each organ have a rhythmic motion (motility) that reflect a gentle and subtle oscillation back and forth along it’s fetal path of migration from its origin to its final position. An unrestricted organ has a range of motion in all directional planes as well as in various directions of rotation (mobility).

The application of Visceral Manipulation assesses motility and mobility of organs and facilitates freedom to move should motility and mobility become restricted by over use, disuse, disease and trauma: physical, physiological or emotional. Facilitation through Visceral Manipulation encourages the body’s natural mechanics to improve overall function.

Restrictions can affect the organs normal function. They can also inhibit the function of other organs or overall mechanics and physiology of the body via the connective tissue membranes that interconnect the body.

Visceral Manipulation training is intended for licensed or certified healthcare professionals or students training towards such credentials.

The Visceral Manipulation curriculum is divided into a series of weekend sessions.

VM1 study the models and theories of abdominal functional biomechanics: evaluate and normalize primary areas of dysfunction in the abdominal cavity: liver, stomach, small and large intestine, and their relationship to musculoskeletal structures.

VM2 explores deep abdominal structures: kidneys, pancreas, spleen, greater omentum, and peritoneum.

VM3 looks at the pelvis, scarum, coccyx, bladder, uterus, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pelvic plexus and reviews the kidney and ureter.

VM4 looks at the thorax: neck and shoulder girdle, trachea, thyroid, thymus, trachea, bronchus, esophagus, brachial plexus, phrenic nerve, ribcage, thoracic spine, lungs and pericardium.

Other course in visceral manipulation considers temperature variations in the tissue as well as emotional conditions related to the

Active family and health

Being active active and being healthy goes hand-in-hand.  If one wants to be healthy, that is achieved through a good diet, mental wellness and activity.

A good diet is not as easy as it may seem; there is much hidden in the foods we buy and much research maybe needed to understand what we eat.  Sometime good food is simply not available when we are on the go; it requires good fore thought and planning.

Mental wellness is much more in our control than we think.  My 5 year old often argues that she can’t calm down when she is upset but that, I try to explain to her, is much more of a choice that one chooses to make.

Activity is perhaps the one thing we may have the greatest control over. The greatest challenge is to make it a part of daily life.  Most of us have not been raised with such habits and learning a new is difficult but not impossible. Implement little activities into you work day since there is nothing else more regular than working a 9-5 for most people. Simple things like 10 squats, push-ups, lunges or jumping jacks are easy to implement once you over come the difficulty of being regular.

The most important thing is to make activity regular in our children; make it fun and make it a part of family life. Help them establish good habits at a young age.

Spine post trauma: stretch & moblize

After accidents and trauma as in a motor vehicle impact, the body may go into a state of shock.  Subconsciously, the nervous system may engage in a protective holding pattern.

Consciously we may understand the danger is over but subconsciously the body may remain in state of guarding. To convince our subconscious selves to relax may not be so easy and may take a considerable amount of time and patients.

Persistent low level tension may cause headaches and ongoing ache and heaviness along the spine. Such congestion may worsen overtime with accumulation of daily stress.


  • dural stretch / paschimotanasana to shivasana,
  • roll-up conditioning / abdominal compression and support
  • spine twist in supine
  • quadrant stretch to the neck
  • torso side bends

Mechanical Strain: Mid Back

Mid back pain can be a condition of daily strain and poor posture that results in restriction of muscle along the spine and adjacent ribs. Any sense of anxiety with strain to the heart and respiration can also affect the mid back.

The mid back is the focal point of neck and shoulder attachment. Muscle from the low back on both the front and back of the spine anchor here. The Diaphram can also add tension and pull from the front. Strain from the rib cage can add torsion of the joint along the thoracic spine.

This post is intended for clients who have had a consult and are looking to refresh their minds about what was discussed.


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Mechanical Strain: the neck

Neck and shoulder pain from postural tension requires reducing tension in areas of discomfort: neck, upper back and shoulder girdle. It is also essential to manage stress and improve overall posture for long term management.


Correction requires muscles in the front of the shoulders and neck need to relax and lengthen while muscles in the back of the shoulders need to be relaxed and conditioned.

The neck is comprised of 7 bones with a rather large skull balancing on top. Neck stability is heavily dependent on muscles and alignment. The lack of stability can result in significant rigidity and constriction of deep neck muscles. This contributes to pain

Desk work is a significant factor to neck and shoulder as well as general back pain. It can also cause tension and strain in the arms that contribute to neck and shoulder tension.








Poor posture in the low back can further affect the neck and shoulder. Good overall body alignment is helpful for ongoing relief.

The general intent of massage

Most individuals seek massage therapy for bodily pain and discomfort that often arise from the wear and tear of active daily living. The severity of such may vary and be physical, mental or emotional. Such conditions often don’t have specific causes but they may be associated with traumatic accidents such as motor vehicle impacts or athletics. Correction in the latter is often straightforward but management of the former or the combination of all is not. The idea of management is simple but it is indeed a life long process.

All aspects of life impose strain on the body. Strain or stress helps us grow and become stronger when balanced with proper recovery and strengthening. Unfortunately such balance is elusive to most of us and the resulting strain that accumulates over time can be destructive in a broad range of ways. Hans Seyle refer to this as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).  In the modern world, more people die from G.A.S. than from infections. The World Health Organization points non-communicable diseases, those of lifestyle, kill 41 million people each year. This is 71% of all deaths world-wide. 

The general intent of massage is to facilitate our immune system to nurture recovery and to strength us against the strains where ever they may be and however they may be encumbering us. Touch draws attention to and create mindfulness of tension and restriction. The mechanical movement of the tissue helps to mobilize restriction and increase local circulation. The proper depth of pressure helps to lower unnecessarily heighten muscle tone. The support helps the induction of relaxation and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us restore. The Touch Research Institute have numerous reports of cortisol release in response to massage; this helps to cope with inflammation. Mostly important a good therapist will educate hand help one learn the tools of self management.

Muscles make up a large part of the body’s mass and account for the majority of body’s pain, Janet Travel. Physical, mental and emotional strains may all manifest and affect the muscular and skeletal systems. This can affect or be affected by fascial membranes that envelop and infuse the entire body and its organ systems. The physiology and function of our entire organism can be impaired.

Everyday activities and poor posture impose strain on muscles and hence everything else muscles are associated with.

The body has an amazing ability to adapt and we adapt much quicker than we can heal. When the pain and discomfort become evident, there is already a chronic issue from life long habits. Due to the process of adaptation, the source of the problem is likely much greater than the presentation. Much work is required to change and improve one’s functional ability and become pain free. The build up of strain over years takes time, patience and practice to correct; new habits and more efficient means of function need to be developed.

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 10.56.05Static postures contribute to pain because muscle activity without a change in length cannot facilitate circulation to where it is needed most, the active muscle. Prolong sitting or standing puts the body at risk. When the heart pumps out blood, blood flows in the direction of least resistance. Statically contracted muscles, being tight, present an impedance to flow; they do not get the blood flow they require. Constricted muscles develop a build up of metabolic wastes due to reduced circulation. Ischemia causes fatigue and pain. In the absence of blood flow, as in death, muscles become rigorous. Tight muscles can also compress and irritate nerves and cause associated neurological symptoms. They may also restrict circulation to other areas of body causing further discomfort.

Muscle comprise of many units that may fire in isolation relative to others. Repetitive actions in a static posture or repetition of the same motions over constant angles activate the same units time and time again. Such repetition can results in abrasion and thickening of the muscle lining; damage arise just as the skin may blister and callus. The muscle lining may become inflamed and scared over time. Without adequate recovery there will be heightened sensitivity due to increase in pain receptors characteristic of chronic inflammation.

In the absence of adequate recovery, the body’s ability to adapt will change the way it functions to avoid pain only to create new areas of wear. The pain will move and further adaption will take place until the limits of adaption is reached. Or the body may shift between modes of function and the pain or discomfort with change as we shift. Muscle and soft-tissue pain wanders and change like the wind.

Massage helps to stimulate blood flow and hence facilitate the removal of metabolic waste build up. This can provide relieve until metabolic waste build up again. In some cases, several sessions along with regular self-care is required to develop notable relief.

Self-care, regular and proper exercises that involve a balance of stretching, conditioning and mobilizing as well as a relaxed calm state of mind and good nutrition are essential.

The mechanical stimulation (massage, either self “rolling” or in therapy) helps to alleviate pain. The mechanics help mask the perception of pain. It helps to stimulate circulation and stretched tight congested tissue. It can help you learn to relax.

Gentle prolong stretching that is mentally relaxing help reduce heightened nerve activity and lengthen congested fibrous tissue for restructuring. This is best achieved with a meditative mind that is cognizant of the sensation.

Regular, gentle, large ranges of motion activities help mobilize tissue, promote circulation and change restrictive habits.