Movement and life are inseparable. There can be movement without life, but there can not be life without motion. When we have access to more movement we feel more alive. There are many levels of activity in the body, from muscular movement, to cellular pulsations, rhythmic contractions of the heart, and diaphragm and cerebral spinal fluid, and more subtle gravitational movements in the organs. These subtle movements in the organs can have a profound effect on the overall health of the rest of the body. The visceral system relies on the interconnected synchronicity between the motions of the organs and other structures of the body. At optimal health, these harmonious relationships maintain equilibrium despite the body’s endless varieties of motion.
But when one organ cannot move in harmony with the surrounding organs or it’s supporting structures because of abnormal tone, adhesions or displacement, it works against the body’s other organs and muscular membranous, fascial and osseous structures. This disharmony creates fixed, abnormal points of tension that the body is forced to move around. That chronic irritation, in turn, paves the way for disease and dysfunction. Imagine an adhesion around the liver. It would create a modified axis that demands abnormal accommodations from nearby structures that the body would have to protect with more superficial holding. Visceral mobility has a profound effect on how free we are to move in our bodies.
Visceral Manipulation employs specifically placed manual forces that work to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. By harnessing the rhythmic motions of the organs, we can evaluate and balance how visceral forces interplay, overlap and improve the normal healthy forces of movement in the body. These gentle manipulations can improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body.
I have trained with several schools of visceral manipulation, including The Barral Institute and Liz Gaggini, an Advanced Rolfer and Visceral Therapist. My visceral work utilises the long and mid tides and the principles of biodynamic cranial work. More profound and lasting changes occur when the viscera is addressed holistically in this manner rather in small pieces with mechanical techniques. This makes it gentle and extremely effective work.
CORE INTEGRATION: including the viscera in structural work
Visceral work is great as a stand-alone therapy for for visceral issues, such as digestive problems or combined with scar release. However, there is a way of working with the fascia of the viscera to help with the goals of Structural Integration. Any major surgeries, injuries or infections can create adhesions that impair proper mobility and motility of the organs. Because the body tends to compensate and protect an organ in trouble, serious structural issues are often resolved by freeing the viscera (organs).
Any fixation in this fascia can affect support, balance and ease just as a fixation in the connective tissue of a muscle or a joint would. The fascia of the viscera has strong affects on the structures of the body. Releasing strains in the organs can be very helpful in enhancing core support and organising the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. Combining indirect and direct techniques we can release, balance and integrate this core fascia and further open and align the entire structure.
VM is good for:
Chronic musculoskeletal pain
Headaches and Migraines
Back, hip and knee pain
Repetitive strain injuries, e.g. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Whiplash and other physical trauma
Shoulder periarthritis and capsulitis
Restricted range of motion
Post-surgical pain and Scar tissue
Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Women’s health issues
Fibroids and Cysts
Scar tissue contains more fibrous tissue and collagen deposits than normal skin making it structurally and functionally different, thicker and less mobile.
ScarWork improves functionality in the scar and surrounding tissues, creating mobility between the layers of the skin, fascia and muscle. It can help resolve nerve impariment or symptoms such as a numbness from nerve injury, pain or sensitivity. Knots and tight scars can be softened and integrated into the surrounding tissue, so tugs and discomfort is eased. It is also able to lessen adhesions in the underlying tissue and I use it often in combination with Visceral Manipulation for a complete approach.
All kinds of scars from very old to newly healed can be improved using ScarWork. They could be the result of an accident, injury or surgery, such as:
- Knee or ankle replacements
- Hip replacements
- Skin grafts
- Appendix surgery
- Gall bladder surgery
- Caesarean section
- Breast surgery
- Porthcath and tube/drain sites
- Tummy tuck surgery
- Scarring from placement of metal plates and pins
- Abdominal surgery including keyhole for endometriosis.
- Mastectomies, full and partial
- Spinal surgeries.
- Foot and knee surgeries