What is Visceral Manipulation ?
Practitioners using Visceral Manipulation assess the dynamic functional actions as well as the somatic structures that perform individual activities. They also evaluate the quality of the somatic structures and their functions in relation to an overall harmonious pattern, with motion serving as the gauge for determining quality.Due to the delicate and often highly reactive nature of the visceral tissues, precisely directed gentle force reaps the greatest results. As with other methods of manipulation that affect the body deeply, Visceral Manipulation works only to assist the forces already at work. Because of that, trained practitioners can be sure of benefiting the body rather than adding further injury or disorganisation.
Therapeutic effects of Visceral Manipulation
Studies have found Visceral Manipulation beneficial for various disorders such as whiplash, chest and abdominal sports injuries, bloating and constipation, chronic spinal dysfunction, headaches and migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral joint pain, sciatica, swallowing dysfunctions, nausea and acid reflux, constipation and gastritis, infant colic, chronic pelvis pain, endometriosis, fibroids and cysts, bladder incontinence, prostate dysfunction, effects of menopause, anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Development of Visceral Manipulation by founder Jean Pierre Barral
Methods such as Visceral Manipulation have been part of the medicinal cultures in Europe and Asia since prerecorded times. Indeed, manual manipulation of the internal organs has long been a component of some therapeutic systems in Oriental medicine. So it’s no surprise that practitioners in many parts of the world have incorporated manipulations designed to work with the internal organs and their functions.
Jean-Pierre Barral first became interested in biomechanics while working as a registered physical therapist of the Lung Disease Hospital in Grenoble, France. That’s where he met Dr. Arnaud, a recognized specialist in lung diseases and a master of cadaver dissection. Working with Dr. Arnaud, Barral followed patterns of stress in the tissues of cadavers and studied biomechanics in living subjects. This introduced him to the visceral system, its potential to promote lines of tension within the body, and the notion that tissues have memory. All this was fundamental to his development of Visceral Manipulation. In 1974, Barral earned his diploma in osteopathic medicine from the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, England. Working primarily with articular and structural manipulation, he began forming the basis for Visceral Manipulation during an unusual session with a patient he’d been treating with spinal manipulations.
“90% of musculoskeletal dysfunctions in the body have a visceral component” – Jean Pierre Barral, founder of Visceral Manipulation
During the preliminary examination, Barral was surprised to find appreciable movement. The patient confirmed that he felt relief from his back pain after going to an “old man who pushed something in his abdomen.” This incident piqued Barral’s interest in the relationship between the viscera and the spine. That’s when he began exploring stomach manipulations with several patients, with successful results gradually leading him to develop Visceral Manipulation. Between 1975 and 1982, Barral taught spinal biomechanics at England’s European School of Osteopathy. In collaboration with Dr. Jean-Paul Mathieu and Dr. Pierre Mercier, he published Articular Vertebrae Diagnosis.
Barral continues to research and develop manual therapy techniques while maintaining a full clinical practice in France. Thanks to his pioneering work, candidates in several European countries must now pass a rigorous test in Visceral Manipulation to earn a diploma in osteopathy.