Visceral Manipulation: A Somatoenergetic Approach

Visceral manipulation works with all the organs of the abdomen and chest, and their surrounding structures (i.e., fascia, ligaments, nerves, lymph and blood vessels). As in the craniosacral sphere, the internal organs have a subtle yet palpable rhythmic motion, one that is unique in both its rate and orientation. By working with this inherent motion and the organs’ surrounding structure, we can influence their vitality and function, as well as the musculoskeletal system and body's self corrective capacity.

Visceral manipulation recognizes that all parts of the body are, by nature, designed to move, including the internal organs from the lungs to the bladder. Organ movement has two essential features called motility and mobility. Organ motility refers to the above mentioned inherent motion which is more apparent when the body is at rest. Organ mobility is the natural changing position of the organs as they conform to the shape of the body in action. For example, the organs naturally slide and shift their position slightly when bending forward.

Ill health, disease and dysfunction can arise when either organ mobility or motility become restricted or impaired. Such restrictions usually affect not only an individual organ and its surrounding tissues, but also other organs, as well as distal muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves and blood vessels in the head and extremities. Restriction arise from various factors including surgery, injury and trauma, scar formation, stress, improper diet, breathing and digestive difficulties and so forth. In Visceral Manipulation gentle manual techniques are used to free restriction and restore normal mobility, motility and function to the internal organs and their surrounding tissues.

Modern Visceral Manipulation is indebted to the pioneering work of Dr. Jean Pierre Barral, Osteopath and Physical Therapist. Dr. Barral discovered and mapped the inherent motility of the organs and developed an integral approach to visceral diagnosis and treatment. In his work, Arnie Lade has drawn from Dr. Barral’s teachings and combined them with other approaches, notably Ayurvedic and Chinese massage techniques.

We have had success in improving some specific conditions: digestive disorders, abdominal pain, liver and gallbladder problems, migraine headaches, breathing and swallowing difficulties, post‑surgical and postpartum recovery, traumatic injuries, chronic neck and back pain, bladder and kidney disorders, shoulder and hip problems, and so forth. But no matter what the condition, Visceral Manipulation is only indicated when there is a restriction within the visceral system. Our work is with the individual’s unique organization, helping to restore function and vitality, and not with a condition or disease per se.