Visceral Osteopathy is another part of the overall treatment within the scope of Osteopathy. Visceral = organs and these organs include the lungs, heart, spleen, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, prostate as well as the digestive organs.
So Visceral Osteopathy is the specialisation and treatment of the organs within the body.
I can’t speak highly enough about the brilliance of Visceral Osteopathy and treating the organs. It is so vital to restore the mobility of the organs when you want to improve your overall health.
There have been so many people who have struggled with chronic problems for years, who suddenly find the answer to their problems actually originated from their digestive system.
Truly, the more I immerse myself in the field of Visceral Osteopathy, the more profound my treatments in clinic have become.
Through touch I both diagnose and treat the organs. I gently stretch or pull the organs either; away from each other or away from their connections to the musculoskeletal system. Many people have asked me,
“How do you actually move the organs or even feel them?”
Well most of the organs are just sitting there in your abdomen, separated from the external environment by the abdominal muscles (amongst various other layers of fascia and fat). The organs are actually very accessible and they respond to a treatment just like a joint or muscle would.
The organs have a pretty big network of connections between each other and between the musculoskeletal system. By connections I mean ligaments, fascias and/or membranes.
These are not the same types of ligament that would connect a bone to bone, but nevertheless they are intricately connected together.
If you know your anatomy and have learned the art to ‘feel’, then anyone can actually treat. The same goes for Visceral Osteopathy.
Learn where the organs are, know the anatomy of how that organ works and understand its connections to surrounding structures and you can begin to tune into the health of that organ.
It is usually a very gentle treatment and only becomes painful if a particular organ is in a bad way. Usually it is non painful or very mildly uncomfortable. Treating the organs is very powerful and can often generate some side effects in the days to follow after a treatment.
A reaction like this is nearly always a positive sign of change occurring.
In Visceral Osteopathy we consider the whole working human and all its systems, not just the musculoskeletal system. With that in mind, the organs are vital in our normal everyday processes. Food digestion, blood transportation, toxic waste removal and oxygen supply.
If any of these organs are struggling then the job they do will also suffer. This will definitely affect the whole body.
The liver detoxifies the blood and gets rid of toxins. If the liver is struggling then it will not detoxify the blood properly. Therefore the blood will pump around with more toxins than normal and this of course will make you feel sick.
You could get headaches, mood swings, irritability, depression, nausea, fatigue and appetite loss.
If you have these symptoms ongoing at a low level for some time, the body is going to struggle and as is often the case, the musculoskeletal system will become the predominate place of symptomology or injury.
One of the confusions with the organ system is that it is not very good at telling the brain it is struggling, until it is too late. The neurological pathway for the organs enters our spinal cord at the same level as the nerves supplying nearby muscles or joints.
These nerves then travel to the brain via the similar spinal pathways. The brain interprets this information and then sends it back with various instructions.
Unfortunately it gets confused at the spinal level where it leaves the spine. The information then travels to the nearby muscle or joint instead of back to the organ.
You only feel pain in the muscle or joint and so you would logically think you have overstretched something or stressed something. Although this is not always strictly the case, it is still what is most commonly experienced.
This is organ pain referral.
Another way the organs can affect us is by becoming either stuck or lethargic. In Visceral Osteopathy all the organs have a movement, an individual rhythm. When this rhythm is disturbed it stresses the surrounding neighbors to which it attaches.
In many cases this is a musculoskeletal component.
When an organ is struggling in this way two things happen. One it inhibits or hinders connecting organs and/or musculoskeletal structures. Two, the job which that organ does becomes impeded. So within Visceral Osteopathy this a double negative.
Not only are we presented with structural restrictions which will ultimately affect posture, locomotion and/or everyday physical tasks; it will also stress the internal workings of the body.
If we take the above example of the liver. The liver has huge attachments into the diaphragm (breathing muscle). The consequences of this are shallow or more labored breathing (on a minute level), poor rib expansion, increased upper back stiffness (due to the poor rib expansion).
This will lead to poor drainage and communication between your abdomen and thoracic cavity (relevant because of the two major blood vessels that pass through the diaphragm- aorta/vena cava & also the highly important vagus nerve).
You could get lung restrictions because of their independent attachments into the diaphragm – leading to poorer oxygenation.
This leads to increased CO2 levels in the blood and ultimately increased toxicity. Going back to the liver and its ability to detox the blood – you now have even more toxicity. Increased toxicity is hugely destructive. Read this article for further information – Causes of Stress.
So treating a restricted liver can lead to untold improvements throughout the body. Visceral Osteopathy and health is not just finding a musculoskeletal restriction. But unfortunately this is the mindset of society and many health therapists.
“We have to rub the area that hurts or treat the area that is symptomatic”. Its nonsense. We need to understand the human body, how it works completely to function as a self sustaining machine. We are alive. We are not robots.
Treating the same condition, the same way with everyone, is not the answer.
This is why Visceral Osteopathy is so brilliant. Any one treatment is never the same.
A patient came to me about 3 years ago with what appeared to be, ‘runner’s knee’. She was a keen runner and felt very depressed that she had developed another running injury, especially since she was getting into a good routine.
For some reason on that particular day I just knew the problem had nothing to do with her knee. I felt the problem was coming from her large intestine, which has attachments into the hip muscles.
So without even checking her knee I started work on her intestines (after a comprehensive case history).
Satisfied I had done enough I told her to come back the following week and test the knee in 2 days time. She was slightly surprised by what I had done, since I never touched her knee.
But sure enough she returned a week later and could not hide her smile. She was completely cured within hours after that treatment. She had been running all the week and also reported her running technique had also improved.
It was a very simple case. She had eaten some poor food, this mildly inflamed her intestines and this was enough to cause a restriction or drag into her hip muscles.
She ran with these shorten hip muscles and it caused her knee to rotate slightly to accommodate. Eventually the knee couldn’t handle the increased stress and gradually became painful.
Visceral Osteopathy is a practical treatment and can help so many things. If you haven’t tried it, it is worth one consultation just to see how it works.