The origin of your pain and how Visceral Manipulation can help


Hello friends,

I’ve just returned from a gorgeous, renowned retreat center in Big Sur called The Esalen Institute. I was there to co-teach one of my favorite healing modalities.  It’s called Visceral Manipulation. This little-known but emerging health treatment modality is a compilation of some of the work that the osteopathic physician J.P. Barral D.O. taught me during my own extensive studies.

The goal of visceral manipulation is to “recreate, to harmonize and re-establish the proprioceptive communication in the body, in order to improve its’ functioning to get better health,” according to JP Barral, DO.

Visceral manipulation combines an acute understanding of the human anatomy from an experienced professional who applies a gentle hands-on therapy to realign and release fascial restrictions in one’s body. These restrictions can appear anywhere in the body from the neck, shoulder, abdomen, pelvis, individual organs, etc. Done correctly, visceral manipulation can reintroduce normal movement and function to a problem area. Among other things, our skeletal structure is comprised of muscles and a connective tissue that forms an outer shell to protect the internal organs. All organs are suppose to slide and glide with each other and when they don’t, adhesions form which can be felt as pain, tensions and a limited range of motion. This tissue is commonly known as fascia and peritoneum that, seals and surrounds all organs and structures of the body. The fascia serves as an underlying connective plane in your body; it compensates around restrictions and the associated nerves will be triggered, sending pain signals to the brain to let us know there is a problem that requires our attention and correction. However, because the tissues, blood vessels, nervous system, ligaments, organs and fascia are interconnected, a pain in a particular area may be caused from another area. So, a pain in one’s right side of the chest may actually be triggered to a restriction in the lower left side of one’s body, for example. Visceral Manipulation along with honed ‘listening techniques’ can accurately locate the source of the problem.

As one of my co-teachers Gail Wetzler says, “Visceral manipulation is organ-specific fascial mobilization.” It’s the precise touch to specific parts of your anatomy that give your body a clear message to stimulate the brain. For example, a concussion can create new, detrimental  tracks in the brain. Professional therapists, trained in visceral manipulation, work on repairing those new connections in the brain, which in turn affects the body.

Many of the students in our class were Physical Therapists, Yoga Teachers, Chiropractors, Doctors, and Massage Therapists who wanted to learn new skills to incorporate into their practice.

In our course, we taught the basics of working with the organs and connective tissues in and near the belly, such as the small intestines, kidneys, liver, stomach and diaphragm. This is such an important area for overall well-being, because of its proximity to the digestive system. Actively correcting symptoms in this area has helped me improve the lives of many of my patients in so many ways, from improving digestion to eliminating back, neck, hip problems, and emotional problems including depression.

A few years ago, I had a patient who had been in an a car accident that left them impaired. The patient was unable to think clearly, sit comfortably, or rotate their head freely. There were also problems moving their torso and the patient walked with a limp. This patient had tried chiropractic work, physical therapy, and traditional, doctor-prescribed medications. The problem with traditional medications is that they only mask symptoms. Drugs attempt to chemically do what the body should naturally do—create homeostasis. A lot of therapies treat symptoms, yet only address part of the body that displays that symptom. For instance, if you go to a physical therapist for shoulder pain, they usually only focus on the shoulder. This is how our practice at Fusion Healing differs from others. We consider your body as a whole to create treatment plans that actually promote healing to the specific areas which are the root of your pain or ailment.

One of the reasons that I think visceral manipulation is phenomenal is that it works with the body in a very direct and specific way. It is gentle and works in harmony with the intelligence of the tissues. Going back to the shoulder example: The problem with the shoulder may be the result of an improper movement in the liver or a lung’s connective tissue. Everything in our body is connected, by way of the fascia, and has an impact on our mobility and well-being. Visceral manipulation doesn’t take long to find the problem and treats it in a very gentle way. With time, and concerted efforts, the shoulder will experience significant improvement in both range of motion and pain relief. The goal is to get the shoulder to move naturally the way it was made to move.

At Fusion Healing, we speak the language of the body and listen carefully to abnormalities, because the body shows us where specific problems are located. Effective listening skills and communication with the body are key techniques that a trained professional can use to improve the well-being of patients. Everyone is different; and every body communicates in a different way, so we don’t try to communicate with random areas of the body. We are continuously being exposed to new research about health treatment modalities, so we can listen carefully to your body and tailor our approach to fit your body’s needs.  

Some of the areas that standard health care hasn’t been able to effectively address include:

  • stiff back or back pain

  • nerve pain or tension associated with surgery

  • urinary incontinence

  • dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)  

  • chest or rib cage tightness

  • indigestion, bloating, and acid reflux  

  • post concussion syndrome

  • headaches, migraines

  • the inability to fully move your arms or shoulders

  • sciatica

  • diastasis recti (abdominal separation that is very common with pregnant women)

Sure you could call a doctor and take drugs to alleviate these symptoms. But would they come back right after you stop taking them? Cost of the medicines aside, what are the side-effects of the drugs? And will insurance cover all of these? It’s hard to say.

Here at Fusion Healing, we’ve successfully healed many of these problems for our patients applying a range of treatment modalities, such as visceral manipulation. It’s one of the modalities that I’m passionate about advancing my skills and techniques with my colleagues and applying them to help my patients see fast relief and obtain long-term well-being.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog post about health modalities.

Even though I am trained and certified in a number of health treatment modalities, and have more than 20,000 hours of professional application with patients, I am constantly learning because I am passionate about this field. I plan to share more insights from my research and teaching retreats with you in the months to come, as well as patient success stories. Feel free to comment or ask me questions, here on my blog or on Fusion Healing’s Facebook page.

I look forward to helping you.