Visceral osteopathy. The principles behind it.
What is Visceral osteopathy?
The word viscera refers to the internal organs of the human body that are located within the rib cage and the abdominal and pelvic cavity.
Visceral osteopathy is a branch of osteopathy that aims to address these organs’ mobility within their natural body position to allow a better function of the whole system.
What is the role of the viscera in causing pain?
It is known that musculoskeletal pain can be referred from the viscera.
It is easy to understand the link between the organs and the spine just by considering their position; the throat is in line with and attached to our cervical spine, the lungs with the thoracic spine and the digestive tract with the lumbar spine.
These structures have ligaments that keep them in their optimal location and the function of these ligaments is crucial for the correct functioning of both the spine and the organs.
How can osteopathy help?
‘Visceral’ osteopathy uses assessment and treatment techniques involving gentle palpation to find out whether too much tension is held in the abdomen, rib cage or pelvis.
Osteopaths trained in continental Europe undergo visceral training during their undergraduate studies in contrast to UK trained osteopaths who tend to study visceral osteopathy at postgraduate level.
What conditions might benefit?
Visceral osteopathy may be helpful in the management of:
- IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
- Digestive issues
- Acid reflux
- Painful menstrual cycle
Although there is not much scientific evidence behind visceral osteopathy, results in everyday practice can be very satisfactory and we believe that more research is needed to shed light on such a powerful branch of our practice.