Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation

Gentle manipulation techniques to restore harmony within the body

How can visceral manipulation nourish you? 

Organs, or ‘viscera,’ need to move inside the body to function properly[1]. Visceral manipulation is a hands-on therapy that involves gentle and precise manipulation techniques[2] to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the internal organs and their surrounding connective tissue structures. This is done to release organ restrictions that may cause pain and dysfunction[3], and restore health to the body.   

Organs develop adhesions or scar tissue[4] that restrict their movement and pliability, and hinder organ function. This may be a result of postural strains, physical trauma, chronic inflammation, emotional issues, or poor lifestyle habits. This lack of harmony may give rise to several issues in the body, for example musculoskeletal pain or digestive dysfunction[5]

By working through the body’s visceral system, Visceral manipulation practitioners locate and alleviate abnormal tensions[6] using soft, gentle manual forces. This works to improve the function of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body. As such, this modality focuses on creating harmony within the whole body and is not limited to treating only the site of pain. 

Visceral manipulation was first introduced as a therapy by the French osteopath and physiotherapist, Jean-Pierre Barral[7], who still teaches his innovative work today. However, methods of organ manipulation are said to have been a part of ancient medicinal cultures in Europe and Asia since pre-recorded times. 

Visceral manipulation may be conducted by a variety of health care professionals who have received visceral manipulation training. This includes physiotherapists, osteopaths, remedial massage therapists and other manual therapists. 

The Barral Institute[8] is the international organisation providing continuing education and certification for visceral manipulation. In Australia, practitioners can receive visceral manipulation certification from the affiliate organisation, Barral Institute Australia[9].

Benefits of visceral manipulation

Visceral manipulation is reported to benefit a myriad of health conditions. These may include acute disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, digestive dysfunction, reproductive issues, paediatric issues and emotional disorders.

Research into visceral manipulation is an emerging field of literature, although there are promising results from a number of studies. 

In a randomised controlled trial, it was demonstrated that visceral manipulation may improve symptoms in patients suffering from non-specific neck pain[10] associated with dyspepsia (indigestion). Improvements in physical symptoms and overall quality of life in patients with chronic low back pain[11] have also been reported in a study evaluating the use of visceral techniques alongside osteopathic manual therapy.  

In one study involving animals, it was shown that manual therapy maintains movement of damaged organ structures[12] after surgery. This suggests that further research could contemplate whether similar techniques in humans may be useful for preventing and breaking up postoperative adhesions.  

Visceral manipulation may assist in relieving symptoms related to: 

Anxiety Back pain Bladder issues and incontinence Constipation Depression Digestive and gastrointestinal issues Endometriosis Fertility and reproductive issues Headaches and migraines Heartburn and acid reflux Hips and pelvis Infections Liver issues Menopause and hot flushes Mobility and movement Mood imbalances Muscle strain and injury Neck pain PMT/PMS and menstrual issues PTSD and trauma Scars, burns and wound healing Sciatica Shoulder and elbow issues Sports injuries Stress and tension Tennis elbow and repetitive strain injury (RSI) Vertigo and dizziness Show all

What to expect from a visceral manipulation session

During your visceral manipulation session, your practitioner will search for the source of your pain or diagnosis by feeling for altered or decreased motion of the organs, as well restrictive patterns throughout the body. It may be that the pain you feel is located far away from the root cause of the issue. 

Your practitioner will then apply visceral manipulation techniques, such as gentle compression, mobilisation and elongation of the soft tissues to release the source of the problem. 

The number of sessions you require will depend on your individual needs. You may feel improvements after only a few sessions, or you may require a long-term treatment plan. Your visceral manipulation practitioner will develop a treatment protocol that is dependent on how your body responds to the treatment. 

Keep in mind that it is always advisable to consult a qualified health professional before commencing any wellness journey. If you have an injury or an underlying health issue, speak to your visceral manipulation practitioner, who will be happy to address these concerns and personalise the therapy session to your individual requirements. 


  1. What is Visceral Manipulation (VM)? |
  2. Visceral manipulation |
  3. Visceral Manipulation (Organ Mobility) |
  4. A Visceral Perspective |
  5. Discover Visceral Manipulation |
  6. Trust your Gut: Visceral Manipulation for Digestive Disorders |
  7. The Therapeutic Value of Visceral Manipulation |
  8. The Barral Institute | Barral Institute
  9. The Barral Institute | Barral Institute
  10. Effect of Osteopathic Visceral Manipulation on Pain, Cervical Range of Motion, and Upper Trapezius Muscle Activity in Patients with Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain and Functional Dyspepsia | PubMed Central
  11. The effect of visceral osteopathic manual therapy applications on pain, quality of life and function in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain | IOS Press
  12. Attenuation of postoperative adhesions using a modeled manual therapy | PubMed Central

Frequently asked questions

Visceral Manipulation is a hands-on therapy that focuses on the gentle and precise manipulation of internal organs and their surrounding connective tissues. Unlike some manual therapies that primarily target musculoskeletal structures, Visceral Manipulation specifically addresses the mobility, tone, and motion of organs, aiming to release restrictions that may cause pain and dysfunction.

Visceral Manipulation employs gentle techniques to encourage the natural mobility of organs within the body. By releasing adhesions or scar tissue that may hinder movement, this therapy aims to restore proper organ function. The focus on harmonizing the motion of organs and their connective tissues is integral to promoting overall health and well-being.

Visceral Manipulation is often used to address a range of conditions stemming from organ restrictions. These may include musculoskeletal pain, digestive dysfunction, and issues related to poor organ mobility. Practitioners utilize this therapy to release restrictions caused by factors such as postural strains, physical trauma, chronic inflammation, emotional issues, or poor lifestyle habits.

Organs can develop adhesions or scar tissue, restricting their movement and pliability. This can hinder organ function and contribute to various health issues. Visceral Manipulation employs gentle techniques to release these adhesions, restoring normal organ mobility and addressing the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction.

Visceral Manipulation can be adapted to suit individuals of various ages and health conditions. However, it's important to consult with a qualified practitioner to determine its suitability for specific cases. The gentle nature of the techniques makes it generally well-tolerated, and practitioners often tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of each individual.

Emotional issues can contribute to organ restrictions and dysfunction. Visceral Manipulation recognizes the interconnectedness of emotional and physical health and aims to release restrictions caused by emotional factors. By addressing both the physical and emotional aspects, Visceral Manipulation seeks to restore harmony and overall health to the body.
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