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Remember the body has a front as well as a back! Visceral Osteopathy treats restriction and/or dysfunction of the body’s viscera or internal organs. This subtle, yet effective aspect of treatment comes from French Osteopathic tradition. Although Osteopathy begins with structural and orthopaedic diagnosis (musculoskeletal) it doesn’t end there. The three styles or aspects to Osteopathic medicine are: Structural (musculo-skeletal), Cranial (from Sutherland), and Visceral. The foremost modern proponent of Visceral Osteopathy is Jean-Pierre Barral, who still teaches internationally and practices in France.
Visceral Osteopathy looks for restrictions (even adhesions) within the mobility of the viscera, ligaments and associated fascia. There may be related symptoms, referred pain patterns, associated (referred) muscle and joint pain, and altered function (less than ideal function) of the viscera themselves, with issues such as irritable bowel, fatigue, or diffuse (seemingly unrelated) pain patterns.
Whilst this gentle manipulation and soft-tissue release of the viscera can be important, one also should not forget that all viscera also need a nerve supply. This is both sympathetic and parasympathetic. Any spinal lesions (subluxations) which could effect or compromise optimum innervation function should also be addressed. In other words, there is also a place for Traditional Osteopathy — or at least some attention to the vertebral column and spinal nerves.
Many Osteopaths who trained in France (or the European School of Osteopathy, Maidstone, UK) will have had some training in Visceral techniques even at undergraduate level. Visceral Osteopathy is also studied at post-graduate level, and in specialist courses, both in the UK and Europe, and Australasia (NZ also).
To find a Visceral Osteopath or practitioner try the Barral institute.
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