Allan Kaplan, Certified Advanced Rolfer™

Visceral Manipulation

Even though Dr. Rolf based Rolfing on working with the connective tissue network, she centered her system around the connective tissue of the skeleton, and left that of the viscera (organs) alone. Visceral Manipulation, an approach popularized by Jean-Pierre Barral DO, fills that gap by treating the connective tissues which surround the various organs, form the structures that suspend them, and transmit strains and tensions through the inside of the thoracic and abdominal compartments. While it may not appear obvious at first, strains from the viscera can affect the body's posture, balance, and alignment from the inside, just as the strains from the greater structure affect the body from the outside. We are looking at the strains within the contents, versus those in the container.

Strains in the viscera can result from surgical scars, adhesions, illness, posture, or injury. As an example, consider the effects of an automobile accident. If one is traveling at speed and then suffers a collision, the heavy, "solid," fluid-filled organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and spleen still have a momentum relative to the rest of the body. By virtue of their inertia, they continue moving after the body has stopped, creating severe pulls on their fascial support attachments. These strains can migrate into adjacent structures such as the diaphragm, rib cage, pelvis, spine, or other organs, for starters. Similarly, following a surgery, adhesions can occur between visceral surfaces within the body cavity or at the scars themselves. These "stuck" spots can develop tension patterns through the fascial network deep within the body, creating a cascade of effects far from their sources for which the body will have to compensate.

Using visceral manipulation, a practitioner can release the fascial strains of the viscera, restore the normal motion of the individual organs, and rebalance the relationships between the different visceral structures. Doing so can revitalize a person and relieve symptoms of pain, dysfunction, and poor posture.

By taking the viscera into consideration, one can address a dimension of the body's structure not addressed in detail by Rolfing, and achieve more effective results.