What are our Viscera?
Our ‘Viscera’ are essentially our organs. These naturally slide over each other as we move, in an almost frictionless dance, as we move about our day. They are also connected to each other by ligaments and fascia, just the right amount to give support and yet allow full movement.
In the context of visceral mobilisation, the diaphragm, your breathing muscle, also plays a huge part. There is a natural ‘sump pump’ in our bodies, driven by our breathing. As our diaphragm contracts and relaxes, all our visceral organs are gently mulched downwards, and recoil up again in rhythm. This mobilisation is essential to healthy organ function, and is one reason why abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing makes us feel so good.
Being active also enables our viscera to do their job. Physical activity stimulates sequenced contractions of the gut and helps with digestion, and the psoas muscles that sit in front of our spine also have connections to organs like the kidneys, so walking about actually helps to ‘pump’ the organs and keep a healthy blood flow to these essential structures.
Why might mobilisation or release be needed?
Over time, our connective tissues become gradually stiffer, and our fluid production that lubricates our insides more restricted. Life events, such as injury, scarring, surgery, or rigid postures, encourage a build up of excess connective tissues, which can ‘tether’ our organs to each other and to the inside of the abdominal wall, in a way that can ultimately start to affect their function.
Pregnancy, with its natural requirement to shift the organs out of the way of a growing baby, can have a lasting effect on the position and function of your organs long after baby is born.
Imagine if you sat all day, only walked a few metres to your car, and then sat infront of the TV all evening. In a day like that, there’s been very little opportunity for the diaphragm to work hard and take large breaths, or for the muscles of the abdomen and leg to flush nutrifying blood around the body through movement. Apply this pattern for years, and it becomes easy to see how the viscera could become stiff and start to show signs of struggle.
Like most scars, once the tough tissue is laid down, it doesn’t easily relax or spring back to its elastic self. Some gentle release work can be the key to getting things moving healthily again.
What problems can it help with?
Common issues that may have restricted visceral movement as a factor or a cause include:
High blood pressure
Infertility or erratic monthly cycles
Can I do it for myself?
To a certain extent, yes. But you will need a full assessment first to find out what exactly is needed for your problem. Your therapist can then teach you the correct technique and positioning to do at home for the best effect.
How can I get an assessment?
The session for Visceral Mobilisation and Release is the same as for Physiotherapy – just find an appointment slot that works for you at the link below.
Ready to book your appointment?
£68 for 60 minutes Women's Health Physio Initial Assessment
£58 for 60 minutes Physiotherapy Initial Assessment
£40 for 30 minutes Standard Follow-Ups