What is Visceral Manipulation (VM)?
“Viscera” relates to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys and intestines. Visceral
Manipulation is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and
unhealthy compensations that can cause pain and dysfunction. Visceral Manipulation, or VM, does not
focus solely on the site of pain or dysfunction, but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the
problem. The VM therapist feels for altered or decreased motion within the viscera, as well as
restrictive patterns throughout the body and then applies VM techniques. VM therapy re-establishes
the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
How Did Visceral Manipulation Begin?
Jean-Pierre Barral is an Osteopath and Registered Physical Therapist from France. He first became
interested in the movement of the body (biomechanics) while working at the Lung Disease Hospital in
Grenoble, France with Dr. Arnaud, a recognized specialist in lung diseases and a master of cadaver
dissection. Barral was able to follow patterns of stress in the tissues of cadavers as he studied
biomechanics in living subjects. This introduced him to the visceral system, its potential to promote
lines of tension within the body, and the notion that tissues have memory. Barral’s clinical work with
the viscera led to his development of this form of manual therapy that focuses on the internal organs,
their fascial environment and the potential influence on structural and physiological dysfunctions. The
term he coined for this therapy was Visceral Manipulation.