Visceral Manual Therapy
Simply stated, Visceral Manual Therapy (or Abdominal Manual Therapy) is an ancient healing method designed to bring the body back into balance and health after it has lost its center due to unhealthy living, stress or illness.
While almost unknown in many parts of the world, the art of Visceral Manual Therapy has been a part of Russian folk medicinal culture for centuries. During the “dark time” of Russian history, this therapy was in danger of being lost with the persecution of the village healers. However, the “wise village women” successfully safeguarded this art to pass onto future generations of healers.
Manual therapies, traditionally used in Asian civilizations, encompassed the art of rubbing the body and applying pressure, paying particular attention to points that were stiff, tender and in congested areas.
The Russian variant, Visceral Manual Therapy, is a manipulation that focuses on the abdominal organs. In Russian, the word “abdomen or belly” and the word “life”, are almost identical. The significance and wisdom of this relationship is apparent since the dysfunction of the liver, stomach, small and large intestines has been correlated with a number of pathological conditions. Examples are migraines, hypotension, hypertension, menstrual changes, uterine fibroids, prostate adenoma, arthritis and autoimmune conditions. Changes in mood, frustration, apathy, depression and even chemical and alcohol dependence were also considered as symptoms of abdominal organ dysfunction.
How Visceral Manual Therapy Aids in Detoxification
Visceral Manual Therapy is a kind of manipulation that encourages normal mobility, tone, blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and neural regulation of internal organs and surrounding tissues.
The interest in this abdominal manual therapy has increased considerably during recent years. This is because the abdominal organs are not only essential in nourishing and fueling the body with nutrients, but are also necessary in natural detoxification mechanisms and elimination of toxic products.
Our toxic burden
In recent history, mankind has witness tremendous changes to our environment’s chemistry. For example, in the year 2000 alone, more than 4 billion pounds of chemicals were released into the soil in which we grow our food and subsequently, into the underground water tables that supply our drinking water. Nearly 2 billion pounds of chemical emissions were pumped into the air we breathe. We also fill our food with artificial colorings, preservatives, flavoring, and conditioners. And on-top-of-it, we combine this with the extensive use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine. There is no doubt that our generation is experiencing great toxic stress; thereby causing our abdominal organs to work hard to detoxify these chemical agents.
The importance of “the belly”
To recognize the importance of what we call the belly or the tummy, it is necessary to look at the main functions of the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine, and the liver.
The stomach and small intestines are involved in digestion of food and absorption of the most essential nutrients.
The large intestines support regular bowel movements, eliminate the build-up of unhealthy microorganisms and internal toxins. Both the small and large intestines provide a strong barrier to prevent leakage of toxic materials from the intestines into circulation. They also play an important role in immune defense.
The liver conducts the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals—basically the metabolism of everything in our body. The liver also filters and transforms toxic substances that have entered the blood into harmless materials that can be excreted in urine and with bowel movements.
Neural Reflex Pathways
Visceral Manual Therapy is a complex of deep massage, manipulation, acupressure and ischemic compression over tender and stiff areas of the abdomen. This abdominal manipulation helps abdominal organs to maintain their healthy function and normalizes any dysfunctional conditions that could eventually lead to the development of disease. It is believed that different areas of the skin and subcutaneous connective tissue of the abdomen have neuralgic relations with internal organs - “a neural reflex pathway”. Benefits from Visceral Manual Therapy are thought to be achieved through the neurological balance or normalization of these neural reflex pathways.
Would I benefit from having Visceral Manual Therapy in combination with Colonics? Generally speaking, yes. Both therapies work together to eliminate the toxic products from the body. Those suffering from constipation, bloating, gas, cramping as well as any chronic dysfunction in the stomach, intestines and gall bladder or liver may benefit from a combination of both therapies.
How will I feel during Visceral Manual Therapy? You may experience some discomfort in tender points. In general, after a series of sessions the procedure becomes painless. Increased blood circulation from VMT, as well as increased lymphatic drainage, leads to an increase capacity of removing chemical irritants and toxins. This helps to bring in oxygen thereby increasing cellular metabolism.
How many sessions of VMT are required? This varies for the individual. However, in general, 7-8 sessions are the average recommendation. After a series of VMT sessions, in addition to improvement in their abdominal conditions, patients often report a boost in energy, alertness and an increase sense of well-being.
Why Do I need an examination before VMT? The application of VMT to the patient is always followed after physical examination to reveal possible contraindications to this procedure, such as an acute state of any disease and febrile conditions, benign and malignant tumors, pregnancy, etc. The increased circulation to the organs may be contraindicated in these, as well as other medical conditions.
Dr. Elena Sokolova is one of the few experts world-wide in the area of Visceral Manual Therapy, the art, and science of rehabilitation of intestinal, biliary and liver function.