Naturopathic Manual Therapy (NMT)
We utilize visceral manipulation (aimed at restoring proper movement and function to your organs), massage techniques, stretching, trigger point release, craniosacral therapy (aimed at releasing fascia restriction and balancing your craniosacral rhythms), bone/joint movement normalization, hydrotherapy, and exercise recommendations to help you toward better function.
Visceral Manipulation is a manual therapy consisting of gentle, specifically placed manual forces that encourage normal mobility, tone and inherent tissue motion of the viscera (organs), their connective tissue and other areas of the body where physiologic motion has been impaired.
Visceral Manipulation (VM) works with the body's internal membranes and organs or visceral system (the stomach, liver, intestines and other internal organs) to locate and alleviate any abnormal points of tension throughout the body.
Visceral Manipulation is useful for:
Back and neck pain
Shoulder and hip pain
Carpal tunnel & other repetitive strain injuries
Whiplash and other physical trauma
And many other conditions
VM is used to locate and solve problems that develop due to constrictions in the viscera, which can have impacts throughout the body's internal systems, as well as external musculoskeletal systems. It encourages your own natural mechanisms of healing, which improves the functioning of your organs, alleviates the negative effects of stress, and improves overall health, boosting resistance to disease.
A trained practitioner uses the rhythmic motions of the visceral system to evaluate normal activity and movement or "fluidity forces" within the internal body. Harmony and health exist when motion is free; when there is no constriction of movement, when flow internally is not diminished, and when structures move fluidly relative to neighboring structures.
Therapists using Visceral Manipulation assess the dynamic functional actions (movements) as well as the somatic structures (actual organ systems) that perform individual activities. They also evaluate the quality of the somatic structures and their functions in relation to an overall harmonious pattern. Motion is the barometer used to determine the quality of visceral function.
The human body is held together and given its shape by connective tissue. Developing early in fetal growth, all of the connective tissue in the human body is continuous. There is a lot of it: about 20% of the weight of the human body is connective tissue. Collectively this connective tissue matrix is the Organ of Support.
Practitioners of VM work with the Organ of Support to assist clients to a better relationship to movement, gravity, and life. The membranes supporting the internal organs have multiple and extensive connections with the rest of the organs of support in the body. VM Founder, French Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral demonstrated that manipulation of the visceral support system has profound and lasting effects on the organization of the rest of the body.
Imagine an adhesion around any of the body's organs. It would create a situation of strain that demands abnormal accommodations from nearby body structures. For example, often adhesions form in the pleural membrane surrounding one of the lungs due to coughing, colds or flu, or just normal aging. A pleural adhesion can alter rib motion, which creates imbalance with the vertebral column and alters breathing capacity, as well as posture and movement.
By releasing constrictions and contractures in the connective tissue layers of the viscera, tissue softens, becomes more pliable, and blood flow increases, allowing the tissue to become rehydrated, bringing more flexibility and capacity for normal movement and healthy interaction with surrounding organs, nerves, and systems.
Due to the delicate and often highly reactive nature of the visceral tissues, gentle force precisely directed has the most beneficial results. As with other methods of manipulation that can profoundly affect the body, Visceral Manipulation works with the natural homeostatic or health-maintaining forces within the body. As a result, a VM trained therapist can assist the natural process of healing, subsequently relieving the injury or disorganization that has occurred within the system.
The visceral support membranes have rich autonomic nervous system innervation. In fact, the number of neurons in the visceral support system exceeds the number of neurons in the spinal cord and brain stem. The nerve plexi of the visceral support system have been referred to as the Enteric brain or "Second brain".
These nerve plexi function as a crucial entry point for our peripheral and central nervous systems. When there are injuries in the viscera, we may experience a variety of symptoms, such as pain, nervousness, even mood changes and sleep disturbances. VM relieves these varied symptoms.
In a single day, your internal organs move at least 20,000 times. Your liver alone travels 600 meters.
Motion is a sign of life itself. Everything in the universe is in motion. Everything moves in space and time and humans are no exception to this rule. Our bodies need movement to be healthy. This same principle applies to every structure in our bodies including the viscera. For an organ to be healthy and have optimal functionality there needs to be motion.
Tissues lose their normal motion when they become inflamed. The natural healing process involves local disruption of normal tissue fibers and their replacement with relatively inelastic granular tissue. It can be conceptualized as a localized drying-out of the affected tissues. Many factors can cause tissue inflammation including infections, direct trauma, repetitious movement, diet, environmental toxins, and emotional stress.
VM employs specifically placed gentle touch that works to encourage the normal mobility, tone, and motion of the viscera and the connective tissue membranes that surround each of the body's organ systems.
If so, there may be visceral (organ) contributions.
A recent study of 30 patients with back pain revealed 50% had a restriction in the tissue in the large intestine and 50% in the small intestine that was contributing to their back pain.
The purpose of Visceral Manipulation is to recreate, harmonize and increase proprioceptive communication in the body to enhance its internal mechanism for better health."
–Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O.
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.
How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?
The craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord – has great influence over the proper function of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods. With very light pressure, we evaluate the craniosacral system by gently examining various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-pressure techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system. Craniosacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions such as chronic pain, headaches, injuries, ADD/ADHD, poor mental clarity, mood disorders and more.