Would you put down Irritable Bowl Syndrome on a massage intake form? How about a hysterectomy? Many people would ignore these things, separating in their mind a connection between our organs and muscles. In my practice, I integrate visceral massage (organ massage) with myofascial work to tackel deeply rooted tensions in the body. This topic is at the front of my mind, because I recently I re-took the Aston-Patterning Artho class. This was my fourth time taking the class, and I’m in awe of how much I learn each time. The more I work with visceral massage the more attuned I become to the special movements and timing of these subtle systems.
It’s common to think of our organs as floating bowls of jelly inside us, but each organ is actually held within a sack and then double or evn trippled bagged by facia. These sacks are then connected to our deepest tissue layers lining the neck, back, groin, and abdomen. They act as another nervous system which stores our deepest feelings and hurts, and are usually treated with the least attention. As embryos we develop from our stomachs out. From this perspective, it seems intuitive that muscle tensions in our limbs could have root in our deep core.
Working with clients who have chronic problems. I find using visceral massage to be quite useful. Paying attention to the organs offers detox, deep relief, mobility, and relaxation. By balancing the viscera, the improvements gained during the rest of the session seem to last longer. Visceral work may leave you feeling a bit bloated at first, but then the detox benefits will kick in. You will need to void more often (this may be a blessing for some) and due to the nature of detox you may feel a little tired for the day. Drinking lots of water and or green tea will help this process along.
In balancing the organ system my clients enjoy more integration through their bodies as they progress through physical therapy. My advice is, follow your gut!