Visceral Methods

Visceral Mobilization: Freeing Fascial Interfaces among the Organs

Fascial layers provide glide and movement

The ability of the organs to glide freely around each other is vital, not only for the physiological task of each organ, but also for overall movement through the torso. And, the reverse is true: movement and postural habits can inhibit the free movement of the organs. Gliding freely-- inside-out and outside-in -- is a key aim of visceral mobilization.

To gain such freedom, we start with an exploration of the fascial layers surrounding organs. We take a ‘topographical’ tour of the anatomy: where are the organs, what is their shape and how are they accessed? We'll look at relative position in the abdominal and thoracic cavity, and note which fascial layers are meant to be slippery and which are meant to hold.

Learn how to palpate free and restricted layers

With a sense of that geography, we can assess those layers and organs for appropriate movement ("neutral") or restriction ("shear" or "bias"). As with other areas in the body, patterns of restriction will present with directionality. There will be an easier and a harder direction of movement -- once we identify that directionality, we can make choices about how to treat the tissue. Refining our palpation of soft-tissue structures is highlighted as a part of both assessment and treatment.

Gently address abdominal and thoracic organs

We learn techniques to release fascial restrictions in the following abdominal organs: liver, gall bladder, stomach, spleen, small and large intestines, bladder and kidneys. The lungs, bronchi and mediastinum are included. We’ll work with the client in a variety of positions, to give us flexibility and versatility when approaching the organs.

Manual treatment will focus on mobilization — rather than motility — using direct and indirect contact. We’ll discuss how to gauge one’s application of force to meet the restriction, so that we treat safely and effectively, without overriding the body’s limits. The class includes consideration of:

• scar tissue as a possible limitation of movement

• how whiplash and chronic stress effect the organs

• postpartum recovery strategies

• releasing the diaphragm as the key muscular ‘operator’ for organ mobility, and

• simple self-care strategies for maintaining free movement of the organs.

This is a good class for practitioners who focus on structural bodywork, deep tissue, sports massage and other biomechanical methods, and want to add this critical geography to your work. It’s also a good class for those who have studied light-touch methods (craniosacral, strain-counterstrain, etc.) and want to clarify their palpation and widen their skill set.

VMb palp liver

Perception of motility (cranial wave or mid-tide) is recommended, but not required, for this class.

Please contact Lauren if you have questions about your readiness for the material.

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Visceral Listening: Enhancing the Motility of the Organs

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Please wear comfortable clothing, in layers, to allow for ease of movement and palpation. (No jeans, stiff fabric, tight belts or sports bras, please.)

Pre-requisite: Craniosacral Introductory Workshop

Perceive the dynamic 'hum' of health

Here’s what so fun about working with the organs: they are equal parts fluid and fascial! If you are accustomed to working with light touch, the organs will echo what you feel in the fluid body. If you have tried light touch work and found it too difficult to perceive, the organs present an easier task of palpation. 

In this class we explore the abdominal and thoracic organs, using a light touch that follows the body’s inherent health. This subtle movement -- motility -- underpins the physiological activity of each  organ. We orient to two rhythms, in general, when working with the organs: the cranial wave (or CRI; short and local), and the mid-tide (longer and systemic). Either rhythm allows us to perceive where there is balance and where their is disturbance in the organs.

Gain clarity of the territory through palpation

Learn to palpate each organ with clarity, giving yourself a "map" for the territory. Then, broaden and deepen your listening skills to track the inherent health of specific organs -- treating through common methods of listening, following/unwinding and/or inhibition. Simultaneously, we track the client’s response to ensure that the work doesn’t overwhelm their autonomic nervous system.

Structures we address include: respiratory diaphragm, liver, gall bladder, heart, small intestine, spleen stomach, lung, large intestine, kidney and urinary bladder. We treat the organs in a sequence of pairs — for this, we use Five Element Theory from Traditional Chinese Medicine as a template. This allows us to address their coordinated activity, enhancing the integration of their physiological rhythms in the fluid body.

Invite the system to digest emotional content

Five Element Theory also gives us a viewpoint to explore the relationship between organ activity and our emotional body. As we treat each organ, we’ll also invite the body ‘to digest’ any unresolved emotional content — simple active listening methods are used rather than in depth dialogue or coaching.