Visceral Mobilization

People don’t think of their internal organs, or viscera, much within the context of physical therapy, however visceral mobility is vital for comfortable and smooth functional mobility. Our viscera are protected by the ribcage and muscular abdominal wall.  They are held in place by a system of ligaments and are contained within a fluid filled sack called the peritoneum.  The viscera need to be able to slide and glide over each other to allow movement of the diaphragm during breathing.  When we inhale, the powerful diaphragm muscle moves down.   The liver, stomach and other organs need to slide down out of the way when the diaphragm descends to allow the lungs to fill with air.  When we exhale, the diaphragm and internal organs slide back up.  Restoring, or improving, visceral mobility is important for normal body function.  If the viscera loose mobility because of disease, inflammation or postural restriction, the result can be pain, decreased functional mobility or decreased organ function.  Luckily, manual therapy to restore visceral mobility is comfortable and effective.  Think about visceral mobility next time you reach to pick something up off of the floor.  If your organs couldn’t slide and glide over each other, you wouldn’t be able to bend to reach the floor or breathe easily. 

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