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Visceral Counterstrain

The visceral system consists of our bodies internal organs like the lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines, and bladder. Its regular function is vital for us to breath, digest, and excrete wastes, but it also contributes in a myriad of other ways. The visceral system is innervated by the autonomic (parasympathetic and sympathetic) nervous system but also had its own enteric nervous system. This means that the gut can continue to digest without any input from the brain, and has led Dr. Michael Gershon to term the gut the 2nd brain due to the high level of cooperation and team work that must occur between the autonomic and enteric nervous systems for the body to function efficiently. Interestingly, inside the gut is also where dopamine is created. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that travels to the brain and stimulates emotions like motivation, reward, and pleasure. When visceral dysfunction is present it can effect our bodies, but also our brain function and general feelings of happiness.

Visceral dysfunction does not mean that there is pathology within the organ. It means that the fascia and suspensory ligaments that anchor the organ to other organs and to the skeleton are tight and restricted. It’s these fascial connections and suspensory support systems that we treat with Counterstrain. By releasing the fascia, we can not only free up the mobility of the viscera, but also the mobility of the spine, ribs, pelvis, and sacrum. Jean-Pierre Barral, a well-known osteopathic physician that specializes in visceral manipulation, terms the sacroiliac joint the trash can of the viscera. Meaning, visceral dysfunction can specifically project pain right to the sacroiliac joint. This is why many people with low back pain struggle to recover, because no one has ever addressed their visceral dysfunction. In addition to treating pain, visceral Counterstrain has also been shown to treat abdominal and digestive issues.

Symptoms of visceral dysfunction can include but are not limited to:

  • Shoulder/mid-scapular pain

  • Respiratory difficulty

  • Low back pain

  • Sacral pain

  • Abdominal/stomach pain and cramps

  • Digestive issues like constipation/diarrhea

  • Sciatic pain

  • Limited hip range of motion

  • Incontinence


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help! Call us now to schedule your Counterstrain evaluation.

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