Believe it or not, that’s the latest wellness craze, known as “visceral manipulation.” It’s a massage where – instead of rubbing achy muscles and joints – a therapist massages your internal organs! They do it by gently poking their fingers around your torso, feeling for tender spots in the connective tissue surrounding your liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines. And by manipulating those organs a certain way, practitioners say they can treat everything from constipation, to sleep issues, to depression, to back pain!
So, does visceral manipulation work? Well, for years, doctors have recommended a gentle belly rub to help treat constipated kids, for example. And according to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, organ massage may help prevent “adhesions”… which refers to the scar tissue that forms between organs, muscles and bones after surgery or an injury. Since adhesions often compress nerves and trigger pain, it makes sense that preventing them can have lots of health benefits.
However, gastroenterologists warn we need to be careful with this. If you stimulate the gut the wrong way, you can set off contractions that cause MORE pain and discomfort. That’s why integrative medicine expert Dr. Delia Chiaramonte suggests only trusting your torso with a trained professional. Right now, there are about 24‑thousand people worldwide who are trained in the art of Visceral Manipulation. You can find one near you at DiscoverVM.com.