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Visceral Osteopathy

  • Summary
  • More Detail
  • Typical Conditions
  • Questions
  • Links

Introduction to Visceral Osteopathy

Visceral osteopathy is a lesser known part of osteopathy that involves working with the viscera (internal organs).

There is much overlap both with general osteopathy and cranial osteopathy, but we feel it's worth a mention as some osteopaths treat only straight forward musculoskelatal problems i.e. sports injuries, neck & back problems and other joint & muscle problems.

When osteopathy was conceived in the late 1800's by Dr Andrew Taylor Still he envisaged that osteopathy was an entirely holistic approach to health that could be utilised to help general health and wellbeing for almost all conditions except for those needing emergency medicine.

As osteopathy is non prescriptive and is based on principles, then these osteopathic principles can be applied to all areas and tissues of the body. Working to improve the function of the various areas of the body i.e. joints, tissues, organs, etc., will assist the natural healing mechanisms.

























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A range of approaches may be used;

A direct approach
  • i.e. gentle stretching of the ribs, chest & diapragm (to assist in drainage and blood flow) for respiratory conditions, gentle stretching of abdominal adhesions, inhibition (point pressure) to reduce muscle spasm of the sigmoid colon in IBS.

Indirect approaches;
  • Spinal manipulation to reduce excess sympathetic nerve impulses to a particular organ that may be overworking or under stress.

  • A gentle minimal approach akin to cranial osteopathy, that works with the gentle rythmic movement patterns that occur throughout the body that can get disrupted with injury, stress & strain.




















Typical Conditions that may be helped with Visceral Osteopathy


  • Bowel problems - excess wind, bloating, chronic constipation / diarrhoea, IBS - Irritible Bowel Syndrome

  • Conditions that often in include IBS i.e. Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS

  • Stomach & Digestive problems - hiatus hernia, excess acid, 'heat burn'

  • Abdominal Adhesions - that may contribute to menstrual and premenstrual pain & discomfort.

  • Respiratory conditions i.e. asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, etc.

  • Bladder / Urinary problems, pelvic floor, interstitial cystitis

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Fertility, infertility, problems conceiving

























Visceral Osteopathy FAQ's

Should I see my GP first?

Yes, but typically those that seek visceral osteopathic help have already seen their doctor and have had further investigations, possible diagnosis with no or some symptom relief only.

Also, osteopaths are trained to a very high standard, including medical sciences during their 4 year degree course. Thereafter visceral osteopaths have typically completed a number of postgraduate training courses specifically in visceral osteopathy. They will therefore do their best to ascertain if there is a more serious underlying condition and advise/refer appropriately.

So you don't necessarily need to see your GP first, except in certain cases.


Any suspicion of an urinary infection should be investigated &/or treated by your doctor as an infection in the bladder can prgoress to the kidneys, which can be very serious.


My doctor says my IBS is caused by stress - Is this true?


They may not have had time to explain properly or you may have misunderstood, but there has not been any research to date that supports the idea that IBS is caused by stress. What it is generally accepted is that IBS is aggravated by stress, but then most health conditions are aggrravated by stress. Unfortunately having IBS itself contributes to stress levels, so this can be a vicious circle.

In my opinion there is an underlying physical cause that can be rectified, so if there's little or no progress after a few treatments of visceral osteopathy and accompanying advice, then I may recommend NAET (Nambripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques) or some screening with the Asyra PRO system. Next to mechanical problems, IBS is probably the most single cause of people seeking my help.

Should I have been investigated for underlying bowel diseases before being diagnosed as having Irritible Bowel Syndrome?

Yes, as IBS is a diagnosis of elmination - by eliminating serious known bowel diseases first.

There are blood tests for coeliac disease, which are now reliable, but only if you are still eating gluten. If you have already taken yourself off gluten for more than a month, then the test may not be any use. It is known that coeliac disease is an under diagnosed condition.

For other bowel conditions i.e. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, then there are no specific tests, but you doctor should get an idea from your symptom history and from the results of more general tests i.e. test for blood in stool sample, iron anemia, blood test for levels of inflammation and some further tests i.e. barium enema &/or barium meal. If any of these raise suspicion, then possibly an endoscopic investigation (camera inside the gut or colon) and a tissue sample from the gut wall (biopsy) for close inspection with a microscope or further tests.

There is also increasing evidence of a type of gluten intolerance that is not coeliac disease and is being referred to as non-celiac gluten intolerance. Have used the american spelling as the references that I have seen are either american or australian.

If you have this or other intolerances, then you may want to consider an Allergy/Intorelance screening.




























Visceral Osteopath at the Centre

Andrew Woodhouse

Other Pages on Osteopathy


Cranial Osteopathy

External Links

Andrew's osteopathic website

Andrew also provides osteopathy, visceral & cranial osteopathy, western acupuncture, allergy screening & NAET in Liverpool at

Liverpool Wellbeing Centre.