Visceral Mobilization is a skilled manual technique that can be provided by a physical therapist.
Refer to the blog by Kayla Heger for more information on visceral mobilizations and how you may be able to benefit from them!
As visceral mobilizations are a specialized technique, patients often wonder or ask us what they are able to do on their own to re-create these treatments at home in order to maintain gains from treatment sessions.
As mentioned above, these techniques are a specialized form of manual therapy, and specific, advanced education is required in order to perform them. However, I often educate my patients in techniques they CAN perform independently to assist with tissue mobility to meet similar goals.
Self-Releases With a Small Ball:
We sell small self-release balls at our clinic that works great for this, but you can also try using a stress ball. Ideally, a small, soft ball is recommended as the techniques should be pain-free and not cause harm to the sensitive abdominal tissues and contents.
Your therapist can educate you in which regions may be beneficial for you to perform these massages OR if you aren’t currently seeing a therapist you can try gently rolling through your abdomen (position yourself as shown below) and focusing on regions that seem tight or tender. If completing without guidance, it is important to maintain gentle pressure and to avoid pain provocation. Once you find a tight and/or tender location, maintain a static hold and constant downward pressure on the ball. See if you can feel the tissues under the ball start to relax. It will almost feel as if the tissues below start to melt and the ball can sink a little further downward. Once you reach this point, you can move on to the next location. Work through your entire abdomen for 10-15 minutes at a time.
Self-Releases Combined with Yoga Pose
Yoga poses can also be used in conjunction with these release techniques. A yoga pose I often recommend is the sphinx pose (see below). If this pose is too intense, the release can be initiated by first lying flat on your stomach with a ball located at the region of tightness/tenderness. Again, you are waiting for a melting or relaxing type of sensation of the target tissues. Once you achieve this and can tolerate greater amounts of pressure without the onset of pain, you can push up onto elbows for a deeper release. The pose itself will also provide a nice stretch to your abdomen and hips!
The releases can be taken a step further by adding deep breathing techniques. Diaphragmatic breathing can aid in relaxation and down-regulation of the central nervous system, allowing for more effective releases. The movement of the visceral organs that occurs during good diaphragmatic breathing can act as a massage to the visceral organs as well as the tissues/organs tend to move in conjunction with the diaphragm!
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