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  • Writer's pictureBally Lidder

Tummy Massage (Visceral Mobilisation)

Updated: Jun 8, 2018

Do you still have a muffin top? Have you had abdominal surgery? Do you have abdominal scar tissue that may be stuck and referring pain? I was fortunate to go on a visceral mobilisation study day last weekend. Whilst you were enjoying the warm beautiful sunshine outdoors, I was laying down in the Chelsea and Westminster hospital physiotherapy department having my tummy massaged! Weird how I spend my weekends you must be thinking.

What is Visceral Mobilisation/Tummy massage?

Visceral mobilisation or tummy massage is the treatment of the deep abdominal fascia. Fascia is a thin cling film like substance that coats all our organs, muscles and soft tissues. It extends from our head down to the toes. It is that thin film like substance you find wrapped around raw chicken pieces.

Why would it need treating?

Trauma such as whiplash or abdominal surgery can lead to adhesions or scar tissue, which may lead to the organs being restricted in their normal movement. This could lead to pain, which could be anywhere in the back, abdomen, or pelvic area. Sometimes the pain can be longstanding and often will not ease with physiotherapy treatment of the back or pelvis. Scar tissue can cause a ‘divide’ in the abdomen with the upper half of the abdomen not engaging with the lower half.

How is tummy massage done?

Usually with you lay on your back, the different layers of the abdomen are gently palpated. The first layer is the skin, the second the subcutaneous tissue, the third the muscles and the fourth the organs. Each layer is felt for restrictions and released. Pain can often be referred into the back or pelvis, especially if fascial restriction is the cause. Once tension is found it is gently held and stretched.

What will you feel?

Not a lot! The technique is very gently. As you get used to it, you may feel a letting go inside you. The treatment may reproduce the pain that you have been suffering from, which will ease once the restriction is released. During treatment there is often gurgling sounds from your bowels and bowel habits are usually improved. After treatment it is recommended that you drink plenty of water to hydrate the fascial tissue.

Who can benefit from visceral mobilisation?

Tummy massage can help you if you have

  • Low back pain

  • Abdominal pain

  • Pelvic pain

  • Groin pain

  • Constipation

  • Abdominal scarring from surgery

  • Interstitial cystitis

  • Bladder dysfunstion

  • Unexplained pain that has not responded to conservative treatment.

Contact me for information and advice.

Thank you


Image courtesy of Pixabay

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