Will Visceral Manipulation (or Massage) Therapy Treat SIBO?
In short, POSSIBLY (depending on the cause of your SIBO). If you are having trouble clearing SIBO due to scar tissue build-up in the small intestine, a blockage, or stunted digestion, visceral massage therapy may be the answer, in conjunction with a SIBO treatment protocol. If your root cause is something else, visceral massage may give you much-needed relief from painful SIBO symptoms and work in conjunction with other therapies to be part of the solution.
When I started working with Dr. Lacey Chittle, a Functional Medicine Practitioner out of California, she mentioned that I should see a visceral massage therapist. After years of dealing with chronic SIBO and inflammation, there was a chance scar tissue or some type of blockage in my intestines was contributing to the chronic nature of my condition.
This wasn’t the first time someone recommended visceral manipulation to me, BUT it was the first time someone actually explained to me what it was and HOW it could potentially help me. I initially brushed it off as a little bit voodoo-withcraft but after Dr. Chittle explained it to me, I was willing to give it a try. Learn more about visceral massage therapy here.
Let’s be honest, at a certain point after years of dealing with SIBO, you are willing to try anything.
Finding a good visceral manipulation therapist was a bit more challenging. Dr. Chittle sent me to The International Association for Healthcare Practitioners and told me to look for a practitioner in my area with specific visceral massage certifications. BEWARE, make sure you do your homework and find someone who is certified in Visceral Manipulation…it’s a very specific type of massage that 99% of massage therapists are NOT trained in. It’s best to use the website or ask your practitioner if they have a recommendation.
When looking for a certified visceral manipulation therapist, I wanted two things: someone close to me and someone who had THE MOST experience possible. I wasn’t messing around. After a bit of searching, I found Melissa Mercogliano, a physical therapist and owner of The Center for Orthopedic and Lymphatic Physical Therapy or COLPT in Port Orchard, WA. To see Melissa’s bio, click here.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first session but Melissa was super knowledgeable and explained exactly what she was doing. After a series of tests (essentially my body telling her where the problem was) she had me lay down on a table. She used a series of small manipulations to essentially break up scar tissue and move things around that were either stuck or stagnant. I found it really relaxing and helpful.
Sound crazy? Well, it is a little, except for the fact that it actually works! I went into my first session with pain in my upper abdomen from SIBO and left pain-free. ALSO, one of the symptoms of my SIBO is feeling full all the time. My stomach never makes that hungry/gurgling sound…EVER. While I was lying on the table with Melissa’s hands on my stomach, my stomach started gurgling. I swear to you at that moment it was the happiest sound ever and I was hooked!
I saw Melissa once per week for a month then backed off to once per month as my symptoms improved. Currently, I’m in the midst of a small setback or relapse so I’ve increased to twice per month and it seems to be helping. I think of it like this: when you go to physical therapy for your back or your knee, it can take weeks or months to rehab that part of your body. Your stomach, intestines, and everything in-between are no different. While I don’t think visceral massage therapy will treat my SIBO by itself, I do think it’s an important piece to my treatment plan and I encourage other SIBO sufferers to try it. I am so grateful I found Melissa!
I truly believe that visceral massage therapy is playing a key role in the eradication of my SIBO. In my experience thus far, it can be a powerful tool in conjunction with the correct pre and post-treatment protocol, as well as the right diet to help heal the gut and keep the SIBO bugs out! If anything it can give you some much-needed relief from symptoms.
Have you tried Visceral Massage?
Until next time,