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Visceral Manipulation/ Organ Mobilization

Visceral Manipulation/ Organ Mobilization

What is Visceral Manipulation?

Contact Joanna

Visceral Manipulation / Organ Mobilization

Hi guys! I’m excited to share with you a therapy that I am now offering called Visceral Manipulation. It is a gentle and specific manual therapy encouraging normal mobility of the organs and their connective tissue. Yes, I’m saying that I am trained to move and release restrictions (using my hands on your abdomen) on specific organs  in a gentle and painless way.

All of our organs should be able to move freely. When they can slip and slide on each other, they are able to function at their best. Any time we get inflammation in any organ, as it’s going through the healing phase it will adhere to tissues around it and put the organ in a rigid state, which affects how the organ functions. It will also affect blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and nerve conduction of that organ,  as well as the spine, rib cage, neck and shoulders, and low back. For example, frozen shoulder can relate to a nerve irritation stemming from the lungs, chronically cold feet can be related to your small intestine, left sciatica or SI pain can be your sigmoid colon, right medial knee pain  and instability can be related to your large intestine, right shoulder pain can be a restriction in your liver, heart burn and reflux can mean your stomach is sitting too high, and left-sided neck pain could be related to the gallbladder due to the phrenic nerve that runs through it. Visceral manipulation of the inflamed organ can reduce and even eliminate the seemingly unrelated pain and/or digestive issues listed above as well as bring the organ back to fully functional.  This really shows how everything in our body is truly connected.

How do our organs get inflamed?

Our organs can become inflamed from surgery, injuries, whip lash, chronic infections, direct trauma, environmental toxins, heavy metals, emotional stress, diet, and repetitive movement. The interesting thing is that we do not have pain receptors in our actual organs. We feel pain in other areas where nerves and connective tissues relate directly or indirectly to that organ.

Throughout my 17 years as a licensed massage therapist, I have become frustrated seeing chronic pain areas that appear and feel like they should be able to be healed through massage, chiropractic and stretching exercises, only to be discouraged that the problem keeps reappearing.  Visceral Manipulation is the missing link that I have been searching for! I look forward to checking your organs for restrictions and finding out if we can help some of your chronic pain go away for good, as well as bring your organs into balance so you can enjoy more vitality in your everyday life.

You can book a 30 minute Visceral Manipulation session, or add it on to your regular massage session. If you still aren’t sure about it, when you come in for your regular massage, we can discuss VM in your intake and see if it’s something you would like me to spend some of your session time on. Feel free to call me with any questions about Visceral Manipulation. Check this out to learn more about Visceral Manipulation and how it works:

If you do plan for me to check your organs for restrictions, do your best to NOT EAT for 2 hours before your session. This therapy is done best on an empty stomach!

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Referrals are the highest compliment you can give me. Refer 1 new client and receive $15 off of your next massage! You can do this over and over again and continue to get your one hour massage for only $55! Please sign up to for the e-mail newsletter for updates on the site, and massage specials. Have fun exploring the site!

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By | 2019-09-18T15:02:44-07:00 November 16th, 2018|Fort Collins Massage Service, Health, Visceral Manipulation|Comments Off on Visceral Manipulation/ Organ Mobilization

Pelvic Organs: Visceral Manipulation~Part 2

Pelvic Organs: Visceral Manipulation Part 2

Pelvic Organs: Visceral Manipulation ~ Part 2

If you are reading this and thinking, “What is Visceral Manipulation?’ and/or “part 2 of what?” please go to What Is Visceral Manipulation to read the first introductory article I wrote about a year ago explaining Visceral Manipulation/Organ Mobilization. Jean-Pierre Barral, French Osteopathic Physician who is the one of the founders of Visceral Manipulation, has spent the last 40 years treating patients using specific treatment protocols, documenting and researching through imaging scans and fluroscopy, and helped hundreds of thousands of people to better health who turned to him after years of conventional medicine letting them down.

To quote myself from my previous article, Visceral Manipulation is “a gentle and specific manual therapy encouraging normal mobility of the organs and their connective tissue. Yes, I’m saying that the VM therapist is trained to move and release restrictions (using the hands on your abdomen) of specific organs in a gentle and painless way.” VM is received with the therapists hands on the abdominal region either through a thin layer of clothing or on the surface of the skin. Sometimes one session will make a big change, but most of the time 3 to 5 sessions can help resolve an issue. For the past year I have been doing Visceral work on my clients who have Digestive Issues such as: acid reflux, stomach pain, bloating, constipation, cramping, diverticulitis, and gall bladder removal scar tissue, just to name a few.

In this article I am focusing on Visceral Manipulation (VM) of the Pelvic Organs, as this is the most recent training I have received and the original aspect that got me into wanting to even learn this gentle form of Manual Therapy. All treatments are performed externally by placing my palm on the lower abdomen, sacrum, or adductors of the thighs in a professional and precise way, in order to release adhesions of the ligaments supporting these organs, helping them to function at their best. In my 18 years of massage practice, I have had many female clients struggling with issues such as severe menstrual cramping, pelvic pain, scar tissue from C-sections, and infertility. I’ve always wanted to find a way to help them. When I discovered Barral’s approach to Visceral Manipulation (Organ Mobilization) just over a year ago, I had finally found what I was looking for.

Listed below are the Pelvic Organs and the dis-eases associated with them that Visceral Manipulation can help to resolve or reduce symptoms of:

BLADDER: Visceral Manipulation has a great record for helping cases of Bladder incontinence; as well as those who think of themselves as having a “small bladder,” a.k.a. having to urinate only 20-30 minutes after emptying their bladder, interupting sleep waking up to pee throughout the night, or can’t get through an hour show on Netflix without having to pause it and use the restroom AGAIN!

Women with heavy periods, irregular cycles, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, painful menstrual cramps, constipation, pelvic heaviness, abdominal swelling, slight knee pain, edema of the connective tissues and C-section scar tissue tension can get amazing relief with Visceral Manipulation. Also, fertility issues (depending on the cause) can sometimes be helped with this hands-on technique. Not in every case, but it doesn’t hurt to try it! Much less expensive than IVF.
*VM should NEVER be received during Pregnancy or on any woman who has an IUD.

Can help ease symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis by reducing the fibrosity in the tissues around the urethra and restore prostate to it’s normal condition.
*VM should NEVER be received during Acute Prostatitis (signs of pain, redness, sensitivity, and fever).

Low back pain~ Premenstrual due to uterus pressure on uterosacral ligament needing to be released and stretched
Inflamed Femoral nerve leg and knee pain/ Sciatica ~ Ovarian area may be congested and fibrosed

If you are still reading, you may be starting to feel your modesty get the best of you. This discomfort with receiving care for the organs of the pelvis needs to be addressed in order for you to get the care you need to help heal your body. Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O. Osteopathic Physician, says it best in his book, “Urogenital Manipulation” so I will quote from Barral, the greatest expert in this field for whom this has been his life’s work. “We view the human body as an organic, functional entity. We were puzzled by the fact that the urogenital system often seems to be viewed differently from other body systems (i.e. largely ignored) by medical professionals and patients alike. One obvious reason for this is culturally programmed ‘modesty.’ The early anatomical texts were written by monks. How did they refer to the urogenital system? As the pudendalis system, i.e., the system to be ashamed of! This stigma remained even as medicine became secularized. Many physicians assumed the role of defenders of morality, and their attitude toward parts of the body having sexual or excretory functions was shaped by prevailing social taboos and inhibitions as much as my practical medical considerations.

The true beneficiaries of these techniques are the women who take advantage of them to feel better and, in some cases, avoid surgery. To us, it makes no sense for a practitioner of manual medicine to deliberately avoid the urogenital area. These tissues are some of the most stressed in the body because of the effects of pregnancy, delivery, menstruation, lumbosacral dysfunction, intestinal problems, lower limb restrictions, psychological / emotional phenomena, etc. As health professionals, we have an obligation to help our patients in whatever way is appropriate.”

I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to call me (Joanna Dembek LMT) at 970-310-1539 if you have any questions before booking your Visceral Manipulation appointment. Thanks for listening and hope you learned something of value.

To learn more about the benefits of Visceral Manipulation, see the research and case studies, click on this link:

Perfect Pesto

Perfect Pesto


food processor, cheese grater


2 cups basil, packed
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste


Blend basil and nuts in food processor
Add garlic
Slowly add olive oil while blending
Add cheese and pulse again until blended
Add salt and pepper to taste

My Thoughts

I have searched and searched for the Perfect Pesto and have finally found my true love! My good friend Rachel and I were planning to make Pesto Pasta dinner and she is the one who somehow found this perfect combination. I think it is not only the amount of ingredients, but the order and process they are prepared in, such as slowly adding the olive oil, and adding the cheese at the end and just pulsing.

Try this on pasta, chicken or fish (antibiotic and hormone free) if you are a meat eater, or just eat it with a spoon! Yes, it’s that good, especially if you are a garlic and basil lover!

For those that want to eat as RAW as possible, another option is to spiralize zucchini with a spirilizer to make raw pasta! Then the only non raw ingredient is the cheese, and if you really want to you can leave the cheese out, though I don’t recommend it because it sure makes it tasty!

I usually double the recipe and eat it over a couple of days. You can never have too much pesto in the refrigerator!

By | 2019-09-18T14:50:34-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Food|0 Comments

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Ingredients (serves 2, usually with leftovers)

One can of organic black beans

1 medium sweet potato

Seriously sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

Olive oil

2 quesadillas (the big ones)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Any other spices you like!


First, cut sweet potato into small chunks (if organic leave the skin on, if not, peel first). Boil potatoes in water for about 10 minutes, or till you can easily stick a fork through them.) While potatoes are boiling, drain and rinse beans well. Chop onions,sauté in pan with olive oil and spices, then add beans. They just need a few minutes on medium heat. Slice your cheese and get the quesadillas out and ready. Drain sweet potatoes and mash. Spread a nice layer of sweet potatoes on half of each quesadilla, then the beans, then place sliced cheese on top. Close the quesadilla with a little bit of pressure. If you have a big sauté pan you can fit both quesadillas on at once. Burner at medium heat. Occasionally press down on the quesadillas, and continue to check bottom to flip. Wait till it is nice and crispy on bottom. Flip and in minutes you will have an out of this world quesadilla!

My Thoughts

This is one of my (and Derrek’s) favorite meals. It is quite satisfying and filling. I use Publix greenwise black beans, organic sweet potatoes from Jeff at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and Cabot seriously sharp cheddar cheese from Publix. You can boil and mash extra potatoes so that you can have the same dish the next day with a little less effort. If you are vegan, this would be great without the cheese, with the smooth delicious taste and texture of the sweet potatoes. I haven’t made it without cheese yet, but one of these days I will when I am feeling a little too cheesy!!! Ha ha! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s already too cheesy”, but I enjoy my cheesiness, and you must too, or else you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Have fun with this delicious dish. Email me any thoughts or experiences you’ve had with making this to:

By | 2018-07-06T17:08:08-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Food|0 Comments

Peppermint Dark Chocolate covered Pretzels (gluten and dairy free)

Peppermint Dark Chocolate covered Pretzels (gluten and dairy free)

Gluten free pretzels (I use Glutinos brand)
5 TBS 100% pure cocoa powder (I use raw cacao powder)
2 TBS extra virgin coconut oil
honey (to taste)
2 drops of doterra Peppermint essential oil

Heat coconut oil in saute pan until melted
Combine coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey in a glass bowl
Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool slightly
Add 2 drops of doterra Peppermint essential oil and stir
Dip pretzels into chocolate
Keep choc. covered pretzels in freezer for best crunch and to avoid melting!

My Thoughts

If you want to keep it simple and fast and don’t have any allergies to sugar and dairy, you can substitute the cocoa powder, coconut oil, and honey with:  ghirardelli baking chips (60% cacao) or your favorite chocolate chips. If you choose this method, heat about 1 cup of chocolate chips in a double boiler. I use a glass measuring cup, and place it in a pan with water. Heat and stir until melted. Then add 2 drops of essential oils. Dip pretzels into chocolate. Since this version of the recipe doesn’t call for coconut oil, they are more stable at room temp. I still prefer to keep them in the freezer until eating time though! doTerra Wild Orange essential oil is really yummy in place of the peppermint oil. You can get crazy with it! Try all different flavors. Cinnamon would be delicious too, though I haven’t tried that one yet. You can’t go wrong with peppermint or wild orange. Enjoy! Try some other flavors of oils and let me know about your experiments!

Most doTerra essential oils are safe for consumption, but many other brands of essential oils out there ARE NOT FOR INTERNAL USE. Make sure you read the label to find out if the oils are safe to eat. To learn where to buy doTerra essential oils, visit my essential oils page.

By | 2019-09-18T14:53:26-07:00 November 8th, 2014|Food|0 Comments

Kale Wrap

Kale Wrap


2 Kale leaves
1/2 avocado
chopped red pepper
chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
sprinkle Celtic Sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt


Clean and dry kale leaves. Cut stem out. Mash avocado, then stir in chopped red peppers, chopped onions, minced garlic, and salt. Place a big scoop of guacamole onto center of each kale leave, and drizzle tahini over it. Then wrap kale leave around it.

My Thoughts

Derrek and I had just come home from a long bike ride, both of us starving. Too hungry to wait for dinner to be cooked. Derrek headed for the refrigerator and grabbed one of the many sweets in the house from the holidays. I stopped him when the bourbon chocolate muffin was just inches from his mouth. I asked him to give me 5 minutes to whip up a healthy snack, and he actually agreed! I had a rough idea of what I was going to make. I told him to leave the kitchen and that it would be a surprise. Secretly I thought that if he watched me prepare the food, or if I told him what I was making, he would automatically decide he wasn’t going to like it. I was probably on point.

I knew we had some guacamole left over from yesterday, and I had a ton of kale that I needed to do something with. I have had kale avocado salads before and knew how great they tasted together. I wanted to put them together in a simple, and non-salad way. Derrek usually turns his nose up at kale, but he loves wraps. Usually ones made from flour, but he’s an adventurous guy, he’ll try just about anything if he is in an open sort of mood. That is the key. I knew I had this small window of opportunity to get him to try something new, without him giving me a hard time. (I also felt it was really important for us to get in some nutritious food on an empty stomach just after exercising.) The other important aspect to getting someone to try something new is to give it some familiarity. He loves guacamole and tahini. I made sure that he would definitely like the inside of the wrap.

The results?
He said it was delicious, and asked for another! A success.
This is great as a quick snack, to bring to a pot luck, or to enjoy as lunch!

By | 2018-07-06T17:07:28-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Food|0 Comments



Have you heard the word mindfulness? What does it mean to you? Mindfulness means “paying attention” or being in the present moment with what is. Not thinking about the past or the future, not being lost in thought. Simply being present with what is occurring in this NOW moment. Wouldn’t that be nice? To not be constantly whirling in stressful thoughts? I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for about 5 years. This practice has influenced my life in such a great way. I now have more focus, more awareness, the ability to communicate more consciously, and much more. Mindfulness creates clarity and an open space for more creativity to flow.

Mindfulness will help one grow in all areas of life. From being aware of brushing my teeth to washing the dishes, cultivating mindfulness makes these seemingly boring activities actually interesting! Pick one activity that you do every day and try being mindful during the process. It could be something such as taking a shower, walking the dog, or petting your cat. When you start this activity, bring awareness to the sensations you feel in the body. Notice thoughts that occur, without judging them, just simply noting that you are having certain types of thoughts, then bringing your attention back to the sensations in the body. Noticing your breathing. Are you breathing? Begin to observe. If you are brushing your teeth, feel the sensation of the brush on your gums. Does it feel soft, tingly, warm? If you are eating, smell and taste every savory flavor in your mouth, and enjoy it!

If you want to reduce stress, achieve greater focus, attention, and be morepresent in your life without drugs, than mindfulness practice is for you. If you are very drawn to this concept of living mindfully, you may be interested in receiving aMINDFUL MASSAGE from me. This is a way to get you more present in your body.

Click here to find out more about MINDFUL MASSAGE.

By | 2018-07-06T17:04:34-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Health|1 Comment

Mindful Approach to Living

Mindful Approach to Living


Take 7 minutes out of your busy life to sit and watch this beautiful clip.
Trust me, it’s worth it!

You may learn some valuable wisdom on what it truly means to be mindful in your life, and how wonderful an experience it can be. As you are watching, notice what sort of emotions and thoughts come up. Also, notice the urge to multi-task and try to resist that urge, and just be present with the video.

I’d love to hear your response to the video.

After watching it, if you feel so inclined to share with me what came up for you as your were watching, send me an email to:

I am grateful to be able to share this experience with you.
I hope you get as much from this as I do.

By | 2018-07-06T17:06:34-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Health|0 Comments

To Serve…

To Serve…

“The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; that the purpose of the world is not ‘to have and to hold’ but ‘to give and to serve’. There can be no other meaning.”

~ Wilfred Grenfell

By | 2018-07-06T17:09:49-07:00 October 1st, 2012|Fort Collins Massage Service|0 Comments

Flashlight as a weapon???

Flashlight as a weapon???

flashlight-blog-imageThe other night I bundled up for a 20 degree walk with my dog. I had on my snow pants, boots, ski mask, gloves, and headlamp. Poop bags in pocket, of course.  It was around 7:30 at night. Pitch black out there this time of year. I love walking Ringo on dark freezing cold nights. The Spring Creek Trail is completely deserted. I put him on his retractable leash when I know that there won’t be much traffic on the trail. He knows its his time to run around and be a little bit crazy. I find the cool air and clear sky so refreshing, especially if I’m dressed warmly and have a good flashlight to avoid stepping on dog poop, as well as to SEE Ringo’s poop well enough to pick it up.

I’m a pretty trusting person. Never assuming someone is going to capture and hurt me out there. I’m not the type to carry gun, though it would be nice to know how to use one if for some reason I needed to… but the point is, I don’t own one, or plan to carry one. The most I carry with me is pepper spray, but I worry I might accidentally shoot it at my self or my dog. What good would that do if I was blinded while in a bind with a bad person?

I was feeling rather secure with my headlamp on. I don’t have great night vision, and like to be visible to night cyclists. While on my walk that night, my mind on the benefits of my flashlight, I went a step further in my thinking… I thought, for someone like me, a flashlight is a mighty good weapon to carry out there on the lonely trail. I’m pretty quick on my feet, but in the dark, someone could snatch and/or trick me so easily! If someone came upon me, out of no where, with intention to hurt, if I could just blind them with my light for a moment, that would give me enough time to think of a way out. I could size the person up, see where his strengths and weaknesses are, and at the very least, kick him hard while his eyes move away from my light as he gathers himself for his next move. He’s not expected to be blinded by me! Then, I thought, I should have a headlamp as well as a real flashlight. Extra brightness, with something to hit him with if needed!

Like I said, I’m pretty trusting, but I’m not naive enough to think someone would never try to hurt me. I know that there are messed up people out there.  One should always be prepared for danger. On the other hand, I do believe that someone who looks weak, slumped over etc, is more likely to be a victim of a crime. When walking at night alone, don’t! Make sure you have #1: a dog that likes to bark viciously at strangers, #2: at least one flashlight, maybe two, #3: Confidence. Walk tall and proud. Be ready for anything, but try to relax and enjoy your walk.

Hope this was helpful to any fellow weaponless, night walkers! Thanks for listening.

By | 2018-07-06T16:57:31-07:00 December 2nd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments