Developed by Jean-Pierre Barral, DO, the visceral approach in osteopathy involves a gentle form of manual technique, which focuses on ensuring proper inherent motility (movement) of the internal organs and their connective tissues. Postural imbalances, inflammation and other physiological factors or surgery can be the cause of organ adhesion to one another. When this occurs, the disruption to the organ's natural motility will eventually jeopardize its vital function.

Visceral restrictions can directly or indirectly be the source of problems for musculoskeletal or cranial lesions and somatic dysfunction. The task at hand is to locate visceral restrictions by utilizing palpatory methods of assessment. Once located, visceral mobilization techniques will aid the body's natural ability to release the adhesion. When the inherent motility has been restored, the function of the affected organs can return to normal, along with other somatic dysfunctions caused by the primary restriction.