“Hey, why aren’t Kegels on this DVD?” This is a question I got from a client after she viewed the “Down There” For Women DVD for pelvic floor health. She didn’t expect a calf stretch to be an exercise for pelvic floor health.
The exercises on the DVD are Restorative Exercises™ that are based on the biomechanics of whole body natural movement. A healthy pelvic floor requires all of your muscles to function as a team. The Kegel spot treating approach can actually make the situation worse in the long run. As Katy Bowman, biomechanist and the brains behind the Nutritious Movement™ exercise DVDs states in the Mama Sweat blog post Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited, “A kegel attempts to strengthen the PF, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward, promoting even more weakness, and more PF gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to PFD. Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most telling sign that the PF is beginning to weaken. Deep, regular squats (pictured in hunter-gathering mama) create the posterior pull on the sacrum. Peeing like this in the shower is a great daily practice, as is relaxing the PF muscles to make sure that you’re not squeezing the bathroom muscle closers too tight. Just close them enough. An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.”
A picture is worth a 1000 words, so check out pages 71 and 72 of this issue of Massage and Bodywork. By looking at these images you can see how tight hamstrings and calf muscles affect the position of the pelvis: tight/short muscles=pull on the bones. What do the hamstrings connect to? A: the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis! Also, if the calf muscles are tight it will shorten your stride and once again affect your gluteus action. In the video above, Katy explains the importance of glute strength for pelvic floor health… well you can’t activate the gluteus maximus properly during natural gait or deep squats if other muscles are pulling the pelvis out of alignment. The position of the pelvis is crucial to pelvic floor health!
Update: Katy Bowman has created an even better DVD called Healthy Pelvis with more exercises and a flow to it. Product description: Pelvic issues are becoming increasingly common. Urinary incontinence, prostate issues, pelvic pain, and pelvic organ prolapse can all be symptoms of a poor movement diet. This Nutritious Movement program is specifically designed to get you and the muscles of your pelvis moving well. Featuring targeted exercises and lifestyle modifications for better movement, this program can help restore health and function to the pelvis, naturally. Get the new Pelvic Health DVD HERE.
Success stories: I had a client suffering from fecal incontinence. We did one Restorative Exercise™ session with Visceral Manipulation™. She went home with the DVD and when she returned two months later she said that after doing the exercises for one week (and changing the way she sits) the incontinence was no longer a problem!
I also had a student with bladder incontinence who just did the Restorative Exercises™ and corrected her bladder issue! Yes, alignment affects the internal organs and internal pressure systems!
I’ve also seen Restorative Exercise™ (RE) help correct prolapsed organs, relieve sacral pain and painful periods! I recommend RE to all of my reproductive health clients. Especially those who are trying to correct a tipped uterus or are planning on conceiving. The uterus attaches to the inside of the pelvis after all!
Sometimes a few changes in how you move throughout the day and doing the Restorative Exercises™ on the DVD are all that is needed, but often times individual attention is required. The new Nutritious Movement Pelvic Health DVD is a wonderful starting point for most of the women I work with. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where you are in terms of your alignment, so having a Nutritious Movement™ Certified Restorative Exercise Specialist guide you and work with you to develop an individualized program is extremely beneficial.