Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor With The Pilates Method
Many women suffer from pelvic pain associated with menstruation, cystic ovaries, endometriosis, hernias, traumatic birthing experiences, or bad surgical procedures—like those using transvaginal mesh to repair the pelvic floor.
Sometimes, people detach and ignore feelings and emotions involving the pelvis and its organs as a way to cope with the pain. But there are ways to reduce the pain and strengthen the pelvic floor and pelvic muscles.
How Pilates Can Help
The pelvic floor is the support structure for the pelvic organs, including the uterus, intestines, bladder and rectum. It supports the baby during pregnancy, and plays a key role during birth. It helps support the spine, contributing to balance and posture, and provides urinary and fecal continence.
The Pilates Method is a rehabilitative way to reconnect with this area using a breathing technique, and start building a healthy understanding of and relationship with the pelvis again. The Pilates Method helps teach what the pelvic floor is and why women need to know how to engage it.
Everything in Pilates is initiated from the center of the body, called the powerhouse or core, which is why one of the fundamental Pilates principles is “Centering.” The pelvic floor is the direct center of the body. Building a strong, stable center makes for a stronger body overall.
Pilates is a method of exercise that connects the mind and the body. Instructors teach people how to isolate, contract and strengthen the pelvic floor, which aids tremendously in performing the Pilates practice.
Visualize the pelvic floor as a hammock slung between the sit bones and the pubic bone. To engage these muscle groups, inhale deeply, expanding the ribcage laterally; as you exhale, draw the pelvic floor inward and upward. To practice, though not as a habit, try stopping the flow of urine mid-stream. Once you get it, these exercises can be performed during everyday activities and will go unnoticed by others.
Contracting these deep pelvic floor muscles engages the transversus abdominis, which is an important muscle for stabilizing the core and low back. These contractions are more commonly known as Kegel exercises, and are the exercise recommended most for strengthening the pelvic floor.
Practicing these contractions daily to strengthen the pelvic floor will provide support for your organs, aid in pre- and post-surgery procedures in that area, as well as prepare for birth and aid in recovery after giving birth. It also can help prevent the onset of pelvic organ prolapse, reverse bladder incontinence, and help restore sexual sensation and function.
Linda Grayling writes for Drugwatch.com. Linda has a number of professional interests, including keeping up with the latest developments in the medical field. Join the Drugwatch community on our Twitter page to find out more.