Pelvic Floor Mobility
Huh? Is that a thing? Do I need a mobile pelvic floor?
Why yes, yes you do! I like to think of the pelvic floor like a jellyfish or a trampoline that is able to respond to movement and stress. It is, after all, one of the parts of our body designed to anticipate and mitigate impact. It is also designed to participate in some of our most vital, species-sustaining activities such as holding our organs in place, allowing us to pee and poo when we need to (or not) and participate in and enjoy sexual activity. So, a healthy and mobile pelvic floor is crucial to life!
Quite often we (women especially) are told to strengthen those muscles by squeezing them over and over and over and over and over. We may be given a protocol for kegels and told to just do them when we are in the line at the grocery store or at a stop light. Which is kind of humorous because I have never heard a recommendation like this for any other muscle group in the entire body.
It seems to make sense, though, if the muscles are letting urine by or feeling like they are not holding your organs in place they must be weak, right? And flexing them over and over would make them strong, right? Not exactly, on either account. If my bicep was weak, and I curled my arm up over and over and over and over, my bicep might get a bit stronger in the contraction phase of the excursion; but what about the lengthening phase? It would be a tighter, shorter muscle (and as I explained here, tighter is not stronger). It actually would become more "brittle" and more likely to give way under stress because it is not strong in all of the phases of movement--not like a trampoline at all! It is very common that an overly tight or uncoordinated pelvic floor results in leaking and prolapse symptoms. So, shortening and tightening ambiguously can actually contribute to the problem.
The reality is that your pelvic floor does not exist in a vacuum but is an important piece of the body puzzle. The suppleness of your pelvic floor contributes to how your back and hips feel. Likewise, how you breathe and stand all day long effects how your pelvic floor does its job. We have learned SO much about the pelvic floor in recent years. While I am grateful that Dr. Kegel got the conversation started in the 1940's and gave people hope for a noninvasive solution to pelvic concerns, we have many more ways to address these concerns and bring holistic healing to the body. Let's continue the conversation and exploration!
If you would like to find out more about pelvic floor mobility, that will be the focus of my March 1 Mobility Monday class. I would love to have you join me! The live class will be at 2 PM Eastern time with an optional Q and A time afterward. The live class will be limited to 8 people. You can also sign up to get the link to do the class at your convenience.