Non-Invasive Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Non-invasive relaxation techniques are my new favorite topic lately, because that's the most common question I get about deep core muscles.  Whenever I'm talking to coworkers or clients about how much better my body feels after massaging deep core muscles - like my pelvic floor, or diaphragm, or psoas - the conversation often goes straight to one question: "that sounds interesting, but it's too much for me... can I relax the same muscle non-invasively?"

So, muscle by muscle, I've been testing non-invasive relaxation techniques for those deep core muscles.  I started with diaphragm, and I was surprised and happy to learn that a non-invasive diaphragm relaxation technique actually works even better than diaphragm massage on me: sandbag breathing.

This week, my goal is to find a non-invasive relaxation technique for my pelvic floor muscles.

Why do I want to relax my pelvic muscles?

Relaxed pelvic floor muscles help my SI joint alignment, which positively affects my mobility and posture and pain levels, from hips to neck.  I get a feeling of peaceful full-body alignment after a true release in my pelvic muscles.  Relaxation in the pelvic floor muscles also helps my digestive system move easily - no constipation, no bloating. There are other benefits of getting pelvic floor muscles to relax, but those are the reasons that I'm personally concerned with in my own self care lately.

 And I'm usually comfortable doing manual pelvic floor treatments on myself with a thera-wand - I get very good results with that.  Pelvic floor physical therapy is an excellent option too.

 But I have temporarily stopped the manual pelvic floor treatments in my self-care routine so that I can test non-invasive relaxation techniques.  Who knows, maybe I'll find something that works even better for me than the thera-wand.

The technique I'm testing this week is pretty simple:

Yoga "child's pose" or "happy baby pose," combined with deep diaphragm breathing.  Relax in this position and breathe deeply for a minimum of 10 minutes per day.

Here are several pictures of yoga child's pose in case you've never heard of it before.  There are a few variations - supported or unsupported; arms up or arms down to the feet - there's even a variation using a chair if it's uncomfortable or inconvenient to be on the floor.  To me it feels like they all have good potential as a pelvic floor relaxation technique.






And here is a picture of happy baby pose:


I have a good network of massage therapist friends all over the world whose knowledge I pull from regularly - and several of them advised me that "deep diaphragm breathing" is enough to relax the pelvic floor.  Reportedly, deep diaphragm breathing is supposed to create enough intra-abdominal pressure to push the pelvic floor muscles outward and relax them outward.  But for me that effect doesn't just happen automatically.  In most body positions, I don't feel deep diaphragm breathing in my pelvic floor.

But I definitely feel it in child's pose.  I felt it within seconds.  Something about this pose makes me feel like the pressure of each inhale goes directly into my pelvic floor muscles, helping them relax.  The only thing I didn't like about child's pose was that my shins and knees and ankles started to feel uncomfortable after about 3 minutes - I wanted to spend more time relaxing my pelvic floor.

I tried happy baby pose too, and I liked that it felt easier on my knees and shins - but I needed a 10-15lb sandbag weight on my abdomen to get enough intra-abdominal pressure to feel that one in my pelvic floor.   Once I added the sandbag to happy baby pose, that was by far my favorite variation.  Relaxing my legs and holding them in place with a tucked blanket and some pillows under my knees made it even better - that way I can relax my whole body and stay in position for a full 10 minutes without getting frustrated or bored.

I will come back and edit this post in a few weeks to report if this works well enough to completely replace pelvic floor manual therapy in my self-care routine.  I am very hopeful about it.  One big question in my mind is: even if this works for my pelvic floor muscles, will I need to find a separate technique for my obturator internus?

No pelvic floor manual therapy for me in the next few weeks, because I'm curious to see if this works by itself!

Comments

  1. Nice article, Which you have shared here about the pelvic floor manual therapy. Your article is very informative and useful to know more about the pelvic floor exercises. Thanks for sharing this article here. pelvic floor physiotherapy edmonton

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I'm a licensed massage therapist in Winter Park, FL (license number 91059).