Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease
By the time I found Restorative Exercise™ I had already endured four years of chronic pelvic pain and copious amounts of doctors and therapist visits, to no avail. Like many pelvic pain sufferers I scoured the internet for answers. Day after day, I read various pelvic pain blogs/websites, books and forums, aimlessly. Personally, it was a hard road as “pain on the inside” is hard to describe to others; and well, you look so healthy! HA! Most of my doctors thought it was “all in my head” Because they couldn’t see anything, I was offered yet another “anti-depressant.”
I became very depressed, feeling betrayed by my body; alone in this phantom pain. Deep down I knew something was wrong, there had to be a way out of this. I wanted to live my life to the fullest, instead of constantly thinking about how to reduce my pain, or sit more comfortably, or how to stop thinking about the burning! Being placed on anti-depressants was not going to happen. I still had some fight left in me.
One day during an internet search I stumbled upon an amazing Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, named Erika Burger . Upon my initial visit she did an internal exam and discovered that I had a hypertonic pelvic floor! Tight pelvic floor muscles? Huh? Seriously, I am lucky to know where my pee hole is, let alone the fact that our pelvic floor has muscles. After my initial appointment I went home and starting investigating pelvic floor pain, caused by my newly discovered tight muscles. In an age where everyone was talking about the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor (think Kegels), how did mine get to be so tight and painful!
Fortunately, this is where I found the life-changing work of Biomechanist Katy Bowman. What captured me most was one of her blog posts that stated, “lengthen NOT strengthen for tight pelvic floor muscles.” I discovered that Kegels and extensive core work were a big NO NO for those with a “too tight” pelvic floor! I now had an answer! My exercise regime and sedentary lifestyle (think sitting too much) was exasperating my pelvic floor! I had found the problem, it was ME! I immediately began reading Katy’s blogs, books, and subscribed to her 52 Week EveryBody Biomechanics course. I also started taking online courses from other talented Restorative Exercise™ teachers; and lo and behold my pelvic pain diminished.
So what is Restorative Exercise™
Restorative Exercise™ is a bio-mechanics based educational program that includes corrective exercise.
Restorative Exercise™ designed by the American Biomechanist Katy Bowman M.S. uses the science of Biomechanics to restore the body to its optimal function. One of its aims is to restore all of your muscles to their optimal length including the pelvic floor. It will help you make changes in your own body and free it of any pelvic pain. You will learn a new way to walk, sit and increase movement in your day. Most treatments for pelvic pain focus solely on the pelvic floor or muscles in and around the pelvic floor. Restorative Exercise™ is unique in that it treats the whole body in order to treat pelvic pain.
How do I know if I have a pelvic floor disorder?
If you can say YES to any of the following symptoms, than you probably have a pelvic floor disorder or malfunction of some sort.
- leaking when coughing/sneezing
- organ prolapse
- painful menstrual cramps
- pelvic pain
- prostate issues
- burning in urethra
One of the many reasons you may have pelvic pain is because of the way that you are using your body.
Katy Bowman states that most people aren’t aware that a muscle has a correct length, which is neither too short or too long. When a muscle gets too short, it is no longer able to contract and generate force, which you need to keep things “closed” in the pelvis. All muscles have an opposing muscle group that prevents them from getting into this too-short position. The opposing muscle group to the pelvic floor is the gluteal (butt) muscles.
If we were still living in nature, the glutes would be contracting and stretching when we’d squat to use the bathroom and be active while walking around. Now we have toilets and non-natural gait patterns (because of shoes, chairs, baby walkers, etc.) that have interfered with the natural muscle balance. Squats are a simple way to restore balance and strength to the pelvic floor muscles.
Katy goes on to say, “Kegels are a fine way to check if you’ve got contact with the pelvic floor — for example, right after I gave birth I would send out a little “earth to pelvic floor” signal and hope I’d get a sign of life. Loved the Kegel then. But most physio/physical therapists will tell you that pelvic floor disorders are caused by weakness due to the inability to relax the pelvic floor — not the inability to tense it.”
Many pelvic pain patients, like myself, also have pain in their legs, knees, lower back, neck and/or shoulders. Restorative Exercise™ treats the whole body, not just the areas that hurt. I would also like to add that I appreciate the whole body treatment philosophy shared by Miranda Esmonde-White of Classical Stretch™ fame and her daughter Sara, founder of Essentrics™.
So, why does my pelvic floor cause me so much pain?
Electricity, blood and lymph flow through the pelvic floor. All of these substances are needed to maintain a healthy pelvic floor and are also necessary to maintain the health of the organs located around the pelvic floor. Restorative Exercise™ is used to restore a healthy flow of these three substances to not only your pelvic floor but your whole body.
We want the pelvic floor to lengthen and not over stimulate, or become super tight. A tight muscle isn’t very good at receiving or pumping blood and lymph. It also doesn’t communicate well with the spinal cord. A tight muscle isn‘t a strong force-generating muscle. When we lengthen the fibres of the pelvic floor, the muscles of the pelvic floor then have the potential to be actively used. This simply means that more electricity will run through it. By returning the pelvic floor to its optimal length, new blood vessels begin to grow, and more blood and oxygen is sent to the tissues. Importantly, more force generation also means more lymph will flow through it allowing cellular waste to drain from our tissues. I know, there is so much to know about how our pelvic floor works. This waste build-up is a component of pelvic floor pain. It contributes to the painfully sensitive pelvic floor muscles which many people with pelvic floor disorders experience. (Article)
Restorative Exercise™ as previously stated, is a whole body approach method. The pelvic floor is tight because of what the rest of your body is doing. Restorative Exercise™ works on the weak muscles in your feet, your back and other areas which are affecting the alignment of my body. So, if my pelvis was not in correct alignment with the rest of my body it created pain in my pelvic floor and the surrounding areas, such as my knees and lower back. The correct alignment of your body will work to help create – a life free of pelvic pain. Isn’t that good news?
So, after years of countless visits to doctors – I have found something that incredibly works! In conjunction with my inter-vaginal/rectal treatments and abdominal trigger point therapy, Restorative Exercise™ has helped to give me my life BACK! I wanted to also say, that I am here to serve you. I do not make any money from this site. It is just my way of giving back; helping others get their life back.Why not consider integrating the practice of Restorative Exercise™into your life!
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Please email me and tell me how you are doing! I am happy to walk out this journey with you, and encourage you to not give up. I really mean that! If you are a Restorative Exercise™ graduate, feel free to contact me and I can add your details to this page.
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