Should We Even Work on the Pelvic Floor?
Short answer: Yes!
In my practice, I’ve worked in the pelvic floor territory and helped many clients with issues that affect their pelvic floor from post-partum, incontinence, postural issues, and even the regular ‘ol aging process. I’ve found working the pelvic floor can be vastly helpful to my clients.
When working, I usually only address the area, generally, under two circumstances. First, if I see/feel the need during the process of a 10 session Structural Integration series. If I’m seeing some imbalance in gait or possible tightness in the territory, I may explore the territory when the series lands in that territory.
The second instance would be if the client presented some type of issue (incontinence, for example) that involved working that territory. In this case, I will still address this by starting off with gait analysis (it’s just how I see the world) to see what other territories may be involved.
This may all make sense to some, but I still sometimes find myself questioning what I’m doing there! This is because a lot of pelvic floor issues (maybe even a majority?) deal with a lack of conditioning of the pelvic floor.
Either due to injury, lifestyle, or aging, our pelvic floor can lose tone and start to affect us negatively. So, if it’s a lack of tone that might be the predominant issue, then what am I as a bodyworker doing there?
What I’ve noticed is that even though there may be a lack of tonus, there are still some areas of the pelvic floor that remain tight, and this is something I can work with. They aren’t always the same areas for each client, which is why I’m not listing them here. And some of these areas are a bit harder and even impossible for us to access as some of the pelvic floor (ex. internal pelvic floor work) is off limits to us due to scope of practice.
Regardless of this limitation, I’ve noticed that working the tight areas I am able to address within my scope of practice produces positive results. This is why I continue to do this work.
My teachers have talked about ‘waking up’ an area through bodywork. I think this is just one piece of the work that benefits greatly when reinforced by other practices. I find that people with pelvic floor issues vastly benefit from some type of conditioning regimen, which is why I often refer them to some other practices such as Pilates or Yoga. In some more serious cases, I’ve also found it necessary to recommend clients see a Pelvic Floor Specialist in the past.
I find the value that the pelvic floor work I do provide is to not only ‘wake up’ the area (as an expression of our work), but to also give the client a sense of awareness of what may be happening in that area.
I do want to add that this is an area that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Proper training is very important, and a great amount of communication is necessary to be able to do this work with a high level of competency.
And this is why I’ve created both online and in-person opportunities for practitioners to receive training on how to work this territory. As an educator I want to inform bodyworkers on how they can better serve their clients. So, next time a client shows up with issues related to their pelvic floor, know that with the proper training you can offer them some relief!