WOMEN'S HEALTH (Myofascial Release)
A lot of people suffer with pelvic related issues. For women, this includes menstruation pain, vulvodynia, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, fibroids, incontinence and the emotional and physical impacts of pregnancy, birth, miscarriage and abortion. Women also suffer with fibrocystic breast tissue, pain from breastfeeding, myofascial restrictions from biopsies, surgeries, augmentation etc. The list is endless – and largely un-talked about. We suffer in silence, sometimes not wanting to cause a problem, or make others uncomfortable by talking about these conditions, and sometimes because of the feeling nothing can be done to help. This can lead to depression, stress, and yet more body shame, all of which perpetuate the tension of the physical body, and thus exacerbate our symptoms.
Many of these conditions can be treated, relieved and much improved with Myofascial Release. Scar tissue from episiotomies, caesarean sections, surgeries etc can be released with simple, gentle and effective techniques; pelvic floor tightness can be treated relieving pelvic pain; releasing the fascia around the pelvis can diminish period pain; breast tissue restrictions and scar tissue can be released reducing pain and tension. By creating more space and freedom within the body, many chronic and debilitating symptoms can be relieved, returning quality of life. Many women needlessly suffer pain during sexual intercourse which is often directly related to fascial tightness in the pelvic floor, coccygeal misalignment and restrictions in the vaginal musculature.
We live in a society that carries a heavy weight of misguided shame around sex, menstruation, and other issues relating to Women’s Health. We do not talk about certain body parts such as the vagina, pelvic floor, labia, breasts etc. There is a culture of shyness, embarrassment, and at times almost disgust around our own bodies. We generally live in guarded cultures, where the expectation is that we must all appear “OK”. Life is very busy and fast paced, and sometimes we don’t know what alternative help and options are available. We live in fear of a life of continuous pain and discomfort, often unnecessarily.
Using recognised Myofascial Release techniques, it is possible to treat the pelvic floor internally/directly, in a gentle and effective way. Direct pelvic floor release procedures utilise Myofascial Release principles entailing the relaxation and lengthening of muscles, fascia and other soft tissue structures within the area of the pelvic floor, sacrum, coccyx, sacroiliac, hip and pubic joints. The procedure also requires pressure and/or distraction directly to the coccyx bone. These techniques are accepted physical/myofascial release therapy techniques. Experience has demonstrated that direct pelvic floor release is helpful, often facilitating consistent therapeutic results. Treating the pelvic floor can help with problems around the coccyx, sacral area, the sacro-iliac joints, hips, as well as helping create more space in the pelvic area which can relieve/improve some bladder/bowel problems.
The pelvic floor
The word “pelvis” comes from the Latin for “basin”. We are fluid beings, and so if there is restriction in this “basin”, it can cause all sorts of problems through the entire body as nothing can flow properly. By freeing up the pelvic area, restoring balance and alignment, and reducing tension, the body is able to access the full power of this base and to function much more effectively and efficiently.
Symptoms associated with pelvic floor tightness, and restrictions round the vagina, vulva, labia, perineum, anus etc can have very negative impacts on quality of life. Sitting can become impossible; sex is avoided, or becomes something to be dreaded due to pain, lack of sensation, hypersensitivity, inability to climax etc; urination and defecation become painful and difficult, or incontinence becomes an issue; exercise feels like torture.. And yet these things are not discussed. They are seen as taboo subjects, or sources of embarrassment. So many people are suffering debilitating symptoms needlessly.
There is often a lot of emotion linked with restrictions in the pelvic area. Sadly, many women have suffered abuse or experienced painful or traumatic medical procedures. By releasing the physical restrictions in the fascia, there is an opportunity to also release the associated mental and emotional restrictions, fear/shame patterns, negative beliefs and associations, and thus reclaim our full, intended power, sensuality, quality of life and love/enjoyment of our own bodies and beings.
What do I need to be aware of at my first visit?
This work is carried out in a clinical setting, using recognised techniques. Pelvic floor release can be done vaginally and/or rectally. Internal work is done in conjunction with external myofascial release techniques as per each individual’s needs. This will be discussed with you at your first visit and you can ask questions as to what to expect. I like to invite and encourage open dialogue using language you feel comfortable with as I fully believe this allows me to have a better understanding of your needs, helping me to optimise your treatment.
If at any point you are uncomfortable, treatment will be immediately ceased and alternatives discussed. Please inform the therapist before treatment if you are pregnant, have infections of any kind, have vaginal dryness, are less than 6 weeks post-partum or post-surgery, have severe pelvic pain, are using any IUD, or have sensitivity to KY jelly, vaginal cream or latex. Due to the areas of tissue we are working with and around during pelvic floor work, sometimes you may experience bodily sensations that make you feel uncomfortable. You may feel like your bladder needs to empty, or occasionally feel sensations you may associate with sexual arousal or the need to defecate. Please communicate this to the therapist and know it is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. If you are uncomfortable at any time, as already mentioned, treatment will be immediately ceased and experiences openly discussed. With chronic pelvic floor tightness, a lot of signals and sensations have been restricted for a long time, and as the body works to integrate positive changes, it will sometimes go through waves of seeming chaos before it re-settles into a healthier, stronger and more relaxed state of being. As with all kinds of therapies, there may be a slight exacerbation of symptoms as the body works hard to settle into healthier ways of being. With each treatment, the body has to adjust to the reclaimed space and freedom to function optimally. Any change in symptoms is viewed as good, though sometimes it may not feel like it for a couple of days after a treatment session. These healing waves WILL pass. If there is ever any concern, please do not hesitate to contact the therapist to discuss it. I would always much rather you called and talked about it than suffered in silence. Most people, especially with conditions such as those we are discussing, have suffered in silence long enough. I encourage honest and open dialogue with the people I treat, and I believe this is an important part of the process.
How will I know if I am recovering?
As with any area of the body, most people require a series of these specific treatments. This is determined by evaluation and treatment findings. Usually by the time we seek help, our physical symptoms have been worsening for a prolonged period of time. Healing is a process, not a one-off event, but is worth every step. Each patient will experience different responses to treatment depending on their own body. It is not uncommon, especially after the first few treatments to go through a variety of different feelings and sensations, both physically and emotionally. This may feel wonderful and liberating, but can also feel frustrating, and at times even disheartening, depending on what comes up for you. Try to remember that all change is positive. Your body is working hard to release long-held restrictions and work its way into healthier patterns. You should start to have some pain/symptom free days and these should increase over time. Recovery will not happen overnight. You may eventually feel you can start to take on some gentle exercise which can help with the recovery process, building strength and resilience. Suggestions and appropriate referrals will be made based on each individual case.