Strengthening the Pelvic Floor – Feldenkrais vs Kegels
Pelvic floor health is a topic of increasing importance, and individuals often seek effective methods to address concerns related to this intricate area of the body. Two popular approaches, Kegel exercises and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, offer distinct perspectives on pelvic floor health. In this blog, I intend to delve into the nuanced differences between these two methods and explore the best way forward for strength and potency in our pelvic floor.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor a complex network of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues, plays a crucial role in supporting various bodily functions, including bladder and bowel control, sexual function, and overall stability. Issues such as incontinence, pelvic pain, and discomfort can arise due to weakness, tension, or dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles.
Addressing pelvic floor issues involves considering the interconnected nature of the body and adopting methods that promote holistic well-being.
Kegels: The Conventional Approach
Kegel exercises, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, involve repetitive contractions and relaxations of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises specifically target and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing issues such as urinary incontinence, especially after childbirth or as a result of aging.
While Kegels can be beneficial for some individuals, they often focus on isolated muscle engagement and may not address the broader aspects of movement and body awareness.
Awareness Through Movement in Feldenkrais
The Feldenkrais Method, developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, takes a unique approach to movement education through Awareness Through Movement lessons. Unlike the targeted nature of Kegels, Feldenkrais emphasizes the exploration of subtle, mindful movements that engage the entire body.
- Mindful Exploration
Kegels involve a specific contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles. In contrast, Awareness Through Movement encourages individuals to explore a broader range of movements, fostering increased awareness of the connections between different parts of the body. This mindful exploration helps individuals discover how their overall movement patterns impact pelvic floor function.
This mindful process allows us to discover the underlying issue behind our Pelvic discomfort. We may not always require strengthening but releasing an over tight pelvic floor that we are not aware we are contracting.
2. Whole-Body Integration
While Kegels isolate pelvic floor muscles, Awareness Through Movement in Feldenkrais emphasizes whole-body integration. Practitioners explore movements that engage not only the pelvic floor but also the surrounding muscles, promoting a sense of balance and interconnectedness.
For example, Feldenkrais lessons might incorporate movements that start from the feet and travel up through the spine, encouraging a more integrated approach to movement that involves the entire body.
- Adaptability and Comfort
Kegels prescribe specific exercises, which may not suit everyone. Feldenkrais, on the other hand, prioritizes adaptability and comfort in movement. This approach allows individuals to explore movements that feel natural and comfortable for their unique bodies.
Instead of fixed exercises, Feldenkrais lessons might involve variations of a movement, allowing individuals to find the range and pace that suits them best.
Take ownership of your healing
You have probably worked out by now that I am a little biased towards the Feldenkrais Method as a tool for pelvic health.
It’s not that I have anything against Kegels, in fact I use them myself and encourage clients to use them when they are required for building strength in weakened pelvic muscles.
I have raised this comparison here in order to bring awareness to the fact that our healing is a personal journey which requires us to be present. What I mean by this is that there is no one size fits all approach to reversing a prolapse or correcting incontinence or even to increasing sexual pleasure.
I have had clients come to see me with the same issues and discovered there were totally different underlying causes, each requiring a very different response.
While incontinence for instance can be a result of weak pelvic floor muscles that require kegels and other such strengthening excersizes to bring them back to shape, it can also and very often is, caused by over tightened pelvic floor and surrounding muscles. This can be a product of trauma from an accident, sexual abuse or a number of other possibilities. The individual will often be unaware that they are holding the muscles in question and over a period of time these muscles become fatigued and collapse.
Introducing Kegels to such a state will only aggravate an already volatile situation.
The Feldenkrais method offers a unique and empowering approach to healing and strengthening by emphasizing self-awareness, exploration, and individualized movement allowing you to own your healing and strengthening experience.
It’s important to note that while Kegel exercises offer numerous benefits, they may not be suitable for everyone, and consulting with a healthcare professional, especially for personalized advice, is recommended. Additionally, a well-rounded approach to pelvic floor health may involve a combination of exercises and practices tailored to individual needs.
If you would like to discuss your personal issues relating to this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free half hour phone consultation as well as Pelvic Potency workshops.
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