“Pelvic floor is a story in a building with many floors.”
On top of the pelvic floor is the floor of the peritoneum, which lies on the bladder and intestines in men, and, in women, on the uterus. The next floor is many-layered and includes the roof of the peritoneum, the diaphragm, and the floor of the heart and the lungs. On top of the lungs, there is a relatively round floor, the first rib. The vocal cords form a further lesser floor, as does the tentorium – a surface of connective tissue on which the brain lies. And, at the very top, is the roof of the skull.
However, there are also stories below the pelvic floor: the relatively horizontal surface on the top of the shin-bone (the tibial plateau), and finally the floor of the foot, which serves as a strong foundation.
Every roof in the body is functionally related to the others.”
– Eric Franklin, Pelvic Power
Many women believe they have weak pelvic floor muscles.
When I am working with someone who thinks they have an issue with a body part (let’s say, the shoulder), I will rarely start with the part itself. I will first see how this part and other body parts coordinate their movement and support each other.
You see, “the part that hurts is the most innocent” (these words belong to Mia Segal, creator of Mind Body Studies Academy and the first assistant of Moshé Feldenkrais); perhaps we should ask ourselves things like how does my hip support this shoulder? does my foot know where is my shoulder? what happens with my neck that my shoulder hurts?
It is the same with the pelvic floor: it relates to so many systems of your body that very often working on your pelvic floor muscles only won’t be enough. I love using the metaphor of four movers: imagine four peoples moving your heavy dining table; if one of them is very strong but not coordinated with the other three, they won’t go too far.
With the pelvis being so central to the body’s anatomy and movements, being that place of power that helps you to generate an efficient movement, it’s hard to overestimate the role of the functional pelvic floor in your daily life. Your pelvic floor needs to be responsive, coordinated and integrated into your most mundane actions.
Your fastest and easiest way to get to this place is to expand your awareness. You can’t be a passive receiver of the pelvic healthcare services; you cannot improve your pelvic floor function without changing your postural habits, your breathing and improving the mobility of your pelvis, or movement in general. It takes time, practice and a combination of approaches: the pelvic floor is the work of your life.
Start some kind of pelvic floor awareness practice today, develop a relationship. Make it your daily habit. Teach all your floors to cooperate. Awaken and full of vitality, your pelvic floor will give back and reward you with improved quality of life, far beyond fixed “leakage” issues.
– Alina Komnatnaya
Certified Feldenkrais® practitioner