Stanford Medical Study
We are looking for female volunteers to take part in an innovative study which examines the activity of the Pelvic Floor Muscles (PFM) using a intra-vaginal sensor. From these studies we hope to gain greater understanding
about the function of the PFM, and specifically how they can be trained to help to control stress urinary incontinence (SUI). We are seeking volunteers who do, and those that do not, have a history of SUI . Volunteers can be of any age.
If you want to take part, contact Ruth Lovegrove:
Phone: (650) 283 7126 Email: ruth2 at stanford.edu
Are You Using your Mula Bandha Correctly?
You may know the importance in many yoga practices to engage your bandhas, particularly the mula bandha (the equivalent of the Pelvic Floor Muscles – PFM ) and uddiyana bandha (involves raising the Diaphragm and keeping it immobile) in order to prevent the dissipation of and direct the flow of prana in the body. But did you know that the PFM have other functions such as contributing to spinal stability, pelvic organ support, urinary and faecal continence and sexual function and performance. What a great group of muscles to get and keep working well!
How do you know that you are contracting the PFM effectively when over 30% of the female population contracts incorrectly at their first attempt? And even though we do not have the statistics for men, would it be unrealistic to suggest that the statistics would be worse! Or am I just biased?
Joking aside, at Stanford we are interested in finding out as much as we possibly can about how the PFM and abdominal muscles work so that we can also help to understand why and how they don’t work when there is a problem. Since we think that the yoga community is more aware of their pelvic floor muscles than the general population, we would be delighted if you would volunteer to be part of this innovative study. Unfortunately, at this time, its women only. But boys, watch this space.
Guidelines for activating the PFM
In the meantime, these are the guidelines we use to assist people to activate their PFM:
Also, you may have noticed that your abdominal muscles were also engaged as you pulled in your PFM. This is perfectly normal (we think), as long as you do not tilt your pelvis or hold your breathe as you do so.
As I said earlier, many people do not activate their PFM correctly when first asked to do so. Without being examined, we cannot tell for sure whether you’ve got it “right”. Having said that, below are some top tips to make sure that you are not activating too much of the incorrect muscle groups:
Finally, if you have noticed that your PFM are not as they used to be, whether due to childbirth, high impact sports such as trampolining, or just increasing age, its a good habit to contract your PFM just before you cough or sneeze, lift anything heavy, or even just bending over, as well as contracting your PFM as described above twice a day.
Ruth Lovegrove, July 2005
Levator is the collective word used for the PFM (Picture reproduced with kind permission from Dr Lennox Hoyte )
This is a Stanford Study