How To Relax Your Pelvic Floor
If you’re new to pelvic physiotherapy, or you’ve come over from my instagram you’ve probably heard me talk at length about relaxing your pelvic floor. I shared a reel with some tips on instagram this week about how to actually relax your pelvic floor and I got lots of questions about how to even do this, so I thought it would be the perfect time to break it down for you!
First, let’s talk about why learning to relax your pelvic floor even matters
Your pelvic floor muscles need to be both flexible and strong in order to function properly. If your pelvic floor muscles aren’t able to relax, this can impact their ability to work and you may experience things like; leaking, difficulty emptying your bowels, difficulty emptying your bladder, frequently needing to go pee, feeling the need to pee urgently, pain with intercourse, pelvic pain and much more.
In my clinical experience I find that most people need to learn how to relax their pelvic floors. Most people have some degree of tightness in those muscles that prevent them from fully relaxing.
That being said, let’s talk about how you can relax your pelvic floor!
A pelvic floor relaxation is best performed on an inhale because it coordinates the movement of your diaphragm with your pelvic floor and your body will naturally relax a little bit better. I know this seems counterintuitive, I promise, the anatomy checks out!
Visualisations also help. My personal favourite visualisation is to think about a jellyfish moving up and down in the water. When the jellyfish closes its tentacles, that is a contraction (kegel), then the jellyfish opens up its tentacles, this is a relaxation. If that doesn’t land with you, imagine a rose bud blooming out of your pelvis when you inhale. Or imagine trying to lengthen your pubic bone and tailbone apart.
If that still isn’t enough, try these other tips:
Focus on your breathing
If you struggle to take a deep diaphragmatic breath it might be hard for you to relax your pelvic floor. Make sure you are able to take good deep breaths into your belly and without using your chest. If you’re struggling with this, focus on breathing before you bring your pelvic floor into the equation. I love the app Breathwrks for free deep breathing exercises.
Don’t overthink it!
This is a really hard one, but trust that your body knows what it is doing. Your pelvic floor muscles tend not to give a lot of strong feedback, so you might not feel it the first few times, but be patient, that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.
It’s hard to relax if you aren’t relaxed. Pick a quiet space, lay down, close your eyes and start with some deep breathing to get your body settled into a quiet space. Make sure other muscles in your body are also not contracting; focus on relaxing your jaw, your feet, your shoulders and your bum. If those muscles are tense, there’s a good chance your pelvic floor is too.
Put your hands on your belly and/or pelvis for feedback
When you take a deep inhale, you will feel your belly and pelvis expand with air. This can give you a tactile cue that you are heading in the right direction.
Use tactile feedback
If you’re really not getting the sensation, roll up a towel and place it on the perineum, in between your legs, in a seated position. Take a deep inhale and imagine the pelvis relaxing or melting around the towel.
Well, I hope that helped break down some tips to help you relax your pelvic floor. If you want some more detailed information on signs and symptoms of a tight pelvic floor check out my blog post here.