Around a quarter of all women in the United States experience pelvic floor dysfunction in their lifetime. Whether you're dealing with incontinence after childbirth or spasms in your vagina that makes sex hurt, Kegels can help you recover.
Where Did Kegels Come From?
Today, doctors see Kegels as a comprehensive treatment for dealing with issues relating to pelvic health. Kegels are so effective at restoring the pelvic floor's strength and integrity that they work for just about any type of pelvic dysfunction.
Dr. Arnold Kegel invented Kegels in the 1940s. However, before Kegel released his research, another physical therapist, Margaret Morris, commented on the topic. She taught the essential nature of breath control and pelvic floor muscle training in treating incontinence.
Margaret Morris – Laying the Groundwork
Morris was a dance instructor that realized the posture in dancing was a good way of teaching pelvic health; many of the movements involved the core muscles, hips, and glutes, with the pelvis tying all these muscle groups together.
In 1930, Morris co-published St. Thomas' Hospital's Maternity and Post-Operative Exercises. This publication was the first ever to involve the integration of movement and dance into therapy for women.
The foundation of the paper focuses on the importance of posture and breathing before, during, and after going into labor. Some medical experts believe that this paper would lay the foundational work for Kegel's research a decade later.
Picking Up the Torch
In many ways, Kegel was simply taking the torch from Morris and continuing to advance on the fundamental theories set out in her research. He eventually published several research papers, featuring basic exercise regimens for removing the effects of incontinence.
The original paper goes into more depth on the movement that defines the Kegel. However, the watered-down version that most physios use today is easy to use and provides results.
How Do I Do Kegels?
Kegels are a remarkably simple exercise to do anywhere. You can do them in the car on the way to or from work while you're at home relaxing on the couch or lying in bed. To start the exercise for the first time, you'll need to create a mind-muscle connection between the pelvis and the brain.
We know that a "mind-muscle" connection sounds a bit mystical, but we assure you the technique works. For your first Kegel session, sit down in a chair or lie down in bed and close your eyes.
Bring your breathing under control and focus on that for twenty to thirty seconds. Then, squeeze the muscles you want to stop the flow of urine. It might take you a few tries to get full control over the area. When you think you have a decent hold over the pelvic floor, start your exercises.
Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and try and pull them upwards towards your belly button. You'll notice the sensation gets harder to maintain the squeeze at the top of the movement. Try and hold the top for three seconds. Repeat this movement for 12-repetitions.
At the end of the set of 12-reps, do 12 more reps as fast squeeze-and-release actions. Try and complete this workout twice a day, and you'll notice results in the first week. They'll be fewer incontinence symptoms, and with regular use of the exercises, you'll get your bladder back under control.
Are Kegels Still the Best Pelvic Recovery Exercise?
Some 80-years after Dr. Kegel published his work on Kegels; doctors recommend treating a variety of pelvic floor dysfunctions, including incontinence.
However, other therapies are contenders looking to dethrone the Kegel as the most effective pelvic floor dysfunction therapy. Red light therapy offers a new alternative to Kegel exercise to enhance your recovery from pelvic problems.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is almost as old as Kegels – the development of red light devices in the later 1960s enhanced therapy solutions relating to treating muscular dysfunctions. Red light waves are on a spectrum of 610nm to 700nm.
These light waves penetrate deep into tissue, muscle, and ligaments in the pelvic floor. The red light activates energy production and healing at a cellular level. The red light helps to produce more collagen around the therapy sight, which is an essential protein for muscular healing and repair.
Red light therapy has plenty of private research backing the health claims. There is no clinical, peer-reviewed research on the effects of RLT on human health and muscle regeneration. The anecdotal results of the study show promising results in restoring the health of the pelvic floor.
How Can Kegels and Red Light Therapy Improve My Pelvic Health?
If you're looking for a solution to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels, red light therapy is your best option. However, when you combine thew two treatments side-by-side, they produce outstanding results. Red light therapy can help reduce the recovery time in the postpartum window, and it also helps to alleviate the effects of menopause.
Red light therapy is available at anti-aging clinics as a treatment, and there are several at-home light therapy devices available for purchase. We recommend the MyElleVibe red light therapy device for home use. These are the best at-home RLT devices available for treating pelvic floor dysfunction.
What Is a Red Light Therapy Device?
You coat the MyElleVibe red light therapy device in a photonic gel that amplifies the light therapy before inserting it into your vagina.
After activating the LEDs at the front of the device, they emit a red light towards your vaginal walls and your cervix. The light helps to stimulate collagen production and accelerate healing from postpartum distress.
Red light therapy is also effective at treating symptoms of a tight vagina and painful sex after childbirth. All you need is 12-minutes with the device every other day to start receiving the results you want.
In 90-days of treatment with red light therapy and daily Kegel exercises, you can resolve issues like overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, vaginal atrophy, and postpartum pain during sex.