One of the first things I do as a pelvic physiotherapist when helping a woman recover from pelvic or core dysfunction, is center her uterus. The uterus is the center of a women- physiologically, bio-mechanically and energetically. When the uterus is out of position, everything else in the pelvis and core is largely impacted and “out of balance.” The uterus is supported by several important ligaments, which extend from the uterus out to the pelvic bones. The uterus also has ligamentous attachments to the organs surrounding it- bladder, bowel and intestines. So if this magnificent central organ is out of her “center”- leaning forwards or backwards, or tipped to on side or the other- this can lead to a myofascial imbalance in the pelvis and cause symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, pain, and hormonal imbalances.
In treating thousands of women with pelvic dysfunction, I have observed that a uterus which is leaning too far forward (anteflexed) is often associated with urinary incontinence, issues with bladder urgency and frequency, and bladder prolapse (cystocele). A uterus that is tipped backwards is often associated with constipation, hemorrhoids and bowel prolapse (rectocele). A uterus that is leaning left or right is often associated with hip dysfunction and lumbo-pelvic alignment issues. This leads to and hip and/or knee and/or back pain due to asymmetrical pulling of the internal abdomino-pelvic fascia, especially the utero-sacral and cardinal ligaments. If any organ in the body, especially the uterus, is “out of position” it’s blood flow, nerve flow, lymphatic circulation and neuro-hormonal feedback will be impacted. Therefore a mal-positioned uterus can also lead to problems with the menstrual cycle, painful periods, and infertility. When assisting any woman through a rehabilitative process, it is critical to appreciate how her uterine position contributes to and impacts her overall pelvic and core health- from a musculoskeletal, visceral and energetic perspective.
I have found that the best pelvic therapy outcomes result from use of both passive and active techniques to center the uterus. The first step is passive positioning of the uterus, which is most efficiently accomplished through use of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® (ATMAT). A key component to ATMAT, is when the woman is taught a sacred self massage that is done daily. This massage is taught to the patient only by a qualified practitioner, and will help to release any myofascial and ligamentous restrictions that are leading to a mal-positioned uterus. This massage also greatly improves blood flow and lymphatic circulation to the gut and pelvic organs leading to improved digestion and organ detoxification. Once her uterus is centered by the massage, it is important to immediately implement an active technique that will keep the uterus centered. This active uterine positioning technique must trigger the appropriate posture and breath that will keep her uterus centered with movement and throughout the activities of the day.
The second step to positioning her uterus is active activation of abdomino-pelvic musculature and key fascial chains that elevate the pelvic organs through a revolutionary core neuro-reeducation technique, known as Low Pressure Fitness®. The Low Pressure Fitness methodology involves a seamless progression of postures and poses that cause a reduction in pressure in the abdomen and trigger an automatic response from the core muscles- abdominals, pelvic floor, multifidus, diaphragm. Low Pressure Fitness uses a breathing technique known as Hypopressive Breathing. The term Hypopressive means “low pressure” and refers to a decrease in pressure in the abdomen. Traditional exercise, core training, sports, and most of our everyday activities are Hyperpressive – they increase the pressure in the abdomen. When the pressure in the abdomen is not appropriately managed, pressure increases, and this causes the spine to compress and the organs (especially the uterus) to move downward and away from their optimal “centered” position. But when the hypopressive breath is triggered, the pressure in the abdomen is reduced, the spine decompresses, the core musculature is gently strengthened, all of the organs lift, and the uterus is centered.
When the uterus is centered, magic happens… the fascial tension in the pelvis balances out; the resting tone of the abdominal and pelvic muscles improve and become easier to strengthen; the blood flow and lymphatic circulation in the pelvis is improved and sexual function and fertility is enhanced; hormones are better regulated and monthly cycles regulate; bowel and bladder function is optimized; the waistline reduces; pain in the back, abdomen and hips is reduced and posture improves. When all of these wonderful things occur, it is directly associated with improved energy, mood, creativity and self confidence. So remember, centering the uterus, through both active and passive techniques, is key when treating any woman. The Arvigo® self massage followed up by Low Pressure Fitness® are the most powerful techniques I have found to center the uterus and resolve pelvic and core dysfunction in women of all ages and lifestyles.