Can a chair do my kegels?
So I keep hearing commercials about the chair that can help you do kegels. One advertisement said that just one session delivers THOUSANDS of pelvic floor contractions. It's the miracle chair that doesn't make you undress and is not invasive and will solve ALL of your incontinence problems.
I'm NOT buying into this and neither should you!
Here's why--most of the places that I see it being used are at chiropractic centers. I am not against chiropractic care at all--(I have some amazing partnerships with chiropractors!), but I am against medical practicioners who don't have the training and knowledge I have making claims that frankly aren't true for everyone.
Here's the deal--ANY machine that does things passively to you and your muscles is ultimately not going to help you in the long run. It takes work and your active participation, isolation and awareness of the right muscles being used to actually improve strength and have long-lasting improvement. There are definitely ways to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles just as we can do that for a weak leg muscles or arm muscles, but we've got to at least put the electrodes on your skin over these muscles. And then, we've got to help you start actively recruiting those muscles. These advertisements make a big deal about the fact that you don't have to undress! Again that's nice, but not if we are ultimately trying to target the RIGHT muscles--the pelvic floor muscles. If this chair is also firing up your gluts, adductors, and abdominals, we're missing the point of training the specific muscles that ACTUALLY have a role in controlling bowel or bladder leakage!
Also, we DON'T need thousands of pelvic floor contractions (if that's even what's targeted in these chairs, see above!) especially if you have underlying pelvic pain or don't want to develop pelvic pain. Sometimes urinary leakage is caused by tight, shortenend, painful pelvic floor muscles. A machine like this could potentially exacerbate the problem! Even if you don't have pain and just need strengthening, thousands of contractions aren't necessary. What's more important is that you do the right number of pelvic floor muscle exercises for you that you can incorporate into your every day life. Ultimately, you want to be utilizing those muscles during functional activities where it matters most that your pelvic floor muscles keep you from leaking.
To properly address urinary incontinence or any other pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, you need to be assessed (yes, maybe even internally to get an accurate evaluation of what's really going on!--GASP you may have to take your clothes off!!) by a properly trained pelvic floor therapist--that usually tends to be a pelvic physcial therapist who's had extensive training.
If you haven't figured out yet, I'm not a fan of these chairs. Your money is more WISELY spent getting the personal and specific evaluation/rehab care that someone like me can offer you. Wherever you are, call your local pelvic PT if you are dealing with incontinence or other pelvic floor issues.