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Squatting Helps Prevent Incontinence

By August 4, 2013Movement and Exercise

Today I want to talk about squatting

In India and other parts of Asia men and women sit around in a squatting position. Many places in these countries have squat toilets where as a women you have to squat to pee.  Throughout evolution this is the natural position for women to pee and also to give birth.  Here in America we don’t do that

Why is squatting important? Squatting stretches and strengthens the muscles in your pelvic floor. It is a way to gently and naturally stretch the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is like a sling that holds up all your organs.  Having a strong pelvic floor keeps your organs in place which allows them to function better.

This is especially important for your bladder.  Having a strong pelvic floor prevents incontinence and can even reverse incontinence.   Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine when sneezing coughing or laughing. Did you know 1 in 4 women suffer from incontinence in America and #1 reason women are sent to nursing homes.

Let me show you how to do this.

Take a deep breath pull it down into your pelvic area.  This actually expands your pelvic floor. Picture your abdominal and pelvic area expanding like big balloon.  Breathe in and out, your pelvic floor should be coming up and down very slightly with each breath.

If you can’t feel it moving it might be locked up. Don’t worry, just work with your breath to try and relax and expand with each breath.  You can do this for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds.

When your done stand up or if that is too hard just sit down.

It is good to squat a few times a day, when you wake up, in the middle of the day and at the end of the day.  Dr Christaine Northrup recommends squatting in the shower to pee. She says that in and of itself will, over time, make a difference in your pelvic floor and your whole lower back will open up too.  This is the way to gently and naturally stretch the pelvic floor.

On a personal note.  I have a condition called Interstitial Cystitis that I have been healing for a few years.  I am happy to say it is much better.  Once I started squatting I noticed a major improvement in my symptoms. I know this works. Now I love squatting and have added it to my daily yoga routine.

Using Your Breath to Loosen up Your Pelvic Floor

Another technique to support you pelvic floor uses your breath.  The breath works with the pelvic floor to keep it supple.  Over time with the pelvic floor constantly being clenched to hold in your urine it gets tight.  When muscles are constantly clenched they get short and tight.  You want it to be much more relaxed.  This clenched pelvic floor is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction.  Symptoms are urinary hesitancy or poor control of the urine stream, it comes out in sprits, or you have a hard time getting a stream started. You can use your breath to help reduce relax your pelvic floor which will reduce these symptoms.

This is how it works with your breath.  Wendy Cohan author of the Better Bladder Book says the pelvic floor acts as a second diaphragm, it has a diaphragmatic action.  So you take a deep breath and pull it down into your pelvic area. It actually expands your pelvic floor.  Picture your whole abdominal pelvic area expanding like a big balloon. As you breathe in and out the pelvic floor should be coming up and down.

If you can’t feel that it might be locked up. Wendy uses the analogy of an elevator that is jerky and has a hard time operating smoothly between floors when it is like this.  You want to get it to operate more smoothly. You can work with your breath to relax so you get your pelvic floor to go up and down, in and out with each  breath. Eventually you want to get it to operate automatically without you ever thinking about it.  It is a good idea to check in with your pelvic floor a few times a the day to see what it is doing.  Is it going up and down and in and out when you breathe.  Yes good that is what you are aiming for! It is easier to check when you are standing rather than sitting down. You can do it while standing on line at the health foods store.

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