Our concept for pelvic floor training
Regardless of her age or the situation or phase of her life a woman finds herself in, she may experience problems with pelvic floor weakness at any time. The pelvic floor is often taken for granted. It is one of the most important groups of muscles in the female body.
The pelvic floor is a flat, elastic plate about the size of a hand, composed of muscles and connective tissue, that sits between the pubic bone, the coccyx and the ischial tuberosities. It is breached by the urethra, the vagina and the anus and comprises three layers of muscle. The first, outermost layer is the corpus cavernosum and sphincter muscle layer, which surrounds the urethra and the anus in a figure-of-eight and leads from the pubic bone to the coccyx..
Above this is the urogenital diaphragm. This middle layer runs in a fan-shape between the stools in the front part of the pelvis and lies underneath the bladder. In women, it is breached – together with the urethra – by the vagina. The urogenital diaphragm is primarily composed of connective tissue and hard urethral muscles, and is important for closure of the urethra and for contractions within the vagina – for example during orgasm.
The uppermost and innermost layer of muscle is the diaphragma pelvis. It runs from the pubic bone to the coccyx and is the powerhouse of the body’s core. It is especially wide and stable as it bears the major load of the organs.
The pelvic floor closes off the abdomen and pelvic organs and supports the internal organs in the pelvis and abdomen. In doing so, the pelvic floor muscles take the burden off the hips and legs and enable the woman to stand upright. The muscle group is also responsible for controlling the bladder and the bowel and ensures that the sphincter muscles work and tense or relax at the right moment. Tensing is important to ensure bladder and bowel continence, relaxing is important for passing water, stools , during birth and during sexual intercourse. For sudden burdens such as coughing, laughing, jumping or carrying heavy weights, the pelvic floor must reflexively resist (tense in response to the increased pressure in the abdomen) in order to prevent uncontrolled passing of stools or urine. A well-trained, healthy pelvis with a good bloody supply can intensify sexual experience and increase sexual pleasure.
Like any muscle, the pelvic floor loses strength and elasticity with age. Due to gravity and the continuous pressure of the organs on the muscles in the pelvic floor, the tissue becomes stretched over time, slackens and loses strength and holding ability. During pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor is considerably strained due to the tissue stretching. During menopause, the tissue loses elasticity due to changes in hormone production. Poor posture, overweight and too much sitting can also weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor.
If the pelvic floor is weakened, it can lead to numerous problems. One possible consequence is stress incontinence. This means that whenever stress on the abdomen increases, e.g. due to coughing, laughing or heavy lifting, it is no longer possible to hold in the urine. Bowel movements are more rarely affected – or the reverse occurs and women suffer from constipation. A weak pelvic floor can also be the cause of back pain and poor posture or may also lead to malposition of the organs or uterine prolapse.
The pelvic floor should be exercised regularly in order to prevent degradation of the muscles and a wide range of side effects. Even if you can’t see the pelvic floor, you can learn how to move the muscles of it randomly and strengthen it using exercise. Pelvic floor exercise is not just important for pregnancy, after a birth and during menopause; it’s a good idea for women of any age. A woman with a strong pelvic floor can consciously control it and prevent problems arising. With the ELANEE pelvic floor exercise range, you can actively build up and exercise the muscles of your pelvic floor. With a mix of external, non-invasive aids and those inserted vaginally (invasive), you can strengthen your pelvic floor as part of your every day routine – helping to actively prevent problems and to continue enjoying “being a woman”.
ELANEE solution steps for a strong pelvic floor
The ELANEE concept is based on four solution steps. These include first feeling the pelvic floor (1) and achieving conscious control (2) independently of other muscle groups. This is followed by ongoing exercise to build the muscles (3) and further stabilise (4) the muscles.
The first problem-solving step pursues the aim of finding the muscles of the pelvic floor and consciously feeling them. An understanding of the muscle layers and their functions allows for more targeted exercise. Different muscle groups often work together in order to be able to perform a targeted movement. When this occurs, the pelvic floor muscles are rarely consciously tensed and therefore not noticed. With the first step “Sensory perception”, you will learn to differentiate between which muscle groups are being tensed and feel which ones are the pelvic floor muscles.
Our ELANEE Pelvic floor exercise aids Phase I active help with sensory perception and tensing (activation) of the pelvic floor muscles and allow you to feel the individual muscles.
After sensory perception and activation of the muscle groups, it is important to be able to consciously control the muscles, i.e. consciously contract the pelvic floor muscles without using the surrounding muscle groups (e.g. the gluteal muscles). Regular exercise with the ELANEE Pelvic floor exercise aids Phase I active supports this. The set comprises 4 tampon-shaped cones with different weights that are inserted into the vagina. The exercise is based on the biofeedback principle. The cones slide out of the vagina due to their tare weight and special shape. You have to try to work against the feeling of the cone coming out by tensing the pelvic floor muscles in order to keep the cone inside. This positive effect and muscle control can also be improved by doing different pelvic floor exercises while using the cone. Our ELANEE Intimate Hydrogel can be used for easier insertion or removal of the exercise aids (e.g. in the case of vaginal dryness). It is a medical lubricating gel with added soothing panthenol.
The third step, “Muscle development”, looks at strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor with regular exercise. Targeted exercises can strengthen the different muscle layers of the pelvic floor, similar to barbell training. Reflexive contraction of the muscles of the pelvic floor and the increasing weights allow for effective muscle development. If, when exercising with ELANEE Pelvic floor exercise aids Phase I active, you find you can already successfully hold the heaviest cone, it is possible to increase the level of difficult by using our ELANEE Intimate Hydrogel. This increases the active training effect! The various pelvic floor exercises in the accompanying exercise book support these exercises and contribute to the development of the muscles of the innermost layer of the pelvic floor.
The ELANEE Pelvic floor exercise aid Phase II primarily exercises, like the Phase I active, the outer and middle pelvic floor layer using passive stimulation. This is achieved by vibrations generated by two balls which swing against each other inside the vaginal cone.
Phase II should only be used following successful, active exercise and development of a basic strength within the pelvic floor using Phase I active, and creates passive stimulation of the pre-exercised muscles. Of course, it is not always possible to perform exercises with vaginally-inserted pelvic floor exercise aids anywhere. In order to reach the innermost third pelvic floor layer, you can exercise using our seat cushion.
The ELANEE Seat cushion for pelvic floor exercise can be used as part of your daily routine (e.g. at the office). The air-filled cushion creates a slight instability in the pelvis. As it tries to balance out this instability, the hip musculature, including the muscles of the pelvic floor, and the third muscle layer in particular, bears the strain. A positive side-effect of active sitting is healthy
Posture, which is largely thanks to strengthening the third innermost layer of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exercise with the sitting cushion can be intensified with the accompanying exercises.
After a period of continuous exercising with these products, the cones in the ELANEE Pelvic floor exercise aids Phase I active should be used again to see what progress has been made. This allows you to check the hold and the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and adjust your exercising appropriately.