Wellness Workshop: Finding Balance through Movement and Breath

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Despite yesterday’s inclement weather, which we did not permit to snow on our parade, Revitalize Physical Therapy accomplished a huge milestone- we hosted our first ever Wellness Workshop!  The event was graciously co-hosted by Elite Care Rehab, and it was organized in collaboration with Aubrey Kupstas, a fellow Washington Heights resident who is a certified gyrotonics and gyrokineses instructor.  In addition, Dominique Rose-Hadar, an excellent event planner and dear friend, helped plan the intricate details of the event and facilitated the transition of our vision from conception to reality.

The event was attended by community members, current and former clients of both Elite Care Rehab and Revitalize Physical Therapy, and even by one former client’s five year old granddaughter who participated beautifully in the program!  The program itself consisted of a brief introduction to pelvic floor physical therapy and gyrotonics.  Aubrey and I discussed the delicate balance that individuals should strive to achieve within one’s own body, namely the ability to perform stabilizing and strengthening exercises while still maintaining mobility and lengthening.  I proceeded to explain how this concept connects to the pelvic floor, and I taught the group how to properly perform diaphragmatic breathing.  In addition, I explained how diaphragmatic breathing benefits the pelvic floor, reduces stress, and promotes overall relaxation.

Aubrey explained how gyrotonics compares to pilates, yoga, and ballet, and she explained how gyrotonics allows for strengthening through movement.  She then led the group in a mini gyrotonics session, which was followed by a brief Question and Answer segment.  We concluded the event with some delicious and healthy snacks (…okay, and some Twix as well.  Everything in moderation, right?)  Fortunately, we received excellent feedback about the event, and participants reported that they enjoyed meeting the other workshop participants and that it was “well done and informative.”  The event served as a wonderful opportunity to connect the Elite Care Rehab and Revitalize Physical Therapy communities with each other and to introduce both of them to the amazing world of gyrotonics!

Upset that you missed out on our inaugural event?  Don’t worry- we hope to plan additional health related events.  So stay tuned for more information about similar future opportunities, and please comment or email me if you have any suggestions about topics that you want us to explore together with you!  We look forward to sharing more information, exercises, and chocolates with you.

The Washington Post Promotes Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

The Washington Post Article Includes Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
You know you have successfully convinced your friends about the importance of your profession when not one, but several friends email you the latest major shout out to your profession- an excellent article in the Washington Post about the benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy (link to article).  On December 22, 2015, Tara Bahrampour published her article, “The hidden medical epidemic few women have been willing to talk about, until now” which mainly addresses pelvic organ prolapse, descent of the pelvic floor organs.  The article also discusses urinary and fecal incontinence.

I’ll recap some of the facts and statistics from the article that I most appreciated:

  • The age of onset of pelvic floor dysfunction is 56 years old for the average American female
  • 10% of women who experience pelvic floor dysfunction eventually undergo surgical intervention
  • Pelvic floor muscles tear in approximately 10-15% of vaginal deliveries, thereby interfering with their ability to support the pelvic floor organs
  • As with many medical related matters, genetics plays a significant role in the development of prolapse, and the condition tends to run in families
  • Approximately 200,000 of the 320,000 annual pelvic floor corrective surgeries are prolapse related
  • Invest stock in Depends rather than Always, because more pads are sold for incontinence than for menstruation in the USA. (Even better- tell others about the benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy.  No offense to incontinence products, but I look forward to the day when the success of my field will make them obsolete.)
  • In France, postpartum women are routinely referred for ten sessions of physical therapy after vaginal deliveries


While clearly there were many excellent points raised in the article, I will express my disappointment over one issue.  In my humble opinion, pelvic floor physical therapy was only briefly touched upon as an effective intervention.  Further elaboration about what to expect during the process and what physical therapists actually teach would have been helpful.  There was too much emphasis on pessaries and surgery, and not enough discussion about Kegels, biofeedback, and endurance training.  Therefore, I will take the liberty to do so right now.  (That comes with the poetic license of writing a blogJ).

Pelvic floor muscle contractions are colloquially referred to as Kegels, and these are the subtle yet powerful exercises that pelvic floor physical therapists teach to appropriate patients who are undergoing a strengthening, or uptraining, program.  Biofeedback is a tool utilized by some therapists to help patients create a mind-body connection.  Oftentimes, women arrive at physical therapy without prior knowledge of the very existence of their pelvic floor muscles.  It is therefore understandable that these women do not know how to properly contract these obscure and small muscles.  Biofeedback provides visual cuing to patients, which makes it an especially helpful device when teaching visual learners.  A patient is able to see on a computer screen or handheld biofeedback device the amount of electricity being generated by the muscles, represented by a bar or line, at rest, during contractions, and after contractions.  Furthermore, the treating therapist can challenge the patient to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and to hold the contraction for as long as they can.  This allows the therapist to assess the patient’s muscle endurance, and it helps them set appropriate endurance goals.  Often times, patients experience an “Aha moment” while using the biofeedback (“Oh! That’s what it looks like when I’m contracting the muscles properly?  Ok cool, I get it now”), and there is nothing more rewarding for a teacher than watching the integration and understanding of knowledge unfold before their very eyes.

According to Bahrampour, “Pelvic floor physical therapy can help reduce the tension on the ligaments by strengthening the surrounding area, but the service can be hard to find.”  If you are reading this blog, then you are one step ahead of the game, for you have already found a clinician who can help you or your loved ones.  If you are geographically too far to benefit directly from the amazing services offered at Revitalize Physical Therapy, then it would be our pleasure to help direct you to someone closer who can help.  Please contact us with any questions you may have- it is our pleasure to assist you along your healing journey.