What does meditation have to do with pelvic health?
Many sources of pain or muscle tightness are triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, or the “fight, flight, or freeze” phenomenon. When our bodies stay in this elevated state the nerves that affect the pelvic floor are constantly activated. We can help the body come out of this state by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and digest function. One way we can turn it on is through meditation.
Meditation often involves deep breathing, which allows the pelvic floor to release and relax.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to pay attention to how we are feeling and moving. If we are mindful about how part of the body feels while we are doing an activity, we can self-correct if needed.
Research supports the benefits of meditation. One study shows that the brains of meditators respond differently to pain than non-meditators: A non-elaborative mental stance and decoupling of executive and pain-related cortices predicts low pain sensitivity in Zen meditators. Grant et al. Pain. Jan 2011.
Ways to meditate
Self-guided: deep breathing in a quiet space for 5+ minutes.
Apps: Calm, Headspace, Insight timer, Ten Percent Happier
Meditations for Pelvic Health by Nari Clemons - available on iTunes or YouTube
Keys to success
Find what works for you! The best way to meditate is the one that you will actually do.
Consistency is key! Better to do 5 minutes/day than 30 min 1x/week.
Jill Heath is a licensed physical therapist and owner of She PT, LLC. She received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and B.S. in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University. During years of practice helping individuals of all ages recover from a variety of conditions, she developed a passion for working with women. She opened She PT, LLC with the purpose of meeting not only the unique physical needs of women, but also empowering women to take charge of their well-being by making care accessible.