Qigong for Incontinence
The muscles within the lower part of the pelvis form the pelvic floor. These muscles support vital body functions including the genito-urinary system, digestion, and breathing. The activity of the pelvic floor is also important for the stability of the spine, posture, and movement throughout the body, yet many of us have a limited comprehension of its importance. Often, Bill Gallagher will focus on guiding the client toward a clear understanding the pelvic floor system in action and improved awareness of these muscles. Techniques from Qigong, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais that bring breath, awareness and strength to this area can promote more efficient breathing, improve bladder control, and ease back, hip, and pelvic pain.
The Chinese have long used pelvic floor awareness and exercise to improve health and vitality and Qigong is an effective intervention to prevent and treat stress, urge and functional urinary incontinence. Ancient writings on Qigong instruct the practitioner to lift the anus during practice and the diaphragmatic breathing pattern integral to this tradition will tend to provide a dynamic challenge to the pelvic floor, encouraging appropriate tone. Furthermore, Qigong encourages gentle engagement of the external rotators of the hips, which facilitates adequate pelvic floor contraction and lifts the bladder and urethra through the action of a deep hip rotator muscle, Obturator Internus. This facilitated pelvic floor contraction, in addition to lifting the bladder and flexing the neck of the bladder, thereby addressing the most common cause of stress incontinence in women, also tends to relax the bladder muscle. The bladder muscle is further relaxed through the relaxation response. By relaxing the bladder, the pelvic floor will have an easier job of preventing self-soiling with urine. Finally, by increasing strength, balance, agility and motor control Qigong may improve one's ability to reach the toilet in time.
Filed under: Qigong