By: Lori Reising, CHT, LMT, Myofascial Release Therapist
Hands-on touch is a powerful tool for healing. Not many of us will turn down the offer of massage, that’s because there’s nothing quite like getting a massage. We don’t need a study to tell us our bodies feel and work better afterward — it’s palpable.
Newbies may have a small amount of fear about getting their first massage. This trepidation about external work is often easily overcome, because of anecdotal testimony from friends, family, and the media.
Mention working on the inside of the body though and people can become a bit more squeamish. But if you’ve been suffering long-term, with chronic headaches, low back pain or even fertility issues and you feel you’ve tried everything but nothing helps, there may be one more thing you should try — Internal Pelvic Therapy.
What is Internal Pelvic Therapy?
If you’ve never heard of Internal Pelvic Therapy, you may be wondering what it is. Simply put, Internal Pelvic Therapy is massage from the inside out. Now, you’re probably thinking about how uncomfortable that sounds right about now, and that’s a typical reaction to the thought of this direct therapy. In fact, it was once my own reaction. But not anymore. Not since I found out first-hand what Internal Pelvic Therapy (IPT) can do.
IPT’s examination and massage of trigger points inside the body, by route of the vagina or rectum, allows practitioners to access and identify areas of tightness they are unable to effectively reach and treat externally. This gentle trigger point style therapy stretches the connecting muscle internally to achieve release and realignment, just as more traditional forms of massage do, externally, on other parts of the body.
My Journey with IPT
I admit I was nervous and wondered what to expect before I received treatment. As with most things, it was the fear of the unknown. As a practicing massage therapist, I had heard about IPT and decided to get more information, earning my certification in this groundbreaking therapy with John F. Barnes, PT. During that time, I was fortunate enough to receive the therapy myself for four consecutive days. Prior to this, I had struggled with extreme low back and hip pain triggered by a miscarriage three years earlier. There were many days when I could not even bear weight on both legs. Of course, I had tried nearly everything — external Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Chiropractic with good but temporary results. (Sidenote: Though, I am a believer in every one of these therapies and think a comprehensive holistic approach is most beneficial, it was obvious I needed something more.)
Then it happened, on the third day of the course, during an internal piriformis release, my low back spontaneously adjusted while I was lying on the table. It was one of the most satisfying adjustments I have ever felt. Within two days my pain was gone! I have been standing on my own two legs ever since. My experience, first-hand, with the kind of powerful work the internal pelvic floor produces made a firm believer out of me.
Our bodies contain an intricate system of soft connective tissue located just below the skin, called fascia. This fascia wraps and interconnects to the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body. Together with muscle this fascia makes up the myofascia system — the connective tissue joined to every structure in our bodies. Over time this system can twist and tie up, resulting in a constriction in the flow of blood, lymph and nerves. It can also produce referral pain that begins in one area of the body, but manifests elsewhere.
This seemingly minor glitch can produce major pain and dysfunction, often undetectable and difficult to treat. It is the fascial system that we are working with, internally and externally, in the pelvis. Our pelvis is a central part of our body, producing function and movement. Over time posture, injuries, childbirth and trauma can produce trigger points and tightness in the fascial system, which eventually reach out and pull on various structures of our body.
This can also affect our internal organ function, especially the bladder and reproductive system. For example, we all fall on our tailbones. This injury can pull on the surrounding fascia as the sacrum gets stuck in a new imbalanced position. As the tightening persists a person may begin to experience headaches or even migraines from the fascia eventually pulling all the way up the spine into the cranium. Not to mention that the tailbone, or sacrum, is a key component in the body’s craniosacral rhythm.
This type of injury may also affect childbirth. If the sacrum is moved forward in the body, it may slow or even stall labor as the baby works to move past it in his/her descent. What could Internal Pelvic Therapy do? It can access the sacrum more directly than any external release. Through a gentle, sustained release the sacrum is pulled out and guided back to it’s original balanced position. The sustained release allows the fascial system to gently unwind while regaining it’s fluidity and releasing muscles, nerves, organs and osseous structures. When we release internal trigger points, pain, frequent urges to go the bathroom, and other symptoms can go away.
Conditions that May Benefit from Internal Pelvic Therapy
- Pelvic Floor Pain and Dysfunction
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Painful Scars, C-Section Scars
- Menstrual Problems
- Painful Intercourse
- Coccygeal Pain
- Urinary Incontinence, Urgency and/or Frequency
- Infertility Problems
- Low Back Pain
- Pelvic Imbalances
If you are experiencing any of the issues on this list, I urge you to explore if Internal Pelvic Therapy is right for you. It may save you from unnecessary tests or surgery, and months or years of living with pain and future imbalance. It takes a period of time for your fascia to tighten to the point of producing symptoms and dysfunction, so too, it may take time to unwind them. This is why it is best to receive several treatments in a row, helping the body to work against reversion to its imbalanced position, by reinforcing the previous treatment results. Monthly, bi-yearly or yearly maintenance is recommended thereafter. It all depends upon your response to the treatment and your level of self-care. Practicing Kegel exercises and using a foam roller at home can also continue to improve on results you obtained from ITP treatment.
Here at Bloom Natural Healthcare, Lori Reising is happy to answer any questions you might have about this modality. Lori has treatment time available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. To schedule an appointment with Lori call: 503-223-3741.