“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” – Zen proverb, Theosophists’ thought
When I see the commercials on TV for Always Discreet, Poise and Depend, I feel sad people think they have to accept – or live with – a loss of bladder control. You shouldn’t have to put on absorbent underwear to dance at your daughter’s wedding or laugh at lunch with your friends.
Do you want to keep spending your money on disposable pads or invest in a program that offers preventative benefits, as well as the tools to make lasting changes that have been proven to reduce or alleviate incontinence symptoms?
It’s time to stop the madness and stop suffering in silence!
Loss of bladder control is not something women talk about openly among close friends, with their sisters or moms, or even with their doctors. Women cope an average of six or more years with symptoms before seeking care, according to research by Women’s Health Foundation in Chicago.
Even worse, many are wearing menstrual pads to hide leaks, which can lead to odor, infection and irritated skin.
Ladies, this is no way to live!
There is help in West Michigan – a natural way that does require effort but is an alternative to medication or surgery or done in combination with clinical treatments. Total Control is an evidence-based exercise and education program offered exclusively in this area through Mercy Health Bladder Clinic.
Research shows integrating Total Control exercises into a workout regimen has a trifecta effect: Better bladder control, a stronger core and more satisfying sex.
Few fitness programs focus on pelvic floor conditioning, yet it’s much more important than the size of your biceps when it comes to quality of life. And there are many reasons to take Total Control beyond a desire to stay out of diapers. Maybe you want to be able to pick up your toddler without leaking, sit through a movie or run into your 50s without wearing a pessary.
Developed and tested by experts in UroGynecology, physical therapy and fitness, Total Control has been proven in research and clinical studies to improve incontinence symptoms; in some cases, it even totally alleviated the “laugh, cough, sneeze” leaking known as stress incontinence and the “gotta go, gotta go” leaking related to urgency and/or frequency.
It’s effective for women of all ages – from high schoolers to seniors – and fitness levels and offers numerous benefits:
• Helps reduce trips to the bathroom, leaking and nighttime urination
• A flatter tummy and increased core strength
• Better posture, alignment and back mobility
• Improved sexual function and stronger orgasms
• Better body awareness and connection to feminine energy
So what exactly do we do in class?
We start with an educational topic each week so women have a better understanding of their female anatomy and pelvic floor and how it impacts bladder control. We also cover behavioral and lifestyle changes that can reduce trips to the bathroom. Many foods and drinks are bladder irritants; what you eat and drink does matter.
The class also includes guided imagery to help participants make the mind-muscle connection and encourage correct muscle activation. You will learn how to isolate, engage and strengthen some of the deepest muscles in your core, back and pelvic floor, which all work together for optimal bladder and organ functioning.
We don’t break a sweat, but the class offers an energizing and effective total body workout. Each week, we add and incorporate exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and yoga and Pilates-inspired moves to stabilize and lengthen your core, lower spine and pelvis. We do pelvic floor contractions in a variety of positions – supine, side lying and standing. We plank. We do bridges, static wall sits, gentle stretches and resistance-band arm toners. We work on balance and our gluteus medius to help stabilize the lower back and prevent falls.
As the saying goes, “Use it or lose it.” The pelvic floor muscles need exercised and strengthened like any other muscle, especially after traumatic events such as childbirth and surgery. Some women have reduced sensation due to surgery and other complications, but I honestly feel my pelvic floor squeezing and lifting. I also leave class feeling like my pelvic floor is more taut and lifted.
By strengthening muscles that support the pelvic floor and making a few painless lifestyle changes, like reducing caffeine and “just in case peeing,” women can minimize leaking and regain a sense of independence and self-esteem – not to mention feel feminine and sexy again.
Exercising pelvic floor muscles regularly helps improve sensitivity and blood flow to the vagina – meaning more powerful orgasms and a healthier, happier sex life. What woman doesn’t want that? There are many benefits to regular, orgasmic sex. It can have explosive benefits on your hormones, metabolism, stress levels and sleep. And you might as well enjoy it.
My hope is that women leave feeling more tuned in to their bodies and find ways to take the information and exercises and incorporate them into their daily lives. Maybe they stand a little taller, wait a little longer to go to the bathroom, or feel like their pants fit better. Or they find themselves doing Kegels while washing the dishes or engaging their core during a walk.
It’s also comforting to commiserate, and share successes and setbacks, in a confidential, friendly, noncompetitive setting. We laugh. We talk. We Kegel against gravity in child’s pose.
The program is offered at select sites nationwide. Check the Total Control Licensed Facilities for availability in your area.
West Michigan women – I hope to see YOU in class!