What Exactly is Pfilates??
Pfilates is a program of neuromuscular conditioning based on extensive EMG recordings taken from the pelvic floor. Pfilates was created by an American Urogynecologist to provide a method of home pelvic floor fitness training accessible to a broad population.
Pelvic floor disorders are absolutely epidemic. Stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, female sexual dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, and fecal incontinence are so commonplace they are often regarded as the inevitable consequences of childbirth and aging. When these conditions are treated they are to often regarded as purely mechanical disorders requiring a surgical solution. Although trained as a surgeon I have come to regard these disorders as principally neuromuscular disorders deserving of a neuromuscular solution.
It is clear that programs of pelvic floor neuromuscular rehabilitation successfully improve pelvic floor symptoms. Such programs typically involve a set schedule of isometric pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises) that must be continued long term. It is also clearly established that very few women will continue to perform this type of isometric exercises for an extended period of time.
In creating the Pfilates program we have ventured to provide a plyometric (movement oriented) method of pelvic floor exercise that could be incorporated in to any regular fitness routine. Our neuromuscular research reveals that movements which engage the external hip rotators, adductors of the thigh, transverses abdominals, and gluteal muscles also facilitate, or induce, a pelvic floor contraction. This information has proven especially useful for women unable to perform an isolated voluntary pelvic floor contraction.
The Pfilates program is a simple program consisting of ten movements presented in the same order in three different phases (beginning, intermediate, and advanced). Each of the Pfilates movements includes a series of repetitions followed by a hold phase and a pulse phase at the point of peak engagement of the pelvic floor. As such these movements encourage the development of the three essential elements of neuromuscular performance: strength, endurance, and coordination. The Pfilates DVD includes a detailed “Learn These Movements” that should be reviewed carefully before beginning any of the ten minute routines.
Pfilates is intended to be preventative but also a therapeutic alternative for those already experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. For patients that have already has surgery Pfilates can help protect the investment and reduce the chance for recurrent symptoms. For more information on the Pilates Program, The Pfilates Kit, DVDs, instruction and certification of Instructors please contact Dr. Bruce S. Crawford M.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org