2 LOCATIONS:   BETHESDA, MD. 4905 Del Ray Ave, Suite 508   |   MCLEAN, VA. 1305 Vincent Place

How to Relax Pelvic Floor Muscles: 5 Strategies and Exercises that Help Relax Your Pelvic Floor

Most people have heard about pelvic floor strengthening exercises, aka Kegels, but what many people do not know about is the importance of, and strategies to, relax the pelvic floor. An overly tense pelvic floor can cause both discomfort and dysfunction. Pelvic floor relaxation techniques can relieve tension, improve pelvic health, and address issues including pelvic pain, incontinence, difficulty urinating, and pain during sexual intercourse.

Fortunately, there are many strategies that can be done both at home and with a pelvic floor physical therapist that can help to relax the pelvic floor muscles for those with pelvic floor dysfunction

Not sure how to relax tight pelvic floor muscles? Here are 5 things you can do:

1.   Pelvic Floor Stretches

There are several stretches and yoga postures that you can do at home that can work wonders to relax the pelvic floor. Before trying any of these exercises, be sure to check with your physical therapist to be sure they will be beneficial and safe for you:

  • Child’s Pose: In this yoga posture, you will kneel with your big toes touching and your knees apart. Next, sit back on your heels, reaching your arms forward and resting your forehead on the ground. Hold this pose for as long as you like, and take slow, gentle, deep breaths while relaxing into the pose.
  • Butterfly Stretch: This stretch involves sitting with the bottoms of your feet together, letting your knees drop out to the sides, while gently pressing them toward the floor to stretch the groin and inner thighs. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. Remember to allow your breath to be easy and full.
  • Happy Baby Pose: In this yoga posture lie on your back whileholding your feet with your hands.Bring your knees toward your armpits, resembling a happy baby on their back. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. You can also gently rock your body back and forth if this feels relaxing and comfortable.
  • Piriformis Stretch: In this exercise, you  lie on your back, crossing one ankle over the opposite knee, gently press the raised knee away from the body while pulling the other thigh toward your body and hold for 30 seconds 2-3  times on each side.
  • Yogi Squat: In this yoga pose, you  squat down as low as you can with your feet wider than hip-width apart, heels in, and toes turned out, while keeping your hands together in a prayer position at your chest. You can rest in this position for 30 seconds allowing yourself to stretch as deeply as feels comfortable.

2.   Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, start by sitting or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Slowly inhale  gently and deeply through your nose. Often you will feel your abdomen rise during your inhalation. Then exhale slowly through your nose, allowing for your exhale to be a second or two longer than your inhale.. While inhaling , you can focus on relaxing your tight pelvic floor muscles more and more each time you complete a breath cycle.

3.   Pelvic Floor Massage

Pelvic massage, such as Thiele massage, has been shown in studies like this one to reduce pelvic pain caused by tenderness of the pelvic floor muscles.  A trained therapist can help to gently massage the pelvic area to release muscle tension and promote relaxation of the area. With pelvic floor massage, it is important to practice proper technique in order to avoid injury or pain, therefore seeking help from a trained therapist is recommended.

4.   Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

This recent study is just one of many that have shown the efficacy of pelvic floor physical therapy for issues related to an overactive or hypertonic pelvic floor. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a highly specialized branch of physical therapy that is focused on the assessment and treatment of issues related to the pelvic floor and its surrounding organs, muscles, and tissues.

A specialized  pelvic floor physical therapist can improve pelvic health using a combination of manual therapy techniques, specialized exercises, and other strategies like biofeedback to help strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles, depending on the specific issues the patient is having. Pelvic health physical therapy is highly effective in reducing pain, improving quality of life, and improving overall pelvic health.

5.   Pelvic Floor Visualization and Relaxation Techniques

Using visualization is a strategy that many professional athletes use to help them perform their best. Similarly, visualization can help you to help relax your pelvic floor muscles. Start by closing your eyes and visually imagine your pelvic floor as a very soft, warm, fluid, and relaxed area. Picture any tension or discomfort melting away as you focus on this mental image and take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This technique can also be combined with progressive muscle relaxation techniques for a full-body relaxation experience.

Additional Information about Tight Pelvic Floor Muscles

Most importantly, if you have any pelvic floor issues or concerns, such as incontinence, difficulty urinating, pain, or other symptoms, be sure to consult with a healthcare provider or a pelvic floor physical therapist near you right away. They can provide a thorough evaluation and tailored treatment plan and ensure that you’re using the right techniques for your specific needs.

Pelvic Floor Relaxation Treatment in Bethesda, MD and McLean, VA

Do you have signs and symptoms of pelvic tension or pain? Contact ITR Physical Therapy today at 301-770-7060  to schedule an appointment with our experienced Bethesda and McLean pelvic floor physical therapy team!