Yoga and Mindfulness for Pelvic Health

Original EditorUsername Major ContributorsNicole Sandhu, Audrey Brown and Kim Jackson

Definitions

Yoga:

«A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation». (1)

Awareness:

«Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us». (2)

Clinically Relevant Anatomy

Pelvic Floor Muscles.jpg

Please refer to the «Pelvic Floor Anatomy,» for further details on the anatomy.

Yoga and Mindfulness Training

Yoga is beneficial in managing a variety of medical conditions, including musculoskeletal conditions, cardiovascular conditions, and mental health conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety.(3) Yoga can act as an alternative method for pelvic floor muscle training or as a complement to such training. Yoga can also address mental health issues and quality of life, through potential beneficial effects on depression, stress, and anxiety, and help patients manage their medical condition.(4) The primary challenge in researching yoga is the variety of interventions, such as the type of yoga implemented, the intervention timeline, and the severity of the health issue.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that helps you learn to quiet the mind and body to help you cope with illnesses, pain, and stress. The time spent in MBSR aims to be attentive and mindful of your surroundings, emotions, thoughts, and how your body feels and can be integrated as a component of meditation and yoga.(5)(6)

It is beneficial for physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to understand the impact of yoga and mindfulness on various pelvic health conditions. Physical therapists with pelvic floor knowledge can successfully integrate yoga practices into their therapy to improve various pelvic health issues.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is generally initially treated with conservative therapies. Many reviews of these conservative interventions, such as lifestyle recommendations, bladder training, and pelvic floor muscle training, can be used alone or in combination with other active treatments like biofeedback.(7)(8)(9) Additionally, studies have found that yoga can improve urinary incontinence symptoms.(10)(11)(12) A randomized trial of ambulatory women aged 40+

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