Core Massage and Bodywork for Men: Pelvis, Hips, Thighs, Low Back and Abdomen

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"I love the pelvic floor work - it's a new area to explore and empowering to learn how to control."

Peter B.

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"I was much more open both physically and emotionally after the pelvis and pelvic floor work we did last time."

Jay B.

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"I feel blessed and grateful to have a bodyworker such as you to work with. I feel healthier when I keep the pelvis and pelvic floor open."

John M.

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"The pelvic floor work loosened some things up last time. I really enjoyed it - thank you."

Dave B.

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"I feel better and looser. You hit places I didn't even know I had."

Ed W.

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"The pelvic floor work felt great and very relaxing."

Robert O.

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The Pelvic Floor

Most people are unaware of their pelvic floor and its purpose. Here is a brief overview to help you decide whether or not you would like to include these muscles in our work.

Where is the pelvic floor? As its name suggests, the pelvic floor is at the bottom of the pelvis. If you look at a person from the side and think of the letter U, one side of the letter would be the abdomen and the other side would be the low back. The bottom of the U would be the pelvic floor.male muscles When viewed from below, it is roughly diamond shaped, with the points of the diamond being the pubic bone (front), the tail bone (back), and the two 'sits' bones or ischial tuberosities (sides). The perineum, which is a specific area of the pelvic floor, is located between the anus and the genitals. The muscles that comprise the pelvic floor are the Levator Ani group (Puborectalis, Pubococcygeus and Iliococcygeus), Ischiococcygeus, Sphincter Ani, and the Superficial and Deep Transverse Perineii. Closely associated with these are the Obturator Internus, Ischiocavernosus, Bulbospongiosus, Piriformis, and some fibers of the Gluteus Maximus. There are many important connective tissues here including the perineal body and the ano-coccygeal body, as well as relevant nerves such as the Pudendal nerve.

What does it do? The pelvic floor has a number of roles. It is part of our core musculature and functions in tandem with the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and low back (Transversus Abdominis and Multifidi in particular). Our stress response often shows up as tension in the pelvic floor. It plays a significant role in sexual function and, via the sphincter muscles, closes off (or relaxes) the two openings of the pelvic floor at the anus and urethra. It supports the contents of the pelvic bowl directly above (bladder, prostate, rectum), the abdominal contents, and acts reciprocally with the respiratory diaphram under the ribcage. For those who do yoga or are familiar with energy systems, this is where the first, or root, chakra is located (mooladhara), and many emotions can originate here.

Are there problems associated with the pelvic floor? Like any other muscle group or region of the body, the pelvic floor can generate sensations ranging from pleasure to pain. Dysfunction can stem from excess tension, loss of elasticity, the development of Trigger Points, weakness, low tone, or the inability to function independently. Unresolved tension can lead to discomfort or pain in all of the following areas: pelvis, genitals, coccyx (tail bone), groin, thighs, lower abdomen, or low back. Prostate, elimination, and sexual issues can be closely related to the pelvic floor as well. For more on the role of the pelvic floor muscles in Chronic Prostatitis / Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, sexual dysfunction, and urinary dysfunction see my website.

How do you work the pelvic floor? The short answer is: with care. Work in this area requires an informed and sensitive touch, a clear understanding of the relevant anatomy, and respect for boundaries. I mobilize the tissues with gentle cross-fiber massage, gliding and sweeping strokes, sustained pressure, and other techniques. Sometimes I will ask for mild contractions as I work, which helps you to isolate and feel these muscles and can aid in releasing tension. It also allows me to evaluate tone.

I'm a rather modest kind of guy; do we really need to work here? Absolutely not. This is optional work, for those who want to explore these muscles as part of their overall core / pelvic musculature, and for those who may have physical issues related to the pelvic floor.

Is this erotic? The intention is not erotic, but be aware that due to the role of the pelvic floor in sexual function, erotic energy may arise when this area is worked. This can be true of course with any touch in and around the pelvis, no matter the intention. My suggestion is to allow sensations to happen without trying to suppress them or worry about them.

Is the work external or internal? Most of these muscles can be accessed externally, and there are ways of engaging the others indirectly. External work can be very effective and is the only approach I use routinely.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for pelvic floor work? No special preparations are necessary beyond attention to personal hygiene, just as you would for any massage and bodywork session. Do bring an open mind and a willingness to explore.

For much more information on the male pelvic floor, including anatomy graphics, its role in generating pain and causing dysfunction, emotional and energetic aspects, implications for sports and cycling, and the rationale for massage and bodywork see my website.

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Selected Resources:

The Pelvic Floor - Beate Carriere, P.T. and Cynthia Markel Feldt, P.T.

Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis - R. Louis Schultz

The Pelvic Girdle: An approach to the examination and treatment of the lumbopelvic-hip region - Diane Lee, BSR, MCPA, FCAMT

A Headache in the Pelvis: A new understanding and treatment for prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndromes - David Wise, Ph.D. and Rodney Anderson, M.D.

Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, Vol. 2 - Janet Travell, M.D. and David Simons, M.D.

Heal Pelvic Pain - Amy Stein, M.P.T.

Pelvic Power - Eric Franklin

Atlas of Human Anatomy - Frank Netter

Moola Bandha: The Master Key - Swami Buddhananda

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