The pelvic floor is often described as a “hammock” of muscles.
- This “hammock” is designed to keep the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and rectum) in place and to support spinal and pelvic stability.
- These muscles respond to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure (coughing, sneezing, laughing or straining).
- The urethra, vagina and rectum pass through the pelvic floor muscles and are affected by their contractions and relaxations.
The “bony landmarks” that define the pelvic floor are:
- Pubic bone in front
- Tailbone in back
- Sit bones (Ischial Tuberosities) on either side
Healthy, natural movement of the pelvic floor includes both lifting and narrowing, plus widening and releasing.
Visuals: Trampoline and/or Kite
An optimally functioning pelvic floor [is like] a trampoline. It supports the weight of all our pelvic organs and allows any extra load to just bounce off its healthy, elastic fibers, tensing and releasing naturally… Eric Franklin compares natural movement of the pelvic floor to a kite. As you stand up the pelvic floor slightly lifts and narrows similarly to a kite picking the wind and taking off. Reversely, as you sit down (with untucked tail, using your sitbones) the pelvic floor widens and releases to its full length, like a kite descending down, opening and landing.– Ivanna Demmel