It is widely accepted that pelvic floor dysfunction results from weak pelvic floor muscles. Arnold Kegel, a medical practitioner first described and published a method of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through squeezing in 1948. Since then the focus in rehabilitation has been on strengthening only.

But consider this:
The pelvic floor muscles can become tense in the same way that muscles in any other part of the body become tense
Tense muscles become taut and out of balance
  Strengthening alone will add to this imbalance
  Muscles will simply not strengthen because of their state of tension

This is a conservative approach and basic muscle physiology – it IS for everyone. It may not be the solution to all your problems but it is worth trying. If this does not work for you – whether your problems are bladder or bowel related or whether they are pain related – the next step will mean more intervention. More intervention means drug therapy, injections or surgery. Even if additional intervention becomes necessary you will always do better if your pelvic floor is more balanced. It is worth putting the effort in now.


Through palpation (pressing) into the muscles:

We can feel tension and through increased awareness we can release it

Through learning new techniques:

We develop the knowledge and the ability to release the muscles
We learn correct muscle activation patterns

Through using modern diagnostic realtime ultrasound imaging:

Correct activation and release patterns are confirmed

Maeve Whelan explains the New Approach
Critical evaluation of clinical practice has revealed that we should first release the pelvic floor muscles achieving a balance across the pelvic floor. This concept of maximal releasing has been a major step forward and is one of the key things this web site will teach you. will introduce a very specific and new breathing technique, The Sniff, Flop and Drop . This technique targets release of the pelvic floor through a type of diaphragmatic breathing. We explain the step by step component parts to make this happen in our Exercise Guide.


Sniff Flop and Drop teaches you how to connect your diaphragmatic breathing to your pelvic floor.

Once we have achieved this release we can strengthen in a way that optimises the performance of the pelvic floor. The strengthening should begin once the ability to release has been established.

This is exactly as we do with rehabilitation in other parts of the body.

Consider the biceps muscle; a physiotherapist would never instruct muscle strengthening following injury, before first making sure that the muscle can release completely to its full outer range.

This process involves lengthening, mobilising increasing blood flow to the muscle and making sure that there are no taut bands restricting the range of motion.

Many of our patients will experience some benefit from these exercises alone. However if there are excessive restrictions in breathing, the abdomen or the pelvic floor or if the pelvic floor is very weak you may be having difficulty. In this case, we recommend that you find a physiotherapist with a special interest in the pelvic floor to help you.

How do I find a physiotherapist?

Each country has a Women’s Health physiotherapy special interest group and this will include physiotherapists who treat men. You should contact your main physiotherapy society.

On this site we have an ever growing list of pelvic floor manual therapists who have learned these techniques and are qualified to teach them and to perform manual therapy techniques. Do not trust your pelvic floor to just anyone!
  If you are a physiotherapist and would like to learn the breathing techniques and the pelvic floor manual therapy techniques please have a look at our course list or contact us for further information.