From The Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, Winter 2009.
Pelvic Health and Awareness: A Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® Program for Women and Men. Learning for Health. By Deborah Bowes, San Francisco, CA. 3 Disc CD with booklet. $59.95.
Pelvic Health and Awareness: A Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Program for Women and Men is a multi-lesson program which takes you through a journey towards finding the functional uses of the pelvic floor via imagery, breathing, and functional movements. The three-disc audio program comes with a booklet which not only details each lesson but provides the user with a picture of a pelvic model and detailed guidelines on how to do the lessons and use the program. This program can be used safely by people who want to improve their bladder control, reduce back or pelvic pain, recover from childbirth/abdominal surgery/prostate surgery or trauma. According to the author, this booklet is also helpful for sexual functioning, digestive problems, and trauma.
Deborah Bowes is a physical therapist and a certified Feldenkrais teacher with over thirty years of experience. She has applied the latest research in pelvic health with Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement philosophy. There are no specific references in the CD or material sent Ms. Bowes, however, has an article posted on the AchievingExcellence.com website which sites information from references (exact reference is not provided). This article clearly shows the authors knowledge of the research. Awareness Through Movement lessons help increase awareness of habitual neuromuscular patterns to help a person find new ways of moving efficiently. Most exercises are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities.
Each of the six lessons is approximately 30 minutes long. The lessons are prefaced by a guide on how to benefit and progress the program along with an anatomy lesson of the pelvic cavity. Functional uses of the pelvic floor are also reviewed. It is not recommended for the user to complete the entire program in one sitting. The user would benefit from mastering each lesson before moving forward. Therefore, it may take several weeks to complete the entire program.
Deborah is extremely detailed in her lessons leaving minimal leeway for performing the exercises incorrectly. However, I do believe a video program would have been more user-friendly. Expectations of what the user should feel and inappropriate sensations which may lead to compensation are included. Overall, Pelvic Health and Awareness is an outstanding program that can help people to restore function in the pelvic floor within the comfort of their home. It is a safe and easy exercise program which is geared towards restoring the entire “container” and will help you identify the relationship of the pelvic floor to the other muscles in the pelvic cavity. The program addresses the concerns of both men and women.
Akta Shah MSPT, MTC, Chicago, IL