Perineal massage in the later stages of pregnancy is an important aspect of antenatal care and preparation in order to help reduce the risks of perineal trauma in childbirth, such as tearing, epesiotomy and perineal pain. It also helps reduce the risk of longer term health problems such as prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
Learn More About Perineal Massage
Below are some of the opinions from experts in the field and some useful resources.
‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’. This is an excellent guide on how to carry out your own perineal massage.
Dr Christiane Northrup, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Author of ‘Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom’
“I must stress the importance of the mind/body connection for anyone who desires permanent relief from this condition…I advise my patients to start with nutritional and mind/body approaches to this problem first, and then resort to the other treatments if necessary.”
“Like all other conditions, vulvodynia has physical, emotional, and mental aspects. Failure to address all of these aspects of a problem simultaneously may lead to temporary relief only…A symptom as persistent as chronic vulvar pain requires a great deal of trust in your inner wisdom, and a lot of compassion and patience.”
The Vulval Pain Society recommends acupuncture and pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation (trigger point therapy, pelvic floor strengthening and pelvic floor muscle desensitisation) for vulvodynia.
Helen has a range of different products available for use for treatments for vulvodynia
How treatments help with vulvodynia
The treatments that Helen offers for help in addressing the symptoms and underlying root cause of vulvodynia is a finely tuned and flexible approach incorporating acupressure, internal pelvic therapy and body-centered talking and exploration in order to help in uncovering the root cause of vulval pain.
Initially, extended sessions are usually recommended in order to give time and space for further exploration and for a fully integrated mind-body approach.
Sessions include the following:
How does working with Helen differ from working with other health professionals?
Helen has an integrated approach to vulvodynia; incorporating the physical, emotional and mental aspects of the condition into her treatments with women. I offer a warm and friendly environment that is conducive to exploration of the sensitive and often embarrassing aspects of the condition or the experiences/feelings that may be getting in your way from healing. This alone, can have an impact on the degree of severity of the condition.
Whilst some of the techniques Helen uses are similar to women’s health physiotherapists, she introduces her other skills and professional experience to include the much needed body-centered talking therapy into her treatments to help address the problem. The further addition of targeted acupressure points as used by women’s health acupuncturists in the treatment of vulvodynia and chronic pain, allow for an integrated whole-body and holistic approach to treatments.
Helen refers to doctors, counsellors/psychotherapists, nutritionists and women’s health physiotherapists where appropriate to ensure a fully integrated service so that women can gain the best results.
Why is a mind-body approach needed in the treatment of vulvodynia?
Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr Christiane Northrup, has written about this very eloquetly in her book ‘Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom’, stating “Given our collective history, then, it is little wonder that the entry points to the female body are associated with problems for so many women. Problems in the vulva, vagina, cervix and lower urinary tract are primarily associated with a woman’s feelings of violation in her one-on-one relationship with another individual or in her job. Given the substantial number of immune cells at the mucosal surfaces, such as our vagina, urethra, cervix, and bladder, and given that the function of these cells is highly influenced by stress hormones such as cortisol, it is not difficult to see how a perception of violation and the subsequent biological cascade of hormones that results in response to this perception might well impair optimal function in this area of the body.