Pelvifly: how to use it for pelvic floor exercises

Do you have a Pelvifly?  Not sure how to use it? 

NEW: Add-on Support from Specialist Physiotherapists

The Pelvifly is a new bit of female health kit designed to help women practice pelvic floor exercises correctly.

Pelvifly has two parts, an internal device and a phone app. The K-Goal is a blue balloon probe which you put inside your vagina leaving a small handle-like antenna resting outside on your pubic bone.  The balloon part reacts to your pelvic floor squeezes and relaxations feeding information to an app on your phone.  In real-time you can watch your pelvic floor exercises with your own eyes! 

K Goal pelvifly device beside phone showing app

AND its fun! Truly. When you squeeze a butterfly moves up, when you relax it gently floats down. Getting clever you can land on flowers in an up and down pattern. Surprisingly challenging!

Pelvifly: how to use it completely by yourself

Straight out of the box, with no further costs, you sign up to the free App and Patient Portal on your phone.  There are clear instructions how to wash, insert and get started.

Pelvifly how to use

You will immediately be sent animated “muscle tests” to do.   First checking in on how well you can relax your pelvic floor muscles by breathing and keeping a butterfly still.  Then seeing your ability to squeeze your muscles very strongly, medium strength and softly, as you set your butterfly off collecting flowers.  Also it will test your ability to hold a contraction for several seconds.  

After your test sequence Pelvifly shows you graphs and gives you some data about your muscle skills.

Pelvifly chart of test results

This data is then used to send you daily challenges according to your test level.  There are 5 games with advancing levels.  Clever AI will send you the right levels.  Tasks will involve rockets flying through tunnels, basketballs into hoops and a cute octopus!  The games are designed to focus on different skillsets that pelvic floors need to learn; how to relax completely, how to contract both softly and strongly, endurance and speed training.

A path of progress will be automatically created for you with new levels & games unlocking as you improve your skills and performance.

Stuck with the Pelvifly? How to use it with online physio support 

The Pelvifly probe and free app is a fun and effective device to use DIY.  However, each person has an individual story and journey.  You may feel your problems need to be individually understood, and treatment & exercises planned according to your specific situation.  You may wish to work with a specialist physiotherapist, who has extensive post-graduate training in pelvic floor rehab, childbirth recover and care through the changes of menopause and beyond.

Work with a PelviCoach for a one off session or subscribe for a complete support package

The ideal is to find a physiotherapist local to you for regular face to face visits.  But if this won’t work for you (and this could be for a myriad of reasons other than Covid!) Pelvifly is an ideal tool to use remotely with a virtual physiotherapy service.

Who is a PelviCoach?

A PelviCoach is your personal training supervisor. In the UK Pelvifly have teamed up with the Mummy MOT network of Specialist Physiotherapists who can offer pure telehealth or hybrid virtual/clinic support, with the K-Goal for biofeedback, at the heart of your treatment package.

How can I book PelviCoach support?

  • Basic & Smart Plan users can select a PelviCoach from the list of available UK physiotherapists in the mobile app.  The PelviCach’s photo, biography and charges for a one-off consultation will be visible on the online portal. The PelviCoach will set up an online 30 minute consultation with you within 7 days. The PelviCoach will be able to see your test results, give you tips and advice about managing your issues and help you get the most from your automated programme.
  • A Care Plan subscription (£96 for one month) is also available.   You use the app to choose your PelviCoach from among a list of available specialists. You’ll receive a welcome message from them within 24 hours and make plans for a regular once a month online consultation with extra email or text support between.  On the Care Plan your PelviCoach will have the results of your tests and exercises, and access to every training exercise to tailor a unique programme for your bespoke needs.

More about Coaching on the monthly Care Plan

A PelviCoach wants your training to give the best results possible. In the first week she will organise a mutually convenient time for an initial half hour virtual or phone appointment to discuss your goals, your problems, and the results of your DIY training so far. She may also ask you questions relevant to the proper treatment of pelvic floor muscles. This includes questions about menstruation, childbirth, health problems, and sex life.

As a specialist physiotherapist she can also answer any questions you may wish to ask. She will explain what the training is like and how muscles work  &  – most importantly –  help you get started with your Pelvifly training programme. 

Exercises tailored to your needs

The muscle test which you perform when you use the app for the first time is crucial to your training plan. Your PelviCoach can see graphs of your results:

Pelvifly with a pelvicoach how to use

This really important information serves as the basis to determine the right level of exercise difficulty taking your capabilities into account. For example it may appear that it is not the contraction force of your muscles that needs your attention, but the endurance of your muscles. Your physiotherapist can set up  bespoke practice sessions using the full variety of games available so that you work on the skill-sets that will help you make the best and quickest progress.  

Monitor your progress

Through your first month your physiotherapist will keep in touch with you by email to make sure you are getting on well. You can use the message facility to contact them too.

At then end of the month your PelviCoach will send you a second test to help you both to analyse your progress.  Then each month thereafter, that you are subscribed to the Care package, you will arrange another virtual session to monitor, encourage and support you to progress towards your goals.  

Its not only about Pelvifly

Mummy MOT Physiotherapists have a wealth of skills and knowledge to share with you.  If you struggle with your pelvic floor technique, or want further face to face clarity or help with other issues they can arrange an additional face to face appointment with you or with a local colleague from the Network.

Pelvifly with a pelvicoach how to use

Supported by smart algorithms

Apart from the support of your PelviCoach, you’ll be also able to take advantage of additional in-app support. You’ll have access to motivating summaries with your training statistics and results of the performed exercises and muscle tests.

You’ll stay motivated to exercise systematically thanks to the path of progress featured in the app. It consists of 36 tasks which will help you achieve the best results possible if you complete them. By exercising on a regular basis and collecting points during your training sessions, you’ll be moving up the levels, from easier to more difficult ones. You’ll be going through three phases – consciousness, control, and improvement.

The benefits of the Pelvifly CARE plan

To sum up, the Care Plan is £96/month & includes:

  • individual supervision by a PelviCoach
  • a preliminary interview with a specialist
  • an analysis of the muscle test and a monthly comparison
  • a personalized training plan
  • exercises without vibration and with 20Hz/50Hz vibration, biofeedback
  • analysis of training sessions performed in a month
  • access to a PelviCoach by email or text
  • a history of exercises and training sessions – including results
  • reports summarizing your training periods
  • a progress path consisting of 36 tasks to enable you to achieve your goals and monitor your progress

Pelvifly is available in the UK from Pioneer Medical priced £130 (VAT exemption available)

Author: Amanda Savage MCSP MSt (Cantab) Specialist Physiotherapist

exercises for busy women

7 secret exercises for busy women

New Mum, Grandma or simply a busy life? It’s not always easy to fit formal exercise in. Here’s a list of 7 secret exercises for busy women. Anywhere, anytime gems that don’t look or feel like exercises – but will help maintain YOU!

Try these #7 secret exercises for busy women!

#1 Stand well: when talking

Can we DO posture?  Does that really count as exercise?  Absolutely.

In Kenya, the Maasai Warrior are taught from an early age to stand for hours at a time, still and upright.  To find this amazing posture they are told to focus on their feet. 

Try this:

  • feet a little apart, pointing straight forward
  • press the inside edges of the heels towards each other (they don’t actually have to touch)

That’s it.  But as you make that small adjustment at your feet, notice the cascade of muscle activity through the rest of your legs and bottom muscles?  Feel the gluts and legs come ‘alive’, feel the stretch on the front of the thighs as your pelvis draws back into neutral, notice your lower abdominals activate and the spine straighten?  By the time you even get to your head and shoulders you will feel that by getting the feet ‘right’ everything else has drawn into place? 

Posture requires effort

You may find that today you can only ‘hold’ this posture 5-10 seconds before feeling tired and fatigued by the effort involved, both physical and mental.  That’s ok.  That feeling is your muscles working in an endurance hold that they are not used to.  But if every time you stand to talk to someone, cuddle a baby, answer the phone, stand in a queue, you practice this posture….just 10 seconds at a time… within a week it will feel far more natural and you will be able to stand, still and grounded, for many minutes at a time.

#2. Sit well: watching TV

Notice your ” tail bone” and  “sitting bones” underneath you. 

Bring your weight forward to get off your tailbone and on to your sitting bones.  Can you feel your weight evenly left and right?  Stretch up through every bone of your spine, drop your shoulders back and down, let the top of your head lift towards the ceiling. 

Let the seat support you  – but if you have a large gap around your waist tuck a small rolled up towel or thin jumper into the gap to hold your spine in it’s natural curve if you are settling in for something epic (current fav in our house is Elementary….see you in 5 seasons….)

#3 Core: in the car

Notice the seat belt where it crosses your lap.  It lies exactly over your lower abdominals (transversus abdominis).  In a class we often facilitate our awareness of our abs by touching with our finger tips – in the car use the pressure of the seat belt as a natural guide.

Let your abdominals sag against the seat belt on purpose.  Now, breathe in fully, let the abdomen swell a little, then as you breathe out, gently draw the lower abdominals towards you.  Then hold them gently (just less than 50% of what you could do).  And Breathe.  Finally, release, letting them sag back onto the belt. 

Do this cycle again – draw in as you exhale…but now keep breathing naturally and watch one lamp post go by…watch another go by…let a third go by…then let go.  Start a “how-many-can-I-hold-for-lamp-post-challenge”?

#4 Walk: everywhere: fast

Walk fast and you burn a LOT of calories.  It’s almost as good as jogging.  Try to walk so that you could “speak” but not “chat”.

Head up, lower abs in 20%.  Aim for you heel to strike the floor first (so that people can here you coming). This activates your gluts (bottom muscles) for a more intense leg work out.  No casual strolling about – make even the shortest walk count.

#5 Pelvic Floor: in a queue

Here’s an exercise to ping your pelvic floor muscles awake in less than 35 seconds.  Little and often improves muscle memory, reaction times, and encourages quick muscle growth.

  1. TURN YOUR TOES OUT, LIKE A BALLET DANCER, 5 squeezes of the back passage area
  2. THEN TURN YOUR TOES IN, LIKE A PIGEON, 5 ‘lift and squeeze’ of the bladder tube area
  3. TURN YOUR TOES NORMAL, both areas together

#6 Balance practice: cleaning your teeth

Balance is a skill you have to train seperately to being “fit”.

Stand on one leg, pull up out of your waist, feel the bottom muscles working to hold you.  Notice the strength and stability in  your ankle.  Progess by closing your eyes!

#7 Be Mindful: with friends and family

Mindfulness is quite simply the practice of being in the now.  You formally practice it in yoga and pilates classes. Did you know you can also be mindful in any situation, even complex ones, out on a walk, driving, even cooking. Or to  mentally  “step back” in the middle of a social event. 

Let yourself be completely present so that your mind is in a physiological state of rest but not asleep.  Allow your thoughts come and go but you are not remembering, not planning, not analysing or deciding. Rather, sensing, noticing, appreciating…. 

Yes, even with visiting family….

Author: Amanda Savage MCSP, MSt (Cantab), Specialist Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapist

© Amanda Savage, All Rights Reserved, 2021

Content Disclaimer:

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of my blogposts, articles and my videos are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of if you are not a face to face client of mine. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Amanda Savage disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, blog or video.

How much should you hold your pelvic floor muscles?

How much should you hold your pelvic floor muscles during the day?

How much should you hold your pelvic floor muscles during everyday activitites?

Are you supposed to think about them?

Or should you just let them do their own thing?

First it depends if you are a naturally tense or relaxed person? Then to consider whether they have fully recovered after childbirth? They should work on ‘automatic pilot’ going up and down through a variety of gears. But you might need to re-train that skill.

MIght your pelvic floor muscles be just wafting about?

Do your pelvic floor and tummy abdominal muscles support your internal organs and your back as you go about your day?  Or might they have a tendency to droop when you aren’t paying them attention?  Might you have a pelvic floor with a tendency to “waft about”??

Its probably the most common thing I point out to mums in clinic. Even if you have been religious about using Squeezy App and doing your daily pelvic floor targeted exercises. You may have one more step to go. Making sure that your pelvic floor joins in more when you do more and knows how to relax when you relax.

Should you hold your pelvic floor muscles up ALL DAY ?!?!

Yes…. and ….No.    Just like your abdominals and all the other muscles of your body your pelvic floor is not a  one gear, one trick pony. 

We have moved on from the concept of “on” or “off”. 

We realise now that your brain needs to decide at any given moment how much muscle activity is “enough” for the task you want to do. A well trained and exercised pelvic floor can automatically choose to be completely relaxed, fully sharp and contracted, with plenty of medium level options in between.

What is Your Resting Tone?

This is the amount of activity your muscles have at rest.  Where they sit naturally when you are not thinking about them. 

Untrained muscles, or muscles after childbirth or an episode of injury, can have terribly low resting tone.   

leopard too little pelvic floor muscle activity

To be fair – I think this mama is asleep – but how many of us look like this when sat on the sofa (#GBBO)??

Too Little Tone: 

…leaves us “hanging” off our ligaments with a tendency to overstretch joints and muscles into saggy patterns. This has obvious cosmetic fallout.  Also you will have difficult stabilising movement (getting weird joint clicks and clunks), or be vulnerable to injury. Untoned muscles are responsible for issues like incontinence, bladder urgency, difficulty emptying bowels and pelvic organ prolapse.

squirrel too much pelvic floor muscle activity

Or do you relate more to this Mum – fired up & alert, all the time ??

Too High Tone:

…has you perched on the edge of your seat, tense glutes, shoulders up, neck muscles tight like guitar strings – leading to neck pain, shoulder aches and pelvic pain.  Sometimes also responsibe for incontinence, urgency and difficulty emptying bowels too.  I know seems weird!  But too MUCH pelvic floor tone can be a problem as well as too little!

Video: grading pelvic floor control in standing, carrying, reaching and JUMPING!

Today’s video was made last year, in collaboration with Tena.  This is part of a series teaching pelvic floor from basics to more advanced. A Pelvic Floor Exercises 101!

Find the whole Pelvic Floor 101 sequence here.

In this video, experiment with me and the lovely models as we explore finding our pelvic floors and controlling how much they work –  even as we move handweights and try a bit of stretching & leaping too.  It takes practice to improve your “automatic pilot” function for every day life.

So Mama’s. Pelvic Floor Muscles for Real Life.  No pelvic floors just wafting about! Practice standing up. Add some hand weights. Stretching.

And if you want to get back to running or that trampoline you gotta practice JUMPING too!!

Author: Amanda Savage, MCSP MSt (Cantab). Specialist Pelvic, Obstetric & Gynaecological Physiotherapist

© Amanda Savage, All Rights Reserved, 2021

Content Disclaimer:

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of my blogposts, articles and my videos are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents if you are not a face to face client of mine. Professional advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article. Amanda Savage disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article or video.

Why Pelvic Floor Stretches Help Most Mums & How to Do Them

Bladder or Bowel issues after your baby?

Why stretching around the pelvis could help the pelvic floor work better….

Pelvic floor STRETCHES? Are you puzzled?  Were you thinking that my advice would be to work on tightening up and strengthening your pelvic floor?

Did you know that taking time to stretch and align the muscles all around the pelvis might help the pelvic floor work better? YES!  Just once a day for about 6 minutes can make Mums so much more comfortable – and find their pelvic floor muscles really perk up. FAST.   It’s not crazy.    If your pelvis is wonky or your back is stiff – just tightening up the pelvic floor muscles won’t improve bladder control.   Because the muscles can’t work properly together if they are at funny angles!

Today we are exploring  WHO might need to do that (and WHY)  and HOW to do the right stretches really well (and quickly).

VIDEO: Pelvic Stretches for Mums

Why we need to do pelvic floor stretches before we strengthen

The muscles must work together to control and move the pelvis.

You could picture your pelvis muscles working together just like the guy-ropes on a tent.  If there is a good balance through every part of the rope network the tent sits upright, symmetrical, self-supporting  – it holds strong but can sway in the wind as needed, able to adjust to change in the environment with ease.   You can easily open the door and push your way in with no effort or move bags of kit back out.  The tent has full height, the groundsheet is stretched perfectly corner to corner without wrinkles or twists.

Magic, when all is well…

In a similar way when the muscles around the pelvis have good length to allow the pelvic bones to sit symmetrically, at the right angles, you can sit comfortably on a chair, or move efficiently transferring your weight seamlessly and effortlessly from one leg to the other as you walk or climb stairs. Your back feels comfortable, hamstrings don’t get injured, bowels empty easily, bladders fill and empty without trouble, pelvic organs stay securely inside, sex is comfortable.

But problematic if out of kilter

However, there are problems if one or more guy-ropes is overtightened..

Changing the tension in some of the guy-ropes on one side of the tent will cause distortions to the tent  not only on the side of the ropes that have been tightened but also on the opposite and/or diagonally opposite side. In the video (above) see how this distorts my ability to whistle – even though there is nothing wrong at all with my mouth muscles?

Symptoms can seem logical: soreness right where the scar is making sex painful or tampons uncomfortable, or making wearing tight clothing irritating. Or more distant issues can develop like sciatica, persistant pelvic girdle pain, bladder irritability or constipation.

Are you out of kilter? A hidden consequence of childbirth?

  • Did you have a difficult pregnancy with pelvic girdle pain or back pain, or just a very heavy baby (!).  Were you limping around a bit towards the end? 
  • Did you have to work your pelvic support muscles very hard during your labour?  Lots of squatting, using your legs to support you? Or maybe your legs had to be up and held at a funny angle for a while? That would be something that would make your inside thigh and abdominal muscles work very hard.
  • And of course the common scenario that causes this type of guy-rope problem is an episiotomy or perineal tear during childbirth.  The scar that forms can be more rigid than the original tissue – creating a pucker or pull on one side of the pelvic floor. 
  • If after your baby you were really sore you might have found yourself sitting sideways in your chair, or sitting awkwardly on the edge?  Or you might have limped around trying to stop everything hurting? Unfortunately, very quickly it can become a habit to have tension in the pelvis.

So tbh there are not many mums who wouldn’t benefit from doing some pelvic floor stretching!

Quick Guide: Technique

Which style of stretches & when?

Use static stretches (the ones you ‘hold’ for 10-30s).  No bouncing!

Start with once a day to learn and enjoy the stretches.  Then you are looking for 2-3 opportunities through your day to stop and deliberately release tension and stretch the different muscle groups.  Pick stretches to suit the environment you are in.  Once your problem has settled then drop to a once a day holistic sequence to keep the muscles stretched for ever.

They are best done when the muscles and soft tissues are a warmer temperature:

  • when you get back from a trip to the park,
  • after an exercise class, or dance-a-long with the kids
  • warmed up by a bath or shower,
  • after a TV snuggle under a blanket before climbing into bed….

How many & how long?

  • Hold each position for a comfortable stretch for 30 seconds, repeated 3 times.
  • Research shows that you do not achieve anything extra by doing more reps or increasing the time.
  • If you have a lot of pain start with fewer shorter stretches eg 2 repetitions of 15 seconds each.

Quick Guide: 3 Favorite Pelvic Floor Stretches for Pelvic Flexibility

#1 Hip Flexion with opposite leg extension

Hip flexion:  gently draw one knee to your chest then let the other leg slide out straight.  30 seconds letting gravity do the stretching work.  3 x each side.

#2 Butterfly Stretch

Adductors: 20-30 seconds gently easing out the inner thighs with gravity. 3 x

#3 Happy Baby Stretch

upper hamstrings: ease the “sit bones” wider. 20-30 seconds. 3 x

Let me know if this helps you?

Try the three stretches (or 15 mins guided video sequence) every day for a week and see what you notice changing? Improved posture, easier squatting to the floor, better bowel opening, more pelvic floor awareness? Do let me know?

Squeezy app review

Squeezy App: because we don’t remember To Do Them…

Squeezy App review:

Checklist (tick all that apply)

  • I Mean to do my pelvic floor exercises but then I Forget.  
  • I drift off partway through my routine. 
  • I like to do them at top speed to get them done
  • I always feel guilty that I should have done more
  • I can’t remember how many you’re supposed to do a day?
  • umm… what are you supposed to do again?

Easy Solution…

NHS Squeezy App.  It counts for you.  It reminds you.  It gives you a happy little chart and messages to tell you how clever you are when you do them.  All for £2.99.

NHS Squeezy app reminds you to do your pelvic floor exercises

So download it NOW (or re-upload it if you already had it but it’s now back in the cloud….). 

Other app features (which you may not have noticed!)

  • bladder diary – are you drinking too much or not enough?
  • reminders – set the perfect timings for you
  • record of your exercising – to feel pleased with yourself!
  • information about how to do your squeezes

And on the Squeezy website:

  • videos about how to do the exercises or change the settings
  • a Directory to help you find a physio

Beginners might want to change the settings

My only (minor) bugbear with it is that the default settings are actually your end goal (10 second holds, 10x in a row).  And the Quick squeezes are really quick!!.  Follow these instructions to make Squeezy App more user friendly for a beginner.

Any questions? Do ask in the comments below – you won’t be the only one with the same query!