Core-To-Floor Part 1: The EMSELLA Chair
There’s something inherently human about desiring a lean, muscular midsection. But the heavy emphasis placed upon chiseled abs for core strength threatens to neglect one of the most important functional components for sexual health: the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs).
In fact, at Men’s Health Boston, we’re so convinced of the necessity of a strong pelvic floor that we were early adopters of the EMSELLA chair by BTL. EMSELLA is an exciting new therapy with the ability to target the PFMs directly, making it a key component of our Core-to-Floor program for sexual health. To understand more about pelvic floor muscles, what they do, and what makes them absolutely essential to health, vitality, and high-quality sex, continue reading below.
What are pelvic floor muscles (PFMs)?
These are the muscles that stretch across the base of your pelvis, from the pubic bone in front to the coccyx, or tail bone, in the rear. They form a contractable barrier, like a “muscular trampoline”, that keeps the organs above in their proper place, including the bladder, the bowels, and (in women) the uterus and vagina.
In addition to structural support, your pelvic floor plays a critical role regulating the functions of the organs above it. It’s the PFMs that help to close off the openings to the bladder and the bowels, ultimately preventing any unwanted leaks (aka incontinence) when you aren’t going to the bathroom.
What are the benefits of strengthening your pelvic floor?
Ask anyone who has dealt with pelvic floor dysfunction first-hand, and they’ll tell you just how critical it is to keep these muscles strong and healthy. Signs of incontinence include:
- Constantly needing to use the bathroom, and feelings of urgency when you need to go
- Involuntary leakage from your bladder or bowel, often when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising, which can be a major source of undeserved embarrassment
- Difficulty fully emptying your bladder or bowels when you are in the restroom, often leading to feelings of anxiety about needing to go again
For people who suffer from Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), pelvic floor therapy can be a gamechanger. A variety of factors can lead to weak PFMs, but two of the most common causes are childbirth in women and prostate removal surgery in men. Fortunately, both have been shown to respond well to targeted pelvic floor treatment.
In addition, PFMs are strongly associated with sexual function in both women and men. Research shows that women who strengthen their PFMs experience improved blood flow to their pubic region, enhancing sexual stimulation and arousal. This can lead to increased vaginal lubrication, enhanced relaxation of vaginal muscles, and improvements in feelings of pain experienced during intercourse. All of these benefits are consistent with one ultimate outcome: stronger, more frequent orgasms.
Men also see strong benefits from pelvic floor therapy. In a 2014 research article for the Journal of Sexual Medicine aptly titled “Erectile Hydraulics”, the authors discuss how strong PFMs are critical to achieving and maintaining a firm erection. Much like women, men benefit from increased blood flow to the pubic region. Pelvic floor therapy has been strongly associated with improvements in ED, as well as enhanced ability to delay premature ejaculation.
How can you strengthen your pelvic floor?
The standard therapy is something called a Kegel exercise: a low-cost and highly validated muscular strengthening treatment. Sounds great, right? So, what’s the catch?
The problem is doing Kegels correctly isn’t as easy as it sounds without specialized instruction. One study found that even among women who reported prior knowledge of Kegels, nearly a quarter could not correctly perform the exercise at baseline. Those who could still reported practicing less than twice a week. Like most muscular work, a Kegel exercise program requires time and consistent practice in order to improve control. And given the stressful, embarrassing nature of urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction, waiting for results can be really frustrating.
How is the BTL EMSELLA Chair different?
The EMSELLA chair is a breakthrough, non-invasive approach that aims to take the guess work and the wait time out of pelvic floor treatment. EMSELLA utilizes an approach called High Intensity Focused Electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy. When a patient sits on the device, HIFEM energy waves are directed deep into the pubic region, stimulating targeted muscle contractions within the PFMs. These contractions are considered “supramaximal”, or stronger than what the body’s nervous system can achieve on its own. Generally, patients report a gentle tingling sensation as a result of the treatment.
The ultimate goal is to re-educate the pelvic floor muscles on how to properly tense and relax in order to achieve urinary control and optimal sexual function. Over the course of one 30 minute session, EMSELLA stimulates enough contractions to rival 12,000 reps of Kegel exercises – all while fully clothed, and with no recovery time needed afterward.
EMSELLA is a relatively new therapy, so research into its impact is ongoing. But from the preliminary studies, nearly 95% of test subjects reported improvement in their quality of life. Recently, research was presented at a meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society showing that EMSELLA effectively improved the intensity and duration of orgasm in men after just four sessions.
How many treatments are recommended?
To date, the best treatment results have been observed through twice weekly sessions over a three-week period, for a total of 6 sessions. Each session takes about half an hour, and you are immediately able to resume daily activities afterward.
Many of our patients report improvements after a single session, though results typically continue improving for several weeks afterward.
How do I schedule an EMSELLA consultation?
At MHB, we’re committed to providing our patients with cutting-edge therapies to improve their quality of life and help them thrive.
Contact us for more information on our EMSELLA program and how to enroll.
If you or someone you know are suffering from urinary incontinence or sexual dysfunction, we’re here to help. For more information on our industry-leading care at Men’s Health Boston, click here. For a clinical evaluation, call our office or schedule an appointment with one of our providers today.
What about the “Core” in “Core-to-Floor”?
For more information on the full program, we encourage you to explore our website here. In next month’s blog post, we’ll discuss the EMSCULPT NEO by BTL, the other half of our innovative program for optimal core function and sexual satisfaction. Stay tuned!