Updated: May 3
One of the things that make us unique here at Inspire Physical Therapy is we offer what’s called Mercier Therapy. I am a Mercier-trained physical therapist and a Mercier fertility specialist. It’s all things babies here at the clinic and I love it. I work with various moms and dads struggling with infertility, and contrary to popular belief, it is actually a pretty common issue.
When someone is struggling with infertility, there are a lot of options we can try without having to go down the traditional pathway of taking medication or doing any kind of harsh intervention to our body. Today, I want to talk about one of the main issues I see when working with these clients - abdominal mobility.
Movement = Life
When I work with my clients, I tend to focus on addressing the mobility of the abdomen, as well as how we can work to improve the environment of the abdominal area. In your lower abdominal region, as a female, you have some key reproductive organs - the uterus and ovaries. Just like with any other part of the body, movement or mobility is essential. Movement equals blood flow, good nerve conduction, and good lymph flow. Movement equals life.
Oftentimes, I will find this area of the abdominal cavity to be very restricted. Part of our work here at Inspire Physical Therapy is to help improve abdominal mobility. This is so important to improve the odds of conception. When there are restrictions in the abdominal cavity it results in less movement, less blood flow, and a lower probability of becoming pregnant.
Let's get moving
Did you know that the uterus “lifts” itself up higher into the pelvis during ovulation? It does this to enable to fallopian tubes to align so that when follicular rupture happens it can accept. After ovulation occurs, the end of the fallopian tubes have to contract in order to receive the egg and there is a sort of flow to allow for the egg to become fertilized and move toward the uterus.
As you can see, there is a lot of movement that is required within the abdominal cavity to allow this beautiful dance to occur. If there are restrictions in any of these movements, your reproductive organs are not going to be functioning optimally. The good news though, sometimes these restricted areas just need to be woken up with a little bit of “nudging.” This is where Mercier Therapy comes in with a manual approach. A Mercier therapist goes in and helps to move things out of the way that are keeping the reproductive organs from working. Check out this blog post to learn more about Mercier Therapy and how it can help optimize your fertility.
Mercier Therapy to the rescue
One of the very common questions I get is: Why and how do these organs get stuck in the first place? There are a couple of main reasons.
One very obvious reason is scar tissue. If there has ever been any type of abdominal surgery, it can result in scar tissue formation. The severity of scar tissue varies from person to person, and no matter how simple or complex the abdominal procedure, scar tissue is going to form. Even things like endometriosis can result in scar tissue and inflammation. At any point where there is inflammation or trauma, scar tissue forms. A general term for this type of problem would be “myofascial restriction.” I have worked with a lot of clients dealing with these limitations, whether it be related to the muscle, the fascia, or the ligaments. A different example that could result in trauma or inflammation would be a fall, especially on the tailbone. This type of injury can result in a tight pelvic floor. It is also important to mention that females have a sort of "monthly trauma" (i.e. menstruation). Every month that a female does not become pregnant, she sheds her uterine lining and that’s a big deal no matter how you look at it.
Another contributing factor to poor abdominal mobility that happens outside of the physical body is stress. Daily stressors vary from person to person and there are many factors that contribute. All of the things that a person deals with in life leading to stress can result in a “stuck” abdominal cavity and all of the contents that are inside of it. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress management, check out my video here to learn about the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing along with a short demo on how to perform this breathing technique properly to help reduce stress levels.
Most of the time, my clients need more help than they can do themselves to get their abdominal cavities moving. This is where Mercier Therapy comes to the rescue.
Mercier therapy has been proven to be very effective in improving abdominal mobility. It is very hands-on, and not always the most comfortable thing to experience. Yes, the therapist will use their hands to “mobilize” your organs and tissues, but I wouldn’t necessarily associate it with a nice and pleasant massage. I have had multiple clients I've used this technique on call or text me after going through our program with great news - they're pregnant! This is so rewarding and one of the biggest reasons I love what I do.
If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, point them our way! Here at Inspire Physical Therapy, we utilize many things including Mercier hands-on Therapy to help your chances of becoming pregnant. Some other things we focus on with you are starting to monitor your cycles closely and testing your hormones. You start to become very connected with your body and learn so much about it. Did you know that some medical professionals have started calling your period the “fifth vital sign?” The combination of interventions that we use do work. As I mentioned before, I have had so many people that have worked with us get pregnant, even after they have tried all of the other things (i.e. IVF, medications, etc.). That could be you, too.