Male Pelvic Floor: Advanced Massage and Bodywork for Tension, Dysfunction, and Pain

Pelvic Floor Massage and Bodywork

Massage and bodywork is a wonderful way to more fully connect with your pelvic floor and begin to gain an awareness of its role in your life. It is an essential part of your core musculature and is thus integral to movement, support, and respiration. It also has a very strong influence on the health of the organs it cradles: the prostate, bladder, and rectum. Sexual activity and elimination of wastes would be severely compromised without the central role of the pelvic floor. Various emotions such as fear and anger can both originate and become embedded in these muscles, and it is a powerful energy center. This area is rich in nerve endings, and thus can be a source of exquisite pleasure—or much pain.

"Our session was absolutely amazing. Your work is phenomenal, and I love the detail and depth. You have great hands and I trust your touch." - M. V.

I strive to create a non-judgemental space in which you feel safe and comfortable, as well as give you an experience that is warm, engaging, and effective. Working with the pelvic floor requires an informed and sensitive touch, a clear understanding of the relevant anatomy, and respect for boundaries.

Techniques I use to mobilize, stretch, lengthen, and release the muscles of the pelvic floor are drawn from Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Release, Swedish Massage, Cross-Fiber Manipulation, Positional Release, and other modalities. To help you isolate and feel these muscles I may use Active Engagement techniques, in which I ask for mild contractions of the pelvic floor or specific leg movements as I gently apply pressure in specific areas. This approach has the added benefit of enhancing tissue release and stretch as well as deepening awareness, connection, and control. While all muscles of the pelvic floor are included in each session, specific muscles may be given more attention when warranted such as the bulbospongiosus, ischiocavernosus, the perineal body (because of the many pelvic floor muscles that anchor into it centrally), the transverse perineal muscles (including their attachments at the medial border of the ischial tuberosities), the anal sphincters, and the levator ani group.

I employ testing protocols to evaluate pelvic floor strength, endurance, and flexibility when indicated, and teach clients how to strengthen these muscles if needed.

Muscles that have a direct or indirect relationship with the pelvic floor may be included in your session, such as the adductors on the inside of the thigh, the lower abdominals, and the gluteals and lateral rotators of the pelvis and hips. How much territory we cover will depend on the reason for your visit, how much attention each area needs, and your goals for the session. Generally speaking these goals will be to address dysfunction or to explore this richly rewarding area—or a combination of the two.

Clients who cannot work with me in person because of distance or other reasons may want to consider a Zoom consultation—a component of which can be to learn the location of relevant pelvic floor and abdomino-pelvic muscles, and be guided through specific pelvic floor self-massage techniques. A number of muscles and connective tissues are relatively easy to access on oneself, including the bulbospongiosus muscle, ischiocavernosus muscles, transverse perineal muscles, perineal body, anal sphincters, cremaster muscles, abdominal muscles, and inguinal, pubic, and penile connective tissues. Self-treatment in this way can benefit specific muscles, the pelvic floor as a whole, the genital tissues, and the entire pelvic and abdominal region. See my Consultation/Coaching Services page for more information.

Bodyworkers and massage therapists who are interested in adding pelvic floor manual therapy techniques to their current skill set might be interested to know that I plan to begin training colleagues in the near future. Volume 1 of my planned Male Pelvic Floor book series is nearing completion and I will then turn my attention to teaching. Contact me if you are interested in organizing and/or hosting a male pelvic floor training in your city or state.

For the majority of first-time clients, pelvic floor massage and bodywork will be a new experience. No special preparations are necessary beyond attention to personal hygiene, an open mind, and a willingness to explore. With that in mind, it is useful to note several things as your session unfolds:

"The pelvic floor work exceeded my expectations - it was amazing! I would come back just for the pelvic floor work. You have great hands." - R. M.

anatomy man image

Where is your pelvic floor?

For an intellectual understanding, see my Anatomy and Function page. As you receive massage and bodywork you will feel exactly where your pelvic floor is within your body, as well as its relationship to, and influence on, your body as a whole.

What does your pelvic floor feel like?

Do these muscles feel hard and dense? Soft and mushy? Strong yet supple? Tender or painful? Open and free? Do you feel energy here or does it feel lifeless? If your pelvic floor has been tense for a long time or if your muscles are weak and unable to contract with much force, you may initially be unaware of any feelings at all here. Massage and bodywork is an excellent way to bring sensation into awareness, increase your connection to this vital area, and improve function.

"The pelvic floor massage made me a little nervous at first... but it was total bliss to let go and just relax and enjoy the touch. You are really gifted and you're very gifted in your ability to put people at ease. I could not have gone to the limit of experience today had I not felt the room to go there." - C. B.

What is your ability to receive touch here?

Is it comfortable and easy? Uncomfortable? Does it feel safe and relaxing? Are you guarded and protective? The pelvic floor has its own specific history relative to your life experiences, and this clearly shapes its (and your) response to touch.

Can you fully let go?

Can you completely relax into the work as these muscles are gently manipulated and stretched? Mental and emotional tension is often mirrored in our muscles in the form of tightness and rigidity. This can be described as 'holding on' in reaction to our worries or fears, and for some men the pelvic floor is an area that is especially vulnerable to this process. Full relaxation here can be surprisingly beneficial for your overall stress level and free bound up or stuck energy. See my Emotional and Energetic Aspects page for more on this topic.

Can you contract these muscles strongly and independently?

"The pelvic floor work was fantastic. You do wonderful work - it's really a treat. I'm glad I found you." - G. W.

The pelvic floor cannot do its job effectively unless it is strong and supple. These muscles are active in movement, support, sexual function, respiration, and elimination - all functions critical to our health and well-being. They benefit greatly from specific, targeted exercise just as much as your other muscles do when you go to the gym or health club. I can teach you how to independently and correctly contract the pelvic floor muscles and give you instructions for home exercises to develop better strength and endurance, increase awareness, and enhance function.

Are you aware of any non-physical components associated with your pelvic floor?

"I came in a few weeks ago for a pelvic floor massage. Thanks again for that - I learned a lot about my body from that one session. I'd like to come again..." - G. M.

Does touch here bring up any emotions or memories? Emotional energy and past experience sometimes gets embedded in certain areas of our bodies, locked in by our muscles and other soft tissues. Do you notice any energetic or spiritual qualities of your pelvic floor? Many traditions and spiritual practices recognize the pelvic floor as a powerful and vital energy center. For a thorough discussion go to my Emotional and Energetic Aspects page.

Enough questions!  Can't I simply relax into the experience?

Absolutely! We can often get too caught up in our "thinking self" at the expense of our "feeling self". While the above questions are important to consider, there are times when it is preferable to turn off the mental chatter and be fully in, and aware of, your body as you experience pelvic floor work.

→ Readers can find more information on core massage and bodywork, including the pelvic floor, on my related site: Once there, click on the Core Bodywork tab in the menu bar.

A note about sexual energy

The pelvic floor muscles are very involved in sexual activity and work here can give rise to sexual energy. This topic can be the source of much anxiety. Some men worry that they will get an erection during the session while others have had the experience of their bodyworker reacting negatively when an erection inadvertently occurs. Consider the following two points:

> Worrying about getting an erection will detract from your experience, create tension throughout your body, and make the session less effective and less enjoyable. Pelvic floor work is about letting go, opening up, and allowing the free flow of energy.

> The physiology of erection is complex and not always under voluntary control. Competent massage and bodywork practitioners know this and treat erections as a non-issue or, if the client exhibits or expresses discomfort or embarrassment, speaks a few words of reassurance.

My suggestion is to allow all sensations and responses to happen without worry or censure.

As R. Louis Schultz observes in his book Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis, permission to allow feelings in the pelvis can be a challenge for some men. "There are so many taboos that can be involved. Feeling pleasure in your body in general is not considered manly in many cultures. The idea of using sexual energy for living can be new and intimidating. Sexual energy for something other than sex is a difficult concept for many men to accept." He suggests the idea of "using sexual energy for creation of all kinds, not just recreational or procreational." [1]. It is useful to keep these sentiments in mind.

[1] Schultz, RL. Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis. North Atlantic Books. 1999, revised 2012.

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