Choosing the best diastasis recti treatment for your abdominal separation or ‘gap’ needs to address alignment, breathing strategies and of course, the right exercises. In 2020, University Hospital Women’s Health Physiotherapists in the UK ran trials with 100 women with postpartum symptoms. The results showed that 94% of women with diastasis recti reported an improvement using the MUTU System program.
Let’s look at the key elements of a successful diastasis recti treatment strategy. These are: alignment and movement patterns, breathing strategies and the right exercises.
Alignment or posture affects diastasis recti
Your core muscle system (abs, diaphragm and pelvic floor) works to contain and maintain functional levels of ‘Intra-abdominal pressure’. But when the mechanics – your posture, the way you stand or walk – are not aligned optimally, that job is made harder. There are ‘kinks’ in the system, and just like kinks in your garden hose, they cause pressure to build up. This compromises smooth flow within the pipe, or in our body’s case, the ability of your core to bear weight or carry of lift loads (like babies, toddlers or heavy stuff).
Of course, your body adapts and moves all the time, we’re not looking for a static ‘ideal position’. But if the kinks are there the whole time, the pressure builds up. Effective diastasis recti treatment requires us to address the cause of this pressure build-up, rather than just the symptom (the gap).
What does optimal alignment look like?
We are all different shapes, sizes and builds and that’s the way we’re meant to be. We don’t all look or move the same. But some basic mechanics need to be ‘stacked in the right place – relative to each other – not relative to anyone else – to work right.
Your backside should curve outwards ( a little or a lot – that’s just the way your butt’s meant to curve, Queen) But where your butt doesn’t want to be, is tucked underneath you, or flat. Because a tucked butt means a shortened pelvic floor and glutes that aren’t helping your core do its job.
Don’t suck your stomach in the whole time. Many of us do this without even realising. But if muscles are ‘switched on’ all the time, they can’t work when we need them. To treat diastasis and get a core that works like we want it to, abs need to release as well as engage.
Drop your ribs. Huh? Ok so that’s a weird instruction. What I mean is your ribs should be stacked right over your pelvis, not thrust out in front. You know when your mom used to tell you to ‘stand up straight’ and so you stuck your chest out? That’s your ribs thrust up and out, and we want them down and dropped. Play with it – alignment is all just stuff you’ve never noticed before. We dig into this in the MUTU System program much more, but ‘drop ’em’, is a starting point.
This is all why alignment and pressure are directly related to not only diastasis, but also pelvic floor dysfunction and other pressure conditions like hernia or pelvic organ prolapse.
Breathing strategies to help heal diastasis
Related to alignment, is the way we breathe. And our breath affects how our core works and therefore how we treat diastasis recti.
In the MUTU program we use the MUTU Breath™️ to connect and direct the breath for core and pelvic floor healing. Check out the cute animation to try it!
Lie down or sit comfortably and close your eyes.
On your next inhale focus on relaxing your body (no tension anywhere). As well as dropping your shoulders and ribs, release your ab muscles and release your pelvic floor.
Then exhale and as you breathe out, focus on lifting your pelvic floor, feeling that gentle tension in your abs as you do. Repeat for 5 cycles of breath.
The right exercises to treat diastasis recti
And of course, we need to do the right exercises. This is exactly what we do at MUTU System, progressing you step by step and breath by breath.
Don’t be scared or overwhelmed by information you may find online about what you *must never do*. Know this:
Some exercises, for example heavy lifting, rowing or crunches, may make a diastasis worse if you do them before you have healed. This is because until our core can contain that pressure we talked about, adding further load to the core will push on the weakened gap. These exercises could also make pelvic floor problems, prolapse or hernia worse.
But it doesn’t mean you can never do them! Treating your diastasis recti and healing and strengthening your core is a process. To start with, build the foundations. Movement, exercise, progressing how, and how much, load is placed on your core – all this will help you to get strong and functional and improve a diastasis. This is what we do at MUTU. We’ve got you.