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How Exercise Can Assist During Cancer Treatment

exercise physiology gym new farm

The number of cancer survivors worldwide is growing each year. Cancer survivors face unique challenges and changes to their health as a result of the cancer itself as well as side effects from treatment. Cancer survivors often experience declines in quality of life and physical functioning as well as an increased risk of cancer recurrence. In 2009, Exercise & Sports Science Australia published the first-ever position statement on exercise guidelines in the world for people with cancer. Since then, there has been exponential growth in research evaluating the role of exercise during cancer treatment.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of the basic building blocks of the human body, the cells. Cells are constantly regenerating in order to heal injuries, grow and replace. Cancer occurs when this process goes awry, and the cells become abnormal. As this process continues and the cells divide further, a lump forms which is called a tumour. Cancerous tumours spread to nearby tissue and can travel to distant parts of the body where new tumours form. There are more than 100 types of cancer, and they are generally named after the organ or tissue from which it originated.

How is cancer treated?

The combination, or pathway, of treatment a patient chooses depends on the type and stage of cancer. The most common types of treatment are: surgery to remove cancerous cells; chemotherapy using chemicals to attack the cancer; and radiation therapy, where radiation is targeted to reduce or kill a tumour.

How exercise can assist during cancer treatment the body refinery exercise physiology rehabilitation new farm

How does exercise help?

Research shows that exercise benefits most patients before, during and after cancer treatment. Specifically for cancer patients, exercise may:

  • Improve the body’s response to treatment.
  • Reduce the risk and severity of side effects of cancer treatment.
  • Reduce surgery complications and time spent in the hospital.
  • Help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Improve recovery from treatment by: increasing energy levels; reducing treatment-related muscle loss; stringing bones and improving mobility and balance.
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce fatigue
  • relive Relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers returning, including breast, prostate, and bowel cancers.
  • Boost mood and self-esteem.

How much exercise is appropriate?

Exercise goals for anyone, including those undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment, should be based on being as physically active as their abilities allow. Exercise for cancer patients will look different for everyone, depending on the type of cancer, stage, and side effects. The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia states that people with cancer who are relatively healthy and have been assessed as low risk, should include 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic/cardio exercise or 1.5 hours of vigorous aerobic/cardio exercise per week. As well as this, 2-3 strength resistance sessions per week should be undertaken to build muscle strength. If it has been a while since someone has been active, or their fitness level is low, it’s important to begin slowly and build up gradually.

Where to from here?

If you are undergoing treatment for cancer or recovering from cancer and would like more information or an exercise program that is tailored to your personal needs and circumstances, speak to an accredited Exercise Physiologist about how much and what type of exercise is best for you.

We are lucky to have very qualified and talented Exercise Physiologists here at The Body Refinery, in New Farm. Book your appointment today.


Article written by Jess Crawford, Exercise Physiologist.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

What is Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PrPGP)?

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain is a pain in and around the pelvis that can occur during or after pregnancy. It is reported that approximately 44% of pregnant women will experience some type of pelvic girdle pain throughout their pregnancy. It can persist into the postpartum period, but in most cases, it does resolve on its own after birth. It can be felt in the front or back of the pelvis, sides of the hips, buttocks, and groin and may radiate into the thighs.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

What Causes it?

During pregnancy, the pelvis changes to accommodate the growth of the baby. There is an increased load on the pelvis and associated postural changes to accommodate this growth. Pain can then occur due to the new position and change of tension on muscles and ligaments across the joints and in surrounding areas. In the past, the hormone Relaxin has been implicated in causing pain by creating g ligament laxity, however, current research has indicated that although ligament laxity occurs during pregnancy, Relaxin does not play a role in this or the PrPGP experienced.

Some positions and movements can aggravate PrPGP, by increasing the load through the joints, including:

  • Sitting cross-legged
  • Walking up stairs
  • Walking fast with long strides
  • Standing with weight on one leg
  • Getting out of the car or bed
  • Rolling over in bed
  • Standing on one leg (e.g. getting dressed)


Sleep is a big contributing factor in all types of pain. Disrupted sleep can create increased sensitivity throughout the whole body, and change how pain is perceived. This means that if sleep is disrupted during pregnancy, due to pain, feeling unwell, or difficulty finding a comfortable position with changes in the body, pain levels may increase, and may feel harder to manage. In such cases, it is important to manage sleep patterns, and seek advice on improving sleep.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

How can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapy can assist in the prevention and reduction of PrPGP, through a multimodal approach.

Exercise programs, specifically tailored to each stage of pregnancy, have been shown to reduce pain and associated incapacity. This is important during pregnancy, to maintain activity levels for the health of both mother and baby. Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists are able to tailor both pilates-based programs as well as Strength and Conditioning programs to address PrPGP, both antenatally and postnatally, for pain reduction and prevention. Stretches, mobility exercises, and strengthening can also be provided for self-management of PrPGP.

Other treatment options for PrPGP include manual therapy for pain management, as well as fitting a pelvic girdle belt and Dry Needling or Acupuncture.

Our Women’s Health Physios are trained in the treatment of Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain.  Call 3358 3915 to book a Women’s Health appointment.


Blog written by physiotherapist Nykeela

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: A Painful Challenge for Mothers

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis physiotherapy can help new farm

Motherhood is a journey filled with challenges and rewards. Amidst the sleepless nights and unconditional love, there’s an unexpected hurdle some mothers face: De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. This condition affects the tendons in the wrist and thumb, causing pain and discomfort.

Understanding De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition that primarily affects the tendons in the wrist and thumb. It’s characterized by inflammation of the tendon sheath, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected area.

The symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can be quite debilitating. If you’re a mother dealing with this condition, you might experience:

  1. Pain and tenderness at the base of your thumb
  2. Swelling and inflammation
  3. Difficulty gripping or pinching objects
  4. A “catching” or “snapping” sensation when moving the thumb
  5. Pain that can radiate up the forearm

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis physiotherapy can help new farm

The Relationship with Motherhood

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can significantly impact mothers due to the demands of caring for a baby or toddler.

How it affects mothers:

  1. Holding and Feeding: New mothers spend a lot of time holding and feeding their babies, which can strain the wrist and thumb.
  2. Nappy Changing: Changing the nappy, especially while holding the baby’s legs with one hand and using the other to clean and fasten the nappy, can stress the affected tendons.
  3. Lifting and Carrying: As children grow, mothers often need to lift and carry them, which can be challenging with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.
  4. Household Chores: Mothers often juggle household chores alongside child care, which can further strain the wrist and thumb.

Preventing and Managing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Preventing and managing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is crucial in order for mothers to remain active and involved in their child’s life without pain.

Here are some strategies:

  1. Rest and Immobilisation: Give your wrist and thumb the rest they need and use a splint to immobilise the thumb.
  2. Ice and Anti-Inflammatories: Apply ice and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain.
  3. Ergonomics: Pay attention to your posture and hand positioning when holding, feeding, or carrying your child. Use proper techniques to reduce strain on your wrist and thumb.
  4. Physiotherapy: We can provide exercises and techniques to strengthen the affected tendons and improve mobility.


Motherhood is a beautiful experience, but it can be challenging, especially when dealing with conditions like De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Prioritising self-care, seeking medical advice when needed, and adopting strategies to manage and prevent the condition is key.  A healthy, pain-free mother is better equipped to care for her little ones and cherish every moment of motherhood.

If you have any further questions, feel free to give us a call on 07 3358 3915 to book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists who can help.

Written by Cathryn Prout

Why should you see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist after birth?

see a women's health physiotherapist after birth

During pregnancy, many changes are occurring in your body, including an increase in abdominal diameter and weight in your pelvic floor due to the growing baby. These changes could affect your abdominal muscle strength and your pelvic floor muscle endurance and coordination despite the mode of delivery.

What symptoms might you have after birth? 

The most common symptoms after a vaginal or cesarean delivery are:

  • Urine leakage: having involuntary loss of urine when you cough, sneeze, or lift your baby, etc. This is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and it can range from a single drop of urine to a full gush. Also, not making it to the toilet and having some drops of urine before you sit down is considered urge urinary incontinence (UUI).
  • Vaginal heaviness: feeling like a badly-positioned tampon is inside your vagina or the sensation of something coming out or a bulge is a symptom of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This is more likely to happen after having an instrumental birth (such as forceps delivery) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 4kg.
  • Pain during intimacy: having stitches, either in your abdomen or perineum (vulva or vagina area) can leave this area more sensitive than before. Hence, you might experience discomfort, or even pain, while being intimate with your partner.

exercise physiology gym new farm


How can this impact your life?

  • Returning to exercise or work: some women find it difficult to return to their preferred sports, especially if they include jumping and running, as they leak during their training sessions or games. Also, women who have to lift weights at work find it hard to return to their usual roles.
  • Relationships: experiencing vaginal heaviness or pain during sexual intercourse can be very challenging and results in some women avoiding intimacy with their partners. This can put pressure on a relationship or how couples interact with one another.

postnatal exercise with women's health physiotherapist


How can a Women’s Health Physiotherapist help you? 

Just as you would go to a physiotherapist for rehabilitation of any other muscle weaknesses and pain, you can visit a women’s health physiotherapist who has further training in women’s health issues.

Some things that a Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help you with, include:

  • Identifying if there has been any perineal trauma, such as tears or muscle detachment, and tailor a specific exercise program for your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Assessing abdominal separation and abdominal strength to guide you on your way back to fitness classes.
  • Treating any painful areas including scars from perineal stitches or abdominal stitches, and soreness/stiffness of the neck or back from feeding or carrying your baby.
  • Helping you with self-management strategies.
  • Helping you reach your fitness goals.


The economic cost of pregnancy and childbirth can be significant. However, what is being recognised (and thankfully discussed) more and more by new mums, is the long-term financial and personal costs that can result from a delayed return to work, exercise, or intimacy due to the changes that many women experience following childbirth.

To encourage new mums to take positive action towards recovery after childbirth, The Body Refinery (located in New Farm) has created a Postnatal Pack that makes visiting a Women’s Health Physiotherapist more affordable and accessible to all Brisbane women; including 1 initial assessment, 1 one-on-one Exercise Physiology session and 5 pre/postnatal classes.


Written by Women’s Health Physiotherapist, Pilar.

Knee Osteoarthritis – What is it and what can we do to help you?

Osteoarthritis is a condition characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage which lines joint surfaces and is commonly seen in joints such as the knee and hip. If you have knee osteoarthritis, you may experience pain and or swelling in the knee, morning stiffness, and difficulty standing or walking after sitting for long periods of time.

How Many Australians Live with Osteoarthritis?

Approximately 2.2 million Australians live with Osteoarthritis (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017–18 National Health Survey); and the knee represented 62% of all arthritic conditions in 2017–18.

1 in 5 Australians over the age of 45 have Osteoarthritis and approximately one-third of people aged 75 and over experience this condition.


What contributes to knee Osteoarthritis? 

  • Previous joint injury or trauma – a joint compromised by a previous injury could either have been affected by the event or progressively changed over time due to increased stiffness and/or altered movement patterns following the injury.
  • Stiff joints and limited range of motion affect the forces acting on the body – biomechanics or the forces acting upon our body when we move is a major contributing factor to the disease process of osteoarthritis.
  • Being overweight – simple; increased weight = increased force going through our joints and can accelerate the wear and tear on joints.
  • Repetitive movements – it is likely that you are performing repetitive movements in the activities of daily living you undertake or the industry you’re working in. Years of repetitive movements, especially under load, combined with the aforementioned factors may lead to Osteoarthritis.

What Can We Do to Change This?

  • Exercise can help reduce pain and manage symptoms of knee osteoarthritis
  • Improved range of motion helps strengthen muscles around affected joints
  • Weight management
  • Medications to manage pain and inflammation (as prescribed by your doctor)

Kneehab Classes

At The Body Refinery, our Physiotherapists follow an evidence-based, exercise approach called the GLA:D® program. This has beneficial outcomes by reducing the progression of knee osteoarthritis symptoms by 32% as well as reducing pain, reliance on painkillers, and less time off work.This program is individualised to your ability level, making it accessible for those with mild to severe knee pain.

Education and exercises provided can be applied to everyday activities, ensuring you develop skills to self-manage your osteoarthritis. By strengthening and improving confidence with exercise, you’ll develop a better capacity to become or stay active, prevent knee osteoarthritis symptom progression, and reduce pain.


This article was written by Physiotherapist Cathryn Prout. If you would like more information, or feel you might benefit from our Kneehab classes, contact us on 07 3358 3915 today to book your initial appointment.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer for Australians, yet most of these deaths are preventable. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 27% of deaths in Australia. Around 1.2 million Australians have 1 or more heart or vascular conditions. CVD is an umbrella term for conditions that effect the heart and blood vessels.

Atherosclerosis is the main contributor to CVD. It is characterised by a chronic inflammatory response within tissues resulting in plaque forming on the intima layer of the arteries. Consequently, resulting in thicker vessel walls and a reduced lumen area. This is an underlying contributor to CVD because less blood can flow through the vessels and more strain is put on the heart.

The most common forms of CVD are;

Heart attack –Acute myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is abruptly cut off, causing tissue damage. This is usually the result of occlusion in one or more of the coronary arteries. A blockage can develop due to a build-up of plaque, a substance mostly made of fat, cholesterol, and cellular waste products or due to a sudden blood clot that forms on the blockage.

Stroke – The most common type of stroke is ischemic stroke. This happens when plaque or a blood clot blocks blood flow to an artery in or on the brain. Haemorrhagic stroke is less common. This happens when a blood vessel breaks open and leaks blood into the brain. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to an ischemic stroke, but the blood clot breaks up after a short time, usually before there is long-term damage.

High blood pressure> – Consistently high BP in arteries that increases the development of atherosclerotic plaque due to the increases demand on lumen walls. Hypertension = 140/90, risk factor for cardiovascular disease due to the increased myocardial demand.

Chronic heart failure: heart is unable to pump blood at a rate that is adequate for the metabolising tissue. Low stroke volume = low ejection fracture and consequently less oxygen getting to the muscles. Guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of chronic heart failure in Australia include “Participating in regular physical activity” as the number one priority for management and prevention.

Atrial Fibrillation: disorganised atrial electrical activity – rapid and irregular ventricular depolarisations. Often associated with heart failure.

Cardiovascular Disease

Risk factors – non-modifiable and modifiable 

There are risk factors that can’t be changed (sex, age, and family history), but most risk factors of CVD are modifiable. These include high cholesterol (>5.5mmol/L), obesity (<24.9 BMI), smoking, high blood pressure, alcohol use (over 2 standard drinks p/d), sedentary lifestyle (>150m p/w), stress and depression.

Exercise Benefits

Exercise has a favourable effect on many of the established risk factors of CVD, such as weight reduction, cholesterol reduction, increase mental health and decrease blood pressure.

Exercise Sports Science Australia (ESSA) the governing body of Exercise Physiology says that people need 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to decrease blood pressure and maintain healthy cardiac function.

Exercise benefits for cardiac and circulation – exercise increases stroke volume, increases diastolic, decreases Hr, increase myocardial perfusion (more oxygen for the muscles), lower resting levels of catecholamine, potential increases in ejection fraction, increased peripheral vasodilation. In layman’s terms – it improved exercise tolerance, vo2 peak and peripheral blood flow.

Exercise benefits for skeletal muscle – increase mitochondrial number and density, increases capillary, increases muscle fibre size and bulk, increases type 1 muscle fibres, increases oxidative enzymes, and delays anaerobic metabolism. Layman’s terms – Improved oxygen extraction, muscle strength and endurance.

Exercise benefits ventilation and others – reduced shortness of breath and perceived exertion scores, decreased oxygen demands at submaximal workloads, improved quality of life, sleep quality, mental health, and increase/maintain bone density.

Exercise Prescription

Aerobic – 11-13 RPE. Requires supervision and monitoring of HR and BP (but using RPE). 8-10 minute warm-up to reduce adverse cardiovascular effects including ST segment depression, arrhythmias, and transient LV function, increase blood flow & skeletal muscle perfusion, reduce muscle viscosity, and reduce injury risk. 8-10 minute cool down to reduce venous pooling, dizziness and post-exercise hypotension. 5 days per week.

Resistance – requires supervision, avoid Valsalva manoeuvre (as it raises blood pressure), 12-20 reps at low intensity, including 8-10 exercises. Progress intensity and reduce reps to 8-12 after 6-8 weeks of training.  Heavy weightlifting of intensive and isometric nature should be avoided as it causes further increase in blood pressure. Often this can be an advertisement as most people with these conditions will be overweight and would like to hear that it would be “easy” to start off with.

Bottom line is to get exercising!!

We have a range of options here at The Body Refinery, talk to our friendly front desk.

Mastitis – how can physiotherapy help?

Mastitis how can physiotherapy help

Mastitis is inflammation of the breast and affects 1 in 4 lactating women during the first 6 months postpartum. It is thought to occur when milk ducts become ‘blocked’ and milk enters the surrounding breast tissue, setting off a dramatic inflammatory response.

Signs and symptoms of mastitis can vary from mild to severe. These include breast pain, swelling, redness and heat. Some women may also experience fever and flu-like symptoms but this does not necessarily indicate an infection is present.

Mastitis can be debilitating for new mums and is understandably one of the most common reasons to stop breastfeeding early.

Some helpful hints to manage mastitis include:

  • Rest! Enlist as much help as you need so you can get some sleep and recover.
  • Continue breastfeeding from the affected breast, or, if this is too painful, hand express or pump.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. (Consult with your GP or pharmacist first if you are on prescription medication).
  • Use hot or cold packs, whatever you find most relieving. Usually, women find heat before breastfeeding and ice after to be the most helpful.
  • Stop vigorously massaging your breast. The milk ducts are easily compressed and massaging too deeply will only create more congestion and tissue trauma.

Mastitis treatment women's health New Farm

This is where our women’s health physiotherapist can help! They have been specifically trained to assess and treat inflammatory conditions of the lactating breast and can teach you gentle, pain-free massage and movement techniques to help drain the fluid out of your breast and into the lymphatic system. This is a skill you can use to manage tender breasts, blocked ducts and mastitis in future!

Our women’s health physiotherapists can also use therapeutic ultrasound which is a highly effective treatment for mastitis. Using soundwaves, therapeutic ultrasound creates a vibration in the breast tissue, helping to reduce swelling and relieve pain. If an infection is present, ultrasound can also help to open the protective lining (biofilm) of bacteria making it easier for the body’s immune system and/or antibiotic drugs to do their work. It is a completely painless and soothing treatment – you will feel only a comfortable warmth.

Other treatment options include: 

  • Tubigrip in the form of ‘boobitubi’ to provide gentle compression and support.
  • Kinesio Taping to promote lymphatic flow and supports the resolution of symptoms.

As mastitis is highly recurrent, our women’s health physiotherapists will aim to address all of the contributing factors to prevent future episodes and give you the best chance of continuing to breastfeed successfully.

If you are suffering with mastitis, book online today with our women’s health physiotherapists. If you are unable to find a booking online, please phone (07) 3358 3915 as we prioritise these appointments.

Returning to running post natal – how do I know if I am ready?

I am postnatal and want to start running. How do I know if I am ready?

Running is a popular form of exercise for mums. You can do a quick 30-minute workout for free, work up a sweat and even take bub along once they are old enough. So it’s understandable that many new mums are keen to get back into running after having a baby.

However, because running is a high impact activity, there are some important things to consider first. When your foot hits the ground, there is a force called a “ground reaction force” that comes up through the lower limb, some of which is transmitted to the pelvic floor. In anticipation of this force, your pelvic floor will automatically activate just before your foot hits the ground to support your pelvic organs and prevent leaking.

Ground reaction forces are reported to be 1.6 and 2.5 times your body weight when running. In the postnatal period, your pelvic floor is weaker and slower to contract, making it less able to provide support and maintain continence while running. This means that if you return to running too soon before your body is ready, it can lead to pelvic floor issues such as prolapse and incontinence as well as musculoskeletal pain.


I have had my 6 weeks check-up with my GP / obstetrician, so doesn’t that mean I can start running? 

No – and there are a couple of reasons for this.

  1. You should be at least 3 months postnatal before considering returning to running to allow enough time for the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to heal.
  2. The 6-week postnatal checkup is only about 30 minutes long. In that time, your doctor has a lot to cover and often doesn’t have the time or the specialised training to clear you to return to running.

That is why it is recommended that, in addition to seeing your GP or obstetrician, you also see a women’s health physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor assessments.

I had a C-section, so shouldn’t my pelvic floor be fine if I return to running? 

No – before the birth, your body doesn’t know that you are going to have a caesarean, so it will undergo many changes during pregnancy in preparation for birth. For example, there is a gap in your pelvic floor muscles known as the levator hiatus where the urethra, vagina and anal canal pass through. The levator hiatus area widens during pregnancy and takes 4-12 months postnatal to recover, rarely returning to its prenatal size. Although the levator hiatus doesn’t increase significantly as it does after vaginal birth, it will still be wider post caesarean than what it was before pregnancy. If you run with a wider levator hiatus, there is less support for the pelvic organs, predisposing to leaking and prolapse.

After a caesarean, there is also abdominal wound healing to consider. Studies have shown abdominal fascia has only regained 51%-59% of its strength by 6-weeks post caesarean section and 73%-93% of its strength at 6-7 months postnatal.

For these reasons, it is recommended you have an assessment with a women’s health physiotherapist if you wish to return to running, regardless of whether you had a vaginal or caesarean birth.


What is involved in a women’s health postnatal running assessment? 

In the assessment, your women’s health physiotherapist will take a subjective history and identify any risk factors for returning to running. They will then perform an objective examination to check your abdominal function, lower limb strength and how your body copes with load and impact among other things. With your consent, they will also perform an internal examination to check your pelvic floor function and pelvic organ support.

Based on the assessment, your women’s health physiotherapist will prescribe an individualised exercise program to prepare you for running. This may involve exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and lower limb muscles as well as re-training your pelvic floor to work reflexively like it does when running.


How long does it take to return to running? 

Everybody is different. Some women are ready to return to running at 3 months postnatal, for others it may take up to a year before they are ready. Once you have been cleared to run, your women’s health physiotherapist will also be able to guide your return to running in a gradual way. This will reduce your risk of pelvic floor and musculoskeletal injury and ensure you get the best results from your running. Your women’s health physiotherapist can also recommend other forms of exercise that are best suited to your specific circumstances.

To book your postnatal running assessment with one of our women’s health physiotherapists please call 3358 3915 or visit our website.

Why you should do your pelvic floor exercises and how to do them

Every woman should get into the habit of doing daily pelvic floor exercises. 

After having a baby, start your pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible. If you had a vaginal delivery, the muscles will feel inhibited and very weak due to swelling and pain, but doing the exercises will actually assist in reducing pain and swelling. 

Activating your pelvic floor can assist with several disorders of the organs for which it supports. 

  1. Prolapse disorders

This is when there is a slipping of pelvic organs out of place. This is extremely common – approximately 75% of women develop at least some degree of pelvic organ prolapse during their lifetime. 

There are 3 types of prolapses: 

  • Bladder which pushes on the front of the vaginal wall 
  • Uterus which descends down the centre of the vagina 
  • Rectum which pushes on the back of the vaginal wall 


2) Urinary Disorders

There are several but a few of these include: 

  • Stress incontinence (leaking with coughing, sneezing or activity)
  • Urgency (sudden need to empty the baller without being able to hold on) 
  • Frequency (having to empty the bladder more often than 8 times per day) 
  • Nocturia (needing to wake more than once at night) 
  • Overactive bladder (urgency usually with frequency and nocturia) 

Stress urinary incontinence help The Body REfinery

How to feel for the pelvic floor 

  • lie in a comfortable position 
  • take a breath in and then as you exhale, imagine that you are stopping yourself mid flow of emptying your bladder – it should be a lift up and in 
  • then start to lift the back of the pelvic floor as if you are stopping yourself from passing wind, but without gripping your bottom 
  • now hold this lift and count to 5 whilst still breathing! 
  • then relax and make sure you completely let go of the muscles 

if you do not feel a distinct squeeze and lift of the muscles then ask for help from a Women’s Health physiotherapist. 


How to do your pelvic floor exercises: 

  • squeeze and draw in the pelvic muscles as tight and strong as you can, and hold them until you count to 10. Then let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of letting go. 
  • If you cant count to 10 just hold for as long as you can. 
  • Repeat the squeeze and lift and let go, with an 8-10 second rest in-between each lift. 
  • repeat the squeeze and lift as many times as you can, aiming for about 10 repetitions 
  • Do this every day 

Fewer stronger squeezes are better than lots of half-hearted ones so ensure you give it your full focus. Make a regular time to do your pelvic floor exercises, such as after your morning shower or before you go to bed. 

Knacks: after the longer holds, then practise quicker lifts and letting go. Squeeze, let go, squeeze, let go up to 10 repetitions. 


If you suffer from stress incontinence then you can use the knack just before coughing, sneezing or laughing in order to help control the opening of the urethra and reduce leaking. However, as its only temporary stability, we need to strengthen the pelvic floor so that we can partake in activities such as running and jumping. 

If you do suffer from either prolapse or urinary disorder then you should see a Women’s Health physiotherapist who can give you an individualised exercise prescription to strengthen the pelvic floor and ensure that you are doing it correctly. When done correctly the research shows that pelvic floor training does provide good results. There are also many other different treatment options available for these conditions which can be explored.  


Our Women’s Health physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologist offer specific Pilates and Fitness classes to help you rebuild your body after your pregnancy journey:⁠

  • Pregnancy Conditioning Pilates classes: To keep you active during your pregnancy⁠
  • Mum and Me classes: To help your body recover from the changes it experienced during pregnancy and childbirth.⁣⁠
  • Power Pregnancy: To keep you strong and energised throughout your pregnancy⁠
  • Strong Mums: Become stronger and fitter after the birthing experience.⁠

For more info, please contact us on 3358 3915. To book your appointment or your classes use our App or online booking system available on our website.⁠ When booking your appointment don’t forget to mention you would like to see one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists.

What is Endometriosis? How can we help you?


What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, affecting every 1 in 10 women.

When uterine tissue starts to grow in other areas outside the uterus along the abdominal wall, attaching to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and bowels.

This atypical growth of uterine cells causes scarring and plaque formation. When these tissues thicken and bleed as they would normally behave in the uterus, they can cause excessive pain and bleeding.

Symptoms can vary from;

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction (diarrhoea, constipation, frequency of urination)

Some women never experience pain with endometriosis. However, around 50% of diagnosed individuals have chronic pelvic pain and 70% of women will experience pain only during menstruation. Heavy periods and pain to follow are not always ‘normal’ responses to a menstrual cycle.

If you feel like your symptoms are atypical, listen to your body and speak to your GP or OBGYN about your symptoms.

Risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Alcohol use
  • Early menarche
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Low body weight
  • Prolonged menstrual cycle
  • Short menstrual cycle (Peterson et al., 2013

The average time frame for a diagnosis of endometriosis is  8.6 years (Bontempo & Mikesell, 2020). The longer endometriosis goes diagnosed, the longer accumulation of inflammation occurs and the potential severity of symptoms as the body attempts to manage the condition. The scarring of tissue can further perpetuate symptoms of infertility in patients diagnosed with endometriosis.

The alleviation symptoms (typically coinciding with a menstrual cycle) through exercise have been shown to drastically reduce the incidence of pain and heavy bleeding.


Endometriosis is triggered by excessive inflammation in the body at a cellular level. A sedentary lifestyle places pressure on the vascular system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to circulate the blood effectively with the nutrients it needs to stimulate healing processes via endorphin release. Exercise actively decreases the number of inflammatory markers in the body by the reduction of adipose tissue.

Pain and discomfort are positively reinforced by the brain when muscles contract in an attempt to “guard” the area causing pain sensations. With the help of a trained exercise professional, we work to rewire the body systems to relax overactive muscle groups to interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain via muscle guarding.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common result of pain stemming from endometriosis. When the body is in pain around the pelvis, the musculature surrounding the tissue can become overactive or spasm. This further perpetuates chronic pelvic pain or pain during a menstrual cycle. Exercise has been proven to significantly decrease maladaptive postures stemming from endometriosis pain response, as well as significantly decrease the intensity of endometriosis pain after following a structured and consistent exercise program (Awad et al., 2017).

Exercise is one of the most effective courses of treatment to reduce symptomatic endometriosis, while increasing energy levels, boosting mood and building a stronger, more resilient body. 

At the Body Refinery, our women’s health Exercise Physiologist, Tori, will assist you in managing your diagnosis and symptoms of endometriosis.

Tori is available every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning at our New Farm location.

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Awad, E., Ahmed, H., Yousef, A., & Abbas, R. (2017). Efficacy of exercise on pelvic pain and posture associated with endometriosis: within subject design. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(12), 2112–2115.

Bontempo, A. C., & Mikesell, L. (2020). Patient perceptions of misdiagnosis of endometriosis: results from an online national survey. Diagnosis (Berlin, Germany), 7(2), 97–106.

Peterson, C. M., Johnstone, E. B., Hammoud, A. O., Stanford, J. B., Varner, M. W., Kennedy, A., Chen, Z., Sun, L., Fujimoto, V. Y., Hediger, M. L., Buck Louis, G. M., & ENDO Study Working Group (2013). Risk factors associated with endometriosis: importance of study population for characterizing disease in the ENDO Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 208(6), 451.e1–451.e4511.