Elec­tric chair gives new mothers re­lief

Sit­ting in this seat for 28 min­utes zaps pelvic f loor back into shape, says the med­i­cal gi­ant be­hind it

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT - By Áine Conaty and Bar­ney Cal­man

ONE in ev­ery three women in Ire­land suf­fers from in­con­ti­nence fol­low­ing child­birth.

And among those who en­dure the predica­ment are Kate Winslet, who told Gra­ham Nor­ton two years ago that she has stress in­con­ti­nence, which can be em­bar­rass­ing when cough­ing, sneez­ing, laugh­ing, lift­ing heavy ob­jects, or ex­er­cis­ing.

But giv­ing new mothers an elec­tric chair could pro­vide an easy fix to the wide­spread is­sue.

This chair, with a trans­mit­ter in the seat, emits elec­tro­mag­netic waves that stim­u­late the pelvic floor to help re­duce weak­ness in this area, which is the main cause of in­con­ti­nence.

The pelvic floor is a layer of mus­cles that sup­port the in­ter­nal or­gans, and these can be sig­nif­i­cantly weak­ened as a re­sult of child­birth. Peo­ple who use the re­cently launched de­vice, called the Em­sella, will ex­pe­ri­ence 11,200 con­trac­tions in a 28-minute ses­sion.

This is di­vided up by 20 min­utes of zap­ping at the pelvic floor and eight min­utes po­si­tion­ing the pa­tient to make sure she fully feels the pelvic floor. The new tech­nol­ogy tar­gets the en­tire pelvic floor, com­pared to the 40% that peo­ple would usu­ally ac­ti­vate when tens­ing. Those with the prob­lem are usu­ally told to tense and re­lease their pelvic mus­cle, which the new chair also does. Ten fast and ten slow con­trac­tions three times a day are rec­om­mended to com­bat post-par­tum in­con­ti­nence. To use the chair, pa­tients sit in it fully clothed and the elec­tro­mag­netic fields stim­u­late the nerves in the pelvic floor, caus­ing the mus­cles to con­tract. Two 28-minute ses­sions a week are rec­om­mended for three weeks, cost­ing around €1,400. The new tech­nol­ogy has just been launched in Liver­pool but hasn’t ar­rived in Ire­land. Czech com­pany BLT car­ried out a num­ber of stud­ies, and said they showed the new prod­uct helps to re­duce the use of in­con­ti­nence pads af­ter six 28-minute ses­sions. Krysia Lynch, chair­woman of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Im­prove­ments in the Ma­ter­nity Ser­vices Ire­land, said: ‘Most women think it’s a nor­mal part of preg­nancy, in the same way that you al­ways have a lit­tle bit of bleed­ing af­ter you’ve had a baby for two or three weeks.

‘Women just think, oh well, I’m go­ing to be bit in­con­ti­nent – but that’s not nor­mal,’ she said.

While we wait on this new tech­nol­ogy to come to Ire­land, Krysia said that she would rec­om­mend pelvic floor ex­er­cises that will help fo­cus on ‘draw­ing up the mus­cles’.

cure: The Em­sella chair (with model) and suf­ferer Kate Winslet, left

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