How this innovative treatment helped PS Business Director Vanessa Grutman with diastasis recti post-pregnancy.
Through my second pregnancy, I developed pretty bad diastasis recti (ab separation). I started noticing it at 5 months pregnant during a yoga class while doing a plank. It looked like I had a belly sticking out of my belly through my abs. It looked and felt weird! After scheduling an appointment with a physiotherapist, I was officially diagnosed with the condition and had to stop yoga and any intense physical activity. Great. The only thing I could do was pilates with a physiotherapist to supervise my core work and teach me how to engage my transverse abdominis and deeper muscles.
The baby arrived via C-section, which wrecked my abdominal muscles even further, and delayed my recovery. I had to do bi-monthly physiotherapy to help reduce the ab separation, which was 2.5 fingers wide. After 1 year and minimal improvement, my physiotherapist explained that I would have to continue doing the daily exercises and that it might not get better, so I better get used to living with this condition. While it’s not painful, it certainly is limiting as it’s extremely challenging to engage the core properly without misusing the back muscles.
When EMSculpt®—a body contouring treatment that uses electromagnetic technology to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat—arrived at Project Skin MD, I was 15 months postpartum. It was introduced with the promise of improving diastasis recti with just 4 treatments, so I jumped on the opportunity to try it for myself.
I did my first 2 treatments 3 days apart in August, then I left on vacation and didn’t get re-treated until 3 weeks later. The treatment itself is not at all painful, but it is an unusual sensation since the electromagnetic-induced supramaximal contraction caused by the treatment is not something the human body can reproduce on its own. It’s a powerful and foreign sensation in the body yet it feels amazing at the end. I definitely felt like I just had a kick-ass workout! I was sore the day after my first treatment, but never got that sore after the following 3 treatments. Perhaps my body got used to the strength of those contractions?
The ideal protocol suggests getting all 4 treatments within 2 weeks, so I was worried my results wouldn’t be optimal. To be honest, it did take 6 weeks after my last treatment to actually see results, but I immediately felt stronger. I first noticed it while biking at the end of the summer. I was able to pull my 4-year-old (40 pound) daughter in the chariot no problem. Normally I would struggle even pulling her on a flat road, but this time, I felt like my core was actually contributing; giving me strength, power and stability. I noticed more stamina in my workouts and finally, no more bulging belly during a plank!! Yay!!
Is my diastasis recti gone? Not quite but it’s a lot better (about 1.5 fingers wide now). Interestingly, it is not as deep since my transverse abdominis and obliques have also been strengthened. I’m able to better contract my core as a synergistic muscle group and have reduced my lower back pain.
Out of curiosity, I plan on doing 2 more treatments to see if it could improve the separation further but I’m already so thankful for the progress I’ve made. EMSculpt has allowed me to outshine the slow improvement that had been promised by my physiotherapist!
EMSculpt is a pillar treatment offered through the The Body Project at Project Skin MD – a treatment menu to empower self + body. Contact us to learn more about The Body Project.