This post is for anyone who feels like she is doing everything right for her core, but can’t seem to get rid of her diastasis (abdominal separation).
What do I mean when I say doing everything right? There are some key principles you should be working on to help your core muscles come back together.
- Strengthening your deepest abdominal muscles (the transverse abdominis).
- Correcting your alignment to minimize intra-abdominal pressure and give your core muscles the greatest chance to engage. And
- Paying attention to the way you are moving throughout your day so that your daily movement patterns aren’t hurting your core strength.
(And, these are the principles I teach in the Heal Your Core With Yoga program!)
BUT…if you are doing all of that, and you diastasis is still sticking around, read below for a technique that can help.
Pregnancy Changes Muscles, Connective Tissue, and Fascia
During pregnancy, the core changes significantly! The top layer of abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis (a.k.a. the 6-pack abs!) separate.
But the changes aren’t isolated to just our muscles. The connective tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen (the linea alba) gets thinner and weaker. The fascia, a layer of connective tissue that encases our muscles, can also shift and change.
And sometimes, all this movement causes areas of the fascia to become tight and restricted. That tightness can prevent our abdominal muscles from coming back together.
Pregnancy also changes muscle patterns. When the deepest layer of abdominal muscles (the transverse abdominis) gets weak during pregnancy, other abdominal muscles overwork. When the rectus and oblique muscles are overactive, it can prevent the deeper core muscles from working properly…which prevents your abdominal muscles from coming back together!
So, releasing fascial restrictions and overactive muscles can help bring the core back together.
Myofascial Release and Abdominal Massage for Diastasis Recti
How to perform myofascial release and abdominal massage for diastasis recti:
(For a visual of this watch the video below)
- Use massage oil or coconut oil and massage directly on the skin of your belly.
- Begin at your ribs and gently move your hands toward your naval (belly button area). Do this action across the ribs and down both sides of the abdomen, and up from the public bone.
- When you find an area of tenderness, gently massage that area and let it soften.
- Give some extra time and attention to any area that has a scar from surgery.
- Then come directly down the centerline of the body (near the connective tissue where the two sides of the abdomen come together). If you find knots or tenderness here, spend extra time massaging. Massage both vertically and horizontally along this line.
- Imagine sending loving energy from your hands into this area. Personally, when I put the intention of love into my pelvis, it’s very powerful for me. It feels very necessary and important.
- When you are done, allow your hands to rest on your belly and take a deep breath in, then open your mouth and exhale, letting any negative feelings leave your body with that breath.
If you’re not in the habit of paying attention to your belly or touching your belly, this can bring up a lot of feelings.
You may find fear, or shame, or disappointment when you begin attending to this area. Allow yourself to feel those feelings. They will shift with time.
Using your hands to release restricted fascia and overworking muscles can do wonders to help your abdominal muscles come back together.