Pelvic floor exerciser

The history behind VagiFlex:
From idea to final product

Her entire carrier as a sexual therapist Gro Isachsen has told women to train their pelvic floor muscles to achieve and maintain a good sex life. She has repeatedly written about the benefits of doing pelvic floor exercises with resistance in her columns about sex and relationships in the newspaper Dagbladet, the magazine Vi Menn and in the forum for sexuality health site at Doctor Online where she is responsible for the content, and pointed at the subject in countless interviews in various media.

In her latest book «More desire» from 2010 Gro writes chapters about the necessity of exercising the pelvic floor muscles and how they best can be trained.

Research – women´s sexual desire
Gro Isachsen started 2002 the research program «Women´s sexual desire». In the study, she investigated the impact of; the pelvic floor muscles, cultural and social background, sexual experience, birth and disease histories have for women's ability to experience sexual desire and satisfaction. Until 2009 she had interviewed 815 women and 300 men. The survey is part of her work on a Ph.D.

By intervieving women and measuring the strength of their pelvic floor muscles with electromyography (EMG) (electronic monitoring), she quickly realized that very few women regularly exercised the pelvic floor. Besides many women who thought they trained these muscles actually trained wrong. 58 per cent of the women in the survey who had arousal problems or problems having orgasm – had weak pelvic floor. Several of them experienced urine leakage (incontinence). Many women with weak pelvic floor had for different reasons also problems because they were feeling pain in the vagina or the abdomen during intercource.

Most of the women in the survey wanted a more efficient way to train the pelvic floor muscles, specially those who where uncurtain whether the training was correctly performed.

Flexible and constant resistance
Because of these findings Gro Isachsen began to go through the recent research on pelvic floor exercises. She also investigated what pelvic floor trainers alreaday existed on the world market.

The latest pelvic floor trainers provide all flexible and constant resistance by squeezing (flexing) the muscles, and many are also made to fit the individual user's muscle strength. The principle of flexibility while having constant resistance when training the pelvic floor muscles with exercises in the vagina has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

After testing different trainers, without finding the optimum, Gro chose to look into the possibility of developing a new type of trainer based on her own specifications. She was also offered sale in Scandinavia of a very promising American product, but she turned it down when the trainer did not meet all the requirements she had asked for in a pelvic floor exerciser.

Dr. Arnold Kegels pelvic floor exerciser
Specifications Isachsen finally went for are based partly on the American researcher and gynecologist Arnold Kegels research, and his development of exercises and pelvic floor training with flexible and constant resistance. Most modern pelvic floor trainers are based on this training method, where the exercises are done with a flexible trainer in the vagina.

Kegels instrument consisted of an oblong rubber balloon attached to a holder. The rubber balloon was placed in the vagina and made suffciently hard for each womans muscles via a pump which is connected to the balloon with a hose. By adjusting the content of air in the balloon, the flexible resistance are constant adapted to the user's muscle strength. A measureing instrument (gauge) for air pressure was connected to the balloon to measure pressure as the woman squeez or relax the muscles. In this way they could measure the strength of the muscles, and whether the training was done correctly.

Because of its ability to measure the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, this exercise instrument somewhat misleading was given the name Perineometer (vaginal pressure gauge).

          Hver pakke innholder to VagiFlex skjedetrenere med ulik styrke, og en Målestav for å måle styrke og sjekke om treningen gjøres riktig – pakket i en nøytral velourpose. Med hver pakke leveres Vaginalt TreningsProgram for bruk i treningen.
Dr. Arnold Kegels perineometer

60 years ago Kegel began using flexible and constant resistance. 93 percent of his patients receiving treatment succeded in getting rid of incontinence. He also noticed the impact the muscles had on the womens orgasms.

The special exerciser and treatment method, which was performed by the woman herself doing contraction exercises under the instruction of health workers, were too expensive to be introduced as a treatment in the U.S. Instead, Kegel exercises quickly was adopted as the only method of training, and became standard worldwide under the name «Kegels».
when contracting

Kegel himself never recommended these exercises alone as a training method, but thought they shold be performed as a supplement to exercises with a
device which gave flexible and constant resistance when contracting the muscles. The resistance should be adapted to the users muscle strength. This is the training method that helps strengthening all muscles. He believed all women regulary should do contraction exercises to have control of the muscles and keep them in activity.

Many different trainers on the market
After Kegel developed his exercises, manufactures and dealers of health products and erotic articles has designed and put a lot of different devices on the market to increase the efficiensy of traing the muscles. Products like balls, weights, barbals and electric stimulation combined with Kegels exercise program for the pelvic floor muscles. None of these products gives flexible and konstant dynamic resistanse, while exercisising.

Science performed by professor Kari Boe, at Norwegian School of Sport Sciences has prooved little if any possitive effect using these devices.

Specifications for a new pelvic floor exerciser
Isachsen's requiered that her new trainer should meet the FDA's approval to flexible pelvic floor trainers with constant resistance for use in the vagina, to prevent and treat stress-related urinary incontinence, restoring strength and a tight vagina after birth, reverse age-related weakness in the vagina and improve women's sexual sensitivity and response.

In addition the trainer shold have the following characteristics:
• The user should see and feel if the training is performed correctly
• Measure the strength of the pelvic floor (biofeedback)
• The resistence had to be adapted to the user's muscle strength
• Should be easy to insert into the vagina
• Should not contain toxic materials or materials that can cause allergy
• It should be possible to work out when- and whereever
• The trainer should be discreet in use
• It should be comfortable to use
• Be easy to clean
• The user should be able to sterilize the trainer when necessary
• The trainer should not be connected to cables, hose, or monitor

New materials, new possibilities
Because of the characteristics of modern materials such as elastomers (including silicone), it is now possible to produce affordable and effective pelvic floor trainers after Kegel original training method with flexible and constant resistance. Treiners that are easy to use and normally not will require instruction from medical staff.

Together with a designer Gro Isachsen began 2006 development of VagiFlex pelvic floor exerciser. After many trials and errors finding the right form, materials and manufacturing process, the first prototype was ready in 2008. While a fully functional prototype was ready in 2009. After several tests and changes VagiFlex were set in a trial production. VagiFlex was then tested by 132 women, clients of the Clinic Sexologen and others. Of these 121 completed the training.

VagiFlex pelvic floor exercisers are molded in one piece, and consist only of approved silicone which gives different resistence because of different hardness. The comprehensive user test also contributed to a better adaptation of strenght of the resistence – that means hardness of the silicone, for each pelvic floor exerciser.

The results from the user tests were so positive that it was decided to start production in 2010.

VagiFlex pelvic floor trainers are available in four different resistences – with two in each package. Two for those with weak, and two for those with well-trained pelvic floor muscles.

VagiFlex startpakke

Each package contents two VagiFlex exercisers whith different resistance, and a probe to mesure strenght and to control if the exercises are correctly performed.

At the same time as VagiFlex exercisers was developed, Gro Isachsen developed Vaginal TrainingProgram which are to be used with VagiFlex exercisers.

VagiFlex was officially released 2010, and are produced in Norway.

© 2010 VagiFlex - Sexual therapist Gro Isachsen - Klinikk Sexologen
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