by Abby Kurtz
Editor’s Note: Abby Kurtz is a Pre and Postnatal personal trainer, licensed Tupler Technique® provider, and owner of Pea in the Pod Fitness, LLC in Boulder.It’s called a “mummy tummy” or “pooch.” You got it with the birth of your bundle of joy. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that thicker waist and bulge around your middle that you can’t get rid of no matter how many crunches you do. The bad news is, if you’re like many women, you have an anatomical problem. The good news is, the Tupler Technique® can fix that.
The research-based Tupler Technique® is a 20-year old, four-step program that has been shown to flatten the “mummy tummy”. Julie Tupler, a registered nurse, created it in 1990. Researchers at Columbia University’s program of Physical Therapy found the technique helpful in decreasing the size of the diastasis recti during pregnancy. The results were published in The Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy in 2005. Proponents of the technique range from Elle Macpherson to Dr. Oz.
The basic premise of the technique is that diastasis recti is the cause of the “mummy tummy” that many women experience. Diastasis recti is a separation of the Rectus Abdominis muscle or the “six-pack muscle”. The release of pregnancy hormones along with the pressure of the expanding uterus makes pregnant women likely candidates for this condition. The issue is that diastasis recti does not automatically get better and will continue to get worse with subsequent pregnancies. This separation of the abdominal muscles weakens the support system for the back causing back pain, weakens the support system for the organs creating the “mummy tummy,” and exposes the woman to a greater risk of ventral hernia with abdominal trauma.
Figuring out if you have a diastasis is as simple as lying on your back with your knees bent, placing your fingers down vertically into your belly button, and then lifting your head off of the ground. If you have a diastasis you will feel a gully when you lift your head. What you are feeling are the two sides of the separated rectus abdominis. This problem is easily measured incorrectly. Unfortunately, many women are told to have a tummy tuck to correct it. This type of surgery may not be necessary. The Tupler Technique® can help close it. If you elect to have the surgery the Tupler Technique® can help maintain the integrity of the stitching. No matter when or how your diastasis was created, and even if your baby is 30 years old you can lose the “mummy tummy”.
The Tupler Technique® focuses on healing the weakened connective tissue and engaging the transverse abdominis muscle (the deepest abdominal muscle). There are four steps to closing the diastasis and flattening the “mummy tummy”. When followed in conjunction with one another these four-steps are the key to healing. The steps include: doing the exercises, wearing and holding a splint, using the transverse abdominis on the work of everything that you do, and getting up and down correctly. Although the program requires dedication, the exercises that women learn can be done anywhere at anytime throughout the day. The start of the healing process can be seen within three to six weeks.
Only licensed providers teach the Tupler Technique. There are only a handful of licensed providers in the country. Boulder boasts the only licensee in Colorado. Ongoing workshops are being held at Boulder’s Yo Mama Yoga. Participants of the program can expect to learn basic anatomy and physiology, theory, and exercises. Learning is quite in-depth and involves seven hours of instruction, spread over six weeks, with plenty of motivation, follow-up, and guidance to help promote desired results. Participants in the six-week program receive a guidebook, splint, and continual support from their instructor.
For more information on the Tupler Technique® please visit www.diastasisrehab.com. You will also find licensed providers of the Tupler Technique®in your area on this website.