Recently Victorian committee member Tafy Seade, principal physiotherapist of Inner Active Pelvic Health, sat down with Fiona Rogers of Pelvic Floor Exercise to talk about pelvic floor devices and their use in pelvic health in addition to the impact of COVID-19.
Q: Tell us about yourself and what made you get into the field of women’s health?
A: I initially started as a sports physio, having worked in a variety of settings – public hospital, Defence force (Army) and football teams and then in a large public hospital as a student supervisor, moving on into admin as PIC before leaving to have my first baby.
Like many who get into the niche of women’s health it was after my second child that I thought why didn’t anyone tell me what pregnancy and birth were really like?
So I gradually retrained whilst working privately in partnership and ended up developing our women’s health service and mentoring staff across all of our practices.
Q: What made you get into the business of an e-store for pelvic health products?
A: We bought PFE in 2011 when we were looking for a way to continue working whilst caring for our oldest daughter who is disabled. It provided a great balance using my clinical knowledge and my husband’s medical purchasing background.
Craig still keeps an eye on things and I have been able to focus on website content, products and social media whilst continuing a little bit of clinical work along with teaching.
Q: With the current climate of the global pandemic how has your business adapted or pivoted?
A: We have been fortunate in having a strong online presence that did place us in a good position prior to COVID-19.
One of the initiatives we started was encouraging physios to order using their login but have the delivery direct to their patients, as during that time they obviously didn’t have the ability to access their own clinic stock.
The biggest adaptation we have also had to make was converting my stim course into an online course. Despite the challenges of cancelling the scheduled face to face courses, it has, however, been one of those cases of adversity leading to opportunity. My course is now available world-wide and I am excited to be invited to teach an introduction version of it live online in Canada. Another course on vaginal weights will also be available soon.
Q: Any advice for physiotherapists working in the field of pelvic health? (what do you think is still missing or gaps in relation to device prescription etc?)
A: I do believe there is a huge gap in product knowledge and therefore a lot of physios are scared of recommending and using products. That is what I hope to change with education. The whole premise of the website is research-based devices so I have spent a lot of time looking into the research as well as answering questions from colleagues on a daily basis. Developing courses was a natural progression of that for me. Hopefully through this I can give others the confidence to know when and how to use devices effectively.
Q: What are some of the common myths that physiotherapists have when it comes to devices?
A: That weights will make you overactive. I use comparison slides in my talks on this. If you are afraid of making a patient overactive then you haven’t assessed them correctly. The term hypertonic is thrown around a lot in this context and that in itself is incorrect as the latest guidelines say.That devices make you lazy – let’s look back at Kegel’s original research – exercise against resistance, let’s look at what you do in other muscle groups for rehab – exercise against resistance. We need to be applying our basic clinical reasoning based on exercise principles and anatomy.Only use NMES and TENS as a last resort is another incorrect myth. This is covered in depth in the course.
Q: What does the future of Pelvic Floor Exercise look like?
A: Certainly, more courses and I am always looking for new products, some have come about via requests from physios. So, we try to source them and see if they will be viable. I will only carry a product if it is quality and has some evidence behind its use.
Online is certainly here to stay so we need to ensure that we adapt as needed with the ever- changing market and keep up to date with technology. We are also currently looking at a complete rebuild of the website!
IF you would like more information about devices used in pelvic health check out Fiona’s website Pelvic Floor Exercise.