As a practitioner who specialises in women’s health issues, I spend a lot of time talking with women about their periods, ovulation, sex lives and urinary leakage issues. Oh yeah, we talk about it all! But I haven’t really ever talked that much about women’s health issues over here on the blog. And you know what, I think it is important to cover these types of things from time to time to de-mystify women’s bodies – especially from themselves. Heck, I didn’t even know what a period was when I first got mine. And definitely I’d have never known about “tearage & stitching” during birth if my BFF hadn’t told me about her experience. (She subsequently told me when I was 40 + weeks pregnant that giving birth is like having fairies flying out of your vagina. But it wasn’t like that. AT ALL.)
Which brings me around to today’s review. I was invited by Perifit to try out their pelvic floor trainer and given my “day job” I felt that it would be helpful to try it out and see how it works, as it might be helpful for some of my post-partum clients. Now, while I did give birth over 4 years ago now, I have found that nothing has been…quite the same since then. I had an episiotomy during my daughter’s birth (because her big head was stuck) and as a result, I ended up having to attend around a year’s worth of physiotherapy at the pelvic floor clinic in my local hospital. My therapist then moved to Australia and my instructions were to keep doing kegels. Which of course I didn’t.
So in the post from France (where they do actually care about post-natal care of women’s pelvic floors) I received this lovely Perifit box. It is quite a small box, and you’d think it would be intimidating to open up (I stared at it, petrified for a couple of weeks, finding myself unable to open it) but actually there are instructions at every step and it is very quick and easy to get going. Very much NOT intimidating actually.
So here it is. This is the Perifit. Yep. Not gonna lie, it looks a bit like a sex toy. Realised 10 minutes in that I probably shouldn’t have been doing my unboxing photos of it in front of my 4 year old, but hey, what are you gonna do? She asked what it was and I said it was a machine for helping mummies to exercise after they’ve had a baby. She seemed to accept that answer. She can talk to her therapist about it in 20 years’ time.
The quick starter guide is really easy to use. I downloaded the app and followed the instructions below.
There is a brochure for those who aren’t into Quick Start guides and prefer more in-depth instructions. I do have to say that the packaging and paperwork has been well designed and has a luxurious feel.
So once you’ve downloaded the app, this is the screen you’ll probably see. There is music. Unnecessary music. I guess it is meant to be relaxing. I’ll return to this later.
If I haven’t said properly before, the Perifit is run by an app, via Bluetooth. You need a smartphone meeting certain specifications to be able to use it. I had no idea what to expect when I opened the app. First you are offered a pelvic floor test to establish exactly what type of pelvic floor training you need. Here’s a screenshot below so you can see how simple the test is.
So this is the part I was not expecting. I thought the machine would do something to strengthen your pelvic floor for you while you sit back and binge watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or whatever. But nope, you still have to do the work. You insert the Perifit, lie back and start the game. It is like Super Mario Brothers but with butterflies catching vaginal lotus flowers. As I understand it, once you ace a certain level there are more levels of training with new games. In Super Mario Brothers you controlled the game with the joystick using your hands, but with the Perifit Butterfly/Lotus game, you control the game with…well, you’re controlling the butterfly’s movement with your vaginal muscles contracting and relaxing. The Perifit communicates directly with your phone through bluetooth.
After your first session is completed you’ll then get this analysis screen. And now you know more than you ever wanted to about my pelvic floor strength. I did score 95% accuracy though!
Okay, I haven’t been training with the Perifit for a long time yet, so I can’t comment on the long-term results, however given that it is getting you to do kegels and is motivating you/training you to do them well, I see no reason the results wouldn’t be good if used consistently. Here are my pros and cons so far and I’ll update the review as I progress in the future.
- I like that the Perifit looks and feels like a luxury item.
- I like the colour and texture of the materials used.
- It is very easy to get started and to use – a bit idiot-proof (thank goodness!).
- It is comfortable and well designed. No issues there.
- The game is entertaining enough and definitely does the job so I don’t have to “think” about whether I’m engaging properly during my contractions.
- I LOVE that it is helping women to take control of their own bodies by strengthening their pelvic floors.
- It is for all kinds of women – those with various types of incontinence and post-natal restrengthening or simply just women who want to improve their sex lives. Those are all perfectly good reasons to have a device like this.
- You need to have around 5 quiet minutes to use the machine and lie down flat on the bed while you play the game. This can be tricky with a small child around.
- You need to have a smart phone to use the device. I know most of us have smart phones in their day and age, but not EVERYBODY does and it does rather remove an element of accessibility from the device, making it a slightly elitist product.
- I feel a bit funny about shoving a bluetooth device up my Queen Vic. Can’t put my finger on why this bothers me, but as someone who does try to limit my EMF exposure I guess this is a concern and it is definitely not a product for anyone with an electromagnetic sensitivity, as is becoming increasingly more prevalent a health condition.
- The EFFING MUSIC NEVER STOPS. Okay, so once I took the device out and left the app, the music just kept going…and going…and going. I couldn’t find any settings to stop the music. I eventually had to turn off my phone and turn it back on again to get the music to stop. I’ll be feeding this back to the manufacturers as it should be easy enough to fix this issue on the app and it isn’t a reason to write off the whole device if amended. (UPDATE: THE PROBLEM WITH THE MUSIC ON THE APP WAS FIXED WITHIN A DAY OF ME MENTIONING THE ISSUE, SO THAT WAS A SUPER FAST RESPONSE!)