Belly Binders…To Bind or Not to Bind
The function of most “belly binders” is to make the belly smaller with compression. That is, bringing the belly back to the spine. That is the role of your inner most abdominal muscle…..the transverse abdominal muscle. Most people have never strengthened this muscle so it is difficult for the transverse muscle to perform this action of compression! If you are wearing a belly binder, wanting it to perform the function that your transverse muscle is supposed to do, your weak abdominal muscles will remain weak.
The diastasis recti (separation of the outermost abdominal muscles) is the cause of that belly that just won’t go away no matter what you do! That is because it is now the weak connective tissue supporting your organs instead of the muscles if they were together!
The goal of the research-based 4 step Tupler Technique® program is to close the diastasis by healing the connective tissue. One of the 4 steps is wearing the Diastasis Rehab Splint®. The purpose of this splint is to approximate (bring closer together) the separated muscles. By doing this, it puts the connective tissue in a better “position” to heal (takes the stretch off it) and puts the separated muscles in a better “position” (closer together) to do the exercises more effectively. So the purpose of this splint is NOT compression it is approximation! A totally different function! While you wear this splint you are required to do the Tupler Technique® exercises to strengthen the transverse abdominal muscle. Doing the exercises will bring blood flow to the connective tissue which will help it heal. The exercises will also strengthen the transverse muscle so it will be strong enough to do its job of compression. Having the transverse muscle be able to be strong enough to perform its job is crucial because to heal the weak connective tissue you have to prevent intra-abdominal force on it. You prevent intra-abdominal force by having the transverse be strong enough to be able to go back towards the spine (compression) when doing activities of daily living as well as during your exercise workout. If the transverse does not go back when you are doing these activities it is still working….. only now it is working in the wrong direction! It is going forward forcefully on the weak connective tissue and weakening it. So just wearing the Diastasis Rehab Splint®is NOT enough to close your diastasis. You must do all 4 steps of the program.