“The Dreaded Tupler Splint”
When surfing the web I found this review of the Diastasis Rehab Splint®.
Here is what it said:
THE DREADED TUPLER SPLINT
“My biggest gripe about the Tupler program is the abdominal splint. You can see on the Tupler website that the purpose of the splint is to bring the connective tissue and muscles together to allow for healing. Here’s the deal…after wearing the splint for about 48 hours, I was pleasantly surprised with how flat my abdominal area was. I immediately thought that the Tupler Technique® was the answer to my prayers and I was ready to sign-on as a “Licensed Professional” for the program! But let’s be honest, the effects of the splint are only temporary. Yes, the splint gave me a tight waist for a blinking second but if I were to stop using it, everything would fall back into place and I would look pregnant again. I also found myself compensating my movements while wearing the splint. Instead of engaging my core, like you’re supposed to do, I’d activate and stretch other muscles because the splint was in the way. It was, quite simply, just a nuisance.”
I would like to respond to this review so people understand exactly how and why the splint works! The Tupler Technique® Program is all about healing connective tissue. Healing connective is NOT a 48 hour process. I tell my clients to think of healing connective tissue like healing a broken bone. You have to continuously approximate (pull together) the two separated bones by wearing a cast for the bones to heal. It is the very same concept of pulling together the connective tissue and muscles for healing connective tissue. If you took a cast off after 48 hours what do you think would happen? Yes, you would be back where you started! That is the same with my program. The effects are only temporary if you have not healed the connective tissue. The goal is to make your connective tissue stronger. As it becomes stronger it will become shallower. Once it is shallow your belly will remain flat. That is why I never give a time period of how long the splint needs to be worn. It depends on the severity of your diastasis. A severe diastasis is determined by both the distance of the separated muscles AND the condition of the connective tissue. All connective tissue is not created equally. Really weak connective tissue will take much longer to heal. I always tell my clients that they need to wear the splint until their connective tissue has healed. It has taken many of my clients well over a year to close their diastasis. It has been exciting for our clients to see the healing process starting to work within a couple of weeks. That’s why I always take before photos. They are a wonderful motivational tool to keep my clients committed to doing the program no matter how long it takes.
I would also like to comment on her statement:
“ I also found myself compensating my movements while wearing the splint. Instead of engaging my core, like you’re supposed to do, I’d activate and stretch other muscles because the splint was in the way. It was, quite simply, just a nuisance.”
When I am first teaching my seated exercises to clients, I tell them that if a muscle is weak it will ask other muscles to help. So when they are first starting to do the transverse exercises because their transverse muscle is weak, they will use other muscles to help. This is normal. The stronger your transverse muscle becomes, the less you will use the other muscles to help. The splint brings the muscles together which actually helps clients feel the muscles working better. Many times client’s put the splint on incorrectly which can make it uncomfortable or not stay in place as well as it could. Many of my clients love how they feel when wearing the splint as it gives them better posture when the muscles are brought together. Many do not like wearing it because to them it is like wearing a cast. Uncomfortable at first. However, the ones that are committed to the program get used to it just like they would have to get used to wearing a cast.
Now let me tell you exactly why it is so important to wear the splint:
When you look at how the abdominal muscles work with ultrasound you see that with a diastasis of approximately 4 fingers or more when you engage the transverse muscle the recti muscles move “sideways.” To strengthen your recti muscle it must move backwards. So not only does this sideways movement not strengthen the muscles but this sideways movement stretches the connective tissue. Remember, the whole point of my program is not stretching the already stretched out connective tissue. In the diastasis business, just like in the real estate business, it is Location, Location, Location! Location of the connective tissue and muscles. In order for the muscles to move in a backwards direction they need to be approximated with wearing the splint. In order for the connective tissue to heal it also has to be continuously approximated.
However, wearing the splint is just one of the 4 steps of the program. You need to do all 4 steps of the program to close your diastasis. The process of healing connective tissue is positioning the muscles and connective tissue as I have just described, protecting the connective tissue from getting stretched from intra-abdominal force, pressure and movements that stretch it and strengthening the transverse muscle.
RESEARCH ON THE TUPLER TECHNIQUE®
The Tupler Technique® is both research and evidenced based. You can find our statitistics of 1200 clients on my website. The most significant finding is the in six weeks the program can make a diastasis 55% smaller! Click here for the link for the statistics.
Dr. Cynthia Chiarello,(Columbia University) is a pioneer in examining the relationship between diastasis recti, exercise, function and prevention and published by “The Effects of an Exercise Program on Diastasis Recti Abdominis on Pregnant Women” In the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy Spring (2005-Volume 29-Issue 1-pg 11-16) using the Tupler Technique® Program. They found a significant difference in the presence of a DR between women involved in an abdominal exercise program (12.5%) versus non-exercising women (90%). This conflicted with results reported in an article by Gillard & Brown that found no difference between the exercising and non-exercising groups. Dr. Chiarello argues that the key difference between the two prescribed exercises protocols was the purposeful activation of the transversus abdominis (TA), a deep abdominal muscle that acts as the body’s natural corset and promotes continued linea alba approximation throughout pregnancy.
Our evidence based statistics during pregnancy showed that during the Six Week
Tupler Technique® Program the diastasis actually got smaller as the bellies got larger! That was my motivation to contact Dr. Cynthia Chiarello at Columbia University to do the above research!
Lastly I would like to respond to her comment:
“the Tupler Technique® which practically endorses a sedentary lifestyle while trying to heal a Diastasis.”
This is absolutely NOT true! With my background as a Registered Nurse and certified personal trainer, knowing the health hazards of immobility, I would never endorse a sedentary lifestyle or exercise program. I support my clients in doing cardio exercises such as walking outside, walking on a treadmill, upright stationary bike or elliptical machine during the whole program. However, during the first six weeks of the program clients do JUST cardio and no other exercise classes or sporting activities. At this point in time there is no transverse strength or awareness how to use it. I want them to first strengthen their transverse muscle, learn how to use this muscle with activities of daily living and then in week 6 how to incorporate their strengthened transverse muscle in a diastasis safe® routine to maintain the gains they have made with closing their diastasis. During the first six weeks, it is important to also become aware of how to protect their connective tissue from activities and movements that stretch it.