The following article appears in the October, 2004 issue of Alternative Medicine.
When Arnold Kegel, inventor of the famous pelvic floor exercise, died, his good friend Jack Robertson took over his practice. Now semi retired and a professor emeritus at the University of Nevada Medical School, Las Vegas, Robertson, like Kegel, has a passion for helping people take back bladder control.
Millions of women use Kegel exercises to regain strength in the pelvic floor muscles that become stretched in childbirth. Yet incontinence is still a dignity-robbing problem. Many millions of people have stress related urinary problems.
It seems that Kegel exercises must be done up to 300 times a day to be effective. Robertson's quest to make the Kegel more user-friendly led him in an unexpected direction. Five years ago, an acquaintance got him to try magnetic shoe insoles to treat a complication that had arisen from surgery on his left leg.
Whenever he walked or climbed stairs, his leg throbbed. The same day Robertson slipped the magnets into his shoes, he climbed a steep flight of stairs with nary a twinge. Impressed, he decided to learn more.
When Robertson queried an expert on magnets and why the insoles eased his leg pain, the answer was that magnets target what's known as voluntary stride muscles, including the muscles of the legs. That's when Robertson felt he was on to something. The muscles of the pelvic floor, the same ones that stretch like saltwater taffy when a woman gives birth, also happen to be voluntary stride muscles.
Robertson gambled that he could improve upon Kegel's technique by having a woman perform the exercises while wearing magnetic insoles.
So he designed a small study to test his theory and, over the following few months, enrolled 26 women with stress urinary problems. The woman performed a series of simple tests -- resting, coughing, and squeezing the muscles of the pelvic floor (a Kegel exercise), to see what control they had.
Next, each woman stood on magnetic insoles and repeated the process. When the women wore the magnetic insoles, "they all had total control, without exception," says Robertson. The results startled Robertson so much he wrapped up the study early and sought to spread the word.
He's quick to add that Kegel exercises will always be an important part of rebuilding and maintaining pelvic floor muscles, but he notes that a woman will get more strength when doing these exercises, while wearing magnetic insoles. "You'll build strength even faster because you double muscle power."
Made by a top Japanese research and development company, the black, rubbery footprints contain 80 small magnets giving a combined force of 800 gauss (G). (A typical refrigerator magnet has 100 G.) They have a unique patented triangular pattern for effective magnetic coverage of the foot.
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