When I first started Tiny Pioneer as a result of my own persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), my focus was very much on nutritional and hormonal approaches to resolving it. I did try some yoga and osteopathy, but I knew nothing about internal physiotherapy and would have dismissed it out of hand in any case. I felt that any kind of internal stimulation exacerbated my problem, so even when I read about people using physiotherapy to help with pelvic pain issues, I never considered trying it myself. It seemed so counterintuitive that I just couldn’t imagine that it would help!
However, at the BAUN conference in Glasgow, Heather from Desert Harvest introduced me to the work of Nicole Cozean and Amy Stein, who both pioneer physical approaches to interstitial cystitis and related conditions. She also told me about Iliana Brockman of IC Relief, who has designed and manufactured glass wands especially for sufferers of IC. I’d already been asked by a few customers whether I had tried pelvic physiotherapy myself and after hearing Heather’s recommendations, I resolved to learn more about it. After all, even if it wasn’t something I wanted to personally experience, I felt I should still know something about it in case I was ever asked about it!
I purchased ‘The Interstitial Cystitis Solution’ by Nicole and Jesse Cozean and I have to say, I was astonished. If you haven’t read it, I thoroughly recommend that you get a copy – it is easily available on Amazon. By the time I had read it, I was completely sold on the benefits of pelvic physiotherapy and could see how it made perfect sense. I also familiarised myself with Amy Stein’s materials – I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’ve visited her website, watched videos and have read articles. Like the Cozeans, Stein really makes physio seem sensible. I found myself keen to try it!
I was further sold on the benefits of internal physiotherapy when Tiny Pioneer attended the annual conference of Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists in Cardiff last October. Being there gave me chance to visit other stands and speak to dozens of pelvic physios, many of whom had significant experience at treating interstitial cystitis. I’m not located conveniently close to any pelvic physios myself, but if I was, I’d definitely consider visiting one. Plenty of Tiny Pioneer customers have found physiotherapy beneficial and if you’d like to find out where your nearest practitioner is, you can do so through the POGP website. As well as treating IC, they can also help with male and female continence issues, antenatal and postnatal care, sexual dysfunction and more.
Amy Stein, herself a physical therapist, recommends the EZMagic pelvic wands manufactured by ICRelief, LLC (owned by Iliana Brockman), so it was one of these in particular that I wanted to use. Instead of being straight, they are curved, meaning they can be used to access those areas of the vagina that would be otherwise difficult to reach. I tried to purchase one, but at the time they were out of stock in the UK and after waiting for several weeks for them to become available, I started to think I might have missed out. I mentioned to Heather at Desert Harvest that I wanted to try the EZMagic and asked whether I could purchase one from them, as they often run bundle deals with IC Relief. She spoke to Iliana and I was lucky enough to be sent one for free! It was sent without conditions, but if I had purchased it with my own money my plan would have been to try it for a while and then write an honest account of how I found it. This is therefore what I shall do.
The wand arrived in a blue plastic carry case, complete with instructions for usage. It is made from non-porous, borosilicate medical grade glass, which means it does not absorb bacteria. It will not degrade over time; nor will it leach chemicals into your body. It is also exceptionally smooth – this might sound odd, but when I opened the wand, I just kept stroking it because it felt so smooth and shiny! It’s really nice and as well as there being no sharp or rough bits to hurt, the smoothness also makes for easier insertion when you get to using the product. In fact, although you can use lubricant if you want to, the wand is also smooth enough to use alone or just dipped into a little water to wet it.
Each wand is sterilized and sealed before packaging. The non-porous glass makes it easy to clean – although it will not absorb bacteria, it must be washed to keep any bacteria away from the surface. The wand can be used warm, cool or at room temperature. I’ve only used mine at room temperature, although I use it with Desert Harvest Aloe Glide which adds a nice cooling sensation and moisturising benefits. I can definitely see that there would be benefits to using it warm or cool, depending on your symptoms. The emphasis is on warm and cool though – not hot or freezing! You absolutely must not put the wand in the freezer or into boiling water before use, or else you could burn and/or damage your sensitive skin. While I choose to use my wand with Desert Harvest Aloe Glide, you could also use it with Releveum for extra pain relief. The glass is super strong and is designed to withstand pressure of up to 50 pounds. I have to confess that I don’t know what 50 pounds of pressure feels like, but I can confirm that the wand certainly feels sturdy, so you won’t need to worry about it snapping or shattering during usage.
The EZMagic pelvic wand has a patented ‘S’ shape, meaning it can be rotated to access any part of the vaginal wall. It can also be used anally should your issues call for that and of course this means men can use it too. There is a rounded head on one end, which I use to hold onto, but apparently some people insert this end and hold onto the tapered part instead. I suppose it all depends on your body shape and your issues. ICRelief also manufacture a straight wand called an EZFit, which, like the EZMagic, can be used for internal massage, but was made as an internal ice pack to alleviate irritation and/or burning. Additionally, it is recommended as a dilator tool before intercourse in those who struggle with penetration, or to rebuild confidence in those who find sex painful. Its straight shape means it can be inserted further into the vagina, but on the other hand, it won’t reach all the places that the EZMagic will, so which you choose will all depend on your own needs. Conditions for which you might find a wand helpful include:
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Persistent genital arousal disorder
Irritable bowel syndrome
Scar tissue massage
Once the EZMagic pelvic wand was in my possession, I actually waited quite a long time before I used it. Although I KNEW that it had been designed to help with symptoms of IC and similar conditions, I really was afraid of triggering a PGAD flare. I was in quite a good place when I received the wand and I’m very much an advocate of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ in life. However, I remembered hearing on a YouTube video that provided you didn’t apply pressure to the top of your vaginal wall (i.e. the bit of your vagina that also forms the back wall of your urethra) than you couldn’t really do any harm. This was very reassuring, as I’ve always had a propensity to UTIs and my biggest concern was that I’d somehow use the wand wrong and give myself cystitis.
Amy Stein, DPT, provides these instructions for using the pelvic wands in both English and French – just click the link to access them! The guidance is quite straightforward and I had no problems understanding it. There are diagrams too for those whose first language is not English or French. One night when I was feeling pretty sore and tight and kept feeling that I needed the toilet, I decided to be brave and give the EZMagic a try.
I was absolutely terrified the first time I used the wand – even now when I use it I have to really remind myself to relax and I catch myself holding my breath! Since the worst of my PGAD days I’d avoided putting anything into my vagina – I hadn’t even used a tampon in years. The wands are quite narrow and are tapered at the end, so you shouldn’t have any issues getting it in – the one I have is about as wide as a regular tampon, but much smoother. Each wand is stringently tested and if its radius is wrong by more than 0.3%, it is rejected. Once I had got it in and relaxed a little, I followed the instructions carefully. The gist of them is that you apply gentle pressure to specific points around the vaginal or anal wall; if you encounter a sore part, you continue to apply pressure for 30-90 seconds. Some patients find that 30-90 seconds is too long and experience a flare up of symptoms. More and more physiotherapists are recommending 8-12 seconds to begin with, followed by a re-massage of any sore areas for another 8-12 seconds. If you do fine with this, you can then increase the duration for up to 90 seconds.
The idea behind the wands is that just like muscles on the back, neck or shoulders, the muscles in the vagina and anus can become tight and knotted. Whereas on the back or shoulders, we might feel sore if we move in certain ways, hold ourselves stiffly, or experience limited movement, problems in the internal pelvic area can cause bladder issues, bowel issues, sexual problems and pain. If the knots can be relaxed with targeted use of gentle pressure, then the issues they are causing should also be improved. It really does make a lot of sense. I always felt a lot of tightness and congestion with my own PGAD and I still do at certain times of the month. The wand provides a sort of internal massage, allowing you to recreate in your vagina the same results you’d get if you got a back massage from a physiotherapist or osteopath.
While I was actually using the wand for the first time, I did indeed find some sore spots and their locations surprised me. I had always felt that any tension would be towards the front of my vagina, near to my G-spot, and that this would be why I experienced intrusive arousal. To my surprise, there was also a lot of tension towards the back of my vagina – and more on my left side than my right. I diligently kept a light pressure on any tight areas, but the overall sensation was either nothing (at some angles) or slightly uncomfortable poking (at other angles). There was no real pain – more just worry that there would be – but then I had control of the wand, so there was never really a risk of that!
When I removed the wand I was totally convinced I would have given myself cystitis. I had avoided the front wall, but nevertheless, bits had been uncomfortable and I was concerned that I may have used the wand too deeply. I had tried to insert the wand only as far as the first bend, as advised, but you can’t really see once it’s inside you, and when I took it out, it had gone in further than I had thought. I took extra D-Mannose and Desert Harvest Super Strength Aloe Vera Capsules to be on the safe side and soothed myself with the thought that if I really did get a UTI, at least I already had antibiotics on hand.
For about the first five minutes after using the wand, I felt as if I’d made a mistake and that maybe they aren’t meant for people with PGAD. However, as I lay in bed, I started to become aware of everything relaxing – it was like my vagina, bladder and uterus all suddenly heaved a sigh of relief and let go of their tension. Suddenly the tightness, the feeling that maybe I needed a wee, the sensitivity, and the faux arousal all seemed to subside, and everything felt calm again. I couldn’t believe it! What a great result on my first attempt!
Since that night, I’ve used the wand quite a few times and I’ve managed to replicate the results on several of these. I think if you were using it for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) the results would be even more consistent, but I use mine for PGAD, so I sometimes get it a bit wrong. I’m really pleased with it though and think the wand will be a valuable tool in keeping me symptom free in the future. Before I’ll end the post, I’ll leave you with a few miscellaneous final thoughts:
Although the wand and instructions are perfectly easy to use alone, I do think there would be some benefit to taking it along to a women’s/men’s health physio if you were able to for the first couple of times. You should use gentle pressure, no more than six pounds, which is like pressing your finger gently on the skin and massaging in a round motion without lifting until you are ready to move on to the next trigger point. I think I’ve pressed too hard/been too rough a couple of times and although I’ve never given myself cystitis, I have bruised myself a bit once or twice!
The last point probably only applies because I’m using my wand for persistent genital arousal disorder rather than interstitial cystitis. I feel I should write a dedicated post about my experience of using the wand for PGAD specifically, because there are some obvious considerations here that won’t apply to other users!
Recommended usage is every day you don’t see your physio, or every other day. I already have far too many health related rituals in my day and so I’m not using it anywhere near often enough yet, meaning I’m not really getting the best out of it. I’m sure that regular maintenance would result in fewer symptoms!
If you have a partner, I feel that using the wand together could be a really nice way to build trust and to bond when you’ve lost sexual confidence as a result of a pelvic pain issue.
A customer who goes for pelvic physiotherapy told me that after a session, you should feel slightly achy, as if you’ve had a good workout. I think that is quite accurate actually – after using my wand I feel quite sore for a few minutes and then I suddenly go all relaxed inside, as if the muscles have been tired out and have dropped all the tension. (Since first writing this, I’ve been told that using a cold pack for 15-20 minutes after using the wand will avoid any inflammation or irritation, although I tend to use mine right before bed and it’s never too sore or sore for long!)
All in all, I am really pleased with my EZMagic pelvic wand and I would really recommend it. My fears – most of which were unique to PGAD in any case – were largely unfounded and so, provided you follow the instructions, you have nothing to worry about in trying one. It is a high quality product, developed by a lady who has pelvic floor dysfunction and interstitial cystitis herself, especially to help relieve symptoms. The instructions are written by an expert in pelvic physical therapy and the product itself is recommended by physios all over the world. Once purchased, it should last you a lifetime, and it might just help to improve the quality of that lifetime for you!
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