Who Invented Kegels? The Story of Arnold Kegel

Where does the term ‘Kegel’ come from? Kegel exercises are named after the man who invented them – Dr. Arnold Kegel. Read on to find out how he became a pelvic floor pioneer…

arnold kegelArnold Kegel was born in 1894 and was successful gynaecologist in the USA. He found that many of the women he was treating had weak pelvic floor muscles after childbirth. Dr. Kegel wanted to help these women overcome the upsetting symptoms they were experiencing – stress incontinence, prolapse and sexual dysfunction. He invented a device called a Kegel perineometer.

A perineometer works like an old-fashioned version of the Kegel8 Biofeedback Pelvic Trainer. It has a soft probe that goes into the vagina and when squeezed it displays how much pressure the pelvic floor muscles are exerting (on a dial, not an LCD screen!). Dr. Kegel discovered that women who could squeeze harder than 20mm had far less pelvic problems.


How Dr. Kegel Transformed Gynaecology

Arnold Kegel perineometerSo, what could he do about this problem? Dr. Kegel undertook an 18-year medical study, publishing his paper ‘A Nonsurgical Method of Increasing the Tone of Sphincters and their Supporting Structures’ in 1948. His research led to the discovery of just how much influence the pelvic floor muscles have on the body. In conclusion, the paper has advice on how to strengthen pelvic floor muscles – by doing pelvic floor exercise.

Arnold Kegel’s 1948 research notes how much difficulty a lot of his patients had in doing Kegels correctly. He says that “Unless given an opportunity to repeat their efforts under visual control, thereby noting any progress they may make, patients are apt to become discouraged.” Kegel solved this by giving his patients perineometers to use at home.


how to kegelArnold Kegel's Legacy

Dr. Kegel’s patients had great results from using his perineometer – these women were the first to benefit from using a pelvic toner!  By 1950 Kegel had a 93% cure rate, which is why we still use his methods today. The biofeedback used in Kegel8 pelvic toners uses the same principles as the original Kegel perineometer. We’ve improved on it with modern technology; the Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation used by Kegel8 makes Kegels even more effective. We’re sure that Arnold Kegel would be fascinated by our customised exercise programmes and fancy LCD screens! If you’re having problems with incontinence, prolapse or sexual dysfunction then give Kegel8 a try – it’s got decades of success behind it!

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