Updated: Feb 8
(A brief explanation - I set out to write a quirky opening paragraph for a blog about retraining the pelvic floor, but that paragraph had plans of its own. I take no responsibility, this was entirely the paragraph's idea.)
(BTW, 'Physicker' is an historical term for a medic. And 'Kegel' is the name of the American gynaecologist who first publicised pelvic floor exercises back in the 1940's, resulting in millions of people calling the exercises Kegels to this day... so again a somewhat historical term.)
The Fairy Tale Begins
Once upon a time, in a magical far-away land, there lived a princess with Damp Undies. The Princess was not happy with her damp undies, and she was not very good at following royal protocols about not mentioning such things.
And so the Princess came to believe that Damp Undies were a scourge upon the Kingdom, and also that organising quests for her subjects was far more useful than sitting in a tower having her hair braided. Again.
Royal courtiers searched the kingdom for a solution to the Damp Undie curse. One clever seeker brought wads of soft cotton to the princess, that she might use to absorb the dampness. The Princess was grateful, and awarded the seeker a small hamlet named Libra.
But the Princess did not feel her problem was truly solved, so she bade her courtiers to recruit aspiring young Physickers and Witches to join the quest.
At last the seekers came upon an eminent Mage known as The Wizard Kegel, who had the power to bestow strength to weak muscles. They presented The Wizard Kegel to the Princess, and being a wise princess she demanded he demonstrate his magics upon the damp-undied members of her servants.
And lo, the servants pronounced their dampness cured and thanked the princess for her generosity and the Wizard for his wondrous magic.
The princess didn’t notice that one of the servants winced as she rose from her curtsy. The Wizard Kegel didn’t see that another of those magically strengthened servants secretly collected the clean wads of absorbent cotton discarded by the those who no longer needed them, and stuffed them into her apron pockets for later use.
And so the Princess accepted the Kegel magic, and the princess grew strong. But she did not grow happy.
“You must make me stronger,” she ordered the Wizard Kegel, “for I suffer agonies. There seems to be no pillow soft enough to cushion my throne, and I dread traveling for hours seated in my bejewelled carriage.”
The Wizard Kegel made the Princess stronger still, but her misery persisted.
The Princess’s husband was also dejected, because the Princess had begun to flinch and push away his loving attentions.
In hopes of lifting her spirits and perhaps begetting an heir, he arranged for the finest acrobats in the Kingdom to be transported all the way from the distant southern County of Pyste, to perform for the Royal Court.
The Princess applauded the performance, but grimaced as she rose painfully from her seat to bestow a token upon the lead acrobat of the troupe.
“Your abilities are most impressive,” she told the acrobat. “Did you require magic to achieve the strength for those great leaps and tumbles?”
“Your Highness, I did not. All of my troupe learned our routines without magic,” the acrobat replied.
“How wonderful. You are truly gifted. I fear that I could never learn such a thing myself, for even with the use of magic I have not the strength to move so freely and gracefully as you,” the Princess lamented.
“Your Highness, if you will pardon me for speaking, we acrobats have modest strength. Our greatest need is for long and flexible muscles which we achieve with much stretching. It takes many months or years for our bodies to learn to bend and twist so far.”
The Princess looked over the wiry and nimble acrobat troupe, and saw clearly that they did not possess the bulging muscles of her laundress or her blacksmith.
“But there is surely more to your abilities than the length of your muscles,” she said.
“Indeed, Your Highness, you are wise. No matter how limber our muscles, we must practice and practice. Our muscles have to learn how to perform each movement and each sequence of movements, so that we may perform a flip or a tumble with barely a thought, as easily as another might take a sip from a cup.”
The Princess stared at the acrobats a moment longer, lost in her thoughts.
The acrobat, in the fashion of all people when being stared at silently by someone of power, felt the need to fill the silence.
“We stretch and practice from a young age, Your Highness.”
This didn’t divert the Princess’s intense gaze, so the acrobat filled the silence once more.
“We have a fine teacher. The finest, such that we can be the finest acrobats. Other troupes beg for her services. Every acrobat in the land would take teachings from our very own Mistress Ther.”
At last the Princess interrupted, relieving the acrobat’s increasing discomfort.
“Is this teacher of suppleness and harmony a learned Wizard? A skilled Physicker working on muscular ills instead of diseases? Or perhaps an accomplished Witch?"
“A Physicker, Your Highness, as her family has been for generations.”
One of the performers lifted a foot to chest height, adjusted a ribbon at her ankle, and lowered her foot without so much as a thought of wobbling while balanced on one leg.
“Wizard Kegel,” called the Princess.
The Wizard, who had done his best to help the Princess but was fearful of where her husband might place the blame for frustration, presented himself immediately.
“Wizard Kegel,” the Princess continued, “can your magic make muscles long and flexible?”
“No, Royal Princess, that is a magic I have never encountered.”
“Can your magic make muscles work together in the harmony these acrobats achieve with their practice?”
“Royal Princess, I have much powerful magic at my command,” The Wizard Kegel said in desperate tones, “but I must concede that the magic I apply to muscles affects their strength and little else.”
The Princess was silent for so long that the Wizard became concerned.
“Your Royal Highness,” he said carefully, “I beg you to remember that my magic has helped rid the Kingdom of countless Damp Undies.”
“Indeed it has,” the Princess agreed, causing the Wizard to sigh in relief and relax a little in his own undies.
The Princess glanced at her husband, who felt a sudden resurgence of the hope that the evenings entertainment for the Princess might in fact result in other entertainments for himself at some point.
“Chancellor,” the Princess called, “please double the intended payment for this troupe.”
The Princess’s husband jubilantly congratulated himself for summoning the acrobats from Pyste.
“Also,” continued the Princess, “mark a carriage with the Royal Seal, and provide it and a suitable retinue to the Wizard Kegel, that he may travel the Kingdom in comfort and apply the magic of strength to all those who need it, reducing the curse of Damp Undies across the land.”
The Wizard Kegel bowed, and then bowed again, because he was quite partial to comfort and not at all averse to travel. Especially with a retinue.
The Princess smiled, feeling more hopeful than she had in quite a long time. Her handmaids flocked toward her, recognising the signs that the Princess intended to leave the room.
She delivered just one more command before she made her regal exit:
“And fetch me the Physicker Ther o’Pyste!”
PS If you were looking for actual pelvic floor info, the educational series starts with What is Normal Peeing. If you're up to date with past blogs, the next in the series is The 1, 2, 3 of Pelvic Floor Training.
PPS If you want to stay in touch with the sort of health practitioner who accidentally writes about Princesses instead, sign up for the weekly email here. No further Princesses guaranteed, since I am clearly not in charge of the paragraphs.