Squeezy – the NHS Physiotherapy App for Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Designed by chartered physiotherapists specialising in Pelvic Health working in the NHS, Squeezy is suitable for all women who want to do pelvic floor muscle exercises (or Kegel exercises). The app is particularly aimed at women who are seeing a specialist physiotherapist for problems connected to their bladder, bowels or pelvic floor muscles as it can be tailored to a specific exercise programme and set to remind you when to do your exercises. It is simple to use, discreet, informative and has helpful visual and audio prompts to support your exercise programme plus it maintains a record of the number of exercises you have completed.
Squeezy was reviewed and approved by the NHS Choices Beta health apps library team for its clinical safety, and has won or was the runner-up in seven healthcare industry awards.
- Apple Watch support! Be extra discrete, squeeze from your watch
- Customisable exercise plan
- “Professional mode” to help physiotherapists set detailed exercise plans for patients
- Visual, and audio guides for exercises
- Information and tips written by professional Pelvic Health physiotherapists
- Track and monitor your progress
- Write a short note after a completed exercise
- Simple and clear interface
We recently had a chat with Myra Robson, Senior Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, the lead clinician behind the hugely innovative and successful Squeezy app.
Myra Robson and the Squeezy team with Ruby Wax at the 2016 EHI awards
What is Squeezy and what does it do?
Squeezy is a pelvic floor muscle exercise app that helps women improve their pelvic floor health. The app helps by educating and motivating users with an audio- visual guide and information on how to do the exercises correctly.
It comes pre-set with a standard exercise regime but can be personalised to match a programme given by a specialist physiotherapist. Squeezy also has customisable reminders with a snooze function and an exercise record that can be shared with physiotherapists to inform treatment and recommendations.
What was the inspiration behind the app?
One in three women will suffer from urinary incontinence at some point in their lives. Half of all women will have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse.
It’s a massive problem making women’s lives miserable, not to mention being quite costly for the NHS.
The inspiration behind Squeezy was threefold:
- We wanted to help create more awareness around pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and its associated bladder and bowel symptoms.
- We wanted to help people overcome the stigma or embarrassment surrounding the condition.
- And ultimately, we wanted to help people suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction get better.
From my experience as a pelvic health physiotherapist, I knew one of our largest challenges would be getting patients to remember to do their exercises.
At its core, Squeezy is about helping people remember to do their exercises. Plus there’s an added benefit for those using it in the context of a physio programme. It gives physiotherapists a record of activity so if a patient is following their exercise plan but still experiencing problems, they can explore appropriate further treatment.
How does it work?
After setting up an exercise plan, users receive reminder notifications on their smartphone (or Apple watches) to complete the exercises. It’s as simple as opening the app and following the exercise visualisation then making any relevant notes.
The recommended frequency is usually between three and six times a day, which may sound like a lot, but these exercises can be done just about anywhere – when you’re waiting for the kettle, on the bus or at your desk and take just a few minutes.
We’ve specifically designed the app to be discreet so users are comfortable using it on the go and aren’t advertising their condition whilst making it suitable for women to share and therefore encourage others to improve their pelvic floor health.
How long have you been running the app for?
We first launched the iOS Squeezy app in 2013 and have since rolled out an Android version. Plus, Squeezy for Men and Squeezy for Cystic Fibrosis.
How have things gone since launch and what is the uptake like for the app?
The response to Squeezy has been amazing. It’s really struck a chord with its users, physios and the NHS alike. We’ve had more than 45,000 downloads from around the world.
Consistently in the top five paid-for medical apps in the UK Apple App Store, Squeezy continues to gain 5-star user reviews and, in a recent survey, 98% of users said they would (or have) recommended Squeezy to a friend.
Squeezy has been peer-reviewed, comes highly recommended by key journals such as Nursing Standard, Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and has been endorsed by the NHS. Plus, it’s still seen as the best practice app in the field and has won or been a runner-up in seven awards.
However, the most rewarding outcome of the app for me is the fact that Squeezy is helping users increase the frequency of their exercises. Our user surveys consistently show that over 90% of users are performing their pelvic floor exercises more regularly thanks to Squeezy.
It’s very humbling and really gratifying to see how it’s helped so many people and continues to do so.