This blog is all about helping women (and men) learn more about their bodies, in particular those parts that are not talked about very openly!
Learn how to recognize and prevent Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and know that there is help available. Nobody should have to suffer in silence with these treatable and often preventable conditions.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Nia - a refreshingly freeing movement class!

Photographs used with permission of Mandi Cavallaro
This week I participated in a Nia class in Brisbane. Going in I didn't really know what to expect, except that it was done barefoot (sign me up!) but I'm so glad I went! 

The best way I can describe it is simply freedom of movement to beautiful music. The teacher guides you through the moves but there is really no strict focus on technique other than to let your body just feel the music and to do what feels right, exploring all of the motions that are available to you. I felt a little self-conscious initially but I honestly had a smile on my face the entire time and soon enough felt very relaxed and free. 


This is me doing some Nia inspired moves on the balcony of the gorgeous place we are currently house-sitting!
As someone who loves music and whole body movement, I have often thought about looking for a local dance studio, but since I really have no dance training (and not always the best coordination) I was always a bit intimidated by it. Nia was such a perfect choice for me to express myself physically, without any rules, while getting in some fantastic whole body movement. There's no judgement, no pressure, and even though I'm sure I went the wrong direction multiple times, I just felt beautiful and caught up in the music. 

From a Pelvic Health perspective, it also fantastic way to practice an increased awareness of your body and lots of great pelvic mobility. Nia is low impact, and completely allows you to move at your own pace - no one is pushing you to work harder, lift heavier, or force that stretch further. In the particular class I attended, the existing mirrors in the room are actually covered to aid in keep you from placing judgement on yourself or how you look. Instead you are encouraged to really feel all of the sensations in your body, focusing on all the positives - like not having an itchy face, or pain in your eyeball, or NO TOOTHACHE (how great is that feeling!) - without ignoring messages of discomfort that your body is sending you.

To help me explain the principles of Nia, I contacted the teacher, Mandi Cavallaro, to ask a few questions: 

Sami: Thanks for such a fun class Mandi! Can you tell me a little bit what Nia is all about? 

Mandi: Nia is a movement and lifestyle practice grounded in body-centred awareness. Classes are often described as a “feel-good, dance like no one’s watching” experience that leave you feeling uplifted and alive in your own body! The classes are a unique mix of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts. They blend music and movement with mindfulness and joy.  

Nia has a holistic approach to wellness - classes are a rich experience for the whole body, engaging everything from the larger muscles of the body to the details of the feet and fingers.

Classes are a unique blend of both Form and Freedom. Each Nia class is crafted using 52 foundational moves that provide whole body conditioning in harmony with the bodies natural design and function. This foundational form is combined with the element of freedom to explore the movement in your own body & to express yourself uniquely!

S: Cool. So how did you personally get into Nia? 

M: I had been teaching and participating in traditional fitness classes and I was riddled with injuries and health issues! I started looking for a movement class that was designed to be more sustainable and nourishing rather than punishing on the body. With Nia, rather than the "no pain no gain" mantra of hard core fitness, I was invited to deepen my body awareness and move by tapping into body sensations. Rather than just copying an instructor and spending more time “in my busy head” I was actually grounded in my BODY! 

While I had looked “fit” by our cultural standards, I was actually not “healthy” and I didn’t have a healthy relationship with my own body emotionally.  Nia has been, and continues to be, a healing practice in many ways for me: both physically and emotionally. 




S: Can anybody do a Nia class? 

M: Absolutely! Nia welcomes all ages, all body shapes and sizes, all levels of movement experience - come as you are!  Nia is a very welcoming practice.

S: And finally, can you do Nia while pregnant? 

M: Yes! I danced and taught Nia classes throughout my third pregnancy, right up until a week or so before giving birth. The movements are all adaptable & scalable. Everybody is invited to listen to their own body and make movement choices that work for them. In any given class there may be a wide range of people working with different considerations, from pregnancy, postpartum, injury, limited range of motion in their joints, low energy and endurance levels, mood disorders, chemotherapy treatments, etc. Nia is about coming home to your own body and feeling empowered to make choices about the ways we move in our own skin. 

Of course, as per the general recommendations for beginning any new movement program: we encourage you to touch base with your health provider/pregnancy care provider before beginning any new program and also touch base with your teacher to inform them of any health considerations, including current or recent pregnancy.





In this busy modern world we live in, we don't often get to just play. Going to a Nia class is like giving yourself permission play for an hour and to move in whichever way feels good. I'd encourage anyone to give it a go!


For more info, please feel free to visit: 

Nia Australia website www.NiaAustralia.com.au 
Mandi Cavallaro classes @ Windsor, Brisbane

Nia Now website www.NiaNow.com


And here is a gratuitous photo of one of the dogs we are puppy-sitting!
Check out our new blog and website at www.bodyandbirthphysio.com 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Hello Brisbane!


WOW time flies! It has been a crazy year and I have been rather slack on the blogging front so I thought I'd give a quick update on what I've been up to over the last few months. 

This Pelvic Health Physio has said a farewell (for now) to Canada and a big HELLO AGAIN to Brisbane, Australia!!


My hubby and I taking the CityCat tour of Brisbane


Between May and August, my Canadian work visa ran out, I wrote (and am still writing) a book, I sold most of my worldly possessions, got married (yay!), packed my life into a few suitcases, moved to Australia, popped over to Bali for a honeymoon, and am now settling back into Brisbane life with my new husband.

So if you or anyone you know is in the Brisbane area, feel free to drop me an email info@bodyandbirthphysio.com or pop in and visit to say 'hi' or chat anything Pelvic Health Physio or Restorative Exercise! You can also visit my new website: www.bodyandbirthphysio.com 

Before I sign off, however, I do want to say a HUGE Thanks to everyone who was part of my Physio and RES life in Calgary - all of my colleagues at LifeMark and Lakeview, especially my mentor, Sonja Bray, and Body & Birth partner, Julie Banack (who just had her first baby, woo!!), as well as each and every person that came to be treated by me and participated in my classes. 

You inspire me. Thank you.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Osteoporosis is NOT inevitable, but IS Reversible!

Thanks to the American Recall Centre for this fact sheet!
Recently I have been asked by the American Recall Centre to write about Osteoporosis in order to help increase awareness about this all too common condition. While not directly a pelvic health-related topic, it is something I am very passionate about and you can't have health of one without the other! 

The current statistics show that 1 in 2 women over the age of 50, and 1 in 4 men will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis, with 25% of hip fractures resulting in death within 6 months. Thats HUGE! And devastatingly unnecessary as there is so much that you can do to prevent, and even REVERSE osteoporotic changes. 



What is Osteoporosis?

Bone, despite how most of us imagine it, is not solid, rather it is made up of millions of cells that form a strong matrix able to withstand substantial forces. The words osteo (bone) and porosis (porous) refers to the condition characterised by a decrease in (or loss of) the density of this cellular matrix, and when seen up close looks more like the picture on the right, instead of healthy bone on the left: 
(Image from www.beyondspine.com)
This means that the bones become more brittle, and are now much more susceptible to breaks (fractures) with small impacts or falls. 


Bone cells (like every other cell in your body) respond to LOAD, and are constantly regenerating via a process called Osteogenesis, in which involves bone building cells called osteoblasts and bone removing/eating cells called osteoclasts. The greater and more frequent the load, the more dense the bones become. 

Adults generally reach their peak bone mineral density (BMD) in their early 20s. This means that whatever your density is at that stage of your life, you can never have more than that, although the total density can decrease if the rate of bone removal is slower than the rate of bone building, leading to Osteoporosis (OP). 


*Scary Fact* 
Osteoporosis is starting to become prevalent in otherwise healthy adolescents due to the lack of whole-body movement of children during their developing years! These are prime years for bone building and if this window is missed, it can never be made up. Prevention and education has to start with the kids.

The interesting thing is, osteoporosis is not a systemic (whole body) disease - meaning that it can occur in some areas of the body, but not others (even within the same bone!). Therefore, it is not just your diet that affects the density of your bones, but also how (and how much) you use your body that determines how much your bones regenerate. The most common sites affected are: 

  • Ribs
  • Wrists
  • Vertebrae
  • Neck of the femur (hip)
The most accurate way of determining your bone mineral density and what sites are affected is via a DEXA scan as ordered by your doctor. 

So what can you do about it?

Osteoporosis is not necessarily a condition of ageing, rather a condition of underuse which simply becomes more evident over a longer period of time. The great news is that you can spot-treat osteoporosis. Even if you have some bone loss already, it is possible to regain and maintain your bone mineral density by providing appropriate input and load to the bones (1).

Bone cells grow in response to load (think compression). On planet earth, we are subject to compressive loads 100% of the time thanks to gravity. (This is why when astronauts spend extended periods of time in space without gravity, their bone density decreases dramatically! (2))

Start with checking your Alignment!


Because gravity is VERTICAL, the way that we stand, sit and move has a direct impact on how our bones experience that compressive load. 

For example, sitting like this: 
Poor sitting posture

Will provide much less compressive load to the vertebrae (spine) in the neck and back, as compared to this: 

Improved sitting posture
Where the vertebrae are all stacking on top of each other, the weight of the head and upper vertebrae are now able to provide more compression to the lower vertebrae.

Similarly, your standing alignment will affect the load bearing of your vertebrae and femur (hip joint). Standing like this: 
Optimal standing alignment
will provide much more direct vertical compressive load to the vertebrae and femurs than this:

Poor standing alignment
(or this candid shot of my husband)
Don't try this at home folks
where the head and pelvis are much further out in front of the heels and the femur is now on a diagonal, no longer vertical to receive the compressive load and maintain the bone density of the hip joint.


Best Exercise for Osteoporosis

Weight bearing exercise is the best for increasing the load to the bones and subsequent bone building. Unfortunately this means that cycling and swimming do not help with reducing or preventing osteoporosis.

The best bone building exercise for your spine and hips is walking! (Read more about how much I love walking here). Even though running involves more impact and G forces, these forces don't directly translate to loading at the hip and vertebrae as a lot of the shock is absorbed with bent knees, hips and ankles.

Please don't become another osteoporosis statistic. Start by using these two simple tips to optimise your bone mineral density right now! by fixing your alignment and walking - walk to the shops, to the post office, to work if you can, or just for fun!




(1) For more info, please see Katy Bowman's blog post (5 things you (probably) didn't know about Osteoporosis) or her book Move Your DNA - I particularly love her explanation of mechanotransduction on p.38!
(2) Also, feel free to check out this old (2001) but interesting link about weightlessness induced osteoporosis in astronauts Space Bones 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Problem with Kegels

"Kegel" is the term used in North America for a pelvic floor contraction, named after gynaecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel (I hadn't heard the term before I moved to Canada!) and they are often taught (world-wide) as a strengthening exercise pre and post natally, or for anybody who has a pelvic floor-related problem. Performing isolated Kegels (pelvic floor contractions) can be helpful in the short term, especially early postpartum (eg. within the first 48hrs) to improve the control and awareness of the muscle. However, when performed by already hypertonic muscles, Kegels can lead to an even tighter pelvic floor and cause more serious problems to occur throughout the body.


Most people with pelvic floor issues are not simply suffering from muscle weakness, but rather from a tightness or shortening of the pelvic floor muscles (See Too Long, Too Short or Just Right? for more info)Most often, the muscles need to be released and trained to relax first, prior to any strengthening. 

Simply having a strong pelvic floor contraction does not necessarily mean that the muscles are functioning appropriately. I have many patients who are able to produce a very strong pelvic floor contraction yet still experience urinary leaking, prolapse, lack of sexual orgasm, or pelvic pain. The ability of the pelvic floor muscles to perform their desired roles depends on the tensegrity of the entire web and function of all of the surrounding structures, especially the gluteals, diaphragm, and core abdominals.

Another difficulty with practicing Kegels is that it is often hard to know if you are doing the exercise correctly since it is not easy to see movement created by the muscles and most of us have limited awareness of how the muscles contract. A literature review published in 2010 showed that pelvic floor exercise programs were much more effective when they consulted a pelvic health physiotherapist or continence nurse to learn how to perform the exercises, compared to learning the exercises from a pamphlet[1]. Without proper instruction, it is sometimes hard to tell if you are doing the exercises correctly and some women are actually doing more harm than good – creating pressure and bearing downwards on the pelvic organs and muscles.

How do the Pelvic Floor Muscles Work?

The pelvic floor muscles contract (and lift) in response to loads placed upon them in order to support the weight of your pelvic organs, close openings and allow for healthy sexual function. The degree of pelvic floor muscle contraction is dependant on your position and how you are moving. Since gravity (as far as we know) is vertical, whenever you are upright, these muscles are constantly working and responding to the loads above them. 


This diagram shows how gravity acts vertically on the muscles of the pelvic floor. The picture on the left is what I was trying to draw and yes the muscles should attach higher up anteriorly. Sorry! Pretty close though.. amiright? ;)

Ideally, this is how the muscles should react to gravity to help support the weight of the pelvic organs and perform their various functions. 

If you are carrying a weight, walking or squatting, then the pelvic floor is working at a higher level than if you are simply sitting, or lying down. Therefore, doing isolated contractions to strengthen your pelvic floor may be too much, and at the same time, not enough. You may be generating too much tension in the (already tight) pelvic floor muscles compared the loads being placed on them. Additionally, as a primarily sedentary culture, we do not allow the pelvic floor muscles the opportunity to experience a variety of loads (in a range of different positions) throughout the day, every day.

The Pelvic Floor and your Butt

The smooth functioning of the pelvic floor muscles depends on the health of all of the surrounding muscles and tissues, particularly those of the gluteals, i.e. your butt. One of the functions of the gluteus maximus is to stabilise the sacrum, pulling it back and out. This action provides a stable anchor point for the pelvic floor muscles to work from, allowing for the best functional leverage as the muscles become taut in order to support the pelvic organs and close various openings. If the gluteal muscles are not working appropriately when the pelvic floor muscles contract, the result becomes net movement of the tailbone towards the pubic bone, resulting in a much less effective action of the pelvic floor. 


This is my very sophisticated attempt at showing how the gluteal muscles help to stabilize the sacrum by pulling backwards while the pelvic floor is contracting, with a net result of a functional pelvic floor action against gravity. This happens when you are upright and moving, especially when you are squatting and walking - if you are using your butt. (This is an ideal situation!)


And how, in the absence of the butt contraction/stabilisation, the sacrum will be pulled forward as the pelvic floor muscles contract (as seen when doing Kegels if you are lying down or sitting). This results in a less functional contraction with decreased support against gravity and suboptimal control of the bladder and bowel. (Not an ideal situation)

Over time, the pelvic floor muscles can become shorter (adapting to the most frequented shape of the pelvis) causing the sacrum to rest even closer toward the front of the pubic bone and resulting in a more narrow pelvic outlet - not so great for birthing mechanics! When this becomes the default position of the sacrum, the muscles are not longer able to contract as effectively. Similarly, the mobility of the spine and pelvis is decreased, inhibiting the action of the gluteals, and pressures within the abdominal and pelvic areas are no longer able to be maintained.

In summary, Kegel contractions can be helpful to bring your awareness to the muscles and to learn how to control them. However, repetitive Kegel contractions every day for the rest of your life are not necessary to maintain functional pelvic floor strength. Rather, these muscles (and your whole body) must to first be restored to their correct length and tension and will be functionally strengthened via a variety of movement every day. So go get moving! 

For more detailed info about pelvic floors, how to use your butt and more, visit Katy Bowman's blog www.katysays.com or read her amazing book "Move Your DNA".






[1] Price, N., Dawood, R. & Jackson, S. (2010) Pelvic Floor Exercise in Urinary Incontinence: A Systematic Literature Review', Maturitas, 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.08.004.


Friday, 19 September 2014

What's the big deal about walking?


Turns out that walking is a pretty big deal and is vital for the function of our pelvic floor muscles. Using your own two legs to get around also has unique and widespread benefits throughout the body compared to other forms of exercise such as cycling, swimming, running and even the elliptical or stair climber. 

Walking promotes:
  • Bone Mineral Density (preventing osteoporosis) by repetitively loading the bones of the lower body and spine in a vertical manner with vibrations from the heel striking the ground
  • Cardiovascular Health by recruiting every single muscle in the body from the small muscles in your feet to your core, shoulders and ribs for optimum innervation and circulation. 
  • Weight Management as your body is able to burn more fat at moderate, rather than high intensities and heart rates
  • Musculoskeletal Health with a natural frequency and loading to help nourish, rather than burn through the cartilage in the knees and hips
and of course...

  • Pelvic Health! The action of the gluteal muscles in walking helps to stabilize the sacrum, applying the appropriate amount of tension to the pelvic floor muscles. Due to the sacrum being mobile within the pelvis, this posterior pull action of the glutes is required for the pelvic floor to perform all of their required actions, including maintaining bladder and bowel control, stopping your organs from falling out, providing core stability and preparing your body for birthing (See Too Long, Too Short or Just Right). 

I am currently participating in Steptember! A fundraising campaign challenging team members to walk 10,000 steps per day for 28 days to raise money for Cerebral Palsy. Currently, most adults fall far short of the recommended 10,000 steps per day (~5-8kms per day or around 1.5hrs) with most office workers only doing 3,000 steps per day. Even more concerning are the stats about teenagers and children. According to the Active Health Kids Canada's 2013 report card, Canadian teens aged 15 - 17 walk just an average of 11 minutes per day! 

After first putting on my pedometer and scoffing, "I'm up and about all day, 10,000 steps is going to be easy!" I got quite a rude awakening when over the course of a full work day, I was only at 4,000 steps and had to catch up by going for a long walk and doing multiple laps of the house. Definitely an eye opening and valuable experience. 


However, not all walking is equal


Here are a few ways to make your walking even better: 

1. Get off the Treadmill
Many of the benefits of walking are gained by the posterior (backwards) push off, which can only be achieved by walking on solid ground, not on a treadmill. Treadmills reinforce a hip flexion pattern(rather than glute and hamstring driven extension) as the ground is moving beneath you, instead of your own muscles propelling you forward.


2. Gradually transition to minimal shoes or bare-feet where able  
The human body was not designed to wear shoes. There, I said it. Not just because I've never liked shoes anyway, but because it is true. Everything that you put on your feet throughout the day will affect your gait (walking) pattern and subsequent health outcomes. 
  1. Thicker soles limit your foot's ability to adapt to and sense different surfaces, keeping the 33 joints largely static and many muscles relatively inactive. 
  2. Shoes with a positive heel (anything higher at the back than it is at the front) create excessive misaligned load on the joints of the foot, knee and spine, as well as decrease your ability to heel strike and push off posteriorly. 
Spot the differences!

3. Get out of the house
There is a quite a difference in the quality of walking while puttering around the house  compared to going out specifically for a walk or using your legs instead of your car to get somewhere. Walking outdoors also gives your eyes a break from the limited distances they can see indoors (most frequently between computer screen distance and at max 10m). As with all muscles, the ones that allow your eyes to focus at far distances are a use-it-or-lose-it kind of deal. 


4. Try different Terrain
Most of us have become conditioned by walking on flat, smooth ground eg. inside houses and buildings, even outdoors on sidewalks. Walking on natural terrain allows your body to experience different surfaces (think grass, snow, sand, pebbles, dirt, logs) and varying slopes (not just straight up and down, but also along the side of a hill), recruiting your butt and the muscles in your feet even more. 


If you haven't been much of a walker, be sure to gradually increase your distances to prevent injury, starting at 15min walks daily and adding another 10 or 15mins per week or as able. A great goal would be 45-60min of walking daily but remember that this doesn't have to be all in one go. 

Here are a few snaps of my one hour walk to work today, contributing 7000 steps to my daily goal! Feeling pretty lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the word :)





*If you would like more info about Steptember and Cerebral Palsy, please visit www.steptember.ca

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Post-Natal Pelvic Care and Return to Exercise


Congratulations on your new baby and welcome to a whole new world that revolves around that one tiny bundle of joy! In the wonderful mayhem of new motherhood, it can be easy to forget about you and the amazing feat that your body recently performed. 

In the interest of your immediate and longterm pelvic health, here are some helpful tips for after you've had your baby:

Early Post-Natal 0 - 10 days
  • Rest and get sleep when your baby does!
  • Cooling ice to perineum can help with healing and discomfort. This should be used with layer of cloth between skin and cold for a maximum of 10-12mins on and at least 20mins off before re-applying. (You can also use a wet pad that has been put in the fridge/freezer).
  • Gentle pelvic floor contractions can help decrease perineal swelling. These do not have to be super-strong and are safe to do even if you have stitches. Even if you don’t initially feel the contraction, still try to visualise the muscles working. Ensure you ask focus on relaxing the muscles and not clenching the bum or abdomen.
  • Start walking as you are able, gradually increasing time or distance eg. 5mins – 10mins at a time, even if it is just around house to start with.

Continuing post natal weeks 0-6 and onwards
  • Try to avoid lifting anything heavier than your new baby - this allows you to gradually increase the weight as your body recovers
  • Aim to return to good bladder and bowel habits as soon as possible by minimizing straining and constipation. Abdominal massage can help to improve digestion and motility if you are feeling bloated or having difficulty with bowel movements - this is also great to do for your baby!
  • It is highly recommended to avoid high impact activities such as running, jogging or jumping early post-natal. There is no set time to return to these activities, rather it is important to allow the muscles to return to full function. Additionally, the ligaments around your pelvis and internal organs are still more stretchy than usual and will continue to be so whilst you are breastfeeding.
  • There is no need to do crunches or sit-ups to tone your stomach. Ever. This actually creates large amount of increased pressure in the intra-abdominal space which can either push down on your pelvic organs (think prolapse) or push out into the abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis). The repetitive flexion can also cause the spinal discs to bulge out backwards and push on to your spinal cord and nerves. 
  • Gradually increase your walking distance to 5-8kms over the course of a day (doesn't have to be all at once). 
  • Practice holding your baby with your arms, rather than just resting on your hip/rib. Try holding centrally with two hands or on your side with one arm, alternating sides frequently. This is a great way build up your upper body and core strength. 
  • Try some of these stretches to reverse some of the tightness that comes with baby-feeding postures 
Opening the Windows (a)
Opening the Windows (b)

Thoracic Stretch on ball or chair
  • A specific post-natal core strengthening exercise class can also be great to ease back into your pre baby routine. Look for something that is low-impact and either run by a Physiotherapist or Restorative Exercise Specialist (RES) eg. PhysioFit 
  • With any exercise, particularly 'core' or resistance training, keep an eye on your abdomen - if you see any outward movement or bulging, this is an indication that your deep core and pelvic floor are not functioning efficiently and can be causing more harm than good. See if you can take the exercise down a level or see your Physio/RES to help you safely return to your previous level of activity. 
Finally, if you notice any of the below symptoms, a visit to your nearest Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is warranted for a prompt assessment. 

Post-Natally – What is Normal or Not?
  1. A feeling of heaviness in the vagina or noticing anything protruding can indicate a possible prolapse. This may be more evident after lots of walking and lifting.
  2. Traction or trauma to nerves and muscles during childbirth can lead to loss of or changes in sensation. This should gradually improve as swelling decreases and nerves and muscles heal. This can take a few months (or longer) to improve.
  3. Ongoing pain with intercourse. If you continue to notice a burning sensation, tightness, or any deeper discomfort with intercourse, this is not normal and can be treated.
  4. Leaking of urine or decreased bladder and bowel control is definitely not a normal part of life after having a baby, or even part of aging.
  5. Increased urinary frequency - as soon as possible, try to get back into the habit of voiding every 2 ½ to 4 hours and only once or not at all during the night, even though you may be waking up for your baby. This includes ‘just in case’ visits.
  6. Abdominal separation - Rectus Diastasis can be seen as bulging between the muscles of the 6-pack abs and can be tested with your fingers.
  7. Ongoing abdominal, back or pelvic pain, including pain radiating down the leg(s). 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Restorative Exercise Specialist



Exciting news! About a year ago, I discovered something that has now changed the way that I treat and educate my patients, as well as the way that I personally move and live. 

Having seen with my own eyes the increase in young women (including teenagers) with pelvic health issues, as well as reading the literature and worrying statistics about the rapid increase of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), I became very interested in the "Why". Why does it seem to be more common in Westernised cultures (regardless of access to some of the best health care systems in the world), why is something as natural as childbirth so difficult, and why are we seeing PFD in younger and younger populations. 

Katy Bowman's awesome blog and her early work with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction got me hooked and helped open my eyes to the bigger picture of the human body and its environment. For a long time, treatment for pelvic floor issues (such as incontinence, prolapse and preparing for childbirth) has revolved around simply strengthening weak pelvic floor muscles or releasing tight pelvic floor muscles. However we now know very clearly that the pelvic floor muscles are just one part of your human machine and as such, the optimal function of these muscles depends on the function of every other muscle in the body; from the local support system of the gluteal and hip musculature to the curves of your spine, tightness in your calf, hamstrings and psoas, the amount of foot 'schmear' and control of the arches in your feet, and the way that you use your body throughout your daily life.

Conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, depression, pelvic floor dysfunction and things as common as back pain can all be considered Diseases of Captivity. Just like animals in zoos, we are no longer required to traverse long distances every week in search of food, squat several times a day to bathroom, clamber over varying terrain or use our arms to pull ourselves up and over things for survival. Instead, we rely on repetitive and often high intensity exercise programs to get our daily movement in. Over a decade or several, this lack of natural movement leads to maladaptive changes throughout the body leaving most of us dependent on medication or surgery to survive (think pain killers, blood pressure medication, c-sections and joint replacements to name a few). While I am grateful for medicine and its advancements, I would much prefer to thrive under my own nourishing movement rather than just get by. 

Katy Bowman and the Restorative Exercise Institute are dedicated to teaching the biomechanics of natural movement to optimize the function of the human body. This includes education, exercises and practical ways to incorporate more natural movement into your daily life.

In June I attended a week long course in Torrington, Connecticut with this amazing group of people to complete my certification and begin my journey as a Restorative Exercise Specialist!




I'm very excited to now be sharing information on broader topics of health and the human body, still with a passion for pelvic health but also with a renewed interest in all things Alignment.