WHAT TYPE(S) OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE OR WELLNESS HAVE YOU STUDIED AND WHAT DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?
Yoga, yoga therapy, integrative nutrition health coach. I help with menopausal women with debilitating, chronic pelvic pain break free from their pain and limitations and reignite their confidence, joy, and relationships
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU. WHAT’S YOUR BACKSTORY, AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO HOLISTIC WELLNESS?
I‘d suffered chronic pelvic pain since beginning menopause at age 50. I started experiencing stinging, burning, and itching, plus pressure in the vulvar area. Over the next ten years, I tried everything to get rid of the pain.
As a yoga teacher, I turned to my practice for help. I went to my GYN, who didn’t know what was going on. She prescribed medications for infections, bio-identical hormones to reverse some of the tissue thinning effects of menopause, and even anti-depressants which sometimes work for chronic pain.
I went to a psychologist who specialized in biofeedback for my pelvic floor and a pelvic physical therapist who worked internally to relax chronic tension in my pelvic floor. I tried anti-inflammatory diets and elimination diets. Nothing worked.
I researched my symptoms and decided I had vulvodynia. I was extremely frustrated and in constant pain; sex with my husband had become impossible, and my relationship with him was very tense as he didn’t believe my condition was physical but took it personally, thinking I was no longer attracted to him.
I couldn’t wear jeans or tight-fitting pants. Sitting was highly uncomfortable. My whole life became focused on the pain and how to get rid of the pain. I felt anxious, sad, self-conscious, and ashamed, as if there was something wrong with me.
I had trouble sleeping. I had lost the joy in my life. Four years after going on bio-identical hormones (which didn’t help my symptoms), I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy.
I was able to go through this with patience and compassion for myself. My hair fell out, and I felt like an alien, different from everyone else. I was still experiencing chronic pelvic pain.
During this time, I did a restorative yoga practice daily to help me rest, relax and restore. The oncologist put me on an estrogen-blocking drug for five years. After 2 ½ years, I herniated a disc at L5-S1. The pain was excruciating.
As a yoga teacher for 20 years, I tried everything I knew to heal my back with no success. The first pivotal moment was a psychological shift.
I was driving to town in pain, and a song about happiness came on the radio. I realized I’d be in a dark negative place for too long, a house of pain. I decided at that moment that even if I had this pain for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t let it rob me of my natural joy and happiness.
A friend introduced me to a yoga therapist training teachers how to teach her low back program. I enrolled and slowly began to heal my back. Her style of yoga was completely different from mine. I signed up for her 3-year yoga therapist training program, where I learned many different tools for health and healing.
The second pivotal moment was about three years ago. I’d been diligently practicing therapeutically for my low back and pelvis. A significant component was breathing functionally. I had a light bulb moment. I wasn’t experiencing chronic pelvic pain (vulvodynia) anymore.
The change had come on so gradually I hadn’t noticed. I felt more relaxed, was sleeping better, and my sexual relations with my husband had improved. I could wear tight pants and sit comfortably.
In hindsight, I could see that all the work I’d done with my own yoga practice had gradually eased my pain.
WHAT’S YOUR PREFERRED STYLE OF WORK?
I am a teacher and a therapist. I work online, creating customized healing programs for women with chronic pelvic pain, anxiety, and stress.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR WORK?
That I can help women get rid of their chronic pelvic pain and limitations in 90 days.
WHERE DO YOU GET MOST OF YOUR HEALTH INFO FROM (OUTSIDE OF YOUR TRADITIONAL STUDY). ARE THERE ANY PODCASTS YOU LOVE, BOOKS YOU’D RECOMMEND, OR NEWSLETTERS YOU ENJOY GETTING?
WHERE DO YOU MEET MOST OF YOUR CLIENTS?
In everyday situations like going to the grocery store, yoga classes, online forums, referrals from health care practitioners.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO A NEW HOLISTIC PRACTITIONER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Practice what you preach. You can’t teach what you don’t experience and know.