What is Holistic Pelvic Care?
Holistic Pelvic Care™ is a gentle form of internal pelvic floor bodywork and intra-vaginal massage that was pioneered by Tami Kent, a Portland-based women’s health physical therapist. HPC™ is similar to traditional physical therapy in that it addresses the physical aspects of pelvic floor imbalance, but it brings with it a deeper understanding of health and balance at the root of a woman's equilibrium: her pelvis.
The pelvis, or "womb-space" is an energetically and emotionally receptive core area of our bodies, as women. Not only do we hold our own personal stories here, we hold the stories of our sisters, our mothers, and our cultural and ancestral heritage from women before us. To enter into the "womb-space" and invite a healing intention is to heal not only your own personal story, but also everyone who came before you. In doing this, you are also clearing your "womb-space" for all those you gestate and birth in your own lifetime.
From a physical standpoint, just as other major muscles of the body can become tightened, stressed and imbalanced from overwork, so too can the internal muscles of the pelvic bowl become imbalanced from illness, stress, or trauma (either your own, or something you are carrying that belongs to someone else). As we restore balance in the muscles you will also experience shifts in hormones, blood and lymph flow, and most commonly, emotions. In order for a woman to truly be in balance, all aspects- physical, emotional, and spiritual- must also be in balance. As traditional cultures tell us, and as my patients affirm- when our uterus is in proper alignment within our bodies, so is our entire being in alignment with Spirit.
Holistic Pelvic Care™ incorporates restorative massage, breath-work, and intuitive listening to help you shift your pelvis physically and energetically.
Who can benefit from Holistic Pelvic Care™?
Any woman who is looking to reestablish health and balance within, or a connection to her pelvic bowl, or is simply seeking to nurture her female body in a holistic way, may benefit from one or more treatment sessions. However, specific concerns that may be aided by Holistic Pelvic Care™ include (but are not limited to):
- Painful sexual activity, intercourse, or sexual dysfunction
- Myofascial Pelvic Pain Syndrome
- Urinary leakage or incontinence
- Organ prolapse
- Chronic bladder or vaginal infections
- Rectocele/ cystocele
- Fertility support and pregnancy preparation
- Postpartum complaints and recovery, including c-section births, vaginal tearing, and episiotomy
- Healing after miscarriage, pregnancy loss or abortion
- Pelvic congestion
- Menstrual pain and endometriosis
- Menopausal complaints
- History of pelvic trauma or abuse
Holistic Pelvic Care™ also brings women back in touch with their deepest emotions, desires, cravings, and creative awareness. In Tami Kent's words: "Working with core balance and pelvic energy flow can assist you in times of transition, accessing your joy, deepening your relationship to the feminine, and enhancing your overall creative vitality."
What can I expect from treatment?
The first appointment is generally the longest: 45 minutes of treatment, plus pre-treatment information gathering. During this conversation a brief history will be taken where we will discuss your goals for treatment. This is also the time where we will discuss any questions or concerns you may have and review female anatomy and muscles. We will move on to some basic external work and then, if you are comfortable, we will move on to internal work. The internal work is manual therapy performed by your provider using a lubricated, gloved digit in the vaginal canal. From here, she will assess the musculature and connective tissue. Exercise and gentle massage techniques will then be applied for the duration of the treatment session. People have widely varying experiences of the sensations of massage and tissue release. Your experience depends upon your own personal history and the goals you have for your treatment sessions.
Follow-up sessions are generally shorter (30-45 minutes) once the initial goals have been established. You are welcome to add time to your appointment for additional Naturopathic medical care if you desire a very well rounded approach to resolving your health concerns.
How many treatments will be prescribed?
Generally, you can expect anywhere from 1-6 sessions depending on you and your practitioner’s treatment goals.
How can I prepare for a treatment?
Once you schedule your appointment you will receive an intake form to fill out prior to your office visit. This form often gets people into a more reflective state with regards to their health history. Aside from this, many people like to have a light or empty schedule in the hours or remainder of the day after the treatment, so try to clear your schedule and allow yourself some time to rest and enjoy the after effects of your treatment.
Can treatments be performed while I am menstruating? Or pregnant?
Holistic Pelvic Care™ can be performed during your period. In fact, it can be a great time to have a treatment as your body will be behaving differently than at another times of the month, and we can get some good information during the session. Holistic Pelvic Care™ cannot be performed during pregnancy, so if you would like to be pregnant and would also like to receive treatments, try to get them scheduled before conception occurs.
I am already seeing an ND, do I have to switch to you in order to receive these treatments?
No, you do not have to change your primary or naturopathic care physician to receive HPC treatments. I work with a lot of patients solely for the purpose of pelvic floor care. This work can be stand-alone, or I can integrate it into a naturopathic or Chinese medicine treatment plan of my own design or another practitioner.