Using Nature and Qigong to Heal Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: An Alternative Approach
By Dr. Lisa Tabrizi, ND
Pelvic floor dysfunction is a relatively common concern in adults and leads to various symptoms that can make life difficult. Symptoms can include constipation, urinary frequency, painful urination, urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, and chronic pelvic pain. Through a career in Naturopathic Medicine, I have found a few alternative approaches to help and guide patients towards improvement of their symptoms. The following shares with you some of my experience and approaches to pelvic floor dysfunction.
A Cyclical Process
People who experience pelvic floor dysfunction can often have anxiety and may find trouble coping with stress in their daily lives. This can be a chicken and egg scenario; one can exacerbate the other, and it can be challenging to differentiate which came first. Stress and anxiety lead to mental tension, which leads to physical tension, that then contributes to tightening of the pelvic floor. Once it reaches a critical point, pain ensues. If the pain becomes chronic, it becomes an additional source of stress and anxiety and the cycle repeats itself. I have included here a figure (Figure 1.) to show how this cycle works.
Figure 1. The cycle of chronic pain and anxiety
How can we break this cycle?
The motto in my clinical practice as a naturopathic doctor is “Simply Healthy, Simply Strong”. My observed experience in my practice has revealed that patients benefit when we work together to redevelop their connection with nature. Furthermore, when patients implement mindfulness strategies, such as Qigong (more on this later), lasting change is promoted, reducing anxiety and chronic pain. To follow is a deeper discussion of nature and Qigong, and how these work in tandem to help break the cycle of chronic pain and anxiety presented above.
When we immerse ourselves in the outdoors, we have opportunities for our heart rates to slow down, our muscles to relax, and our breathing to deepen. The nature of the outdoors to bring about these effects is due to the inherent human connection that our natural world has with our “way of being”. An outdoor experience relaxes the diaphragms in our jaw, below our lungs, and in the pelvic floor. Abdominal (also called diaphragmatic) breathing activates the Vagus nerve – the most crucial nerve in our body to promote relaxation and ease tension. This will reduce both pain and anxiety.
The outdoors can also organically give us opportunities where we need to problem solve and overcome obstacles, which builds resiliency. Increased confidence and developing a sense of capacity of what we can manage is a positive outcome of resilience building. This improves our mindset and outlook which decreases anxiety and stress.
We can also use practices such as Qigong (pronounced chee gong) to decrease pain and anxiety.
Qigong is a wonderful form of mindful movements that have a meditative quality. The postures combine visualization, deep breathing, and graceful movements to promote a sense of peace and well-being. The postures are easy to learn and have been used for over 2000 years to maintain health, restore emotional capacities, and reduce pain.
Would you like to learn how to get more deeply engaged with nature?
Are you interested in learning Qigong movements?
Would you like to reduce chronic pain?
Would you like to reduce chronic stress and anxiety?
Join me for a virtual workshop series “Restore Your Shine” and learn mindfulness strategies and Qigong. Using nature as the symbolic backdrop to your experience, you will gain a deeper connection with the outdoors so that you can better manage your own pain and anxiety. Through this, you can better be a light in your personal life and the world around you.
Use coupon code PELVIC$20 to save $20 off the enrolment fee. Register by Feb 4th and save $100 with the early bird rate for a total savings of $120!
Learn more and register here!