My Journey in Healing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Hi, my name is Donna Brooks. I had a prolapse issue that worsened after each of my two pregnancies and menopause.
With over 35 years of experience in body work and yoga therapy, I usually feel confident that I can overcome any physical ailments that come my way. But this one was a challenge!
At first, I treated this the way most women do. I sought advice and treatment from medical professionals, my midwife, and a physical therapist. Each one with a different plan for treatment; hormone cream, Kegels, avoid heavy lifting. None of it helped. My symptoms worsened day by day.
It was time to get serious. I called on all my resources and treated myself as a client. Finally, my symptoms stopped getting worse… then I started to get better. Then, every day, things got better. Not completely better, but able-to-enjoy-life-again better. I was able to reclaim my life and my sense of femininity.
How do you help pelvic floor issues holistically?
I offer holistic pelvic floor therapy in Easthampton, MA or online worldwide via Zoom.
For pelvic floor therapy, I employ various techniques, inspired by a combination of powerful and effective traditional and modern healing arts. Guided by my experience and your needs, we choose the best tools for where you are right now
Healing begins when you understand that pelvic floor problems are not restricted to this one part of your body. General body tension, emotional stress, how your engage with life, how you walk, stand, or sit, or having flexible joints can all worsen your pelvic floor condition. We look at your body and mind holistically… You as a whole person.
When treated with the respect and nurturing it needs, your pelvic floor becomes resilient and you gain emotional strength.
With holistic pelvic floor therapy I am present with you in a transparent, compassionate, and vital way as you discover:
- How to recondition your pelvic floor and prevent or slow lower organ prolapse.
- How to correct common movements that aggravate your pelvic floor problems.
- Ways to identify and receive habits of stress that make pelvic problems worse.
- True chest and pelvic diaphragmatic breathing that build support in muscles, ligaments, hips and sacrum
- Principles of hypopressive breathing so you can strengthen your pelvic floor from the tissue above.
- Whole-body movement integration to improve your posture and reduce stress..
- The stabilizing force of your tail bone in your pelvic floor
- Pelvic floor improvement through the relationships between your jaw, your feet, your head and your pelvic floor.
- Connective tissue support for your organs.
"After working with hundreds of women with pelvic floor dysfunction, I now think of the pelvic floor as a metaphor for the resilience of women.
Even if it feels like you have tried everything, with the right tools, you CAN affect your body and mind and live fully once again."
- Donna Brooks
How is this different from other pelvic floor therapy courses?
Many pelvic floor therapy courses focus on Kegels and strength, but this is not the whole story. If you look at the pelvic floor in isolation to the rest of your body, there is a limit to how much you can achieve. Nothing in the body works in isolation. I offer a whole body-mind approach.
I offer a whole body, whole mind course of action. What is happening to your pelvic floor is not independent of your posture, gait, and stress, so it is important that you address your pelvic floor as part of a whole.
I look at how you walk, how you breathe and how you move. We look at how your body and mind work and rebuild the foundations.
My approach also addresses your autonomic nervous system.You may have noticed that stress makes your symptoms worse! This is because your muscles actually grip your body for intense physical action when you stress. You can reprogram your brain so meet life with more ease and this alone will help relieve symptoms.
What is possible in this format is far greater than any focus on strength alone. I look forward to working with you. This is very sensitive work, I know, but we can talk about pain, incontinence, aging, sex, hormonal shifts, movement restrictions and fear in a safe and non-judgmental way.
Also, many people are not doing Kegels in the right way; some may need to avoid Kegels altogether.
Read what students have had to say:
“I love Donna. She explains well. She’s non judgmental and she gives ideas on how to move no matter what one’s limitations are.”
"I feel so much more empowered in helping my situation.”
“Donna's emphasis on how the pelvic floor is related to the movement of the whole body and integrated with breathing and overall ease of being as a game changer”
“Donna offers a well of knowledge and ability to teach from her heart.”
Frequently Asked Questions
It can be - it depends. If you are unsure, please contact me to discuss your specific situation. Then, if we decide I am a good fit, you can check with your doctor before we proceed.
Yes! I teach experiential anatomy and exercises that support your abdominals and pelvic floor structures. I teach expectant mothers about the muscles for proper posture, hip flexion, and how to avoid bearing down on the pelvic floor.
Physical therapy comprises a variety of techniques but mainly focuses on building strength in the area affected. Somatic Movement and Yoga therapy take a holistic approach, teaching you how to move, breathe and incorporate whole body/mind integration as a pathway to recovery.
My approach helps my clients move and breathe to engage the senses, teaching the body to move in a supportive way, and reducing the pressure on your problem areas. In doing so, weaker muscles may be engaged, but chronic areas of tension will also experience release… it’s like a whole system reset.
With pelvic floor dysfunction, it is natural to think that the pelvic floor is the problem. But often the cause of the problem is another part of the body altogether! For example; the effects of long term poor posture.
Somatic movement and therapeutic yoga can also help relieve chronic stress or the flight-or-fight response which commonly contributes to pelvic floor dysfunction.
“Somatic Movement Therapy” also known as “Embodiment Therapy” allows you to access wisdom stored in the body by freeing the body from stress, trauma, constraints and habitual tensions. These tensions are often created by adverse experiences, physical injuries, trauma, illness, grief, cultural and personal habits and even developmental stages that you may have skipped as a baby.
Embodiment therapy involves making intentional, gentle movements while focusing on the internal experience of the movement. This process unifies your body and mind and attunes you to your physical, emotional and mental needs.
Embodiment therapy relieves habitual and long-held blockages and constrictions, creating clarity and helping you make better choices about your well-being.
You will experience being alive, aware and present in your body. A way to think of it is… Embodiment is to the body what meditation is to the mind.
Many things can cause pelvic floor issues, including heavy lifting, straining during childbirth, bowel movements or chronic cough, weight gain, lifelong poor posture or pelvic sagging that comes with age.
Also, from trauma such as episiotomies and tears from birthing that do not heal well.
I work with women who suffer from a range of symptoms including, but not limited to: incontinence, faecal constipation, rectal pain, pelvic spasms, diastasis, heaviness, and/or painful intercourse.
The pelvic floor should support your ability to move between strength and flexibility, boundaries and openness, effort, and relaxation.
For example: if you spend a lot of time clenching due to stress, you inhibit your breath and nervous system, which literally puts pressure on your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is very emotional.
If we have concerns about aging, prolapse, episiotomies, many times we have a sense of feeling damaged as a woman. My approach to pelvic floor healing is with kindness, allowing the inherent feminine resilience.
With pelvic floor therapy, how you approach the exercises can be as important as the exercises themselves. It is not about pushing through; it is an opportunity to let go and be present.