The Functional Pelvis
Email: email@example.com, Ph. (917) 601-1299, Website: www.functionalpelvis.com
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I first learned about Pelvic Floor Therapy in 2002. Pelvic health is not often openly talked about, but we all know a mother, sister, or friend who has dealt with pelvic floor issues. Fast forward years later, after graduating from NYU in Occupational Therapy, I had my first child and started to experience complications from tearing during child birth. Sex became painful, I started leaking urine, and my insides felt like jelly. If someone asked me to squeeze my abs, I didn’t know if I was squeezing them or my butt!
After my own experiences, I started delving more into the world of pelvic floor therapy and chose to specialize in it. I had a great OB, but, honestly, we didn’t discuss all these post-partum complications. Which is surprising, given how common the issues are (64% of pregnant women suffer from incontinence and 1 in 3 still have it after giving birth). I had resources and strategies that I could use, but for most women, they are left to their own devices and aren’t given clear guidance that these things are normal and that there are very functional strategies you can put in place to not have to deal with these issues for the rest of your life.
Being a new mom, I had first-hand experience that carving out time, finding a babysitter, and going crosstown to an appointment wasn’t the most convenient. That’s why I built The Functional Pelvis around a concierge, house-call model.
Another reason a house call model spoke to me is because it makes sense to put my client at ease by meeting them where they are the most comfortable. Of course it’s convenient and more private, but I can also assess their true habits so much better by observing them in their favorite chair, or watching them get up and down from their favorite chair. Also, since we are in their environment, I use their babies changing table, crib, etc. as real time props to address and improve their body mechanics.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
My focus is on education. I spend 60-90 minutes with my clients so that we have that time to really process and internalize the optimal movement strategies that we address in our sessions. I want my clients to truly understand their bodies and how their core works (likely a conversation they haven’t had before!) so that whatever exercise class they attend, however heavy their stroller is, they are using their body correctly so that they use everyday movements (even picking up toys from the floor!) as a chance to restore the deepest part of their core. If someone just attends therapy the way they attend (and enjoy) a massage, they may not be internalizing strategies to move better (and restore their core) in all scenarios throughout their day and this is how she will get better the fastest.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I was meant to do this work and my clients feel this passion through their results.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
After they share with me their challenges and we discuss how the muscles influence them (such as peeing every hour, leaking with exercise, or inability to orgasm), they feel such relief in talking with someone who actually gets their problem and explains it to them practically. Doctors are phenomenal at catching UTIs, yeast infections, and other medical complications, but when it comes to the pelvic floor muscles, they don’t receive much education on how influential they are on our quality of life. I often explain that at a women’s 6-week postpartum check-up, most docs look at their perineum to ensure its healed, and the cervix to make sure its closed. What I care about is the 14 muscles in between the perineum and the cervix that have a remarkable impact on our quality of life, such as our ability to eliminate without complications and enjoy sex again.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Discussing poop, pee, and sex all day. HA! No really, these bodily functions are things we take for granted and don’t really discuss with someone how we can do them better. In our sessions, we discuss how many times a healthy bladder should pee a day (6-8x in 24 hours!), the “proper” way to poop, how orgasms can feel amazing, and how to truly connect back to your core. The functions all fall under the role of the pelvic floor and core muscles. If we do these things optimally, this is a no brainer way to care for our muscles multiple times a day and not just during that 45 min trip the gym a few times a week.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
The Cloisters Museum uptown. In the center of it, there is this lovely garden with a café. If I can sneak away, I love to read here.
How do you benefit mamas?
I teach them to TRULY understand their internal muscles. I spend time hearing their birth story, helping them understand how their pelvic floor is a stabilizing and postural muscle. It reduces their post-partum pain and they feel much more confident in the daily activities we took for granted before being mothers.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
That I helped her understand her body better. That she can internalize why posture matters now and that she uses everyday activities (feeding/holding the baby, picking them out of the crib, etc.) as an opportunity to connect to her core. She also experienced painful sex after the birth of her first baby and after not being able to truly enjoy sex in over a year, she finally could enjoy this part of her life again. I call this the ultimate in body literacy and something she appreciates now and again when she experiences menopause – the next great hormonal shift in a woman’s life and where pelvic health again really matters.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Alden Moore- a doula at the fabulous Doula Collective
Dr. Worth and Dr. Mussalli at Village OB
Kristen Leonard and Barri Malek – homebirth midwives
Katinka Locascio at Earth + Sky Healing Arts
Ashley Brichner – Childbirth Educator
Solange Ross (manhattan) (Complete Core By Solange) and Irene Donohue Fitness (Brooklyn) – fitness trainers who truly understand the pelvic floor. Solange is actually a pelvic floor therapist as well.
Anne Heckheimer – Prenatal Massage
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
I have two favorites: “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better,” and “the best do the basics better.” I like the first because if we aren’t learning and challenging ourselves, then we aren’t growing. The second really speaks to me because in my line of work, while the symptoms tend to be very complicated, the solutions tend to rely on ensuring the fundamentals and basics are handled very well.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
The power of intentionality and the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve personally found that we get so overwhelmed with multiple priorities and different things to juggle that we try to do it all at the expense of doing each well. I try to be very intentional and pick a priority, then work without distraction for 25 min, and then take a 5 min break. I’ve found I feel more accomplished on that item and it’s easier to then put it down and move onto the next thing.