Jewelry Blog

Breast and Pelvic Health

Write By: Valentin Rosca on

 

Don’t go on a search-and-destroy mission when you touch your breasts, or tell your daughters or granddaughters to do so. Instead, you might think of your breasts as “heart pillows” that are nourished by the energy field of your loving heart. When you touch them, do so with love. Give them a good massage from nipple to heart to lymph nodes under the arm. Affirm their ability to be healthy. Breasts represent nourishment and the deep bonds love can create. They also represent the abundance of the Earth Mother, who always supports us and brings forth life and the foods we need for our bodies to thrive. Even if you weren’t breast-fed or never used your breasts to feed a baby, your breasts carry the energy of love and nourishment. If you’ve cut yourself off from love, been betrayed, or withheld affection out of fear, these emotional experiences may affect the energy centre of the heart, which affects the functioning of the cells and tissues in the breast. There’s a story I tell in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom that bears repeating here. I once had a patient who came to see me with two large fluid-filled cysts in her left breast that had manifested virtually overnight. When I asked her what was going on in her life in the areas of nurturing and receiving, she told me that her youngest daughter, her “baby,” had just left home for college. Two days before that, her beloved 24-year-old cat had died.

 

The night before the cysts appeared, she dreamed that she was nursing her infant daughter—the one who had just gone off to college. When I aspirated the fluid from her breasts, we were both astounded that it was milk! Clearly, her body had something to say about her need to nurture and in turn be nurtured after those two big losses. It was from this patient that I learned that what we call the “milk of human kindness” is more than a mere metaphor. Her body had literally manifested it. To support ourselves and healthy breasts, we need new outlets for our nurturance. At the same time, we have to understand that loving involves reciprocity. If you give too much to others without nourishing yourself, or don’t allow yourself to trust others and receive their love, you’re likely to have an energetic blockage in your heart chakra—the energy centre in your chest that’s connected with your entire body’s energy field and powerfully affects your breast health. A blockage in energy can lead to a physical manifestation if it remains there long enough. Healthy breasts are breasts that are loved. Women have been taught to feel shame or embarrassment about their breasts. Often, the message is that to have power, you need to have big, bold, firm breasts that will attract men. 

 

If you’re considering breast implants, that may be the right decision for you, but be informed about the downsides. Forty percent of women who get implants lose nipple sensation, and nipple sensation is a very important part of sexuality for most women. Also, if you don’t regularly massage them, implants often become encapsulated in scar tissue that makes the breasts feel quite hard. The newer implants are not at risk for rupture and feel far more natural, but they are still foreign objects right above your heart that might be barriers to the loving energy of another. Breast implants also render a woman 18 times more likely to develop a rare form of breast cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  Most women, however, are very happy with their implants, and there is no shame in getting them. Every culture has had its favorited adornments to enhance beauty from time immemorial, whether it’s tribal tattoos, rings around the neck to elongate it, or breast implants. You get to decide what makes you feel beautiful and desirable and then make a decision about whether to take action and change your body. Regardless of their size or shape, here are some ways to love and appreciate your breasts.

 

Breast Cancer Screening

woman-holding-babyRegular mammograms are considered the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer, but it’s important to know the truth about mammograms and breast health. First, there’s little to no evidence that getting a yearly mammogram starting at age 40 saves lives. This is why, back in 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published new guidelines, recommending less frequent mammograms for breast cancer screening.  While its previous guidelines had called for screenings every one to two years, starting at age 40, the USPSTF’s new guidelines call for screening every other year for women ages 50 to 74. The American Cancer Society did not update its recommendations in response, so despite the USPSTF’s findings, most women still follow the American Cancer Society’s older guidelines and get a mammogram annually, beginning at age 40. Second, screening mammography is not benign. In a ground-breaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Gilbert Welch, M.D., a renowned medical authority on the risks of cancer screening, pointed out that routine mammography screening over the last 30 years has resulted in 1.3 million women being diagnosed with “cancer” because their mammograms picked up ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Terms such as “cancer” and “precancerous condition” drive women and doctors to be overly aggressive in reacting to the presence of DCIS.

 

The problem is that once you find DCIS—especially with the newer high-resolution mammography that can pick up very early instances—there’s tremendous pressure to do something about it. Thankfully, a working group of the National Cancer Institute has recommended that DCIS should be renamed so that patients are less frightened and less likely to seek unneeded and potentially harmful treatments that can include the removal of the breast. We don’t need to be so aggressive about finding these IDLE conditions and addressing them because very often, the body simply heals itself. The data support this, which is why, in the spring of 2014, the Swiss Medical Board recommended abolishing all new mammography screening programs on the grounds that they do more harm than good. I realize this may be shocking to you, but it’s important to look closely at the newest information and not make decisions based on old information and scare tactics. It has been very easy to sell mammography to women over the years because so many have been led to believe that early diagnosis via mammography saves lives. This was indeed the hope of many when mammography was first introduced. Unfortunately, like the use of Premarin and Provera in the Women’s Health Initiative study to prevent heart disease, that hope simply hasn’t lived up to its initial promise. Despite this, surveys still show that up to 70 percent of women believe that mammography saves lives. In fact, it’s better breast cancer treatments—not early diagnoses from mammograms—that are saving more lives than ever. It’s time for women to make truly informed decisions about mammograms and the harm that can ensue from using them routinely. You can’t be truly informed as long as you continue to believe these two things: one, that your breasts require constant surveillance to remain healthy, and two, that the benefits of mammographic screening outweigh the risks.

 

Recently, a woman asked my advice about continuing to get mammograms, which her ob/gyn was pressuring her about. She had developed micro calcifications along the milk duct in her right breast ten years previously after a rough year of taking care of others and neglecting herself (symbolically, the right side is the “giving” side of the body). A biopsy showed that the micro calcifications were benign, and they didn’t increase for another five years or so. Then a screening mammogram she had during another particularly stressful year of caretaking for others showed that a few more micro calcifications had appeared. She refused a biopsy, which would have cost her thousands of dollars out of pocket, but agreed to more mammograms in the future to keep an eye on the condition. In the meantime, in a couple of deep meditation sessions, she noticed a dark, heavy spot in the energy field above her right breast and imagined drawing in pure love and exhaling it into that spot until she felt it dissolve. A session with an energy healer, who picked up on inflammation in that breast before the woman mentioned any medical conditions, further allowed her to influence the energy field that was affecting the cells. The next mammogram showed one new micro calcification, and in subsequent years, no more appeared. After ten years of worrying about her breast, being pressured to do more invasive, expensive tests that would put more radiation in her body, she decided she had had enough and was seeking my advice on whether she ought to say no to more screenings. She told me her heart, her head, and her instincts told her to continue the practice of loving her body and her breasts and being aware of any breast changes that she could detect. So far, she’s had none. I told her that she should listen to her inner healer on this decision. Now that is an ageless  Smart woman approach to loving and caring for the breasts!

 

Better Breast Care

woman-grabbing-her-hairThere’s a better way to screen for breast health. Unlike mammography, which involves exposing the chest and breasts to radiation, thermography detects heat in the breast tissue that may be due to cellular inflammation. It is a functional test: the results change as blood flow to your tissues changes. In essence, you’re seeing potential problems long before they become actual diagnosable disease. You can respond to inflammation in the breast by taking action to improve your breast health and doing another thermogram three months later to see if the inflammation has reversed. If you have dense breasts, a mammogram may show a problem where there is none simply because it’s harder to get a clear mammogram picture of dense breast tissue, which is not the case with thermography. Thermograms are also completely comfortable since they do not involve breast compression of any kind. There are more than 40 years of research studies and more than 800 peer-reviewed studies supporting breast thermography. Using thermography can help you and your health care practitioner be proactive in improving breast health long before a problem in the breasts occurs. Of course, the very best approach is to work with someone who understands both mammography and thermography and knows the limitations and benefits of both technologies. One of the best resources for this is Dr. Tom Hudson, who is board certified in both radiology and thermography. He helps women all over the world interpret their results and has written an excellent book on the subject called Journey to Hope: Leaving the Fear of Breast Cancer Behind (Brush and Quill, 2011). Paying attention to your breasts and caring for them is important—whether or not you have a history of breast cancer in your life or in your family. But please note that only 2 percent of all breast cancers involve an inherited gene mutation such as the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 (the first has a higher risk than the second). Mutations of both of those genes are associated with ovarian cancer too. That said, if you have a strong history of breast or ovarian cancer but test negative for gene mutations associated with breast cancer, the family history may be a bigger indicator of your breast cancer risk than the gene is. Our families’ emotional legacies may be a factor in this discrepancy.

 

First, the number 87 sounds frightening, because it is so large and so specific. A little research shows that the number is based on old estimates that have been disputed by the National Institutes of Health. In fact, a 1997 study showed the risk of breast cancer for variations on the BRCA1 gene to be closer to 56 percent, and only 16 percent for ovarian cancer. Also, the original figures of 84 to 87 percent at the highest were based on studies of women who had both the gene variations and a family history of breast or ovarian cancer over two generations, not just one. Furthermore, we have no idea how many women in the original research had low levels of vitamin D (again, adequate levels can cut breast cancer risk in half), or were regular drinkers (which raises breast cancer risk), or exercised regularly, maintained a healthy weight, got enough iodine, or ate plenty of fruits and vegetables (all of which lower risk). The more carefully you look at the research, the more you realize that you can’t simply assign a number to your risk of developing breast cancer—and you have to factor in lifestyle choices. Even if you have had breast cancer in one breast, the odds of your developing it in the other, healthy breast in the next ten years are as low as 4 to 5 percent, especially if you don’t have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Again, you really have to look carefully at the statistics to get an accurate sense of what research shows your risk is. If you’re considering genetic testing, think carefully about why you want to do so. As with any genetic testing, whether the results are negative or positive, there are no guarantees. Regardless of what your choice is, or what your results may be, the most powerful thing you can do for your breast health is to cultivate a loving relationship with them, make breast-healthy lifestyle choices, and, if you’re concerned, monitor your breast health with an attitude of self-love and self-care, not a search-and-destroy attitude.

 

There’s Always Hope: Calling in Divine Order

woman-free-sunsetThere’s nothing like illness to get your attention. The soul comes to us through our bodies. And the good news is that there’s always hope, no matter what. Anita Moorjani, author of Dying to Be Me, quite literally was pronounced dead of cancer, with lemon-size tumours throughout her body. During her near-death experience, she discovered a loving reality awaiting her. When she returned to her body, she knew that she would be well. And indeed, all of her tumours disappeared. When asked if she still sees her doctors, she said in a recent lecture that she no longer sees them because they always tell her she’s in “remission”—as though they are waiting for the cancer to return. Since she has already experienced dying, why worry? She also said she’s not afraid of getting cancer again. There is a reality beyond what our physical senses can perceive, and when we are really “up against it,” that reality becomes stronger. I came across a story on Tosha Silver’s Facebook page and was so moved by it that I contacted the poster to ask if I could share it with you here. It sums up this idea of surrendering to love and joy, not fear, very much the same as Anita Moorjani did. Here is what Annette Perez had to say about her experience with stage 4 breast cancer: I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which had already spread to the lungs, liver, kidneys, spine, and brain, and given an “expiration date” of six months. I opted not to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments as the treatments would have been extremely aggressive and at that point, I was more concerned about my quality of life versus quantity of life. At the time of the diagnosis, I felt as if I had that illness pulsating throughout my body. I was experiencing all of the typical symptoms. As I have always done in life, I immediately began working on moving out of that dark corner, or what I often referred to as “the abyss.” A month later, a friend sent me a copy of Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. I couldn’t wait to dive into it! The wisdom in those pages was exactly the spark I needed to move forward through this latest challenge. At the onset of this journey, I knew I wanted to do battle and delved into researching what I could do to help myself as I began this challenge. As I spoke to others and did my research, I became overwhelmed and found myself taking action but in a frantic, frenzied way. But as I learned how to let go and move out of the way so that the Beloved Divine could work, beautiful moments and powerful opportunities began to happen.

 

I let go and allowed the Divine to lovingly guide me as to what the next best step was for me and what action, if any, I needed to take. Information showed up for me, light was shed upon any new direction or action I needed to take, and people showed up on my path. Early on, I turned over everything to the Beloved Divine because this was just way too much for me to carry and it was not necessary that I carry it. Two months after my diagnosis, I was pain free and had energy, and all of the symptoms had vanished. I did have to undergo a mastectomy four months in, and I passed through that challenge in an extremely effortless manner. I experienced three days of pain immediately following the surgery and after that—nothing. I had bottles of prescribed pain medication that went untouched as it was not needed. After I surpassed my six-month “expiration date,” I continue to feel amazing, experiencing no symptoms of the illness, and have been able to get busy living! The oncologist and surgeon are amazed at my progress and beyond baffled that I am even able to get around. Most important, I am experiencing such peace, a peace that I have searched for all of my life and did not find, nor truly experience, until now. I continue to do well, long past my “expiration date.” Now those are words of wisdom and inspiration!

 

Hormones and Breast Health

As I’ve said, I believe the hormones you most need to be concerned with in midlife are your stress hormones. If you need some adjustments to your sex hormones, avoid synthetics and try plant phytoestrogens instead. But if you’re taking synthetic hormones or those made from horse urine (such as Premarin) for menopause, be aware that the research shows you’re at greater risk for breast cancer. Plant-based phytoestrogens, on the other hand, do not increase breast cancer or ovarian cancer risk. And they work beautifully for many women. For those for whom plant phytoestrogens are not effective, bioidentical hormones may be an option. Keep in mind that the Women’s Health Initiative study that gave thousands of women HRT in the form of Prempro (Premarin, which is horse urine, and Provera, which is synthetic progestin) had to be halted suddenly in 2002 when researchers discovered that menopausal women taking these hormones had higher rates of breast cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, researchers don’t always distinguish between the three types of hormone replacement—synthetic, bioidentical, and plant phytoestrogen. What’s more, many doctors and health care providers do not understand the differences. Hence, women are often needlessly scared away from the very thing that can give them relief. Thankfully, some exciting new research is finally confirming the fact that bioidentical hormones are far safer than synthetic ones. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden led by Professor Gunnar Söderqvist found that different types of HRT a woman takes and the way they are administered can have a wide range of effects on genes associated with breast cancer. Their studies of gene activity in the breasts of healthy young women found that synthetic Provera and Premarin (the kind used in the Women’s Health Initiative study) were far more likely to cause gene expression associated with cancer than bioidentical oestrogen gel applied to the skin along with oral bioidentical progesterone. This finding, presented at the World Congress on the Menopause in Cancun, Mexico, in 2014, opens the way to identify which forms of HRT have minimal effect on breast cancer risk. That is very good news.

 

The Seat of Your Creative Powers

woman-glazing-at-beachThe pelvic bowl and the muscles, connective tissue, and organs cradled in this area (uterus, ovaries, bladder, urethra, female erotic anatomy, pelvic floor muscles, and large bowel) make up the body’s creative centre. This is the place in our bodies from which all creative energy arises. Although some women will use this creative centre to give birth to babies and others will not, we all access its life-force energy to birth new ideas into new projects and create new perceptions of who we are and what we would like to contribute while we’re on the earth. The pelvic bowl is associated with the second chakra, the body’s energy centre that is governed by our relationships with money, sex, and power. If you haven’t severed your mind from your body and developed a sense of disconnection from your lower half, you’re probably aware that pleasurable thoughts, actions, and activities increase blood flow and feeling in your sex organs and pelvic bowl. Our souls come into our bodies through our hips at the back of our pelvic bowl, where the sacrum—or “sacred” bone—is located. This is the place in the body that physical therapist Tami Lynn Kent, author of Wild Feminine (Atria Books, 2011), calls the “spirit door.” Fibroids and prolonged heavy bleeding can be Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Pay attention! Are you directing your creative energy into a dead-end job or relationship? Are you abdicating responsibility for your own creative expression to something or someone else while resenting them for holding you back? What needs to be born through you?” 

 

I once heard Esther Hicks tell the story of admiring a gorgeous painting done by an artist friend. Esther asked her, “How long did it take you to paint that?” The woman answered, “Seventy-six years.” Our creative expression is like that. Each year that we walk the earth, we become more creative—if we allow ourselves to connect to this life force. And those who open themselves up to creative channels tend to live very joyful and happy lives. That’s why orchestra conductors tend to live a long time, even though they have heavy travel and rehearsal schedules. In his 80s, comedian George Burns, whose career was rejuvenated when he was in his late 70s, would tell people he had to live to be 100 because “I’m booked.” When you have a mission of living creatively, expressing yourself and your ideas to the world, when you let joy and humour flow through you, you’ll find you’re booked. (Yes, George Burns did make it to 100, in good humour and good health. And his cigar habit was one of the “pleasurable rituals” that was obviously part of his health plan!) Too often, we women repress our creative urges because we don’t trust ourselves or don’t want to bring attention to ourselves. One of the reasons our culture has such an ongoing love affair with famous actors, musicians, performers, and celebrities is that these people perform the function of being willing to get up on stage and do what so many of us don’t have the courage to do: risk failing in public and being humiliated and judged for our contribution. Celebrity women, whether they’re performers or speakers and cultural innovators, have great courage and enormous self-esteem to keep putting themselves out there year after year despite the shaming they face as women in a culture that is uncomfortable with bold, creative expression by women.

 

Believe me, they aren’t doing it for the money. It’s so easy to stand back and take pot-shots at those who are willing to play full out and get on a stage or a television screen. But it’s far healthier to, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Dare greatly.” Have the courage to live creatively from your own centre. There are times when a woman wants to honour her creative urges but is stopped in her tracks by fear. How can she spend time innovating and inventing when her retirement accounts are underfunded? The unmet callings of our spirits are often due to playing it safe and being afraid to say no to loved ones who think we should have different priorities. The only way out of this dilemma is to name your fears and then learn the skills of standing up for yourself—even when your children, spouse, or boss has other ideas about how you should spend your time and energy. Fibroids, cancers, and pain in the pelvic bowl are all indicators that you should explore your longings to live more creatively and authentically with less fear and more adventure. And much of what I’ve already discussed about cancer risk and screening applies in this area of the body as well. The pelvic bowl houses our “low heart,” if you will. Have you been raped, or felt violated to the point where your sense of security was shattered? If so, it will show up in your pelvis. The health of your pelvic organs is also related to how well you have learned to negotiate the creative energies embodied in money, sex, and power.

 

Ovaries are, quite literally, your female balls—the organs associated with your drive to go after what you want in the world. Quite often this drive has been routed through a man—or through the masculine aspects of ourselves—and pelvic disease is often the result. At the very least, you want to make sure you keep your ovaries. They are removed routinely far too often when women have hysterectomies for benign disease. Ovaries are necessary for hormone production throughout your life, and the risk of removal in terms of overall bone and brain health is far greater than the risk of ovarian cancer in the vast majority of cases. For very extensive discussions on these points, please see Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. If you’re reading this article, you have the ability to connect with your birthing field and bring in the resources and support you need to create heaven on earth for yourself. Just ask Spirit to show you exactly how to do this.

 

Pelvic Floor Muscle Tone

woman-pilatesBeing disconnected from our pelvic bowl correlates with our ignorance of our pelvic floor muscles. I’m willing to bet you weren’t taught about these muscles in health class back in school! The pelvic floor muscles involve several interconnected muscles that support the internal organs of the pelvis. Together, they’re like a trampoline or hammock that stretches from your tailbone to your pelvic bone. These muscles lose tone when they are not used properly and regularly, which is the case with most women who sit too much and almost never squat. They stop working together as they should, creating an imbalance. If the pelvic floor muscles lose too much tone, you can even experience prolapse, which is when the organs the muscles support actually fall through what is called the pelvic diaphragm. Prolapses are usually treated surgically, but it’s better to go to a women’s health physical therapist who knows how to rehabilitate your pelvic floor—or use classical Pilates training for rehabilitation. Weak pelvic floor muscles may result in stress incontinence (urine leaking upon sneezing, laughing, or moving) or urge incontinence (the feeling that you have to urinate right now or you’ll have an accident). Both these forms of incontinence can get worse over time if the root cause, a weak pelvic floor, isn’t addressed. In the U.S., urinary incontinence is a major reason older women are admitted to nursing homes, but no one wants to talk about how Mom needs help going to the toilet. About one in four women experiences stress incontinence. It’s time to put an end to the shame and secrecy and get serious about this very preventable and treatable problem that, left unchecked, is likely to lead to urinary incontinence down the road! Physicians are likely to recommend pads and adult diapers, surgery, and pharmaceutical drugs.

 

The drugs block the nerve endings that affect the muscle that keeps the bladder from releasing urine, and they are effective. But they can have side effects such as dry mouth, and they don’t address the underlying problem of low tone in the pelvic floor muscles. Why is low tone in our pelvic floor muscles so common? Our bodies are designed for continual movement and for squatting: for hundreds of thousands of years, women spent much of their time squatting as they prepared meals, cooked, gathered roots from the earth, socialized, defecated, urinated, or gave birth vaginally. But we’re always standing, sitting, or lying down, which causes our pelvic floor muscles to lose tone. The situation can worsen after childbirth or abdominal surgery such as a C-section or hysterectomy, but this risk has been overstated. Even teenagers and women who have never given birth can have low pelvic floor muscle tone. Whatever your age, you can train your muscles and bladder to feel the urge to urinate, and go, every three to four hours during the day and once, if that, at night.

 

How to Support Your Pelvic Floor

Drink plenty of water. You need to be well hydrated to be healthy, so even if you experience urge or stress incontinence, don’t make the mistake of not drinking enough water in the vain hope that this will solve the problem. The bladder actually holds 16 ounces or about two cups of liquid, so even if you’re drinking eight glasses of water a day, you shouldn’t feel the urge to pee every two hours. The bladder feels the urge to go when it doesn’t actually have to be voided because it’s confused by signals from the brain, which originate in the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles that hold the bladder closed. When you actually need to urinate, the pelvic floor muscles should signal the brain, which signals the bladder muscle to contract so that the opening to the bladder widens and urine flows out naturally. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, they will send this signal when it’s not needed, your bladder muscles will contract, and you’ll have to consciously try to prevent yourself from letting the urine flow.  Exercise your pelvic floor muscles regularly. Many women have learned how to do Kegel muscle exercises, which were invented by a gynecologist named Arnold Kegel back in the late 1940s. Dr. Kegel was on to something, but building up just one of the pelvic floor muscles is incomplete. The idea isn’t to make one muscle strong, because that allows other muscles in its muscle group to remain weak. For overall pelvic floor tone and functionality, you want to get a feel for where your pelvic floor muscles are so you can exercise all of them properly. Simply standing up 32 times per day, then sitting back down at your desk, will apply gravity to your pelvic floor. That alone will help. Another effective pelvic floor toner is to lie on your back with your knees bent and your lower back resting on the floor. Insert your middle finger into your vagina. Squeeze your vagina so that you feel pressure against your finger. Don’t tighten other muscles such as the muscles in your buttocks. Just squeeze your finger inside your vagina. Do a series of quick and long squeezes at least once a day, building to the point where you can feel a difference in the pressure against your vagina and you’re experiencing less stress incontinence or urinary urgency. 

 

Squat! Squatting supports the natural stretching and toning of all the muscles. Whenever you take a shower, squat to urinate. Squat regularly to strengthen your glutes. Understand that most pelvic floor problems are the result of misalignment, not the aging process. Check out the work of Katy Bowman, who has a wonderful series of YouTube videos available to teach you proper pelvic alignment. Relax, don’t push, when you urinate or defecate. Because we want to please other people and stick to our hectic schedules, we develop the habit of retaining our urine in our bladders until we get a chance to sit on the toilet, where we push so we can quickly get out all the urine. The pushing builds muscles that take over for weak pelvic floor muscles. Stop worrying about the next person in line for the ladies’ room and take your time! Stop the urge to pee unnecessarily. There’s a simple trick to get rid of the false urge to urinate when you feel you absolutely have to go but know you didn’t drink enough liquid to justify another trip to the toilet. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold them tight for five seconds before releasing the muscle tension. Do this five times. Then, take a couple of deep, slow breaths. The urge should have been greatly reduced. You might need to repeat this exercise to reduce the feeling that you must urinate immediately. This list is a very simplified version of how you can retrain your pelvic floor muscles. You can find more ideas and specific exercises for pelvic floor muscle health in the book The Bathroom Key by Kathryn Kassai and Kim Perelli, and use their website to find physical therapists specializing in helping women overcome incontinence and weak pelvic floor muscles. Also, I recommend authentic Pilates, which is great for developing pelvic floor muscle tone. Pilates is part of the treatment many women’s health physical therapists use for strengthening our stabilizing core muscles, which respond so well to gravity. (The core is the part of the body that would be covered by a 1940s one-piece bathing suit.) And it’s worth mentioning that all of this strengthening and toning does wonders for a pleasurable sex life.

 

Perhaps the most important piece of information you can have about your body is this: no matter what is going on in your body right now, you can always access your ability to self-heal and be healthy. Support your well-being through habits that nourish and delight you instead of habits rooted in old defence mechanisms or shame. Addictions, avoidance behaviours, and people pleasing are common behaviours that become habits for too many women who are afraid of or uncomfortable with the regular expression of difficult emotions. We can push feelings like grief, resentment, shame, and rage back so far into our subconscious that we have no idea what we are holding on to. And these emotions secrete inflammatory chemicals into our bloodstream day in and day out, which causes aging. For a  Smart woman to enjoy vibrant health, she has to learn how to grieve and rage without apology and then commit to experiencing more exalted emotions and experiences. That’s how these old, stale, and destructive energies can be released. And that is how we remain ageless, which is our birth right. 


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