Blair Fillingham, Founder of MTRNL, the world’s first online prenatal and postnatal yoga studio, shares her experience with a few less common wellness therapies. Whether you are planning on getting pregnant, expecting a baby soon, in your postpartum phase or had your babies years ago, give your body the gift of these three wellness therapies in 2018.
1. Maya Abdominal Massage I first experienced Maya Abdominal Massage when I was looking for ways to heal my cesarean scar. I had done all of the work to heal it superficially – using castor oil heat packs, and all kinds of creams – but I still experienced pain in the deep scar tissue underneath. Not only pain, but it was lumpy. I learned that massaging the scar tissue could help to “break it up” and help it smooth things out.
What I didn’t know about this therapy, is that it is more commonly used to help women with fertility and pregnancy than with postpartum health. According to the book Rainforest Home Remedies, Mayan remedies can help with menopause, migraines, painful menstruation, infertility and even help correct a prolapsed or tipped uterus.
So, what it is exactly?
While you relax on a massage bed, a Maya Abdominal certified masseuse will gently massage the tissues surrounding the uterus. They will apply very specific techniques learned from Dr. Rosita Arvigo, who learned from Don Elijo Panti, who is considered “the last Maya master healer in Belize” by the New York Times.
I loved every moment of my massage (and after three years you can barely tell I ever had a scar.) It was gentle, simple, and allowed me to really focus my energy on my womb for an hour – which helped me to remember how incredible our bodies are.
Photo by Shutterstock
2. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy I didn’t realize there were physical therapists that specialized in pelvic floor health until a pregnant friend of mine referred me to her therapist. This was after I had two babies – so I was disappointed that I missed out on this amazing therapy during my pregnancies.
But I decided I could benefit from going to see her, because I was experiencing discomfort during sex. I wanted her help to get my lady parts back into their ‘pre-baby’ condition (when sex was not uncomfortable!)
The thing that struck me about this experience was how incredibly gentle, comfortable, warm and feminine it was. It was a stark contrast to my experiences at the OBGYN – which often felt cold, clinical and often painful. My vagina was very relieved!
This therapy can help with everything from incontinence, to painful intercourse – and can even help “condition” your lady parts for giving birth. I highly recommend finding a pelvic floor PT before you get pregnant, or early in your pregnancy, to get an evaluation and personalized guidance on how to prepare your pelvic floor for pregnancy in a way that will serve you through birth to menopause and beyond.
3. Hypno Therapy Every week I hear of more and more scientific evidence proving how connected our mind and body is. It is something that I learned through my yoga practice, and experienced for myself, but it is cool to see research that proves it.
My perception of hypnotherapy was based on what I had seen on stage over the years. I listened to a few ‘hypno birth’ podcasts when I became pregnant, but quickly dismissed them as way to woo-woo and, frankly, boring.
Alas, I then witnessed a friend have an unmedicated birth without ANY pain. She was practicing a method of hypnotherapy created for women in labor. It worked. It was incredible! (For anyone thinking that she was just someone who had a high pain threshold – keep in mind that she learnt this technique AFTER having an incredibly painful birth experience with her first baby.)
I was able to experience deep hypnosis during my second labor too. Something magical happens to your perception of pain when your mind is focused on something that feels good. We practice this regularly in the prenatal yoga classes I teach so that mamas-to-be can experience it for themselves.
Here’s to trying new things in 2018! Enjoy, and let me know how you go or if you need a referral to someone near you who is certified to practice these therapies.
Blair created MTRNL.COM, an online prenatal/postnatal yoga studio, because she believes that the health and vitality of mothers is crucial to the future of our planet. MTRNL yoga classes bring women from around the world together to feel strong and supported as they journey into pregnancy and through motherhood. Blair became a certified prenatal yoga teacher and yoga teacher after 17 years working for companies including Microsoft, Xbox, Nokia, Intel and Samsung. She lives with her two daughters and her high school sweetheart on 5 acres overlooking Mt Rainier, in Carnation, Washington.