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One of the tragedies of modern life is that the so-called health care system knows virtually nothing about health.

It is actually a trauma and disease care system, and with some of these conditions, particularly trauma, it does astonishingly well.

Yet, what about chronic conditions like the ones I have addressed at Whole Woman, namely pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, chronic hip or knee pain?

For these common women’s health issues, the system is worse than useless.  Their “treatments” are notoriously ineffective and unreliable, anatomically inaccurate, horribly invasive, and frequently do permanent damage to the woman’s quality of life.

How can this be?

There are three reasons for this.  And while the situation may be marginally better in countries with free national medical care, “western” medicine has become the global de facto standard, so the same problems persist around the globe.

First, western medicine evolved during the industrial revolution. 

Henry Ford’s famous comment about the available colors of his early automobiles, “Any color you want as long as it’s black” characterizes the mass production mindset that emerged from the huge productivity boom that was the industrial revolution.  

In medicine, this has translated into “standards of care”, pre-determined and defined algorithms for treatment of virtually all diseases and conditions.

We’ve had many customers visit their gynecologist some months after starting the Whole Woman work.  When the puzzled gynecologist can’t find the prolapse that was prominent just months earlier, and the woman whips my book or one of my videos out of her purse to explain why the prolapse has gone, only to have the doctor walk away saying, “I don’t want to know”,

it is a slap in the face from someone who is supposed to be caring for us.  “It wasn’t taught in medical school and therefore it doesn’t exist”, the doctor will often exclaim. Another classic response we hear is, “You never had prolapse in the first place!”

The medical system is actually a prison for doctors.  They dare not step a millimeter outside the boundaries of standards of care for fear of 

  • the derision of their peers and loss of reputation
  • loss of visiting privileges at local hospitals
  • potential massive legal liability

all of which are potentially deadly for a medical practice.

Standardized treatment protocols are a double edged sword.  On the one hand, they protect patients from creative but possibly incompetent, or worse, psychopathic practitioners.  On the other hand, standards of care profoundly inhibit the emergence of new and better treatment processes, especially if they are inexpensive and don’t involve drugs or surgery.

This inhibition is further supported by those who control what happens in medicine, the major drug and surgical device manufacturers, who largely control the medical school curriculum, and therefore the standards of care.

They also fund the bulk of medical research, which is then circulated in peer-reviewed medical journals with known and unequivocal publication bias. 

Ultimately the problem with medicine is that while it wears the trappings of science, it is practically and functionally, a business.

Consider for a moment that in the US, for every dollar that changes hands, whether it’s a cup of coffee at Starbucks or a multi-billion dollar defense contract, roughly eighteen cents of each and every dollar winds up being funneled into the medical system, either through insurance or direct payments.

What that means is the economic scale of the medical system is huge!  

The kinds of money flowing through the system profoundly impacts the culture of medicine.

For example, there was a time, not long ago, if you had a hip or knee problem, or a broken limb, it would be treated with a cast, braces, exercises, traction, massage, or a variety of effective, non-invasive techniques.  

The doctors who practiced this type of orthopedics bitterly fought (and lost) a hundred-year-long war with the doctors who wanted orthopedics to be a surgical specialty.

The surgeons won for a very simple reason.  Money.

from the Wall Street Journal

An orthopedic surgeon can treat (and be paid for) many times the number of patients an “old fashioned” orthopedist could treat.  Furthermore, hospitals spend millions of dollars building and maintaining high tech operating theaters.  These investments only earn a return when a surgeon is in there with their staff of nurses, anesthesiologists, and assistants.  

Surgeons are driven to do surgery, and they are supported and encouraged by hospitals, universities, and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Anyone who has invested a decade or so of their life, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in their education to become a surgeon in the exceedingly competitive and demanding environment of medicine, wants to do surgery.  

Who in the system is interested in simple, inexpensive methods for self-care that a women can administer herself without doctor visits or surgery?

Absolutely no one.

So we have 

  • the mass production culture of medicine, 
  • the economic interests of the drug and surgical device manufacturers who largely control how medicine gets practiced, and 
  • the economic and professional interests of the doctors themselves, who have zero interest in simple, natural healing methods.

The only conclusion we can reach is that if a woman is struggling with a chronic condition, the only help she can expect from the medical system will involve drugs and/or surgery.

I learned this the hard way when in the early 90s I was talked into a bladder suspension surgery to “fix” a very minor incontinence problem as an adjunct to a fibroid removal operation.  You probably have heard the phrase, “While I’m in there anyway…”

Imagine my horror upon discovering two weeks later that my cervix was sticking an inch and a half out of my body! And through my subsequent research that profound uterine prolapse is virtually always the inevitable result of the deeply misconceived bladder suspension I had been subjected to.  

Refusing the hysterectomy I was told was now essential, I faced a ten-years long, lonely, and painful search for a way to understand what had been done to me, and how I could naturalize my pelvis. I was blessed to find my answers, and even more blessed to share those answers with thousands of women around the world.

My point is simply this.  The medical system is best at treating acute conditions like trauma.  For chronic conditions, however, you are likely to be best served by looking elsewhere for solutions you can integrate into your self-care.

And if you need to draw on the medical system for care, never passively accept what you are told.  Doctors are notorious for virtually never explaining all the potential risks and long-term consequences of their treatments, and cannot  discuss the non-medical alternatives available at all!.

You wouldn’t stand by passively while someone hurt your children.  Why would you be any less diligent about protecting your own precious and miraculous body?

A long time friend and supporter of Whole Woman recently wrote on our forum in response to a woman considering hysterectomy,  “I was half-tempted to get “No Hyst” tattooed on my belly, lest there be any doubt about my wishes if I couldn’t speak for myself…”

Smart woman!

Only at Whole Woman will you discover anatomical truths that the medical system has concealed from women for over a century. And only at Whole Woman will you find real and anatomically accurate solutions to prolapse, incontinence, and chronic hip and knee pain.

For more information on these natural alternatives to surgery, please download my article “Why Kegels Don’t Work”?  by clicking the link below. Thank you.


Whole Woman Breathing

Whole Woman breathing is at the foundation of the Whole Woman work. 

While breathing a certain way may seem simplistic, and perhaps even irrelevant to conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse, it is in fact true that natural breathing while under the forces of gravity is what creates and maintains the pelvic organ support system. 

Conventional culture teaches that the rib cage should expand out to the sides with each in-breath. However, the lower ribs can only expand laterally when the upper abdominal wall is held in. Western women like the look of a small waist, so they cultivate a small midriff by habitually holding in their upper abdominal wall. It is not surprising therefore, that the type of breathing that supports a small waist is generally considered ‘natural’ by yoga and physical therapy. Reversal of natural breathing is the single most important factor in loss of pelvic organ support. 

 All healthy babies and young children breathe naturally. The intrinsic mechanism and movement of breathing involve the entire spine and ribcage, and therefore create the shape of the whole body. 

On the in-breath the respiratory diaphragm moves down, while the lower rib cage rotates forward. Concurrently the stomach, liver, and loops of small bowel are pushed forward against the upper abdominal wall.

With this movement of the diaphragm, the upper rib cage also rotates forward, which is completely different than the shoulder girdle lifting up and the ribs expanding sideways.  The shoulders are pulled slightly down, and the chin is drawn in and down with every breath.

If it weren’t so, the childhood midriff would be sucked in and the shoulders rounded forward.

Watching how the configuration of the female body changes as a result of chronically holding in the upper  abdominal wall, and therefore reversing natural breathing, is a fascinating study in postural degeneration. 

Subtle, yet ultimately drastic and detrimental changes occur in the alignment of the head and neck, as well as the expansion of the lower abdomen. The head is held forward of the body, the chin is lifted, and the neck assumes a less vertical orientation.

 As time goes by, the neck becomes more and more horizontal, as if reverting to its quadrupedal form. This is a problem for many systems in the body, not the least of which are the vertebral arteries at the base of the skull, which are subject to stroke from being abnormally compressed. 

Years of contracting the upper abdominal wall forces the abdominal organs down into the pelvis, which in turn pushes the pelvic organs away from their normal positions against the lower abdominal wall. 

We see this posture in yoga teachers, physical therapists, and virtually every woman in the public spotlight. Young women are admired for their tiny waists, yet it is completely lost on modern culture that cinching in the upper abdomen sets women up for many diseases later in life, including prolapse, incontinence, and chronic back, hip, and knee pain. 

Returning to natural posture begins with natural breathing, which is simply a matter of allowing the midriff to come fully forward on the in-breath, and fall passively back on the out-breath.

By supporting natural breathing with Whole Woman posture, we begin to move the abdominal and pelvic organs toward their natural positions, which is the only reasonable response to these very common conditions of civilization.


A New Model of Female Urinary Incontinence

The functional anatomy and physiology of the female urinary continence system remains inaccurately modeled by urology and gynecology, the medical practices that treat the condition of urinary incontinence.

Urologists and gynecologists have looked at the problem of urinary incontinence through an exceedingly narrow lens, and onto a diamond-shaped set of muscles called the “pelvic floor.”

This field of vision arises when a woman is placed on her back in the lithotomy position, on either an exam or operating table, with knees bent and feet held in high stirrups.

From this perspective Dr. Arnold Kegel devised his theory of pelvic floor strengthening in the treatment of urinary incontinence, by way of simplistic and conceptually flawed exercises known as kegels. It is also the position women are placed in for incontinence surgeries, all of which are associated with negative long-term outcomes.

In reality, kegels have no bearing on the female urinary continence system, which develops over the first years of life as we learn to crawl, stand, and walk. When symptoms fail to respond to kegel therapy, women are often told they are not performing them correctly. Surgery is usually offered as a definitive cure.

If Dr. Kegel had widened his perspective to include what he had been taught in medical school about anatomy, biomechanics, and human development, perhaps he would have realized that urinary continence depends upon three essential structural alignments.

A newborn baby girl comes into the world with a straight spine and a flexion, external rotation contracture of her hip joints. In other words, her legs are bent at the hips and turned out to the side. Full external rotation of the hips is the starting point of the urinary continence system, a position in which ligaments and other soft tissues surrounding the urethra and bladder are unwound, or relaxed.

Within approximately six months she has internally rotated her hips so that her limbs are positioned underneath her body for crawling. She still has a predominately straight spine, and the diamond-shaped wall of muscle containing orifices for her urethra-bladder, vagina-uterus, and anus-rectum is at the back of her body. Internal rotation of her hip joints begins to tighten and strengthen tissues supporting her urinary continence system, including the long, strap-like muscles of her inner thighs.

When she stands up and begins walking, her pelvis does not rotate backward into a bowl shape as early anatomists believed. This 500 year-old anatomical error is the reason women are still being taught they have a muscular pelvic “floor” underneath them, supporting the pelvic organs above.

Actually, the child stands up by profoundly curving her lumbar spine. Her pelvis remains in the quadrupedal position with a wall of muscle at the back. Her pubic bones come together underneath her like straps of a saddle forming a strong, bony pelvic floor.

The dynamics of breathing and the force of lumbar curvature move her bladder forward against her lower abdominal wall to form a right angle with her urethra. The 90º urethra-bladder angle acts like a kink in a garden hose to control the flow of urine, while lumbar curvature winds up and tightens all the tissues of pelvic organ support. Bipedal hip alignment and lumbar curvature create a self-locking urinary continence system that lasts a lifetime.

Then why do so many women suffer from involuntary loss of urine? The answer lies in loss of full range of motion of the hip joints and flattening of the lumbar spine. These structural changes compromise the highly developed urinary continence system.

It is widely accepted by urology and gynecology that widening of the urethra-bladder angle causes symptoms of urinary incontinence. Yet, these practices never developed a model for how incontinence emerges, or how to restore the female continence system to healthy function. For over 50 years kegels have been the only conservative treatment offered by doctors and physical therapists.

When a woman lies on her back and contracts her pelvic sphincters she is actually pulling the back of her bladder toward her front vaginal wall. Ironically, her incontinence symptoms may improve, but only at the expense of even greater widening of the urethra-bladder angle. Eventually an uncomfortable bulge may appear in her vagina, known as cystocele, or pelvic organ prolapse. Cystocele is actually the posterior aspect of the urethra-bladder angle, which has ballooned further and further into the vaginal space.

All surgeries for urinary incontinence attempt to create an artificial kink, or angle, in the urethra or bladder neck. Incontinence procedures are among the most devastating of pelvic surgeries, routinely leaving women unable to completely empty their bladder. Life-long self-catheterization, urinary tract infection, and bladder pain syndrome become endemic.

At Whole Woman® we understand how the urinary continence system is restored to health. Whether a woman is experiencing loss of urine when she coughs or sneezes (stress urinary incontinence), or not being able to make it to the toilet in time (overactive bladder), revolutionary Whole Woman® techniques work to stabilize and reverse these common symptoms.

For all the years that women have been kegeling to no avail, a model of urinary incontinence based on bipedal human development has been missing from medical textbooks. That model is now available and helping women throughout the world successfully resolve the symptoms of urinary incontinence naturally.


Click the image above to view the whole article

This morning’s headline “CERVICAL CANCER KILLING WOMEN AT MUCH HIGHER RATE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT” made my blood boil. Not because the article had anything new to report, quite the contrary. The worldwide gynecologic industry has known for decades that cervical cancer is not only preventable, but the disease is highly reversible even in cases of severely dysplastic cellular transformation. I’m not referring to the extremely disfiguring chemical and surgical treatments for cervical dysplasia that remain the gold standard of medical care. Nor vaccinations that have never been proven safe or effective in the fight against the second most common female cancer worldwide.

You see, during the HIV epidemic of the 1980s a tremendous amount of research was directed at the human vagina. Researchers were astonished to find that female susceptibility to HIV seemed to be highly variable. Women would be immune to the virus sometimes, yet extremely vulnerable at others.  An American research team would go on to identify and describe a highly evolved vaginal antimicrobial defense system that was especially effective against viruses. Unfortunately, this crucial information never made its way into the public eye, but was concealed by the pharmaceutical industry in favor of the development of expensive and risky antiviral drugs.

It would be another decade before German researchers would describe the control of cervical cancer by this very same antimicrobial defense system. Yet, this invaluable research was also obscured by the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and to this day remains buried in old microbiology journals. I rediscovered this critical information, which I detailed in a public lecture given one year ago today called The Miraculous Self-Healing Vagina.

My grandmother died of cervical cancer at the young age of 39, after a decade of agonizing illness from surgery, drugs, and radiation treatments. My mother was greatly traumatized by her ghastly death, and I grew up terrified of the disease. As an adult I obediently kept my routine appointments with the gynecologist and never missed a yearly pap smear.

My discovery of the truth behind cervical cancer has forever vanquished those fears. Not only do I no longer fear for my own health, but I know my daughter and granddaughter will never succumb to cervical cancer either.

My great hope is that women the world over will hear this message.

You can find the my important lecture The Miraculous Self-Healing Vagina on video by clicking this link.



Escala Medical Device – The Pink Gadget From Hell 

Is it a nail polish dryer? The latest in hair removal? Or a sexy pink hot glue gun?

Unfortunately, this ridiculous looking device will soon be inserted deeply into the pelvic cavity of countless women to staple the vagina to the sacrospinous ligament, a new twist on an old operation fraught with risk and failure.

The device is being ushered to market using the Food and Drug Administration’s 510K process, whereby safety and efficacy studies are automatically waved based on established and equivalent procedures, in this case the sacrospinous ligament fixation (SSLF).

Developed by vaginal surgeons Nichols and Randall in 1971, until recently  SSLF has been an operation reserved exclusively for post-hysterectomy women. During SSLF a midline incision is made in the posterior vaginal wall. Blunt digital dissection is extended deeply behind the rectum and into the coccygeus muscle of the pelvic wall. Connective tissue overlying the coccygeus muscle is removed to completely expose the sacrospinous ligament. Sutures are then placed in both the ligament and top of the vagina. Since the vaginal stump is not long enough to reach both ligaments, unilateral fixation is the standard practice.

SSLF has always been associated with anatomic distortion of the vagina and rectum, chronic pain, and severe and intractable postoperative cystocele. In normal anatomy the uterus pulls the vagina toward the front of the body. As the bladder and uterus are connected at the level of the cervix, the bladder is also pulled forward into its normal position against the lower abdominal wall.

The ill-conceived SSLF pulls the vagina in the opposite direction by tethering it to the back of the body, thus pulling the bladder backward against the front vaginal wall. Sexual disability and bowel dysfunction are also well-known risk factors. The pudendal nerve, embedded between the sacrospinous and sacrotuberous ligaments, can easily be damaged by this surgery, leading to chronic pain and anal sphincter dysfunction. Not a single study in all of gynecologic or orthopedic literature describes the musculoskeletal risks of having the muscular vagina tethered to one side of the body.

Bilateral SSLF without hysterectomy has recently been described, using strips of polypropylene mesh to bridge the gap between cervix and both sacrospinous ligaments. Erosion and exposure of the mesh has been reported in up to 37.5% of subjects during short-term follow up studies*. Often sold as minimally invasive, it is nothing less than criminal malpractice to surgically tether the normally anteverted uterus to the back of the body.

Although Escala Medical states it will “Soon offer an alternative first-line solution for milder cases of prolapse and can help achieve a better outcome in more severe conditions – especially for women who aren’t good surgical candidates or don’t want surgery”, the anatomic realities of SSLF suggest this device will be used post-hysterectomy. Therefore, hysterectomy will likely be offered as part of the operation.

Many pelvic surgeons have abandoned SSLF in favor of abdominal sacrocolpopexy, which tethers the vaginal stump to the anterior ligament of the second sacral vertebra by way of a mesh bridge. A difficult operation also associated with risk and failure, at least sacrocolpopexy results in a more natural vaginal axis and therefore fewer postoperative complications.

Escala tells us, “The potential market adds up to $600 million in the United States alone, where close to 400,000 prolapse repair procedures are performed annually at a direct cost of $1.4 billion.”

It is a very dark side of human nature that pursuit of money often blinds otherwise caring and ethical human beings into the swamp of surgical opportunity and allows them to ignore the lifelong damage done to the patients, especially women.

* Senturk M Guraslan H Cakmak Y Ekin M Bilateral sacrospinous fixation without hysterectomy: 18-month follow up. Journal of the Turkish-German Gynecological Association. 16(2): 102-106 2015

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newborn pelvisThe naturally wide human foot is essential to maintaining the female pelvic organ support system throughout the lifespan of women.

We come into the world with flat feet and a totally straight spine. Our three pelvic organs, bladder, uterus, and rectum are carried high in the infant torso, and in line with their channels, the urethra, vagina, and anus.

As we begin to crawl, our pelvis is in the quadrupedal position, just like that of four-legged animals. The pelvis is positioned like a ring on its edge, with the pubic bones underneath the body like straps of a saddle.

Figure2.4 copyWhen we stand up and walk, our pelvis does not rotate backward into a “bowl” shape, but stays in the very same position it was in when we were crawling. Unlike non-human primates, who must rotate their spine and pelvis as one unit to stand upright, we humans stand up by profoundly curving our lumbar spine. This means we don’t have a soft tissue “pelvic floor” underneath the body, but rather a wall of muscle at the back.

Human females have a genetically more pronounced lumbar curvature than males. Each time we take a breath in, our respiratory diaphragm comes all the way down to our last set of ribs. In doing so, it pushes the intestines, bladder, and uterus down and forward.

By three years of age we have developed pronounced lumbar curvature, and our three pelvic organs have bent a full 90º away from their channels. Like a kink in a garden hose, these angles act as passive sphincter

mechanisms to prevent pelvic organ prolapse and urinary and fecal incontinence. Lumbar curvature is vital to keeping the pelvic organs positioned at the front of the body, and away from the pelvic outlet at the back. It also positions the center of mass of the body evenly over the  arched, symmetrical roof of the hip joint.

sideviewThe human foot arches are developing through early childhood as well, and are also a critical aspect of female pelvic organ support. The natural range of motion of the foot allows the back knee to straighten while walking. This extension lifts the tailbone, maintains lumbar curvature, and keeps the pelvic organs pushed forward against the lower belly.

When we lose the natural shape of the foot and the arches begin to flatten, the back knee does not completely straighten while we walk. In turn, lumbar curvature tends to flatten and the pelvic organs are pulled backward from the lower abdominal wall.

Over time, the bladder and uterus bulge into the front vaginal wall, and the rectum bulges into the back vaginal wall. Prolapse is not a rare occurrence, but happens in the majority of adult women throughout the modern world.

Lumbar curvature can be diminished by other means, such as sitting in soft furniture, car seats, and by chronically pulling in the abdominal wall. However, loss of the natural shape of the feet is a major contributing factor. The female pelvic organ support system is a postural system, and Whole Woman posture re-creates the natural structural alignment of the female spine and pelvis.

Although evident in young girls, ancient artwork, and women living in traditional life ways, Whole Woman posture is unique in the modern world. Yoga, Pilates, and physical therapy all teach that the abdominal wall should be pulled in, which compromises lumbar curvature and pelvic organ support.

Restoring natural posture is a head-to-toe process, which includes restoring structural support to the feet. The ways in which we restore natural foot alignment is by (1) walking in Whole Woman posture with feet pointing straight ahead, (2) going barefoot as much as possible, and wearing wide toe-box shoes, and (3) wearing Correct Toes® toe spacers.

Correct Toes® restore the wide base  of support the rest of the body depends upon to align correctly under the forces of gravity. As a result, symptoms of pelvic misalignment have a much greater chance of being stabilized and reversed.

We were proud to feature Correct Toes® at the 2016 Whole Woman Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico, and our Whole Woman Practitioners have begun to regularly suggest Correct Toes® to their clients.

Thank you, Dr. McClanahan, for helping women restore their natural posture, and reverse symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, and chronic hip pain.



Christine Kent
Whole Woman


Structural Disintegration and Dysfunctional Patterns

Has the entire world of physical and movement therapy gone mad? Instead of people moving toward a more natural sense of body awareness, ease and comfort, they continue to be led down the Path of the Hard Body – a cultural contrivance that has replaced chopping wood and carrying water with the vanity of the asphalt jungle gym.

“Biomechanics is going by the wayside” exclaims Thomas Meyers, Structural Integration therapist and author of Anatomy Trains. According to Meyers, the New Biomechanics remains loosely defined. Yet, it seems to have at its foundation the perspective that instead of the body hanging on the skeleton like a suit on a coat hanger, the skeleton floats in a bag of soft tissue. While both views are equally incomplete, at least the Old Biomechanics is based on 500 years of anatomical study about how muscles and bones operate. The New Biomechanics being espoused by manual therapists, trainers, and yoga teachers is as amorphous and mystifying as the structural disorders it attempts to describe.

Take Liz Gaggini’s pelvic Tilt and Shift, “the two positional possibilities that are important in pelvic girdle alignment and function.” Anterior Tilt means the top of the pelvis moves down and forward, while Posterior Tilt means the pelvis moves up and back. According to this arrangement Anterior Shift means the entire pelvis sags in front of the ankle line, while Posterior Shift means the pelvis is pushed out behind. Curiously, pelvic rotation is not included, which the Old Biomechanics considers to be a major cause of osteoarthritis of the hip.

Says Gaggini, “It is always the case in Structural Integration that we must deal with patterns in the whole.” Thus we have the central problem with both the Old and New Biomechanics. What, precisely, is the “whole?” What does a structurally integrated body look like? What are the moving parts and how are they integrated into the whole? The Old Biomechanics rotates the pelvis 45 degrees backward and draws a plum line from the ear down through the load-bearing joints of the body. This integration necessitates pulling the abdominal wall in and tucking the tailbone under.

The New Biomechanics gets around the issue by describing “integrated” as individualized postural patterns that can be freed from their fascial restrictions by the specialized knowledge of trained body workers. Meyers tells his proteges they must “seize the truth” of the New Biomechanics. “If we posit that tilt is the tilt of the pelvis on the femur, such that anterior tilt equals hip flexion, and posterior tilt equals hip extension, and we remember that pelvic shift is either a position anterior or posterior to the line of the ankle, then we get the four pelvic types [described by Gaggini].”

According to the Old Biomechanics, bipedal standing is called hip extension. Drawing the pelvis toward the thighs (by pushing the buttocks back), or the thighs toward the pelvis (by lifting the knees), is called hip flexion. The human pelvis is already tilted all the way forward in the standing position of hip extension. The New Biomechanics has taken the liberty of reversing established anatomic language and understanding of pelvic movement.

Devon 3-years copyEven more bizarre is the New Biomechanical description of the pelvis in early human development as Posterior Shift/Anterior Tilt. Says Meyers, “Favored by toddlers everywhere, the hips are pushed back but the pubic bone pulled down with hip flexion. Normal for a toddler (who has yet to develop balance in the psoas complex and deep lateral rotators), but if you see this pattern in the adult, one can suspect neurological deficiency or somatoemotional immaturity” [emphasis mine]  The absurdity of these remarks cannot be overstated.

A baby crawls with her pelvis in the quadrupedal position. When she stands up, she does so not by rotating her pelvis backward, but by profoundly curving her lumbar spine. Her pelvis must stay in the horizontal position to continue developing (ossifying) the symmetrical arched roof of the acetabulum, which is conserved across species.

Unlike the long, flexible human lumbar spine, the short, inflexible chimpanzee lumbar spine must rotate with the pelvis as one unit to stand upright. Why western science determined the human spine and pelvis are wired up like the non-human primate is an unfathomable mystery. The mistake has never been corrected and continues to inform both the Old and New Biomechanics.

goatgirl copy 2In no way are toddler hips “pushed back” and the pubic bones “pulled down with hip flexion.” Rather, like many other living forms she is unfolding from her center, her sacrum. At first her lumbar curve is very acute, but as she unfolds further she lengthens between chest and pelvis, keeping her head balanced over her horizontal sacral vertebrae.

Nikelle WW posture copyBy adulthood she has fully unfolded into the wide-radius lumbar curvature of natural female posture. Her abdominal wall is still held out – never in – but now the leading edge of abdominal curvature is at her midriff, between breasts and navel.

After childbirth her breasts are slightly lower and her abdominal wall slightly expanded. Due to the spiral nature of the female body, pelvic and spinal dynamics do not change from the pregnant to non-pregnant state.

Two surfers running into the sea with their surfboards

The male spine has only two wedged lumbar vertebrae (and discs), while the female has three. Wedging means the vertebrae are taller in front and shorter in back, which is what forms the curvature. Males have only two horizontal sacral vertebrae (S1-S2), while females have three (S1-S3). These differences result in less curvature in the male lumbar spine, an exceedingly important reality unrecognized by either the Old or New Biomechanics. However, males do have lumbar curvature and a forward placed abdominal wall.


A strange and destructive body-dysphoria predominates in modern exercise and therapy systems, which I believe has its roots in white male supremacy. It is probably no accident that the physical culture of male body-building coincided with European and American hunters and anthropologists bringing back photographic images of native bodies. The most obvious way to distance themselves from “savages” was to abhor the native belly.

founding fathersPrior to this, men had no problem with the abdominal wall, which was held proudly forward in natural human posture. Like all animals, the human body develops into a particular conformation while moving and breathing naturally under the forces of  gravity.

monksBuddhist monks provide another example of effortless human posture when the belly is relaxed, the chest lifted, and the chin pulled in and down.

Pilatesmummy tummy yoga momYet, by the 1930s control of the abdominal wall was the reigning paradigm in western culture and medicine. While Joseph Pilates proclaimed the value of extreme abdominal exercise, physical therapists Henry and Florence Kendall defined a 90-degree backward rotation of the pelvis as “neutral.” Today, male body-dysphoria continues to reign supreme in  yoga studios, gymnasiums, and physical  and manual therapies. The “mummy tummy” is regarded with disgust, and young mothers are resorting to extreme measures, including devastating abdominoplasty, to achieve the flattened six-pack abs idolized in body-dysphoric culture.

Excessively contracting and chronically holding in the belly has serious implications for female pelvic organ support. The urogenital triangle of the pelvic floor (where the vagina is located) is closed off in the male, so they are not subject to bladder prolapse. Rectal prolapse is another matter however, which may be more prevalent in males than females.

Male body-dysphoria is exemplified by a gut that is chronically contracted and tightly pulled in. When the abdominal wall is flexed in this way, posture 1 (1)the pelvis rotates backward and the pelvic floor becomes chronically tense. A person has no choice but to reverse natural breathing. Instead of allowing the abdominal wall to expand forward on the in-breath and passively fall back on the out-breath, the chest rises on the in-breath and the belly is pulled further in. Over time the muscles of the chest wall and shoulder girdle hypertrophy, leading to the classic barrel chest of the body-dysphoric male.
Importantly, instead of the center of mass of the body being distributed evenly over the arched roof of the acetabulum, it is now positioned over the top, front aspect of the joint, where virtually all adult-onset hip disease is known to occur.

Alarmingly, body-dysphoric males educated in the New Biomechanics are teaching doctors and therapists a distorted and unintelligible anatomy. Hip flexion, which also involves elongation of gluteus maximus, is now being called “hip extension.” While anterior displacement of the entire pelvic girdle (slouch posture) is now “hip hyperextension.”

Posture 2 (1)The deceptive and harmful practices of orthopedic surgery allowed a conceptual vacuum to be filled by alternative anatomic models based on deficient standards and partial  truths. Orthopedics claims ownership to 500 years of anatomical understanding, yet has squandered its knowledge in favor of fallacious imaging technology and reductionist surgical dogma.

Birthing large-headed offspring increased biomechanical function and unfolded the female body further into the human form. Failing to recognize this flowering, and deeming female spinal curvature pathologic, is at the foundation of male body-dysphoria. The New Biomechanics describes natural female proportions as “anterior tilt” and “hip flexion”, when in fact the ability to extend through the hip and knee by fully extending the pelvis and lumbar spine is uniquely and essentially human. The male-dysphoric body has lost its ability to double extend, and is held chronically in hip flexion,  as evidenced by an anterior shift of the head and torso. The resulting shortening and thickening of the iliopsoas tendon is a precursor to degenerative hip disease.

36. golden mean copyIt is a profound truth that humans are horizontal creatures from the hips down and vertical from the waist up. The female of our species has expanded the human design further into the proportions of the Fibonacci spiral. The same Golden Proportion found in sunflowers, galaxies, and inherently registered as beauty by the human eye.

Thomas Meyers also tells us agriculture is dying and that, “We’re not all going back to live on an organic farm and work hard.” Perhaps he is unaware of the current trend in young, physically fit, and happy urban farmers doing precisely that. Meyers asks, “What does a child need to know to make it on this planet in terms of their physical movement?”

Here  is my short list:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Beware of male body-dysphoria, which pervades modern culture
  • Ignore the New Biomechanics
  • Perfect your handstand
  • Plant a garden
  • Trust in the natural design of the human body

Have you heard about the newest vaginal exercise craze? Meet Kim (click here) who lifts weights, surfboards, and bunches of bananas with her pelvic floor muscles.

Vaginal Weightlifting

Vaginal Weightlifting

If you find yourself gasping in horror, rest assured you have good instincts. Yet, consider what a stunning example this is of the marvelous design of the female body! How do you suppose Kim is able to keep the surfboard lifted? Is the pelvic floor really that strong?

I bet you guessed it, especially in light of our recent observations about Judith Aston’s body. What a perfect contrast! While Judith chronically holds her midriff in, leading to all sorts of weakness and malalignment, Kim’s midriff is naturally held out, which sends intraabdominal pressure through her torso in a natural way. She is a Whole Woman goddess!

She is also a performer who has no clue that holding her vagina open with a jade egg is inviting internal pressures to push surrounding organs into her vaginal space. In normal anatomy, when the pelvis is weight loaded from above, the vagina is a closed, airless space. Kim is holding the surfboard, not by squeezing a circular contraction (kegel), but by expanding her lumbar curvature, puffing out her midriff, and closing her pelvic diaphragm side-to-side with such force that she can lift the board. Long muscles are strong muscles. What a miraculous design!

However, it appears that Kim does not always keep natural posture while lifting, and therefore may be unaware of the mechanics of her self-locking vagina. She is young and the natural dynamics of childhood have been largely preserved, which has served her well. There are limits however, and  we do not know what level of bruising and tissue damage is being sustained.


Pelvic Nutation

In promoting her tricks, Kim gives no explanation about what a “strong” pelvic floor actually is. Conventional wisdom tells us it is a contraction rather than an elongation, but trust your WW eyes! When her abdominal wall is lengthened, her pelvic wall is equally lengthened. Vaginal nutation is occurring, where the back vaginal wall clamps sharply down against the front vaginal wall.

The egg is wedged over her horizontal pubic bones, which are acting like a pulley to change the force vector from vertical to a right angle. This is the only way the mechanics can work! More than anything, Kim gives us an exquisite example of the strength of the circular bony pelvis! She is also proof of the pelvic wall’s amazing ability to manage tremendous internal pressures. It can only do this through stiffening. The body walls stiffen by expanding, not contracting.

As far as vaginal kung fu is concerned, because in certain positions her pelvic wall is not closing completely, she’s having to supplement side-to-side closure with a circular contraction. Some level of vaginismus may be the result. Strong enough to break a penis? Who knows?


Judith Aston, Kegels, and the “Pelvic Floor”

I have been asked once again for my commentary, this time on a pelvic floor exercise created by Judith Aston, dancer turned movement expert and exercise coach. (http://www.astonkinetics.com/blog) My response is that the exercise is nothing but a glorified kegel, and her basic concepts mainstream. Judith has a lovely, lithe dancer’s body, but from the Whole Woman perspective her posture and movement concepts are very conventional and, shall we say, superficial. By that I mean she uses phrases like “helps with alignment of the trunk” instead of helping us understand exactly how and why.

She seems to understand that a contracted belly is not good for prolapse, yet it is so interesting to watch how she simply denies she is doing exactly that. As she raises her head and knees, and tilts her pelvis back, she is certainly contracting her abdominal wall – in plain sight! In order for the pelvis to tilt backward, the abdominal wall must pull it back by contracting. She can pat her tummy and tell us, “See, I’m keeping my belly soft”, because her skin has loosened with the backward rotation of her pelvis. However, her muscles are tight. This is simple biomechanics, yet people like Aston keep the mystique going by literally fooling us with doublespeak.

The digging in with her fingertips and lifting her bladder will have no effect on prolapse. Our bipedal body develops while moving under the forces of gravity. Importantly, the prolapsed bladder must move forward, not up. This is the danger of coming from a conventional framework. Not surprisingly, her body reveals the very structural problems that lead to  prolapse and incontinence.

Judith has spent her whole life cultivating a small ‘inner corset’ at her midriff. She often wears wide belts just under her breasts. When that area is chronically pulled in, you have no choice but to become a chest breather, which is the opposite of natural breathing. Now, with every in-breath intraabdominal pressure is pushing the pelvic organs toward the outlet instead of pinning them into position at the  front of the body.

JudithAston2I call the stomach and liver “postural organs”.  Where do you suppose her abdominal organs, which have been squeezed out of their positions in her midriff area, have gone?

Hint: Look how large and rounded her lower belly is.

This is a classic prolapse case, which we see time and again. Pelvic organ prolapse is not just about the pelvic organs. In many cases the abdominal organs have been pushed down, and in turn have pushed the pelvic organs back from the lower abdominal wall. I would be very surprised if she weren’t symptomatic.

The midriff cannot chronically be held in without developing kyphosis (curvature in the upper back) over time. Judith has staved it off for a long time through all her lengthening work, but you can see that her head is starting to fall in front of her body, which will continue as she ages.

Aston is very beautiful, charismatic, and has some good ideas. It is unfortunate however, that she is teaching women about pelvic health.


Barton A Serrao C Thompson J Briffa K Transabdominal ultrasound to assess pelvic floor muscle performance during abdominal curl in exercising women. International Urogynecology Journal 26: 1789-1795 2015

A student from my Whole Woman Practitioner Training course recently sent me the above study for my observations and commentary. Of course there were the usual omissions and misconceptions of poorly designed studies that fill volumes in the urogynecology literature.


Figure 1

For example, childbearing (parity) was found to be the only risk factor for stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which 60% of subjects reported as being problematic. Yet, episiotomy was not considered to be a variable, even though midline episiotomy is a known risk factor in the development of SUI, and 75% of subjects with SUI were parous. Additional omissions included hysterectomy, c-section, incontinence procedures, and vaginal surgeries. Far more disturbing, however, is the fallacious “3D” imaging technology being used in these kinds of studies.

Welcome to the virtual reality of 3D medical ultrasound, which uses many of the volume rendering algorithms and technologies developed for the motion picture industry at Pixar Animation Studios in California, USA.

This astonishingly complex computer science is based on how a rendered volume of 2-dimensional images emits, reflects, absorbs, or occludes light. Light propagation algorithms are used to fill in the missing volume data to create a “3D” picture. Shadowy 2D ultrasound images are miraculously re-constructed to reveal fetal faces, heart valves, and bile ducts. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to 3D ultrasound imagining beyond the shadows, noise, and inconsistent data recognized by the industry.

Transabdominal ultrasound (TAUS) for imaging the pelvic floor in “real time” is accomplished by placing a curved transducer at the pubic hairline of a patient who is positioned on her back with knees bent. The transducer sends out an array of high-pitched sound beams through her pelvis from front to back. The raw beam data is captured in 3 polar coordinates, i.e., two angles describing the direction away from the transducer, and the depth of the tissue boundary that is reflecting the sound echo. This data must be converted by software to Cartesian coordinates (x-y axis) in order to be displayed. Multiple 2D images are instantly reconstructed again and again on a graphics card to give the illusion of movement in real time.

US 3

Figure 2

Figure 2 was taken from an industry video of a male contracting his pelvic floor. The ultrasound transducer has been placed horizontally at his pubic hairline. The abdominal wall is at the top of the frame, and the bladder is the large black circle in the middle. The white band at the bottom of the image is described as the pelvic floor. When the patient is asked to contract his pelvic floor muscles the floor appears to elevate, lifting the base of his bladder as well.

However, the image and interpretation are utterly deceptive. When the transducer is placed horizontally on the lower abdominal wall, it is industry standard that the images reflected on the monitor are in the transverse plane. If you were looking up or down through your torso, you would be viewing the transverse plane of your body.

When the transducer is turned 90 degrees to vertical the image is derived from the sagittal plane, or looking through the pelvis from one side to the other. TAUS does not routinely capture images from the frontal plane, which looks at the pelvis from front to back.

US 5

Figure 3

Figure 3 was captured from another  “real time” video of a female asked by her physical therapist to contract her pelvic floor. When she contracts, her pelvic floor and bladder appear to lift up in the frontal plane. This movement is described by the clinician as, “The pelvic floor elevating the base of the bladder.” The patient is told she is doing a “good job” contracting her pelvic floor and lifting up her bladder.

TAUS gives the impression that the pelvic floor is moving up toward the head, and this is how the images are interpreted by physical therapists. In actuality, this structure is moving forward toward the lower abdominal wall. The reason the vagina and cervix cannot be visualized is because the image field has been sliced through a particular volume, and rendered to show only the bladder and pelvic floor. Removing regions that are not of interest in order to gain a clear view of features normally occluded is called “clipping”. Clipping tools are standard features in commercial 3D ultrasound systems.


Figure 4

Data registration is the process of transforming different imaging modalities, such as MRI and CT, into the same reference frame to achieve as much information about the underlying structure as possible. Shockingly, much of that data is based on the perspective of the “anterior pelvic plane”, an erroneous orientation of the standing human pelvis institutionalized by orthopedics. Slice and volume rendering for 3D ultrasound has been combined with standard Cartesian medical data from CT and MRI to create what is called “simultaneous, multi-volume ray casting.” The resulting image is based on a 500 year-old anatomical misconception of the actual position of the human pelvis. While this may not be an issue when imaging an ovarian cyst, it becomes nothing less than fraudulent when imaging the “pelvic floor.”

The structure that is “lifting” in Figures 2 & 3 is actually the pelvic wall moving the front rectal wall forward. However, the circular contraction of the vaginal sphincter also pulls the bladder backward toward the front vaginal wall. The net result is a posterior bladder wall that is displaced slightly upward with pelvic contractions instead of moved forward toward its natural position behind the lower abdominal wall.

Figure 4 clearly shows the error of viewing the transverse plane as the frontal plane. Image B even measures the “lift” of the pelvic floor. Yet, notice there is no corresponding movement of the bladder toward the abdominal wall.

Physical therapists are using transabdominal ultrasound to show a deceptive and deleterious view of pelvic anatomy. This is not the only fraudulent imaging technology being widely utilized by the medical system. So-called “3D” CT scans of the pelvis are artificially rendered to reinforce an antiquated and erroneous view of pelvic orientation upon which many orthopedic hip surgeries are based. Physical therapists who teach kegel exercises using TAUS as a feedback mechanism are being hoodwinked by an unconscionable industry, and in return are hoodwinking their patients.