Women’s health

Rest and Release Course

Why we need rest for natural pain relief

Usually when we feel uncomfortable in our body it’s because we’re not attending to our own essential needs. The most underrated of these is REST.

Most women put their own needs last – after the needs and demands/requests of their colleagues, partner, children, parents, friends etc…….

Like my friend. She looked tired recently so I asked her if she was okay. She rolled her eyes and said she had been up since 7am (this was Saturday) to work with her personal trainer to try to stop her awful perimenopausal hot flashes. She works full time supporting disabled people. She also has a husband and two teenage sons. And she does ALL the cooking and housework. You read that right. All.

Women need a lot more rest when we’re progressing through the major life transition of menopause. So I suggested she might need to rest more than she needed to work out.  What she said next shocked me: “If I rested, I’d have to leave my husband and sons because I couldn’t look after them.” She believed she couldn’t be part of the family AND get enough rest.

She also believed she had to work her body hard to conquer her symptoms, as if they were signs of weakness or something being broken. 

This is an extreme form of what many of us believe. It isn’t deliberate, it’s unconscious. Society has programmed us to look after others first. These expectations mould the psyche of people assigned female at birth from the time we are infants. 

So it’s not our fault – don’t feel bad if this is you (because that’s another thing we’re taught to do – self-criticise).

And although there is evidence that nurturing instincts are biologically driven, putting ourselves last is not, especially when we do it at the expense of our health and safety. And those who depend on us need us well-rested and well-resourced.

When we ignore our body’s call for rest the call gets louder until we can’t ignore it anymore. This is what’s happening when you’re irritable and short-tempered, lacking patience, feeling tired, making errors, forgetting things.

If we keep on ignoring it, it starts to hurt – we get achy and stiff, we get a cramp or a pulled muscle, a headache, sore neck, back pain. If there’s a particular part of your body that’s been injured or troubled, it might start hurting ‘out of the blue’.

This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s damaged now – it might just be that you’re ignoring your body’s needs. Next time you hurt somewhere, stop and think:

  • Are you tired?
  • Do you need to eat or drink water?
  • When was the last time you sat still and did nothing, (or moved if you work all day at a desk)?

What happens when you address these needs – is the pain still there? If it is, then by all means check with your health practitioner, but often this will be enough to reduce or stop the pain altogether. 

It’s because your body can’t do without rest. It just can’t. You can’t. You need it so you can repair and recover – from the physical, emotional and mental work you do everyday, from the stress we experience on a daily or hourly basis from living this pretty unnatural life, cut off from nature and forced to ‘make a living’ instead of just living.

The good news is there’s gold on the other side. When you rest often, you are well-resourced, refreshed, resilient.

You can think clearly, make decisions easier, hold to your boundaries and express your needs to those around you.

When you prioritise your own rest you also give others permission to rest more.

And this is how we’ll change this crazy world from one that pushes constant productivity at all costs to one that’s nurturing and sustainable – for us and all of Nature. In a capitalist, rationalist society Rest is a radical act.

So how do you change a lifetime’s habit of putting your need to rest last? How do you do it when you think you don’t have time to rest?

First, notice those thoughts of ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I should be doing something else’, ‘this is selfish’ etc. They come from outside of you. They are conditioned by society. Animals, babies and children don’t think these thoughts when they’re tired and need to rest, because they haven’t learned that they ‘shouldn’t’.

And Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Colour are conditioned even more than white women that they don’t have the right to be well-rested – for more on this topic see the excellent work of Tricia Hersey of The Nap Ministry and @thenapministry on Instagram.

Once you notice your body is telling you to rest while your mind tells you not to, trust that your body knows best and do what it asks. If you need to schedule it, add it to your calendar with an alert to remind you to do it.

Then just stop for 5-15 minutes and breathe slowly. Listen to your breathing. Feel your breathing. Let your mind follow your breathing. Do this every day for a week. Notice the difference as your body and mind start to enjoy it and look forward to it.

Next week, add something to your rest time like lying down, or napping, or walking if you’re restless. Notice your moods and energy levels this week. The following week, increase your rest/nap time to 30 minutes or twice a day – if you dare!

The people who depend on you need you rested and nourished. But don’t rest for their sake – rest like YOUR life depends on it – because it does. 

What to do next:

If you still have nagging pain after trying this approach (and you’ve confirmed with your health practitioner that it’s not caused by a medical condition), book an appointment to see me for in-person sessions or online coaching, or check out my online course & workshops, Rest & Release

nightmare period pain young woman sitting on a hill, head in her arms

How to get free from nightmare period pain

This is a recent testimonial from a client, who brought her daughter to see me for her nightmare period pain. I’ll let her tell the story:

“My 15 yr old daughter suffered terribly when she got her period. She couldn’t walk, had unbearable pain and vomiting and she missed days of school – not to mention the mood swings.

She had 3 sessions with Janine and the first period after that was fantastic – almost no pain, no vomiting or nausea, the pain meds worked and she went to school as normal. Then she had another session a week before her next period and again had a great result – the period symptoms were gone. We didn’t see Janine before her third period yet she had the same result, an easy period – as she puts it “this is magic”.

My daughter has now had three periods since her first session with Janine and the results are amazing. Her periods were completely different, all her symptoms had disappeared. No vomiting, no cramps or pain and she was able to go to school. Her mood was completely positive because she had no pain to deal with.  Best move we ever made! Everyone was suggesting I should put her on the pill but I knew there was a better solution – and we found it.” – Annette

I had a similar experience in my teens and 20s. Unfortunately my doctor did put me on the Pill, which stopped my period pain and PMS but led to many other health problems including trouble conceiving when I was ready to have a family.

Yet this young woman’s experience shows how, with only a few sessions to balance her pelvic alignment, her body’s natural cycle was restored and those awful symptoms were gone. No diet change, no special exercises, no surgical or other interventions – and a LOT less pain meds.

How to get started

It doesn’t matter if your periods have just started or you’ve had them for years, you CAN get free of the pain and other symptoms.

If you or your daughter suffer with nightmare period pain, book an appointment to see me for in-person sessions. If you’re not in Melbourne (Australia) we can work together online with my Body Reset coaching package

Take the Period Quiz

You can find out if you have a pelvic imbalance by taking my Period Quiz – and be sure to sign up for my free Period First Aid Kit to start balancing your body right now.

Photo credit: Kelli McClintock – Unsplash

painful periods - mother and daughter in silhouette

Are painful periods in your genes?

No. 1 in the series: Why are you periods hard?

One of the many common myths about difficult, painful periods is the idea that we inherit them genetically.

Many of my clients have told me they always thought their problem period symptoms were normal – even the intense pain (cramps), diarrhoea, low back pain, headaches/migraines, vomiting, nausea – because their mother/sister/aunt had them.

Yet when we worked together to bring their body – especially their pelvis – into balance, their period symptoms quickly reduced or even stopped altogether.

What we DO inherit – or rather, learn – from our close family members are:

1. Socially conditioned beliefs about our periods and our bodies such as

  • periods are painful or uncomfortable
  • periods are shameful/taboo/dirty (Hi patriarchy!)
  • menstruating bodies are wrong/broken/bad/not good enough (Hi again!)

and

2. Postural habits – the way we stand, sit and move – which we take on by observing and imitating our parent’s habits from infancy and through childhood.

What is pain?

Pain is a protective response created by the brain to get our attention when it thinks we’re in danger. It can pick up signals of danger from inside our bodies (such as tension or restriction in muscles and ligaments, nerve signals etc) or from emotions (stress, cultural beliefs, painful memories, upsetting thoughts) or from the social and physical environment around us (relationships, social settings, unsafe surroundings) .

So if your mother has difficult periods, you learn from her experience the belief that periods come with painful symptoms, and you learn her postural habits that create tension through the pelvis. Your brain interprets these as possible signs of danger and creates a pain response whenever you have your periods – and you’re set you up for having difficult periods just like your mother.

So you can ‘inherit’ bad periods but not via your genes – rather, it’s via your emotional and physical conditioning in early life. 

This is great news, because it means you can change your early conditioning to get back in control of your periods. You can practise thinking different thoughts about your periods – such as, they are one of the vital signs of our overall health, they are part of the powerful process that creates human life, and they are part of our cyclical nature that connects us with the cycles of Nature.

And you can restore your pelvic alignment by balancing your posture with specific techniques that harness your body’s self-correcting intelligence.

The first step to pelvic balance is to stop ‘tucking your tailbone’ under you – whenever you stand, sit, walk or exercise, think about lifting your tailbone – or coccyx – up and out behind you. This allows your pelvis to tilt slightly forward – its natural position – which supports all your pelvic organs to rest naturally forward in your abdomen. This means your uterus (womb) and ovaries can settle into their natural positions with less tension in their support ligaments – which helps them to function optimally.

For some people there are other factors influencing their period symptoms, such as nutrition and movement. But restoring your pelvic balance is an excellent place to start recovering from nightmare periods. If your pelvis is out of balance, other treatments can’t help much – but once it’s realigned, you can work on your nutrition, movement and supplements as needed to address any remaining symptoms. 

If you want to know more about the link between difficult periods and pelvic alignment, take the period quiz and I’ll send you my Period First Aid Kit to help you get started on the solution.

Women's healing - group of women sitting smiling

Facilitating women’s healing

Facilitating women's healing

My business has recently undergone a major transition, like so many over the past 2 years. Sadly, I’ve had to close my in-person practice of 20+ years.

But the good news is that this has given me a long-awaited opportunity to take my services online so that I can serve many more people than I can see in my clinic day to day. It’s been a dream of mine to facilitate millions of women to have a better experience of living in their own bodies. So now the time has finally come for me to welcome this baby into the world!

So here’s my line in the sand: from now on I’ll focus solely on supporting people who identify as women and non-binary people who menstruate, so I’ve chosen to launch my new offerings into the world during March, in honour of International Women’s Day

I honour all the women who have gone before me to support women to live with freedom, joy and dignity in the world. I give thanks for the women who are supporting women now and in the future to uplift ourselves and the world by restoring the Feminine to equal partnership with the Masculine. We all have both energies within us – so this is about caring for ALL humans.

Restoring balance

Facilitating women’s healing has always been a vital part of my practice. I’m passionate about teaching people who identify as women and non-binary menstruators how to free themselves from the tension, pain and stress we experience from living in a patriarchal world.

This world tells us daily that our bodies are wrong and need to be fixed by someone else, that our natural cycles and our power to create human life are problems to be medicalised and that our intuitive wisdom about our bodies should be ignored.

I’m not against conventional medicine – in fact I’m thankful for its presence in my own life – but it only offers very limited solutions for the chronic pain, tension and stress many women experience, especially related to menstruation, menopause and pelvic/reproductive health.

In contrast, my 20+ years in clinical practice have shown me that our amazing bodies have an infinite capacity to self-heal, self-correct and regenerate. They require very little input from outside. What supports that best is being able to come home to our bodies, feel safe in our skin and rest deeply. 

With suppression of the Feminine principle and domination by the Masculine, our world has long been out of balance – resulting in inequality, destruction and war. This imbalance hurts all humans and all beings living on our Mother Earth.

It’s time now for Earth to be governed and cared for by an equal balance of both energies. For that to happen, women must be supported to feel comfortable and safe in our bodies as the vital foundation for our work in the world. 

I’m here for that.

Women's healing - women laughing together

New Offerings

The mission of my work is now two-fold:

  1. Facilitating healing our relationships with our bodies and ourselves by teaching women, girls and non-binary menstruators how to use simple pelvic alignment techniques to reduce or eliminate the pain and distress many experience with menstruation, pregnancy/post-partum and menopause. If you’re interested in this, work with me 1 to 1 and/or join the waitlist for my upcoming Menstrual Cycle Rescue course.
  2. Teaching women and non-binary people how to release tension, pain and stress for themselves with gentle Ortho-Bionomy positional rest techniques, to counter the burnout and exhaustion of being a woman in this world by harnessing our body’s self-healing intelligence. If you’re interested in this, work with me 1 to 1 and/or join my monthly Rest & Restore classes

My newsletter each fortnight features advice about simple pain relief/body alignment techniques, gentleness as a super-power and practical self-kindness. If you’d like to join in, subscribe here. If you’d like to try one of the powerful positional rest techniques I teach, click the link at the top of this page to download the free video and pdf guide.

I’m excited to see where this journey will take us.

Image credits from top of page: Joel Muniz-Unsplash, Mentatdgt-Pexels, Aline Viana Prado-Pexels

How to get relief for pelvic pain

Do you suffer from “pelvic girdle pain”? Many women suffer intense pelvic pain both during pregnancy and post-natally, making walking, standing and even sitting extremely uncomfortable. Conventional medicine offers pain-relief medication and not much else. But Ortho-Bionomy helps reduce this pain dramatically by assisting the body to regain its natural pelvic alignment, relieving tension and pain and allowing comfortable movement to return.

One of my clients suffered from this condition after the birth of her baby, along with a partial prolapse, diagnosed by her obstetrician. She couldn’t stand or walk for more than 10 minutes without intense pain. She followed the physiotherapist’s advice for some exercises but after 7 weeks had minimal improvement. She wanted to walk to help her body recover from the pregnancy and birth, but she couldn’t even walk around the house much. Her frustration level was pretty high! She visited me for Ortho-Bionomy and noticed a reduction of pain the same day. I gently worked to encourage her pelvis to remember its natural alignment, and she found the work comfortable and relaxing. It took only 2 sessions of Ortho-Bionomy for her to be virtually pain-free. She is now able to go for daily walks with her baby in the pram and her prolapse has resolved. That’s better for her mental health and her baby as well as her body. Lee wrote “I would not have recovered so well and so quickly without you. Thank you for everything, you’ll see me again!”

Another client experienced severe low back and hip pain during the late stages of her pregnancy. She describes her experience here:

“At 35 weeks of pregnancy I came to Janine for help with excruciating sciatica & lower back pain. As this had been a recurring condition for the past 10+ years it did not surprise me that it had returned at a time when the body is under such pressure, but the intensity was like I had never experienced before. Shooting pains down to the calf, I could not walk further than the mailbox and spent the majority of the day on hands & knees, it was pretty bad! It took a couple of sessions to feel some results, as everything was so jammed up and tight. [In fact, Alicia had improved enough after 2 sessions to walk to my clinic for her third visit. – Janine] However, slowly & gently, after 4 sessions and with practice at home all symptoms had cleared up entirely; my back was actually better than at the start of the pregnancy. I really had not anticipated such a result, to say I was delighted to be pain free is an understatement. The treatment is very gentle, I felt completely safe at all times, my body felt wonderfully light at the end of each session. I would not hesitate to recommend Janine to anyone experiencing similar symptoms.” Alicia visited me 4 weeks after her baby was born because her back was uncomfortable with the new routines of feeding and carrying her baby, but her other conditions had not returned.

Because Ortho-Bionomy provides natural pain relief, it provides the perfect alternative to taking pharmaceutical drugs, especially when you want to avoid sharing those drugs with your baby through the placenta or your breast milk. Many women put up with this kind of pain during and after pregnancy because we believe we can’t do anything about it, but Ortho-Bionomy has a wonderful way of helping our bodies remember how to find comfort and return to balance, even through the most extreme experiences.  Don’t just put up with this kind of pain, find an Ortho-Bionomy practitioner in your area; once the pain has gone you will be able to enjoy your pregnancy or your newborn baby, and every woman deserves that!

natural relief for period pain

Is natural relief for period pain possible?

Is lasting, natural relief for period pain possible?

So many women, girls and other people with periods suffer severe pain, cycle irregularity, ovulation pain, emotional distress and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance – often lumped together as PMS.

Conventional medicine offers pain medication or synthetic hormones (e.g. the Pill) which can relieve some period symptoms. Unfortunately many people experience other health problems caused by these medications, and other just don’t like taking them long-term.

Natural medicine can help by relieving symptoms and balancing the whole reproductive system.

However most people are unaware that one of the most common causes of period symptoms and hormone disruption is structural imbalance of the pelvis.

This can result from:

  • Hips shifting slightly from their natural positions with forward or backward rotation,
  • reduced range of movement caused by tension in pelvic muscles,
  • lack of movement or exercise, too much sitting
  • chronic stress that contracts the psoas muscle, pelvic floor and other muscle tissues in the pelvis.

These can cause tension around the ovaries that over time affects hormone production. The hormone imbalance is often associated with period symptoms, fertility issues, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and more.

Many people who suffer these period and hormonal issues also experience low back, hip and pelvic pain that are also associated with pelvic imbalance.

Ortho-Bionomy offers a gentle but very effective approach to all these symptoms. We work to balance the structure of the pelvis to make sure the bones are sitting in their joints naturally, which relieves tension in the muscles and ligaments attached to the bony structure.

This process can then bring balance to the pelvic organs and the hormones produced through the menstrual cycle. Many clients report a dramatic reduction in their menstrual symptoms as well as more ease and comfort in their hips, low back, legs and throughout the body.

Here’s what one client had to say:

Before having Ortho-Bionomy sessions with Janine I was suffering from strong period pain every month. I was seeing Janine for ongoing neck tension and I was really surprised when she said Ortho-Bionomy could help with period pain and PMS. Then I came to see her once when I was in real pain with my period and I was delighted by the immediate results of her gentle work. After feeling these amazing benefits I decided to see Janine regularly to help reduce the imbalance responsible for my pain and after a few sessions I can now enjoy pain-free cycles!” – Marie
 
If your periods are giving you a hard time, take the Period Quiz to find out why and get started on the solution.