Christine Kent doesn’t give up.
For more than 20 years, the registered nurse has been researching and lecturing on the most common of women’s health issues: pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and chronic hip pain.
They are connected, she suggests, with an origin in posture and Kent believes they can be corrected safely and effectively without surgery.
With estimates of between 50 to 80% of all women dealing with prolapse at some point in their lives among women in the developed world. Kent is even now seeing the problem in girls as young as 16.
No longer considered an old ladies problem,” she says, believing they are conditions the woman can attend to herself without surgical intervention.
Kent believes there is no surgical cure for prolapse, instead, “Prolapse can be very successfully managed for a lifetime with the postural methods I have developed.”
That means you are the only one who can resolve your condition. It is all done through changing one’s posture in order to change prolapse.
Kent conducted her 8th Annual Whole Woman workshop this August 9-11 at the historic Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque, down the street from Whole Woman headquarters.
More than 30 women were in attendance from as far away as Vancouver, Canada to Fernandina Beach, Florida and points in between. Not all were past menopause. Some of the women suffering from prolapse still have children at home and want to take healing into their own hands.
“Our current knowledge on health and healing is taken from you by the patriarchal medicine. You are the physician. No one can do this for you,” Kent said expressing encouragement to those in attendance.
During the introduction a woman from Henderson, Nevada says she had been urged to have surgery. But she cancelled it when she found Christine’s work. Three weeks later she has no symptoms.
Another woman from Vancouver, Canada was told she had to have a hysterectomy. She chose not to have it and was here instead to learn and seek support.
Also in attendance were practitioners who have studied with Kent.
They included Karen from Wisconsin, a mother of four; Ginger from Ohio, whose goal it is to bring the Whole Woman program to the Cleveland Clinic; Heidi from Colorado Springs, who believes women suffering post-partum prolapse are not being properly trained to recover; Margit from Germany, whose training is in naturopathy, nutrition and lifestyle. She says the Whole Woman work made sense to her and now she wants to teach it; Teresa, a Santa Fe occupational therapist has an eye on travel as a Whole Woman consultant after being encouraged to have a hysterectomy and to do Kegels; and Kimmerly, a nurse from St. College, Pennsylvania, who is familiar with joint replacement that comes from misalignment.
See the Cleveland Clinics attempt to become more Holistic- Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine (here).
They are among the 40 or so who have been trained by Kent to begin their own Whole Woman practices at home.
Kent went on to bust some of the myths that your editor went into the session with.
J.W. Davies MD, Correct (see illustration on right- top) and incorrect (bottom) pelvic orientation. Dr. Linda Brubaker used this illustration in her 1996 text, The Female Pelvic Floor, but did little to advance the theory
Kent believes that the common, so-called cure for prolapse called Kegel exercises, not only don’t work but can actually make your condition worse. Kegels draw the bladder and rectum toward the vagina and toward the direction of the prolapse. She recommends they be dropped.
In reality, displaced pelvic organs are a symptom of prolapse which can be realigned and supported by learning the Whole Woman posture which encourages stretching the pelvic diaphragm into a natural, upright, weight-bearing posture pushing the organs forward into the rounded lower belly where they are safer from the forces of intra-abdominal pressure.
Read more here.
The real issue is how we recover post-partum says Whole Woman.
The stretching of the pelvic diaphragm is very common after vaginal delivery and almost always completely resolves within a few weeks after giving birth. The epidemic of prolapse comes from sitting, standing, and moving in an unnatural posture, especially encouraged by slouching in chairs and soft couches. It has given rise to an industry that women are encouraged to buy into. Young girls and women who never had children also experience prolapse, leading to the proper alignment theory.
“We are not trained to listen to our body,” she says.
Anatomically, there is simply no hole at the bottom of a pelvic floor. That image comes from the conceptual framework of female pelvic anatomy that is seen from lying on your back with your feet in stirrups. It is more like a wall in the back of the body, similar to four-legged animals.
See the work of gynecologist J. W. Davies, M.D. (here).
Instead pelvic organs are supported over a true bony pelvic floor made up of pubic bones, like straps of a saddle. Kent says we are horizontal creatures from the hips down and vertical from the waist up.
Kent says encouraging a natural posture does not involve tucking the tailbone under and pulling in the stomach which disrupts the natural pelvic organ support and urinary continence systems. Get into the proper alignment for true pelvic organ support for a lifetime.
Place hand under the clavicle. Roll the shoulders into the back plane of the body and down. Pretend the upper seven vertebrae in the back of the neck are pulled up with a string attached. That will naturally lower your chin. As you breathe in, your midriff - above the navel and below the breasts - should expand forward and the lower rib cage should not expand out to the sides.
See the stance of a child and remember that females have more lumbar curvature than males.
Breath comes in through the belly which extends upon inhale. Upon exhale, the belly collapses. This will create a natural light pelvic rock and can be done standing or sitting at the end of a chair. When sitting, sit using the strength of your own spine in Whole Woman posture.
When standing balance on three points on the soles of your feet - below the large toe, below the smallest toe and in the center of the heel. Keep the legs and knees pointing straight ahead in hip width. Breathe.
In a similar vein, Kent notes even young females report hip pain. For them she uses the same postural dynamics. The result is that prolapse and hip pain seem to resolve at the same time.
Since we lose our bodies’ bacterial protection after menopause this can lead to arthritis and other diseases of inflammation. Inflammation is very destructive to connective tissue and the vagina is the biggest human reservoir of candida. The hips and knees are susceptible to this microbial problem.
Kent discussed using local, organic honey to restore vaginal microbiology; addressing inflammation with fermented foods and specifically Rejeuvelac; and lymphatic drainage displayed as part of self-healing. Honey is an oligosaccharide, sauerkraut is a fermented food and both restore lactobacillus in the body, which keeps the vagina moist and disease-free. See the work of Seymour Klebanoff, (here), Georg Bauer, and Ann Wigmore.
Jennifer and Susan (standing) working on pressure points
Jennifer from Seattle said she found Christine’s website a year and a half ago. “I’ve been studying it and it rings true for me,” she said looking for a natural way to address her prolapse. Jennifer says she will not opt for surgery especially because prolapse is not life threatening, it’s a manageable condition.
Lisa from Omaha, Nebraska came to a Whole Woman workshop a couple of years ago and found it super helpful. To address her prolapse, initially she had been recommended a pessary and estradiol but says she didn’t have good luck with those options. Surgery was her next option but she declined. Doing the Whole Woman regimen through tapes and books her prolapse has improved over two years but returns if she does heavy lifting.
Susan, from Las Cruces, NM, teaches the Feldenkrais Method and even though her prolapse has not been identified, she believes she has it. She helps clients with similar issues looking for answers. She believes Whole Woman helps her understand where the internal organs actually sit. She incorporates this knowledge into her practice.
Ever since midwifery was taken over by the business of women’s health, knowledge about the female body has become mainstream and full of anatomical misunderstandings, according to Whole Woman.
Christine Kent had been told she needed a hysterectomy after suffering profound uterine prolapse following an unnecessary incontinence surgery 26 years ago. Both her mother and sister had been through a hysterectomy, and she knew she didn’t want one. She refused.
She decided to solve her prolapse problem for herself and spent countless hours in the University of New Mexico Medical School library. That’s where she realized prolapse isn’t technically a gynecologic problem. It’s an organ displacement as a result of pelvic misalignment. She eventually got her own prolapse under control, founded Whole Woman in 2003, and now has trained practitioners in four continents!
Whole Woman is researched-based scientific alternatives to drugs and surgical interventions to treat common female chronic conditions. Kent sources knowledge from orthopedics, pediatrics, physics, the biological sciences, even anthropology and traditional dance.
In the 16 years since Whole Woman has been founded, she has personally worked with hundreds of women globally on issues of urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and chronic hip pain. That includes women who are post-mesh implant, post-hysterectomy, or post-surgical repair, though interventions after these surgical “repairs” make the outcome of Whole Woman less predictable.
More recently, Christine has focused on natural treatments for vaginal and bladder discomfort, as well as common conditions of menopause.
This is knowledge outside of your gynecologist or urogynecologists’ office.
Whole Woman videos and books including- Saving Your Hips, and, Saving the Whole Woman. Advanced training is available for women who want to integrate the Whole Woman work into their practice. ###
Editors Note** Please enjoy these beautiful images from New Mexico, Albuquerque and Santa Fe