By Dr. Melissa Kuser, ND, LAc
Get moving or get dying. This truth was well-understood by the Chinese over 5,000 years ago when they understood the genesis of disease to be the lack of movement of qi and blood in the body. Like a summer pond with no breeze to circulate the waters, stagnation in the body breeds unhealthy terrain. And nowhere is this more true than the lower abdomen, also known as the pelvic bowl.
The majority of women’s reproductive health concerns owe some part of their development to congested tissues and vessels in the pelvis. Painful periods, irregular periods, heavy periods can all be improved when blood and lymph are moving appropriately, allowing toxins to leave and sensitizing hormone receptors for efficient response. Fertility challenges decrease when uterine and ovarian tissues have more nutrients and antioxidants for healthy development. Growths like fibroids, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis can resolve when improved circulation helps to remove excess hormones from local pelvic tissues. PMS and menstrual migraines benefit from a more efficient removal of hormone metabolites. Urinary incontinence and prolapse begin to reverse when tissues are less congested. Men also suffer from pelvic congestion, manifesting in swollen prostate glands and erectile dysfunction.
Why does pelvic congestion occur?
Unfortunately, the pelvis is at an anatomic disadvantage when it comes to stagnation. Unlike the veins in our arms and legs, which have one-way valves to prevent backflow of venous blood, the veins in the pelvic bowl lack valves. Sedentary lifestyles combined with gravity and no valves means more accumulation of venous and lymphatic fluids in the pelvis. Surgeries can complicate this picture by creating scar tissue, which impacts the already challenged flow of fluids upward.
Poor diet and environmental exposures also contribute to pelvic congestion by compromising our liver and intestine’s abilities to adequately eliminate excess hormones and toxins from circulation. Because of that gravitational tendency for accumulation in the pelvic bowl, these substances can spend more time in contact with the tissues of the pelvic organs and muscles. Excess estrogen can contribute to numerous menstrual dysfunctions, and excess toxins get stored in the tissues that become and nurture our babies.
As a culture, we also lack knowledge about how to properly take care of our bodies to prevent disease before it starts. As soon as we learn to drive, we are taught how to properly maintain our vehicle through regular oil changes, tire rotations and engine maintenance. What if we had the tools to similarly maintain our bodies?
In short, our modern lifestyles do not support healthy pelvic circulation.
How can pelvic congestion be treated and prevented?
Key tools that I have found to be effective in clearing pelvic congestion are the Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy (ATMAT). Using gentle massage techniques on both abdomen and sacrum (lower back), ATMAT helps to enhance circulation and prevent our blood and lymphatic fluid from settling at this lowest part of the abdominal cavity. The beauty of this therapy is that the patient can learn to perform the abdominal portion on herself. By practicing abdominal self-care nightly, one can effectively prevent future disease development, much like brushing our teeth helps to maintain dental health. Call the Kwan-Yin front desk to set up an appointment with one of our Arvigo practitioners to learn more.
The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy work best when combined with other natural treatments, to create a holistic treatment plan. Chinese herbs, Western herbs, homeopathy, and dietary changes are a mainstay of reproductive health, as they support optimal liver function to detoxify hormones and maintaining appropriate hormone balance. Castor oil packs, hydrotherapy, and regular hip movement are all effective ways to improve pelvic circulation. So pump up the volume tonight! Shake those hips while you cook your beets and broccoli, knowing you are giving yourself good medicine.