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The Girlfriend Doctor w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Oct 21, 2021

Erica Ziel, deep core exercise specialist, talks about the deep connections throughout the body and how your fascia and muscles impact everything from your toes to the top of your head. Learn about how Erica helps her students heal and release their fascia from inherited patterns of movement that cause dysfunction, and how to properly train your core to support your body and move without pain.

  • [0:30] As a child, Erica had daily knee pains that only got worse as the years went on. After finally seeing a specialist about the pain, she was told the solution was to simply strengthen her legs. This put her on the path to learn about exercise science and the body. She began developing her own methodologies through her experience, especially when it comes to pre and post-natal women.
  • [2:30] The pelvic floor and the fascia is a very important area of the body but people don’t talk about it or how to address pelvic floor pain. The quality of your life depends a lot on the health of your pelvic floor.
  • [4:00] So many women are told that healing isn’t possible and that they just have to live with the pain and discomfort.
  • [4:40] One common mistake that women make is drawing their belly toward their spine during exercise. This restricts breathing and blood flow to the pelvic floor. Tucking in your pelvis is another mistake that’s come out of the fitness industry. You need to stop focusing solely on your glutes and think about your pelvic position.
  • [6:15] Constantly rolling your shoulders is also an issue as the forceful movement shuts down your core. The more forceful you are in trying to force your body to do something, the more it rebels.
  • [7:15] Be aware of how you are holding your body throughout the day. Try to stand more during your day and sit on a flat surface so you sit up taller. How you sit directly impacts your pelvic floor and lower back. Let your shoulders relax and use your mid back for support.
  • [9:05] If you’re standing, be aware of your knees. If you are locking your knees, it puts a lot of pressure on your lower back.
  • [9:50] Dr. Anna has been experiencing more soas pain since the beginning of the pandemic. Any negative innervation in the connective tissues of our body is not good. As we age that tissue becomes more stiff and less flexible, which is why Dr. Anna advocates for an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
  • [11:25] Fascia is connected from head to toe and fascia release is an important part of healing the body. A strong core is critical to the healthy function of the pelvic floor.
  • [12:50] Our inner line that begins at the big toe and goes up the inner thighs, pelvis, and hips has a direct impact on pelvic floor health. Many women experience back pain or pelvic floor issues without realizing it may be related. Many times, where you feel pain and dysfunction isn’t the root cause. It’s just the weak link that gave way first.
  • [14:25] Fascia goes through and around all of our muscles, organs and nerves. Fascia informs the way that we move, some of which is hereditary. It’s possible that you may have been walking wrong your whole life because of how you learned when you were a child.
  • [16:10] The way that we have been moving in our life makes our fascia stronger for that movement pattern. As we walk we should be creating an oppositional spiral throughout our core, but many women are stiff and stuck when they walk. The spiral motion patterns allow the fascia to work throughout the body.
  • [18:35] It’s hard to relearn how to move. You have to trust your body’s ability to move and change and improve. We can create new fascia and learn how to become strong in all movements by integrating the entire body as much as possible.
  • [20:30] Functional exercise that incorporates moving the whole body is game-changing. Doing exercises correctly versus incorrectly makes all the difference in the world. Muscle is the organ of longevity, and women need to exercise to stay flexible, supple, and healthy.
  • [23:00] Emotions are stored in the muscles of the body, with movement we can release these stuck emotions in the body. Our fascia system is so integrated, that when we start to increase the range of motion we can unlock a lot of feedback, especially when it comes to the pelvic floor.
  • [26:00] Be ready to let go of the pain and dysfunction that is holding you back. It’s a big piece of our healing journey to let go of the emotions related to the pain.
  • [26:50] During Dr. Anna’s healing journey, she learned from several spiritual healers that the breast holds relationships, the kidneys hold fear, the liver holds anger, the pancreas holds guilt, and the bladder holds the fear of letting go. In Eastern medicine, focusing on the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing is crucial and is something that Western medicine misses out on.
  • [31:05] Your thoughts matter. Being grateful for the good things in your life will have a direct impact on your quality of life. Retrain your mind to focus on the positive instead of the negative and it will change your energy. Movement is an important piece in attaining a higher vibrational energy.
  • [32:55] Women with dysfunction and pain can be consumed by it. We can become so used to the pain that the body doesn’t know what to do when it’s not in pain. Erica tells her students that it’s not just about healing the body, they have to be open to what else shows up for them in a positive way.
  • [34:20] We don’t have a big enough vision for what our lives could be like, especially when we’ve been living in dysfunction and pain for a long time.
  • [35:45] One of the first things to address is posture. Think about lengthening throughout the day. The pelvic floor has more surface area than you think. For optimal pelvic floor function, pelvic tilts are a good all around exercise to practice. As you work on your pelvis and become aware of your breath, you will get a lot of feedback from the body.
  • [39:15] In order to change our habits, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable for a while. It takes time to train the neural pathways that connect your pelvic floor to your breath and to connect with your body. Always keep your movement out of the range of pain and work within that space. Over time your range of motion will expand as it heals.
  • [41:50] You may have to pull back from high intensity workouts for a brief time as your body learns a new pattern of movement. Erica tells the story of a woman who retrained her body to run faster after giving birth to multiple babies than she did before becoming a mother because of the lack of pain.
  • [44:40] If you’re stuck in a seated position for a long time, there are some simple movements that you can do to not become stiff. Don’t force your body to feel something, light movements, awareness of your pelvic position, and a taller posture are enough.
  • [46:30] If you’re using an exercise ball to sit on, be careful about allowing your body to round forward. If you can stay seated more upright they can be a great way to exercise in a seated position.



Mentioned in this Episode:


Core Connections Podcast with Erica Ziel



Always seek the advice of your own physician or qualified health professional before starting any treatment or plans. Information found here and results are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and are not intended as medical advice.