Why Internal Pelvic?
Just like muscles and ligaments throughout the body, structures within the pelvic bowl can become tight, weak, tense, or imbalanced due to stress, injury, trauma, childbirth, emotional disassociation, structural misalignment, etc.
Anna’s approach to pelvic bodywork combines internal pelvic manual therapy (myofascial release, positional release/strain-counterstrain, balanced ligamentous tension, visceral manipulation) and trauma-informed emotional and nervous system support in order to:
- release adhesions and trigger points throughout the pelvic bowl
- balance pelvic muscle recruitment and rest
- increase awareness and activation in the pelvic floor
- resolve broader misalignments in the body caused by pelvic tension
The goal of this therapy is to restore physical and energetic balance to the pelvic bowl by resolving core patterns of tension, imbalance, congestion, and pain. Pelvic bodywork is for women of all ages and may help in cases of:
- Structural misalignments
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- SI joint dusfunction
- Sacral or low back pain
- Pain with intercourse, ovulation, or menstruation
- Postpartum transition and recovery
- Healing after pregnancy loss, abortion, or traumatic childbirth
- Incontinence or organ prolapse
- Frequent vaginal infections
- History of pelvic trauma or abuse
- Any woman seeking to nourish a holistic connection with her pelvic bowl
What treatment options are available?
- New client intake and exam: This is the place to begin. If you have unresolving pain or dysfunction anywhere in your body, or specific pelvic concerns, integrative pelvic bodywork is a pelvis-included, full body approach to structural alignment and functional ease.
- Postpartum Rehab: Whether you are six weeks postpartum or six years post-childbirth, this treatment series is for those whose primary goal is to resolve physical and/or emotional pain or tension patterns related to childbirth, breastfeeding, and motherhood. Can include incontience or prolapse treatments.
- Incontinence and Prolapse Treatment Series: a longer treatment program for those with symptoms of incontinence or prolapse. Begin this series with a new patient exam. Includes scar tissue remediation and external and internal structual bodywork. Most successful when paired with pelvic floor physical therapy.
- Annual Pelvic Wellness Exam: for those who choose to prioritize pelvic floor assessment and treatment as a part of their annual women’s health check. Scheduling this session concurrent with your birthday month, the new year, or some other meaningful annual event is helpful. Recommended for women of all ages and stages.
Pelvic Wellness Clinics are trauma-informed, group workshops designed to address various forms of physical or emotional disconnection from the pelvic bowl that can impede pelvic floor rehabilitation. This is part of whole person wellness and will benefit any client who is pursuing treatment through pelvic floor physical therapy, pelvic bodywork, or other wellness practices.Register for a Group Clinic
In “Why Pelvic Embodiment Matters,” Anna Burnett and Keenan Bloom provide trauma-informed, clinical insights into the practice of inhabiting a region of the body too often avoided or distorted. Pelvic embodiment involves understanding your pelvic anatomy and how it presents a wise metaphor for living a vibrant life of clarity, power, rest, nourishment, and creation. Click here to request the replay of this free workshop.
Virtual Pelvic Mapping is a home care course for practicing internal self-treatment. This three hour workshop includes: a 1 hour overview of anatomy and pelvic care, massage techniques for myofascial tension and scar tissue, and 1.5 hours of guided self-treatment time. Click here to purchase the recorded workshop.
What to expect during a session
New patients can expect intake paperwork and a detailed discussion of your history and treatment goals. After an overview of pelvic anatomy, we may transition to some clothed, external assessments of core tension patterns and range of motion evaluations. Internal work involves the insertion of a gloved finger(s) into the vagina or rectum to assess and treat pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue. In a new patient office visit, you can expect a full assessment of your pelvic bowl and tension patterns from the outside and inside. As time allows, we will incorporate treatment in your new patient exam. A follow up session will allow time for a full treatment. Internal massage techniques may include gentle myofascial release, trigger point therapy, scar tissue remediation, and strain/counterstrain. During treatment, your legs are free to relax on the massage table and will not be held in stirrups.
Timing and Frequency
New patient and postpartum intake and exam visits are typically 2 hours in duration. Depending on your therapy goals, 1-3 follow up sessions may be suggested. Follow-up treatments are 90 minutes long and include up to 75 minutes of hands-on treatment time. Annual pelvic wellness visits are 2 hours in length and include up to 90 minutes of treatment time. You may also consider attending a pelvic wellness clinic or taking the virtual pelvic mapping workshop to learn self-treatment techniques.
Wear a cozy, warm top. You’ll undress from the waist down for internal work. Sheets and blankets are provided for comfort and privacy. Bring socks or leg warmers for added lower body warmth, if desired.
Prolapse and Incontience
Most pelvic concerns resolve within 1-3 treatments. Prolapse and incontience typically require 6 or more sessions and are most successful when scheduled in tandem with pelvic floor physical therapy (scheduling manual therapy 1-2 days prior to pelvic floor physical therapy).
During menstruation, you are welcome to keep your scheduled session. If you would prefer to cancel, there will be no charge for rescheduling. If you would like to keep a menstrual cup in place, internal massage can be performed around the circumference of your cup. Otherwise, a table pad will be provided and you are welcome to free bleed.
Pregnancy and Post-Partum
Pelvic floor massage can be performed during pregnancy under certain circumstances. Contact Anna to discuss your history and goals. After six weeks postpartum, if there is any lingering pelvic pain, discomfort, or imbalance after childbirth, these can be tended to. Internal pelvic floor bodywork can help mothers come back home to their bodies with a felt sense of grounding in a time of intense transition (especially if mama is integrating any traumatic or overwhelming childbirth and postpartum experiences).
It is necessary to work with scar tissue and any associated adhesions in the pelvis after a pelvic or abdominal surgery (e.g. c-section, hysterectomy). Additionally, when any pelvic or abdominal organs are removed, the fascial (connective tissue) system still orients around their former location and may require integration after disruption.
Considerations and Consent
Please note that internal treatment is not recommended:
- when an active infection is present in the pelvic region
- until at least six weeks post-partum, post-surgery, or post-radiation
- in patients less than 18 years of age
And remember that internal treatment is fine:
- during menstruation
- in the presence of an IUD
- in the absence of pelvic organs (hysterectomy, oophorectomy)
Be aware that you may:
- always refuse internal vaginal and/or rectal exam
- bring a chaperone to your session
- terminate your session at any time, for any reason
Please note that, at this time, I am only offering pelvic floor work for female/AFAB bodies. In the future, I may also be trained in male/AMAB pelvic care.Schedule Pelvic Care
Trauma and Pelvic Care Education
Bodywork for the Female Pelvic Floor with Leslie Stager, RN, LMT (June 10-13, 2022) – Female pelvic anatomy, treatment protocols for female pelvic floor dysfunction, trauma-informed pelvic care, external and internal assessment protocols, ethics of internal pelvic cavity treatment.
Visceral Manipulation: The Pelvis with the Barral Institute (January 16-17, 2021) – Evaluation and treatment for the organ systems of the pelvic cavity, including the integration of the pelvic organs with the complex ligament systems of that body region. Studies the relationship between functional and structural mechanics of the pelvis.
Trauma First Aid with Dr. Peter Levine (April 27 – May 18, 2020) – Principles of somatic experiencing and trauma, trauma first aid, working with collective trauma, responding to natural disasters.
Holistic Pelvic Care (TM) with Tami Lynn Kent, PT (March 11-14, 2020) – Mapping internal pelvic tension patterns, female energy system and working with organ energies, pelvic and emotional trauma, birth trauma, restoring equilibrium in the pelvic space by working at the energy/body interface.
“I have been experiencing low back and S/I joint pain for years. I have been to so many therapists from countless different modalities of healing. All of them helped a little in their own way but never really got rid of the pain. After this one session from Anna I got off the table and had no pain in my low back or S/I joint. It has been three days since the treatment and still no pain. I am so ecstatic! She was able to get to the root of the problem in ways that no one ever has. I am so grateful!”
“WOW!!! My first appointment was simply amazing. In 25 years of endometriosis care, this was the single most compassionate and empathetic health visit I’ve ever experienced. I am truly grateful for your incredible energy of knowledge, care, and insight. I am eager to learn more, and to benefit from your expertise as a carer. Thank you so much for making me feel truly heard and seen as a patient, and for providing an ethos of empowering the individual to connect with themself as we cherish all that our bodies do for us as humans. I’m extremely grateful for the care I received yesterday and I will definitely return for more treatment and skill-building.”
“Best experience ever! Anna is such an amazing person and makes you feel comfortable right away. I went in with an open mind not really sure what I was getting myself into and I am so glad I did. Anna takes the time to educate you on the why things happen and listens to all your concerns. I have benefitted in so many ways. The best outcome, for the first time I feel empowered to advocate for my own pelvic health and have a better awareness of my body’s needs. I wish I found Anna years ago.”
“I was able to experience immediate relief with treatment. I’ve had chronic pain issues. After treatment if I experience a flair up I can get relief quickly. This has been a huge improvement!”
“Thank you for seeing me. I appreciate your attention and care. Treatment is not easy for me because I struggle with admitting to and speaking about my chronic pain and you make it so easy to share. I don’t trust my body the way I wish I could, but you are helping me tune in to what is happening all over and throughout my physical body and I believe that this attention is helping me restore better function in areas that have always hurt. I feel hopeful that progress is possible and that is amazing to me.”
“I deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with you. I have a different understanding of my anatomy than before and a deeper connection to my body. I have noticed sleeping has been hard, lots of stuff seems to move through me at night. Some really intense dreams too. My pelvis feels emotionally tender when I sense into it. And I think that is part of the process. Thank you again so much, you are a pro, and a bodywork badass. You talking through anatomy both before and during table time really allowed for the normalization of the pelvis and the work we did together. Thank you for that. That alone felt incredibly healing.”
“My experience with Anna was deep and profound. I felt held in a safe space where I could share my feelings and concerns without judgement. She took the time needed to explain the process and I felt like we were working together toward healing for my body.”