If you’ve read my story, you know that before I began teaching and coaching women to help them relieve vulvodynia, pelvic and sexual pain, I relieved my own pain using a mind body approach. This is how mind body pelvic pain relief became my personal mission and foundational in the work I do.
I want you to know that if you’re experiencing chronic pelvic pain, like vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, pain during sex, endometriosis, vaginismus, pudendal neuralgia, pelvic floor dysfunction, or chronic infections there is so much hope that you can heal.
Today I’m going to share with you my 10 step mind body approach that I walk women through to help them relieve vulvodynia and other chronic pelvic pain.
Does a Mind Body Pelvic Pain Relief Approach Work?
This process has proven over and over again to be incredibly effective, even when nothing else has worked. It gets to the real root cause underlying pelvic floor tension, burning pain, and other associated symptoms like frequency and urgency.
It’s worth noting that this mind body approach to relieving pelvic and sexual pain is completely non-invasive, has no negative side effects (and lots of positive ones), and can be used along with whatever other treatments you are already using for your pain….including physical therapy or medication. This is a science based approach based on the work of Dr. John Sarno and other mind body doctors, as well as over a decade of my personal experience helping women relieve pelvic pain.
While mind body pain relief can be used to relieve all kinds of pain and apply to all genders, I have found that there are specific issues unique to women and unique to pelvic pain that this approach addresses.
In my opinion, a comprehensive mind body approach to pain relief — that teaches how to lead your mind, feel emotions, and retrain your brain and nervous system — should be integrated into every treatment plan for pelvic and sexual pain for women. Not only because it is effective, but because there are so many other benefits, like letting go of fearful and obsessive thinking, reclaiming your life, confidently navigating available treatment options, accessing the power of your emotional energy, reclaiming sex and intimacy, and feeling empowered around your health and body!
Because mind body healing can mean many different things, I want to give you an overview of the steps I’ve been using in my teaching and coaching for the past 10 years, and that I have seen be the most effective in helping women relieve pelvic pain.
If mind body pain relief is completely new to you, this will give you a good overview of the process. If you’re already exploring mind body pain relief, my hope is that this outline can serve as a guide to help you identify if there is anything you’re missing in what you’re already doing, or places you may want to focus more attention.
10 Highly Effective Steps to Relieving Vulvodynia and Chronic Pelvic Pain using a Mind Body Approach
Step 1: Understand the Science Behind Mind Body Pain Relief
The first step to lasting relief from vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, pelvic floor dysfunction, and other types of pelvic pain is to understand the science behind mind body pain relief. Your brain, emotions, thoughts, and nervous system all play a role in creating pain and they play a role in relief as well. With a deeper understanding of your own brain and nervous system, and how they contribute to creating and relieving pain, you can learn how to create safety in your body, calm your nervous system, and ultimately experience lasting relief.
Step 2: Stop Resisting Start Relieving
The next step is to let go of the struggle. This step can understandably be one of the most challenging to implement, but also one of the most powerful. Dropping the endless struggle to fix your body frees up a lot of emotional energy. It was a pivotal moment in my healing and one of the key factors I see in how long it takes my clients to find relief.
In my Healing Female Pain program, we spend a full session on effective strategies to help you make peace with where you are for now (not forever!). Look at it as an experiment. What happens when you drop the struggle and make peace with where you are for now?
Step 3: Overcome Your Mind’s Blocks to Healing
Vulvodynia and pelvic pain are not all in your head, but your thoughts can have a big impact on your ability to heal. Step 3 to mind body pain relief is to identify the patterns that are your biggest obstacles, so you can learn how to release them.
Many women with chronic pain and anxiety have had lifelong patterns that impact their body and nervous system, like a tendency to worry, overanalyze, put a lot of pressure on themselves, or be self-critical or perfectionists. They are smart and successful, and good at figuring things out and getting things done. So, it can be especially challenging when pelvic pain gets in the way of that…and they can’t figure out why or make it go away. Maybe you can relate?
Step 4: Embrace Your Emotions
Your emotions are part of your life force energy, they are necessary and healthy, and they can cause real physical pain when we unconsciously suppress them. Learning how to feel and process your emotions in healthy ways that not only relieve pain, stress, tension and anxiety, but give you more energy is an important part of mind body pain relief. This starts with discovering how and why we unconsciously suppress our emotions, past experiences, and trauma, and how these patterns impact our body. Once you understand what emotions are and what their true function is, you can begin to work with them in a way that works for you rather than against you.
Do you ever notice a connection between how you’re feeling emotionally or how much stress you’re under and the amount of pain or tension you feel in your pelvis? There is a reason for that.
Step 5: Listen to Your Body
Your body is amazing and a source of incredible wisdom. But if you’re experiencing vulvodynia or other pelvic pain right now, it may not feel like that. It can seem as if your body is betraying you. Switching my perspective from fixing my body to listening to my body is what relieved my pain, and I’ve seen it completely transform the health and lives of thousands of women. Learning how to understand your body’s language is not only empowering, it feels like coming home to yourself.
Have you ever noticed the simple ways your body can communicate? Maybe with a gut feeling, or goose bumps, or tensing up in a situation that doesn’t feel right to you? In my experience, no matter how much pain you’re in, you can learn how to reconnect, understand, and trust your body again.
Step 6: Access Your Emotional Guidance System
If vulvodynia or other pelvic pain is making you feel lost, confused, or alone, your intuition can show you the way toward healing. I call this your emotional guidance system; it’s your natural feminine wisdom and it has the answers. To find relief, you will not only need to be able to navigate your treatment decisions with confidence but other decisions as well. It’s only through self-trust that you can welcome your inner power to heal.
I hear from so many women whose symptoms got worse after treatments they tell me they knew all along weren’t right for them. I’m on a mission to help women start trusting themselves around their health! Having a team of experts is important, but you need to run their guidance by your gut.
Have you had the experience of either trusting your gut, or ignoring it in your treatment decisions? What was the outcome?
Step 7: Reconnect to Yourself
Adopting a proven daily practice based on simple, effective, and evidence-based mind body practices eases stress, keeps you grounded in your body, transforms your thinking, and helps you maintain a connection with yourself and your emotions—techniques proven to relieve pain.
My clients find their daily mind body pelvic pain relief ritual to not only be a key factor in achieving and maintaining lasting relief but of staying connected themselves and thriving in their lives!
Step 8: Reclaim Your Sexuality
Current research on women’s sexuality shows that the vagina is connected to female consciousness and identity. The impact of cultural shame on your body, as well as negative beliefs or experiences around your vulva and sexuality (including your experiences with pelvic pain), can cause and contribute to guarding and tension in your pelvis and around your sexual energy (your life force energy!) It also significantly impacts your sense of self as a woman. Fortunately, learning to reconnect to this amazing part of your body and yourself can restore your natural energy flow, relieve tension and compression, and deepen your sense of self.
What were your early messages around your sexuality from your family, school, religion and media? Did you learn that your sexuality and pleasure were good, safe and healthy… or did you pick up messages of fear, shame or disgust?
Step 9: Cultivate Pleasure
Experiencing pleasure releases pain inhibiting neurotransmitters and builds up pleasure pathways in your brain. Because of this, making time for pleasure supercharges pain relief. Of course, when you’re experiencing pelvic pain pleasure may be the furthest thing from your mind. Over time pain can start to take up all of our focus and the pleasure pathways in our brain begin to atrophy.
The good news is that this is reversible. Adding pleasure back into your life is not only possible, but a simple and powerful tool for pain relief.
What do you do that brings you pleasure? How can you do more of that?
Step 10: Nurture Purpose, Passion, and Pelvic Health
While of course pelvic pain can prevent us from doing things that bring us joy, the reverse is also true. Living a life out of alignment with your soul causes physical pain.
The first time I experienced the strong connection between purpose, passion, and health was when I left my first career as an accountant and began exploring what made me happy. As I began taking art and psychology classes, health issues I had been struggling with for over a year, including migraines and anxiety, disappeared. I hadn’t found my purpose and passion yet, but simply allowing myself to listen to my heart and explore was all my body needed.
I have found over 10 years of helping women relieve pain that exploring your passion, re-igniting your inner spark, and getting on the path to your soul’s purpose relieves stress, tension, anxiety and pain. You don’t need to drop everything and rearrange your life (yet), you just need to give the parts of you you’ve been ignoring some attention.
What are your desires? What would you do if you could do anything? Those things matter and giving them attention is an important part of radiant health and lasting relief.
Have you ever had the experience of your symptoms improving while you’re on vacation, or in moments when you’re happy, relaxed and doing something you love?
Getting to the real root cause
Ultimately a mind body pelvic pain relief approach addresses the real root issues underlying pelvic and sexual pain. Your body, mind, emotions, and soul are not separate. Your feelings, your pleasure, and your joy matter.
If you’d like support, as always I’m here to help!
Check out my Healing Female Pain Program where I’ll walk you step by step through these 10 steps to relieving vulvodynia and other female pelvic pain. For customized support I offer pelvic pain relief coaching and run women’s groups throughout the year. Please feel free to reach out and ask me your questions privately, or in the comments below anytime.
Remember you’re not alone and there is so much hope that you can heal!