There was recently an article published by NPR about a “simple” exercise that could help moms flatten their postpartum tummy which received a ton of publicity. The Tummy Team was bombarded with questions about this article. For the most part, we remained silent. Our goal has always been to encourage and educate people about how our body was created and the potential for our body to heal and be strong. We conscientiously choose to not comment on other approaches but instead focus on explaining why we do what we do at The Tummy Team. Comparing our work to the work of others is never our focus.
With this in mind, we have been recently challenged to reinforce what we know to be true about how the body works and the healing process. We are sharing this blog to clarify what The Tummy Team believes and allow you as the reader to discern the differences (and similarities) between our approach and philosophy and what has been popular in the recent news. Here’s what we’d like you to know about us:
First, The Tummy Team has always been driven to improve and clarify education about neglected medical conditions postpartum women suffer from.
We dedicate ourselves to educating clients and medical professionals on diagnosing and treating conditions like Diastasis Recti (a separated abdominal wall), Functional Core Weakness (the inability to perform daily life requirements without pain, fatigue or instability) and Functional Pelvic Floor Weakness (prolapse, urinary incontinence, and pain with intimacy). Childbirth requires a lot out of a woman’s body and learning how to rehabilitate your body after this event is so important.
Second, The Tummy Team is acutely aware of the overwhelming pressure on women to look a specific way.
The messaging to women, specifically postpartum moms to “get their body back,” is ridiculous. We understand and respect the vulnerability of women who are desperately wanting to feel and look better. But we quite deliberately avoid exploiting that vulnerability with “get skinny quick” messaging. The Tummy Team is very thoughtful and intentional about the messaging we present in our images, our language and the way we promote our work. We believe that women were created in all shapes and sizes and know that strength and connection looks many different ways. We also believe that motherhood demands a transformation in the woman’s body and that transformation will change you forever (and that is not a bad thing). And we believe the goal is not to get your pre-baby body back, but to help your transformed body be strong for the life you were meant to live! With that being our primary focus, we encourage you to assess how you feel and how you function, more than simply how your body looks.
Third, The Tummy Team provides comprehensive functional core rehabilitation.
We are neuromuscular re-education physical therapists that focus on functional integration. This means we do not simply give one exercise but we create a progression of rehabilitation exercises that intentionally reconnects the brain to the disconnected muscles of the core, and then translates those exercises into meaningful movement that you use throughout your day from how you nurse your baby, to how you sit at your computer, to shoveling the driveway. We know that isolated exercises temporarily impact the muscles, but functional integration is what makes meaningful lasting changes in strength. The Tummy Team believes that your body was designed to be strong for the complexity of real life, not simply for a series of exercises.
Fourth, The Tummy Team believes that the woman’s body was designed to give birth and not fall apart.
We know that growing a human inside you, then delivering that little person into the world, and then keeping it alive with the milk from your own body is physically (and emotionally) demanding work. This journey into motherhood can be unexpectedly challenging and can magnify functional core weakness that you were unaware of. Yet, the body has an incredible capacity to heal when given the right conditions, and by removing conditions that interfere with its natural healing process. Our approach is nurturing and gracious, helping women to systematically recover from birth and be strong and pain free for the physical and emotional demands of motherhood. We aim to glorify what the body is capable of and help women reconnect to this new powerful version of themselves.
Overall, our hope is to provide a practical and realistic process for women everywhere to have the tools to restore their core after delivery. We want to offer hope, understanding and expertise on how the body was designed, how it heals and becomes strong for real life challenges. We emphasize more than a few exercises but rather a shift in our mindset to connect to and care for our bodies, creating a new lifestyle of strength and connection that lasts the rest of your life.
The Tummy Team has a physical therapy clinic in Camas, WA (just outside of Portland, OR) and also provides 7 different comprehensive online programs to meet the functional core and pelvic floor needs of women everywhere. We would love to hear your story and talk about how we can help you regain your core and pelvic floor function, and set you up for a lifetime of success. If you’d like a private conversation about how we can help you, you can call our clinic at 360-952-CORE, email us, or message us on Facebook or Instagram.
– The Tummy Team