Getting to the Root Cause of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction with Jana Danielson | Podcast #394

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As the owner and founder of Lead Integrated Health Therapies, Jana Danielson takes you on a journey through natural solutions for pelvic floor dysfunction in this YouTube video. Having personally triumphed over this health issue, Jana shares her insights into practical, realistic strategies and therapeutic exercises that can significantly enhance pelvic floor health.

Discover how her holistic approach—combining balanced nutrition, customized workouts, and mind-body connections—has helped countless individuals manage and even overcome this condition. Jana busts common misconceptions about pelvic floor dysfunction and explains why it is integral to overall well-being. Whether you're suffering from pelvic floor issues or simply interested in preventive health measures, this video provides valuable insights and practical tools. Join Jana and learn how to naturally and holistically foster resilience in your health journey.

In this episode, we cover:

00:25 – What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
05:40 – Top Causes for Women
10:40 – Common Symptoms for Women and Men
13:24 – Pilates Practices and Exercises for PFD
16:54 – Kegel Exercises
22:07 – Diaphragmatic Breathing
24:49 – Nutrition for PFD
29:35 – Cooch Ball by Jana Danielson
35:53 – Takeaways

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey guys, Dr. Justin Marchegiani here, back with Beyond Wellness Radio. I'm excited to have an awesome guest today named Jana Danielson. We're going to be talking all about pelvic floor dysfunction for women as well as men. We're going to talk about the root cause and then natural things you can do to help solve it. Jana, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?

Jana Danielson: I'm great, thanks for having me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, awesome. Really happy for you to be here. So let's just start off, what is pelvic floor dysfunction? Let's just kind of put it out there from the broad sets. What is it?

Jana Danielson: Alright, so pelvic floor dysfunction, I mean the pelvic floor is a group of muscles. It's 14 thin little muscles, and just like you can have dysfunction in your shoulder or you can have dysfunction in your glutes, those are muscles.

The only difference is we can't see these muscles, so oftentimes, they don't… we don't think about them as a source of our constipation, our bloating, our low back pain, our tight hips, our cold tingly feet, and our inability to control our bladder or to have pain during intercourse. And so when this group of muscles is not working and resting as it should (that's function plus rest equals function), we then have dysfunction. Got it?

Podcast 394 - The 14 Different Muscles in the Pelvic Floor_Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so how does this happen? Like, what's the lead up? I mean, with guys, obviously, there are different things that can happen that can impact urine flow, such as DHT and benign prostate hyperplasia. Women have different issues with pregnancy and having muscle stretch prolapse uterus. So there may be some different root causes. Can you talk about maybe the different root causes for your typical female and your typical male and just kind of contrast those?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, for sure. So there are some commonalities between the male body and the female body when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. And actually, that's where I want to start because some of the root causes are very simple. We don't realize, you know, when we put… I think back to like my dad, I used to see him wear his wallet in his back pocket all the time, right? Like the typical farmer. And when that happens, it actually starts to displace our posture. So our pelvis, the bones of the pelvis…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I'm gonna put up on the screen here just for listeners so they can see the pelvic floor. So we have the female one on the right, the male one on the left, just so people are listening maybe they can visualize better.

Jana Danielson: Exactly, yeah. So when you think of assymmetry in the bones, the muscles are going to respond, some of the muscles are going to get tighter in relation to where those bones are living, some are not going to work as much. Even putting our phone in our back pocket, ladies, those of us who chose to be moms, you know, we've had our little toddlers resting on our hips for how many years.

All of those regular day-to-day activities impact the pelvic floor. Little things we don't really realize, like our hydration. When we are in a state of dehydration, these muscles become very dysfunctional. There's fascial tissue, that's this beautiful connective tissue around all of these muscles, and when our fascia is… it should be like a beautiful spider web. When it's not, it sticks to these muscles in a man's body, in a woman's body, and it restricts blood flow.

Well, guess what, gang, blood flow is the body's natural way of healing. It's got oxygen, it's got nutrients, it's like taking away sunlight and water from a plant. That plant is not going to flourish. It's exactly the same, all right? So, I mean, other root causes, any sort of, you know, prostate dysfunction, prostate cancer. If you've had a prostate surgery, that definitely can impact the pelvic floor, incontinence.

Sitting at a desk, riding… If you know, the cyclists that are out there, the horseback riders that are out there, all of those regular day-to-day life things that we would never probably in a million years connect the dot back to pelvic floor dysfunction actually plays, you know, a huge role.

And then there's the ones we basically know just from what we know. Childbirth, women getting into perimenopause and post-menopause, as our hormones start to change, it changes the tissues, it changes the dryness of the vagina. All of those can be contributing factors to pelvic floor dysfunction in the male body…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So when we talk pelvic floor, right, it's a whole host of muscles. It's not just one muscle. It ranges from the glute all the way in the back, all the way up to around the rectum, anus, the penis area for a man, vagina area for women, all the way up to those coccygeal muscles in front. So it's that whole bottom area, is that correct?

Jana Danielson: That's the whole bottom area. And another really important point is that the main nerve that runs from the brain to this area is called the pudendal nerve.

Alright, yeah, the pudendal nerve has two… It's a dual function nerve. It's a motor nerve, so it's that highway that sends messages to and from the brain to the pelvic floor area, and it's also a sensory nerve. So, you know, the spectrum of pleasure to pain, that nerve has a really big job.

And when we have, again, poor posture, ladies, those of us that have worn heels for a really long time, those just basic, you know, activities of daily living can put a lot of strain and excess tension through this nerve structure. So it's not just muscles, fascia, blood flow, there's also the communication system which is, you know, which is this nerve system, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So all these nerves right around here, (exactly). Got it, that makes a lot of sense. That's very good.

So if we look at women, what are the top causes for women? Obviously, you kind of mentioned a couple, you mentioned the birthing process, especially if you've had a vaginal birth. What else for women?

Jana Danielson: So, you know what? Even women that have not babies, floor issues, and so for women, the pelvis and the head, neck, and shoulders are the top two areas where we hold our tension and our stress, alright?

And so just by virtue of that, the holding or the guarding can over time create dysfunction. So when we hold… or think about watching a scary movie or those of us that live in a place that has weather and seasons, you slide in your vehicle on a patch of ice, everything gets guarded.

Some of us, unbeknownst to just our consciousness, live like that subconsciously, we're guarded for lots of different reasons. There could have been past trauma, you know, as a young teenage girl, you're trying to zip up those jeans and make your body look as small as you possibly can, all of those are contributing factors to pelvic floor health in women.

And the other thing that I want to touch on here, too, is because a lot of women live in this higher anxiety state, we actually stop breathing with the main muscle of respiration called our diaphragm, and we start breathing with these little muscles of our neck, right, right, that do it plays into our sympathetic nervous system. She must be in danger, right?

So now we have cortisol and adrenaline, you know, called upon when it's not really necessary, and the body starts living in this constant state of fight, flight, freeze, when it… you know, those moments are meant to be momentary and then we move on to our parasympathetic, the rest and digest.

So, in my practice, that's what I see a lot of – those cases where women don't even remember what happened. It's usually not just one moment; it's usually these layers and layers and layers that end up being, “I coughed and sneezed a bit, or I was having a glass of wine with girlfriends and we laughed our butts off and I wet my pants.” Right?

Or, “I've got this pelvic floor pain, and I'm losing connectivity with my partner because those intimate beautiful moments are now becoming terrible pain-ridden moments where I feel so disconnected from my body. Oh, but I guess that's what being a woman means, right?” So, that's the big problem.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Makes sense. And your background is as a Pilates instructor, so how did you kind of… Were you already into Pilates and doing that before pelvic floor became a big issue in your practice, or was Pilates essentially something that you sought out to kind of help fix the pelvic floor issue after the fact?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, you know what, Pilates was my vehicle for healing my own body. In my early 20s, I lived with undiagnosed digestive pain. I was two years into my medical journey and was told that the pain was in my head, I was seeking attention, and the 11 daily medications I was on weren't helping at all. And I found Pilates, and within 16 weeks, I was off all my medications, and I found this beautiful connection to my body. I healed my pain, wanted to teach and show other people what I learned.

I started teaching out of my home as a hobby while I was a business consultant, and the business just grew and grew until I opened up my own studio. It included an Integrated Health Therapies Clinic – Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Massage, Naturopathic Medicine, Osteopathy – so that we could teach our patients and clients that the body is not a one-trick pony.

The body needs different things at different times, and that's where my love for pelvic floor health was born because so many women in my classes, in my workshops, when I was working as an integrated wellness team with other clinicians, they wouldn't talk about it. They wouldn't express what was going on down there.

They wouldn't even use the proper language, and I was like, “What is happening here? Why can't we talk about this group of muscles just like we do our glutes, our chest, our deltoids?” But there's, you know, going back to the pudendal nerve, if you want to get a little bit witchy here, the Latin root of the word “pudendal” means external genitals or parts to be ashamed. So if we wanna go back (Oh, really?).

Yeah, and when I learned that, I was like, “Okay, that answers so many questions of why we don't draw our line in the sand and step up and be like, how-to, you know, a pad is not a solution, and a drug for erectile dysfunction is not a solution. Why are we okay with that?” And that's when I decided to help people see a different way of healing their body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. So, what are the big symptoms that you first experienced? What do you see most women experience? Was it just the incontinence, kind of the sneeze or the laugh, and you kind of wet your pants a little? Is that the big one, or is there any more stuff? Is there sexual dysfunction or any other symptoms that kind of come to mind? What are the top three to five or so?

Jana Danielson: Yeah I mean incontinence is the big one. I would say generalized pelvic floor pain is another one, which differs from pain during intercourse. Women might not realize they have pelvic floor pain until there's pain during intercourse.

You know, I would say, there's just that, not the physical part of it but the emotional part of it. Many women feel disconnected from their bodies. Their body doesn't feel like theirs anymore. They don't know why they've tried all these different things that doesn't really works. And some of them just wave the white flag and say, “Well, this is how it's going to be for the rest of my life. I'm 35 years old, and this is what it is.”

And so, you know hat one takes a bit more around mindset and motivation to help them unwind that big ball of yarn that they're trying to deal with. But that's what I would say the big four are on the women's side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great and then what about with men? Outside of urine flow or just slow flow type of issues when they're urinating, what else in men?

Jana Danielson: So, erectile dysfunction, 100%. A decent, tight pelvic floor. The pelvic floor can be hypertonic, which is too much tone like a rock wall, or hypotonic, a lack of tone. So erectile dysfunction, for sure. I would also say constipation.

Like you mentioned, completely emptying the bladder, and then getting into that bit of frequency, right? Whether they having to go all the time because the bladder is not emptying, yet the brain's getting a message “You gotta go, You gotta go, You gotta go”. Then there's the physicality of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor has such a direct relationship to our hip range of motion, our deep core muscle, the transverse abdominis.

So guys that are any kind of Weekend Warriors or professional athletes, when we start to work on pelvic floor with them. First of all, many guys won't even think they have a pelvic floor, when you start to work on that, they notice tremendous physical improvements, whether it's at the gym or when they set out on the golf course.

Even just sleeping at night, other client that messaged me a few weeks ago and he said “Jana! (in his mid-40's he said) I'm waking up as the 16-year old version of me every morning!” “Thank you!” Right? Like, this hasn't happen in a really long time. And really its wonderful.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's great. So you started off with Pilates. What are some of the big exercises that you saw in Pilates that were really helpful? Oh, my wife does Pilates. She's been doing it for the last 2 years. She loves it! So what are some of the big ones you've seen the best kind of bang for your buck on?

Jana Danielson: Yeah so let me answer that question this way. I was doing some work with Dr. Bruce Crawford, a urogynecologist from Nevada. His research showed that the pelvic floor doesn't work on its own. When it's functioning properly, three other muscles are actively moving at the same time: the deep abdominals, the transverse abs, the adductors which are the inner thighs, and our glute mid, which is like the mama bear of the glute muscle and kinda is the middle part of the glute comes off the sacrum, the tailbone, and comes around to the side of the leg bone and attaches.

So the Pilates exercises or the exercises in general that are the best: the squat and the lunge actually from Dr. Crawford's research, were shown as the top two exercises for activating and then relaxing the pelvic floor. In side line, when you're laying on your side, there's one called the clam shell. Your top leg is opening and closing in a bent leg position.

In a kneeling position, when you go back and do a little bit of a backward lean or a hover its called, that's also a really important one. Any, even when you're sitting at your desk, you know. Ball between the legs, just squeezing that ball you know, no one would even has to know you're doing it. So anything that activates those inner thighs, the glute mids, and you know what gang? With proper diaphragmatic breathing, the transverse abs are gonna turn on.

Like for some of my many clients, I'm like “I'm gonna teach you how to tone and shape your waistline just by properly breathing.” Like say goodbye to doing another crunch or plank because that huge transverse abdominus muscle that starts from the back of the body and wraps to the front like a big corset, or an olympic weight training belt, that's the ticket. When that muscle can be strong and also, you know flexible, it really plugs into that pelvic floor health. So those are some of the basic ones that I would say really do a great job.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So the clam shell and that would be more up with the Pilates side of the fence, and then you mentioned lunges and squats. Now, when someone's doing that, you mentioned to activate the TVA or the transverse abdominals, are you telling them to draw their belly button into their spine, or just kind of brace their tummy and make it hard like they're flexing their abs? What's the cue that you give them?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, so just kind of what you said there. So, it's on the exhale, right? It's on the exhalation of the breath. That's where the pelvic floor is contracting. That's where we want to have the exertion phase of movement. If we're at the gym, if we're doing a deadlift, we want to be exhaling on the up, right? If we're doing a leg press, we want to be exhaling as we extend the legs out. And then if you want, you can take a sip of air at the top of that, and then exhale and come back.

Like really mapping the exhalation to the exertion is important for those transverse abs, the pelvic floor, and just for back health in general. So many, I've seen so many clients come into my clinic with disc issues because they were holding their breath during lifting phase, which is such a common, right? We think of bearing down, so we're going to lift this, I'm going to hold my breath, and then I'm going to pop these weights up, and what does that do? It just puts the body into a state of strain, and that's where we get those little tweaks that can become a major thing down the road for us.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, interesting. And what about, where do kegel exercises fit into this whole thing? Because everyone thinks of, you know, kegels, that's kind of the muscle that you use if you're peeing and you cut your urine flow off, that's that muscle, that's that sensation. Where does that fit in? Obviously, the movements you're talking about are way more functional when they fit in with daily life. The Kegel exercise is very specific and granular, but can you contrast that for us?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, yeah, I can. So think of it this way. What we were just talking about with the diaphragm, think of it, I call it “Beyond the Kegel”, alright? So a Kegel, like you said, if you were peeing, you stop the flow of urine, and you start the flow of urine. So think about it this way, if you… It's like turning a light on and off. The light goes on when you turn on the switch, and it goes off when you turn off the switch.

But functional muscular movement does not happen like that, because we are working through a range of motion to throw a ball, pick up our kid, grab bags of groceries, lift a weight. We're going to a range of motion, so it's not like A and B. It's a plus one, plus two, plus three, plus four gets us to B, and then minus one, minus right gets us back to eight.

So, when you activate the diaphragm muscle as your main muscle of respiration, it takes the Kegel into something much more functional. So that, when you're doing your breathing exercises from a pelvic floor perspective, it's more like an elevator than a light switch. So, for example, when you inhale through your nose, alright, your lungs fill with air.

That diaphragm sits like an open umbrella or a mushroom cap in our rib cage. So when our lungs are full of air, they're taking up lots of space. The diaphragm has to contract and get out of the way, because the diaphragm is the roof of our core, and the pelvic floor is the floor of our core. The pelvic floor responds to the roof, so as the roof contracts and melts down, the pelvic floor relaxes and also melts down.

But when we exhale, the lungs empty, that mushroom cap or umbrella muscle goes back up, the diaphragm fills, it expands, and the pelvic floor follows it, lifts like an elevator going up. So that's the contrast, right? Is that sometimes kegels are just squeeze, release, squeeze, release, squeeze, release. And in a body that already has hypertension, too much tone, you're going to exacerbate the pelvic floor pain, the incontinence, that's all going to get worse. And your mind's going to be like, “But wait, am I not doing what I'm supposed to do? Aren't kegels supposed to help my pelvic floor dysfunction?”

And the answer is yes and no, because if you're doing it with already a hypertonic floor, it's going to get more sticky, it's going to get more brick-like, and that's just going to make those symptoms you're experiencing, it's like you just turned up the volume. That's the main thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That makes sense. Okay, that makes sense. And now, so you've talked about some of the exercise things, we talked about some of the Pilates. What's… Is there any other Pilate movements besides the clamshell? Was there anything else specifically outside of doing a lunge or doing a squat in some kind of variation on the reformer or anything else on the Pilates side?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, so here's the thing, is that those of you who do Pilates or if you've been interested in Pilates, every single thing we do in Pilates taps into diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is like the keystone in the Roman arch when it comes to pelvic floor health. If it's missing, if that keystone is missing, the arch collapses.

So until we have a dialed-in functioning diaphragm, the pelvic floor is going to be lackadaisical. It's going to be on a vacation, it's not going to do its job. The main communicator to that, from a muscular perspective, is the diaphragm. So when you're in Pilates, when you're in yoga, when you're in your spin class, right, that is irrelevant, what the form of movement is, when you understand that as you're exhaling, if you can imagine that elevator rising up, that is going to, you know, down the road, help you in your pelvic floor, really your pelvic floor journey.

So, you know, to answer your question, going back to Pilates specifically, any of the footwork on the reformer, any of the work where we're doing any kind of bridging is fantastic, right? The hundred, where we're breathing in through the nose and out through the nose, pumping the arms, that's a great pelvic floor exercise.

So, I don't want your audience to get so caught up on, you know, the what. Oh, I have to do clamshell. Yes, clamshell is pretty if, you know, if you're in a group fitness class and you're doing straight leg, side leg lifts, really focus on pressing that leg back down as you lower to activate that inner thigh, right? So, it's understanding what are the muscles are a part of this movement, which are those glute medes, the transverse ABS, and the inner thighs. When you can understand that and you connect that into your brain, you're going to start accessing them in a different way.

Podcast 394 - Diaphragmatic Breathing_Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. That's great. I just wanted to review with the listeners what diaphragmatic breathing is because we kind of talked about that. I'm going to just kind of give my take on it, and I'd love to hear yours as well. But, in general, when you breathe, there are a couple of things that happen.

When you're activating the sympathetic nervous system, you tend to be breathing from the chest and also into the mouth. Versus diaphragmatic breathing is into the belly, which is you're allowing that diaphragm to drop, the belly distends out, you look like you're six months pregnant if you do it correctly, and then you're breathing through the nose to activate the parasympathetic.

So I tell my patients put one hand on the chest, one hand on the tummy, and the goal is we don't want this hand to move on top. We want one with the bottom, so it's in… This is what's moving, and then out, and then it's into the nose, out to the mouth. When I breathe here, I'm using these intercostal muscles and these scalene muscles to lift the chest up, and that's a lot of stress versus these muscles here just kind of roll out like the tide wood, and then back in, and there's more of a parasympathetic nervous system response versus a sympathetic stress response. What's your take on that? Is that fair?

Jana Danielson: Rinse and repeat. That was perfect.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, all right, good. I'll make sure I got that right, because people are listening. I want to make sure they have some cues and what they could do. So when you're listening at home, hand on the belly over the belly button, one hand on the chest, make sure when you breathe, the bottom hand is what's moving, the top hand is not, into the nose, out of the mouth. Is that pretty good?

Jana Danielson: It's great, and you know, and then I like to give different visualizations. So, you know, the inhale is like you just pulled out a fresh, batch of cookies or apple pie where you want to savor the moment, like this big dramatic inhale, right? It's a slow inhale and out of the mouth that comes away from the roof of the mouth. The bottom jaw relaxes, and it's like if you were fogging up a mirror or warming up your hands on a cool day. It's that H-A—

And one thing I want to just mention to your listeners is that we tend to have a bigger, more robust inhale phase, and we kind of let the exhale just go because it's just, we don't focus on it as much, but really, the exhale is where more of the magic happens in the strengthening part of the pelvic floor. So even if it feels like there's no air, like all of the air is gone out of your lungs, just stay an extra couple of seconds of just..

It might just feel like your mouth is open and nothing's coming out, but there's still that deep, deep work happening without you really consciously understanding it. So that was fabulous on the diagrammatic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, great. Excellent. I wanted to move into some of the devices that you created, the cooch and the gooch ball. I want to talk about that in a second, but before we do, is there anything else you want to hit about the pelvic floor, anything nutritionally, or any other important vectors that people overlook that could be a significant factor?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, so, I mean, from a nutrition perspective, we want to be eating, you know, anti-infalmmatory foods, anything that causes you know, bloating or inflammation. Inflammation is a precursor to some sort of disease. We know that when inflammation in the body is not taken care of. You know, vitamin D is really important to have in our diet.

We want to make sure that we, you know, from a hydration perspective, if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “I have a bladder the size of a walnut,” I would be a very rich woman right now. And here's the deal, when we… It's an oxymoron, okay? You might have to listen to this a couple of times, but we think that if we have incontinence issues or running to the bathroom all the time, we should drink less water and that will then help the issue.

But actually, that's incorrect because what happens is, our body uses water as a priority system. The brain is the first part of our body to get hydrated, right? If you have that constant brain fog, low-grade headache, your brain is dehydrated. It's like a raisin instead of a grape.

The second priority for hydration are the vital organs, alright? So when our bladder is dehydrated, first of all, our urine is going to be more concentrated. It's going to cause… You know, it's going to cause inflammation inside of that bladder. Those muscles are not going to love it because it's so highly concentrated. The bladder wants out.

So, unless we actually start drinking more water to deal with that highly concentrated urine, that's actually going to play into probably some frequency issues or some urge incontinence. And I'm not saying go from 0 to 60 with your water, but sipping water throughout the day versus chugging…

First of all, when we sip our water with a little bit of Himalayan sea salt, absorption into the cellular wall is highly more efficient than when we're chugging water like, “Oh, I didn't drink much water today. I'm going to take this 500 mils and I'm gonna chug it.” Well, guess where most of it goes? Into your bladder instead of being absorbed into your cells to give those cells the hydration they need to do their job.

So, hydration is really important, and then the other thing before we get to the gooch ball is I'm going to say is our posture, right? We've become this tech-driven society. We are like a DNA helix that is forward-rounded and, you know, really frozen forward. What happens is we're taking space away from the entirety of our organs. Like all of our organs are… They're in an elevator with a hundred people in it, and they can't really do their job versus being in an elevator with, like, two people in it, they can do their job.

So nutrition, hydration, proper posture, and the trick for posture for me is when you're standing, you want 60% of your weight back in that big heel bone called your calcaneus and about 40% of your weight across the metatarsals, which are the knuckles of your feet where your toes hit the main part of your foot. If that's the only thing you take from this, is that 60-40. When you're in line at the grocery store next time, wherever you're just standing, pay attention to that.

And if you're in a running shoe or a heel, I mean, you have to kind of extra play with that 60-40. But here's what happens when you're in 60-40, your pelvic diaphragm, your respiratory diaphragm, and the neck, the glottis, are going to be lined up like balls of snow on a snowman. And that's when you're going to have proper alignment.

You guys, I can't tell you how much our feet, the tension in our feet impacts our pelvic floor. Jaw tension impacts our pelvic floor because it's this junction between the upper and lower body. It is just such a beautiful… It's got so many jobs to do. And if we just understood it and gave it a little bit of extra attention, you would notice how other parts of your health, wellness, your sleep, your digestion, your elimination, you know, that it would all start to slowly shift just because we focused in on this one little area with 14 little thin muscles.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's great. That's excellent. Very good. So 60-40, be rooted in that calcaneus and kind of have your weight spread out through the knuckles or the metatarsals of the feet. Very exactly. Excellent. Excellent. Very good. And so let's bring up… I got your home page here on the Gooch Ball,

You want to pull this up here so everyone can see it, talk a little bit more about this device. How did this device come into existence? I know… I know necessity is the mother of skill here. So, or… Yeah, so just, you know, like you need something, alright, let's go create it, let's go find it, right? So how did this get created? Where's the best image to show here? Is it right here, (That's exactly it.) Right there?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, so… There I am. Yeah, so it's… (Let's talk about it.) Here's how it happened. I would do… I would do these pelvic floor workshops at my studio and clinic, and they would be sold out all the time. I would have all these women and a few men, and I would teach them how to move, and we would breathe, and no one would make eye contact with me.

There would be no questions, but yet at the end of every single session, I would have a lineup of people in tears telling me that I just, like, spoke to their soul with what I told them, right? So when I was working with Dr. Crawford one of the things that kind of, it's like when you put two and two together, and the light bulb goes off, you know? That when there's knee discomfort, we might use a foam roller on our IT band. Or if we have really jacked up shoulders, we might use a tennis ball on our shoulder.

When there's a block of blood flow to a muscle, it doesn't matter how much breathing you do, it doesn't matter what meds you take, it doesn't matter, because there's one missing ingredient. For a muscle to regain its functionality, it needs blood flow. And when there is no blood in the area, the environment for change is missing.

So, that's why for some of you, that might be, “I've been doing kegels forever, or I've been doing these therapies forever, and I get a little bit of improvement, and then I go backwards a little bit.” It's because we're missing blood flow, and that's why pelvic floor physiotherapy is such a great form of therapy because the therapist goes internal to create blood flow through releasing trigger points.

And then the healing can start. Healing cannot start in the absence of blood flow. And so that's why I created the cooch ball because I, and I'm the mom of three boys, and so they were younger then, and they had a big toy box full of like mini basketballs and, you know, all these kinds of different balls, and I'm like, “Well, if a foam roller can work to release the fascia of the I.T. band to give knee… You know, given knees more of a healthier environment, how would we do that for the pelvic floor?” And that's where the cooch ball was born. It took a little while…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got a picture here on screen just so if you want to describe this something here. Is this like a trigger point thing where you're rolling in the area trying to get the adhesions out, is that how this is working?

Jana Danielson: You know what, you're actually initially what you're doing is just sitting on the ball, and how this woman is sitting here, you don't have to be on the floor, you know, and on your haunches like that. You can sit on a chair, you can sit on your couch, you can sit on your bed, it's not… It doesn't matter how you sit, but inside of this ball, and that's why it took a lot of back and forth.
We had to find the patent, there's a design and a Utility Patent on this product because a kid's playground ball wasn't cutting it. The weight of an adult human on the ball wasn't creating the experience in the fascia that I wanted it to, so we found a really cool nylon thread that when we wrapped the bladder of the ball in the really unique way with this cross-linked pattern and then put the rubberized coating on it, when you fill the ball, do you see how mine is still a little bit special? So that's the key. You want it to be a little bit squishy.

If it's cool, it's not unsafe, it's just not going to be as impactful because when the weight of the body is on the ball, because there's a bit of squish here, it is not going to send you into sympathetic state of contract, save, protect. What is this underneath me? The pain's not going to think that because it's a little more comfortable.

So when you sit on the ball and you work your way up to three minutes, there is going to be a bit of what I call the ouch factor, and the ouch factor is simply the biofeedback your body's communicating to you, saying, “This doesn't feel very good. I don't know if I want you on this anymore.” And if your breath starts to become erratic or you start holding your breath, that's your sign to come off.

So for some men and women, and it's co-branded, right? So for some men and women, it takes them six weeks to be able to sit for three minutes. For some, it takes six days. But when you're diaphragmatically breathing on this ball, those who have a hyper or too tight pelvic floor are going to get the release of the body on the ball, and those who are lacking tone are going to use the ball as a bit of a platform to feel the lift and the lower of that elevator going up and down. And so it really does… It does work for both hyper and hypotonic bodies.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And the mechanism is that designed to release some of these overly tight muscles? That maybe have been inhibited, they're overly tight, and it's kind of almost like a trigger point therapy in a way, but a trigger point ball like you're saying maybe a little bit too hard for that sensitive tissue.

So you essentially, the difference with your invention is it's a little more forgiving, a little more softer, and then you can adjust the air (Exactly) which adjusts the firmness of the ball. Okay, good. I want to make sure people are listening. They're like, “Oh, I have this little device,” but yeah, your back and your glutes are maybe a little bit tougher of a muscle (Exactly) than the IT band down in that sensitive area. Okay, that makes sense. Awesome.

Jana Danielson: Yeah, the other thing that it does is it really creates… It melts away the disconnect between our brain, our body, because now we have something that we can connect into, and that's what it is. So many people are just plain old disconnected from their body, and this helps to bring the mind and the body back onto the same page. It can be very… Yep, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If someone has an adhesion or a trigger point somewhere and the massage therapist finds it, and they're like, “Breathe into it, breathe into it,” and you're kind of like you're focused on that, and it starts to melt. There's that mind-body connection with that. That makes sense. Absolutely. (Yeah)

Well great, Jana. I'm really excited to have you on today's show. That was great. We'll put the website below, Any other coordinates or people can get to find more information about you and some of the things that you do?

Jana Danielson: Yeah, you know what, you can head over to our YouTube channel at the Cooch Ball or, you know, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, at the Cooch Ball. Direct message me if I… I'm looking at all the socials, so please, if you have questions, you're not alone.

The stat used to be one in three women… has some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction. The newest stat that came out recently is one in two. And in Canada, where I am, you know, about 20 percent of men have some sort of (Wow!) pelvic floor dysfunction. So if you think you're alone, you are not correct there. So let's just, you know, start the conversation and see what kind of magic can happen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, Jana. Thank you so much, and for everyone listening, we'll put links down below where you can get access to Jana and some of the things that she does. Thank you so much for being on the show today.

Jana Danielson: All right, have a great day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care. All right, bye.


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