Taking care of the Female Athlete

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When I bring up the topic of pelvic floor dysfunction in athletes, stress incontinence is usually the first aspect of pelvic health that springs to mind – and rightly so, as professional sport is one of the risk factors for stress urinary incontinence. (Poswiata et al 2014). The majority of studies show that the average prevalence of UI across all sports is 50%, with SUI being the most common LUT symptom. Athletes are constantly subject to repeated sudden & considerable rises in IAP: eg heel striking, jumping, landing, dismounting and racquet loading. Continue reading “Taking care of the Female Athlete”


Optimal Health after Hysterectomy – Online Course

For Every Woman Who Needs to Know and Every Women’s Wellness Professional Serving the Hysterectomy Patient

At the most recent calculation, 1.2 million women a year underwent a Hysterectomy procedure worldwide.  With a figure of 55,000 in the UK and just over 500,000 in the USA.  Why women undergo this procedure is as varied as the woman to whom the procedure is being applied.  From Ectopic pregnancies to Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis to Cervical Cancer, the female ailments that precede the need for  Hysterectomy are usually highly challenging in themselves and many women undergo Hysterectomy as a theoretical ‘final solution’ to chronic and life-disrupting issues only to find that there is also an additional toll to be paid during the recovery period and for many years after.  For many women, although Hysterectomy alleviates their most pressing health issues, in the immediate and long-term recovery period, the removal the reproductive organs actually acts as a catalyst to range of, sometimes life-threatening conditions such as Osteoporosis, heart disease, pelvic organ prolapse, bowel dysfunction and Metabolic Syndrome.  

So, unlike other surgical procedures, the expected short-term recovery issues are generally compounded by the unexpected and confusing long-term physical and emotional fallout due to gross endocrine disruption.  Unfortunately, this imbalance and the sometimes debilitating accompanying negative symptoms can easily last for many years and even decades into the rest of woman’s life.

[su_expand more_text=”Read more” link_color=”#ff009e” link_style=”button” more_icon=”icon: plus-circle”]Hysterectomy is, of course, one of many female health taboo subjects….it traditionally happens to older women who historically have been ‘non-complainers’ and not been strong advocates for their later-life health.  For many, Hysterectomy is something that is ‘done’ to them without a clear understanding of the actual procedure or the short and long term implications for their ongoing health.

There is, however, a sea change, women are finding their voice, asking questions and insisting on answers.  And thanks to the internet and the democratisation of information regarding the procedure, women are starting to become their own health advocates.  BUT, there is still work to be done to improve education on the procedures themselves and how best to recover plus clear directions on the potential for ongoing health challenges that women may experience due to the procedure, sometimes for the rest of their lives.  Information regarding Hormone Therapy, bone health, sexual function and so many other issues also need to be clearly explained so that women are prepared  and indeed can take steps to offset these health issues through specific nutrition and lifestyle protocols.  Ultimately, women need to know that there is life, hope, and wellness after Hysterectomy and that there are great information and sources of support for their onward journey.

The sole purpose of this course is to provide a 1-stop portal for evidence-based, heavily researched up-to-date, woman-centered information and education on all the key ‘big rocks’ of Hysterectomy before the procedure, in the short-term post the procedure and way into their futures so that no woman who has access to this information need ever go to a consultation, into a surgery or suffer symptoms under-prepared, under-educated and feeling disempowered.[/su_expand]

In this course, you will learn:

[su_spoiler title=”Part 1″ style=”fancy” open=”yes”]

1.  The Anatomy and Physiology of Hysterectomy

2.  Current Global Statistics

3.  The various types of Hysterectomy surgeries and the implications for recover and complications

4.  The reasons for Hysterectomy

5.  The alternatives to Hysterectomy

6. How to prepare for and what to ask you doctor at your ‘exploring having Hysterectomy’ meeting

7. How to prepare for and what to ask you doctor at the ‘deciding to have a Hysterectomy’ meeting

8. Hysterectomy and ‘forced’ Menopause – The potential fallout (short and long term) and implications for about pelvic, bone and heart health

9. Becoming your own Hysterectomy Heroine and Midlife Health Advocate

10.  Heart and soul preparation for the surgery and the ‘new version’ of you

[su_spoiler title=”Part 2″ style=”fancy”]

1.  Supportive nutrition and lifestyle before and healing nutrition and lifestyle after surgery

2.  Nutrition to support your connective tissue health in the short and long term

3.  Preparing for your procedure and hospital stay

4.  Offsetting potential post Hysterectomy alignment changes especially the effects on Diaphragm function because of peri-operative positioning

5.  Early days post procedure self-care strategies for lifting, sleeping, bowel health, constipation and surgery gas

6.  Leaving the hospital, removal of stitches and beginning your healing journey at home

7.  Your post procedure support system – asking and getting help at home


[su_spoiler title=”Part 3″ style=”fancy”]

1.  Offsetting potential post Hysterectomy alignment changes especially the effects on Diaphragm function because of peri-operative positioning

2.  Simple soft tissue/self-massage and stretches to relieve post operative aches and pains

3.  Early days return to movement/exercise with suitable progressions

4.  The short and long term impact of scar tissue and adhesions caused by surgery and how to optimize lymphatic and visceral function

5.  Choosing the best style of exercise to support your new pelvic health status.   Pelvic floor safe, bone strengthening, cardio-protective, alignment focussed movement for life.

6.  Restoring ‘Intrinsic Core Synergy’ and releasing scar tissue to optimise core function.

[su_spoiler title=”Part 4″ style=”fancy”]

Hysterectomy Stories + Vital Resources

Real life testimonials of women’s Hysterectomy stories, their no holds barred journies to and through Hysterectomy.  One of the greatest gifts we can give each other as women is the gift of community and sharing during this process.  In many cases, many of the fears and concerns about this procedure can be lessened by simply knowing that we’re not alone and this part of the education hopes to give you a insight into the journey of real women in a bid to bring hope and clarity to those with questions.  Ultimately, you are NEVER alone in this procedure and it is exactly that, a procedure…..it need not become your identity.

Our top online listing of  ESSENTIAL websites, blogs, clinical information, books and support groups.


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Course FAQ’s

[su_spoiler title=”Pre-Requisites: Who is this Course For?” style=”fancy” ]

  • ANY WOMAN who is considering or has undergone  a Hysterectomy and wants/needs to know more, be in a community of others who are also seeking to empower themselves through education about Hysterectomy.  The content is presented in a manner that’s suitable for both professionals and non-professionals.  The aim was/is to reach WOMEN who desperately need supportive and clear information from a reliable and evidence-based source!
  • Physiotherapists
  • Fitness Professions
  • Women’s Health Educators
  • Professionals working with Peri to Post-Menopausal women
  • Nurses
  • Midwives

[su_spoiler title=”Who has accredited this Advanced CPD?” style=”fancy” ]We are just awaiting accreditation but like all Burrell Education courses, this course will be accredited by Skills Active in the UK and candidates will receive CPD points. (Burrell Education is a Licensed Education Provider).   And we await NASM Accreditation in the US also in order to grant candidates CEU points.

There is a 30 question multiple choice exam for professionals taking this course who wish to gain continuing education points but lay persons can simply view the content and course materials and use the course for personal education.[/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”How is this course delivered?  What kit do I need?” style=”fancy” ]

You need a computer and internet connection.  The course content, totalling 4 Modules will go live within the membership site on Monday 2nd May and the 4 Modules be delivered fortnightly after initial launch.  Thereafter, the full course contents will be available in full for candidates to access whenever they desire wherever they are on the planet.[/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”Will I be well supported on this course even though it is delivered on-line? ” style=”fancy” ]

YES, you will, 100%.  There will be an associated Facebook Support Group which will give you directly daily access to the tutors/authors and all of the other course participants.[/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”How much time do I need to put aside for study?” style=”fancy” ]

I  feel that this depends on your study style but 3-4 hours maximum for each module should be sufficient.  But you have eternal access so may wish to return to the content and go over again.[/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”How Do I Secure My Place For The Next Course?” style=”fancy” ]

Your first payment, whether in full or by instalments, secures your spot![/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”How Long Can I Access The Course Content On-Line?” style=”fancy”]

Forever and ever!  Access to both the course materials, videos, PDF downloads and the Facebook Support Group are open to you forever.[/su_spoiler][/su_accordion]

Your Tutors:

[su_tabs vertical=”yes”][su_tab title=”Michelle Lyons”]

11088595_827749873941299_4864391753086284368_oMichelle Lyons is a Global Women’s Health Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Educator based in Ireland that EVERYONE should know if they are working in the world of Women’s Wellness.  The term Women’s Health Physiotherapist although wonderful doesn’t actually cover even a 10th of Michelle’s scope of practice, knowledge, and teaching which includes Female Cancers, Menopause, Bone Health, Herbalism, Pelvic Health, Aromatherapy, Mindfulness, Integrative Nutrition…..and the list goes on.  Her knowledge base is both extremely wide and deep and her contribution to this certification, quite simply elevates it to being ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR THE LIFE OF EVERY WOMAN!  You can find out more about Michelle here.

[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Jenny Burrell”]

Jenny's HeadshotJenny Burrell is the Head of Burrell Education and with nearly 20 years dedicated to the fitness, soft-tissue therapy, nutrition of and wellness of the Ante Post Natal woman, Jenny reached out to Michelle Lyons with her extensive knowledge of Mid-Life women’s wellness to see if a collaboration educate both the woman considering and experiencing Hysterectomy would be possible.  As Hysterectomized woman, Jenny experienced first hand the lack or information prior to and after the procedure and dedicated herself to one day creating education for other women so that they would have vital and empowering information that was easy to access in order for them to become better advocates for their own health at such a pivitol time in their life.  You can find out more about Jenny here.

[/su_tab] [/su_tabs]

This Course Launches – Tuesday 3rd May, 2016

It is ACCESS ANYTIME which means once you purchase you get access to the Modules and the Facebook Support Group hosted by Jenny Burrell and Michelle Lyons immediately (from May 2nd onwards) and you complete the contents and exam (if you want certification) in your own time.

Your Investment…..
3 Payments @ £65.67/month for 3 months
OR 1 Payment @ £197
proceed to checkout

Need to Convert Your Currency – click here?

Not Quite Ready to Book But Want To Receive Alerts For This Course?  Register Your Interest Here & You’ll Be Messaged via Email.AlertMe2

September is the new January

How can it be nearly the end of September already? But it is…the light is changing as it comes in lower, its a little bit darker every morning when I open the curtains, and I am loving having a fire lit in the evenings.


The French have a wonderful word for this time of year – La Rentree. It conjures up the end of looser summer routines and a return to learning and school schedules and after school activities, the start of the build up to the festive season (don’t you feel like it gets earlier every year?)


I secretly loved September as a child – that new book smell! new pens and pencils! And now, I love that feeling of new starts and new beginnings – as my friend Jessica Drummond says – ‘September is the new January’. I am very happy to have collaborated with Jessica and another of my good physio friends Julie Granger Jesse on our new Female Athlete Wellness course – which you can do at home beside your own fireplace in your pj’s if you want!

Have a look at this free video training series that Jessica has put together and come and join the conversation with us!



Until next time, onwards & upwards!


Progressing your pelvic floor training

While it can initially be very useful to find and activate/relax your pelvic floor muscles in supine or side lying (have you seen the free download about this on the Resources page?!), it’s really not a good long term or functional strategy – the pelvic floor needs to actively work in a number of different positions and in a number of different activities and in coordination with the breath.


Once you have mastered the art of contracting, relaxing, lengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles in a supine or side lying position, try it in sitting (on a firm chair to start with – you can try sitting close to the edge so that when you contract your pelvic floor you can feel it lift up and in and away from the surface of the chair & then relaxing back down again)

In standing, try and keep even weight on both feet and really bring your attention to the movement of the breath as you close the openings, lift up and in and then relax the pf muscles back down again.

Progressing to Movement:

The Knack: Ashton Miller et al first described this pre-emptive tightening of the pelvic floor before a sudden increase in intra abdominal pressure (such as a cough or a sneeze) back in 1998 and it was reviewed again in 2008

Essentially it involves bracing the pelvic floor for a sudden increase in pressure – as stated above, perhaps a cough or a sneeze, but also applicable for going from sitting to standing. Incorporating ‘The Knack’ into every transfer from sit to stand with emphasis on breathing and pf coordination can really enhance the efficiency of the lumbo-pelvic stability system

Try this: Sit close to the edge of your chair. Fold your arms (this way you won’t be tempted to push down on the arms of the chair!)

Take a deep breath in, as you exhale, relax your pelvic floor

Take another breath in, this time with the exhale, close the opening of your pelvic floor and lift up and in as you stand up (Don’t forget to keep breathing!)


Once you are standing, relax the pelvic floor (and again, don’t forget to breathe!). Many women (especially those who do have some incontinence problems, are concerned they will leak if they fully relax their pelvic floors. This is an important mis-conception to address. By being able to fully relax their pelvic floors, they will actually gain a greater spectrum of movement when they contract their pf muscles, promoting a faster return to continence and control than simply

 ‘Tighten! Tighten! Tighten!)

We need to be able to have a full spectrum range of motion and control with our pelvic floor muscles – for continence control, for sexual health and for avoiding problems with back pain or even pelvic organ prolapse


In my next blog post we will look at how we can incorporate more dynamic and challenging movements into our pelvic floor training programmes.

See you then!


Tomatoes….a menopausal woman’s best friend?

Summer in Ireland is a traditionally soggy affair – but it just means we appreciate the sunny days even more…..


However, summer does bring with it beautiful tomatoes, full of flavour, calling for new ways to be used. Lycopene is the plant pigment that gives tomatoes their red colour, has been associated with prostate health in men but there is new evidence emerging showing that it may also be very useful for women, especially at peri-menopause.

In a study at the University of Toronto, women who increased their lycopene intake experienced significant decreases in N-telopeptide (a marker of bone breakdown). Leticia Rao, PhD, the study author, attributed the bone health benefits to lycopene’s antioxidant properties. In her study, the recommended intake of lycopene was 30-7-mg of lycopene daily (roughly the amount found in 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of tomato sauce (cooked tomatoes are significantly higher in bioavailable lycopene than raw, and using a healthy fat like olive oil also boosts absorption)


Another interesting study, published recently in Nutrition Journal, involved women aged 40-60, who had at least one menopausal symptom such as anxiety, irritability or hot flashes. Participants drank 200 mls of unsalted tomato juice twice a day for eight weeks, and they were monitored for heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and menopausal symptoms

After just 4 weeks, those with high triglyceride levels saw a substantial decrease and menopausal symptoms were reduced by 16%

The cardiac benefits were attributed to compounds like 13-oxo-ODA which is only found in tomato juice and prevents metabolic syndrome, and esculeoside A, which supports cardiac function. But it was GABA, a neurotransmitter also naturally found in tomato juice, which may have helped with the hot flashes and stress management.


Making your own tomato juice couldn’t be easier: cut the tomatoes into wedges and gently cook in some olive oil or good butter for about 15 minutes (I like to add a little chopped garlic, turmeric and black aepper for antioxidant & anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as for flavour, along with a dash of tamari). Strain through a sieve, using the back of a spoon to get the most out of the pulp, let it cool and serve. You could also pour into an ice cube tray and freeze to keep a taste of summer in the middle of winter


These tomatoes were sauteed with some butter, garlic and spinach and made into an omelette with some pecorino, which was gobbled before I had the chance to take any pictures – sorry!!

(but it was really good!)


3rd Age Women

Interested in learning more about peri-menopausal health?

Here is a link to some videos from the 3rd Age programme that Jessica DrummondJenny Burrell and I have created. Watch Jessica and I talk about creating optimal health for women as they move through and beyond menopause, creating pathways for health on every level of self care – using knowledge, food, exercise and mind-body strategies to optimise your well-being (and the well being of the women you know and work with)

Interested in learning more? Our online certification in 3rd Age women’s health opens again on July 20th. Hope to see you in class!Global_cert_meme_nov14