If you want the "in" on your health, search no further. Fit As a Fiddle brings you top tips from experts in many fields of health and wellness. Grow with our community as you learn how to enhance your overall physical and mental wellbeing.
Prenatal Yoga: Easing & Moving Into Birth
During pregnancy, the physical changes come in fast, and sometimes, furious! A great way to tune into these changes and create more body awareness is through “yoga asanas”, which are movements and poses from the ancient Indian tradition that promote physical & mental wellbeing. Prenatal yoga is becoming more popular these days as research and science points to the immense benefits of healthy and safe movements for birthing individuals. Not only can it help pregnant people throughout each trimester, but it can also assist in a smoother birth as well!
In the show today, we have Deb Flashenberg, the founder and director of the Prenatal Yoga Center in NYC. Deb advocates for how yoga poses can help create more balance in the body so that birth flows better and there is less obstruction for the baby. She talks about “mock contractions” in her yoga classes that help her clients prepare for 60-seconds of physical and mental challenge during labor and delivery.
Along with being a prenatal yoga teacher, Deb is also a labor support doula, Lamaze childbirth educator, mother of two and self proclaimed "birth and anatomy geek”. Deb received her first vinyasa yoga certification with Shiva Rea and then added to her education by completing the OM Yoga advance yoga teacher training with Cyndi Lee. After the challenging birth of her first child, Deb became incredibly interested in pelvic health and has since earned her Pelvic Floor Yoga Certification with Leslie Howard.
For the past 7 years, Deb has also greatly enjoyed being the host of the podcast, Yoga | Birth | Babies, where she speaks with some of the world’s leading experts in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood. Currently, Deb is knee deep in Dr. Sarah Duvall’s Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist program and pursuing the Spinning Babies Parent Educator certification and loving every minute of it!
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What If It Makes Me Anxious To Relax?
Are you the person who finds themselves feeling the opposite of grounded and centered during a movement class, yoga, or meditation? Are you the type who can’t quite relax during a massage or a pleasant walk? You’re not alone!
Today we have Dan Rindler GCFP, P-SEP, chatting with us today on his approach to trauma which draws on Somatic Experiencing and Feldenkrais Methods. Difficulty relaxing can be manifested in many ways. He encourages bringing awareness to this feeling and understanding that one is never stuck in this state!
He talks through strategies for what one might do if they feel overwhelmed in class or what PTs and other practitioners might do when their client is having a threat response during a session.
Dan suggests ways people can redirect this feeling to be productive during sessions. He also discusses when a practitioner might refer out to a trauma specialist, or when someone might choose to try somatic trauma healing sessions.
Dan is certified as a practitioner of both the Feldenkrais Method and Somatic Experiencing, with a private practice in-person in Brooklyn, and online. Dan's focus is on supporting clients who have both unresolved trauma and chronic pain or other physical challenges or limitations. Through a weaving of Feldenkrais and Somatic Experiencing, he helps support people in their learning and healing process, moving towards more well-being, connection with others and a new-found sense of resilience. Dan has created “The Roots of Resilience,” a 16 week trauma-aware online program for adults which helps people to feel more grounded, centered and connected.
In addition to his work with adults, Dan created “We Grow Together,” a program for babies and new parents, which fosters co-regulation through touch and movement and has been attended by over 2,500 families. Dan’s program was the subject of a study sponsored by Vassar College, with results showing its efficacy published in the Infant Mental Health Journal.
The Basics of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation in the body can manifest in many ways and ultimately exists to protect us. However, excessive inflammation that lasts a long time, or “chronic inflammation”, can be associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other disease states.
Robin Randisi is a functional nutritionist helping people improve their health using a holistic, root-cause approach. In today’s chat, Robin shares her personal story of how she used food to heal interstitial cystitis and how this led her to study nutrition. She talks about what inflammation is, how to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, and how quick-fix diets never work! She creates a framework to provide solutions to common barriers to eating a nutrient-dense diet, including: assessing your energetics, going slow, keeping it simple, emphasizing techniques and flavors over recipes, planning your meals around protein and fiber, and stocking your pantry strategically. Robin emphasizes that health is about more than just food or movement but lifestyle and mindset.
Robin’s specialties include digestion, autoimmune conditions, and what’s commonly referred to as “women’s health,” i.e. period problems, pelvic pain, hormone imbalances, fertility issues, PCOS, endometriosis, and more. She has an online private practice where she works one-on-one with clients from all over the country, of any gender. Robin is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and is also certified as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Restorative Wellness Practitioner. She believes that a truly holistic understanding of health and wellness not only recognizes and cultivates an individual’s capacity to heal, but also acknowledges the necessity of collective healing and liberation given the complex interplay between our environment and our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
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@robinrandisi on IG
Finding Support People For Your Baby’s Birth
There is a lot to think about when finding support for your baby’s birth. The first thing to understand is the different roles that people play in a birth setting. What is the difference between a doula and a midwife anyway? And what about a baby nurse?!
We sat down with Stephanie Heintzeler, a German educated midwife and acupuncturist as well as US-educated doula and Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She is the founder of the New York Baby where she puts expecting parents/mothers in touch with doulas and baby nurses. Stephanie educated us on the importance of care by doulas and other support people during labor and delivery. She shares that doula-supported births result in 40% less rates of cesarean intervention and 70% increased likelihood of the baby being breastfed!
Stephanie is a proponent of staying educated and making decisions that are right for you, your baby, and your family. She discusses how preparing for birth with conservative treatment from PTs, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and more, allow for better births overall. She also chimes in on how things are done differently in the birth space in Germany compared to America.
Stephanie cares for women with all kinds of births- whether her clients choose a hospital birth, birthing center or home birth; she wants them to follow their own intuition about which birth place feels best. Stephanie has seen it all- breech births, many successful VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean), planned and unplanned c-sections, vaginal twin births and LGBTQ-families.
With her “former midwife-approach” her clients feel taken care of from a holistic-medical perspective. She uses breathing techniques, TENS and positions to open the pelvis as well as her acupuncture background and massage techniques to make birthing as comfortable as possible- whether it is a natural or medicated birth. Using evidence-birth-techniques she and her doula-partner Alice (who is a midwife from the UK) make sure their clients have continuous support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum weeks. As of 2022 Stephanie has delivered over 2,500 babies and attended over 3,200 births.
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How To Breastfeed Optimally For You & Your Baby
In our society today, we don’t quite learn how to breastfeed by observation as we once did in the past. You might think that it is completely natural for you and your baby, which it is to some extent. However, without coming into contact with the techniques involved with breastfeeding, it can truly be a foreign concept to most of modern society. And the unknown can often be scary! This is why it’s always beneficial to take a breastfeeding class prior to giving birth.
LaShanda Dandrich, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and co-founder of the Lactation Learning Collective, joins us today to talk about all things breastfeeding. LShanda talks about the significant mental and physical aspects involved in breastfeeding “success” and what “success” even means in this situation. She dives into topics like latching, clogged ducts, mastitis, yeast infection and more. She discusses how lactation consultants can help people with under or over supply of milk due to hypothyroidism, diabetes, breast surgery, etc. LaShanda advocates for creating your “village” of people to help you stay nourished and take care of you and your home so that you can focus on breastfeeding. Especially in the early days, breastfeeding can be a round-the-clock activity as newborns have tiny tummies and need to feed often.
After the birth of her daughter in 2009, LaShanda’s passion for breastfeeding and supporting mothers and families in the postpartum period blossomed. She became a trained postpartum doula while pursuing her IBCLC credential. LaShanda currently provides lactation support prenatally and postpartum via virtual visits and in person support groups. She has supported families of all diverse, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds throughout NYC. She also works closely with other perinatal professionals, teaching lactation support for doulas to mentoring those on the Pathway to IBCLC. She currently resides in Harlem with her daughter, and they continue to travel the world together!
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Low Desire? Understanding Hormones and Sexual Health
When it comes to sexual health for women, there always seems to be a “hush hush” about it. But what might seem to be a quiet topic or a funny joke to some, for others it can be crushing and life altering. Today we have Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus joining us to talk about how important it is to clinically look at women’s sexual health closely and provide actionable tools to make people feel more empowered in their lives. She discusses how hormones and psychological issues of pain can affect low desire. She dives into how vibrators and fantasies work and why she advocates for women to become more aligned with themselves through various strategies.
Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, a certified sex therapist, is the author of Satisfaction Guaranteed : How To Have the Sex You’ve Always Wanted. She has spent her life helping women reclaim pleasure in their bodies and spirit and her career has been dedicated to bridging the gap between the medical and the psychological in women’s sexual health. For nearly 25 years she served as the clinical director of one of the largest sexual health centers in the US. Dr Marcus earned a master’s in public health as well as a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She also holds master’s degrees in social work from Columbia University and a masters in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition she is a certified bariatric counselor.
In the past Dr Marcus has served as executive director of not-for-profit institutions and corporations, medical practices, and laboratories. She has lectured internationally on women’s issues, has given frequent Grand Rounds to health care providers, as well as lecturing to sex therapists around the world. She has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including CNBC, CBS News, Huffington Post Live, and NPR and been profiled in the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, and Westchester Magazine, among others.
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Solid advice and interesting conversation
This podcast is full of knowledge and also fun to listen to with an energetic host. It also offers a wide range of topics from a wide range of experts. Definitely worth a listen.