There’s a revolution happening in the conversation around women’s health. Amidst a cultural shift that encourages women to lean in and speak up, the narrative around women’s sexual health issues are becoming more transparent (read: more useful) than ever before — and LA seems to be at the center of it all.
A flood of new products and services for women have launched in the last three years to address unmet needs from period ‘management’ to childbirth recovery. Because sex, menstruation and childbirth have all been such private topics traditionally, most women we meet find this influx of new information exciting, liberating, encouraging and health-inducing.
We recently hosted a panel of amazing female entrepreneurs who have been providing bold women’s health services and products long before it became so popular. Donna Steinmann of natural health and skincare brand Medicine Mama’s Apothecary first approached us about co-hosting a meaningful discussion like the one we held last week and we didn’t hesitate to take her up on it.
Our panel — which you can catch a full recording of here — covered everything from the surprisingly fascinating importance of pelvic health to the ins-and-outs of intimate self-care. Once we familiarized ourselves with Medicine Mama’s V-Magic Feminine Lips Stick (we were already hooked on her cult-adored cure-all salve), we knew Donna wasn’t one to shy away from key women’s health topics and we reached out to few of our favorite LA pros.
Grab a few insights below from the panel moderated by our Editor In Chief, Suzanne Hall with Medicine Mama’s Donna Steinmann, author and inclusive birth and sexual health services educator, Erica Chidi Cohen, and (a very pregnant!) women’s health pro, Allison Oswald of Plumbline physical therapy.
The afternoon was brought to life inside Erica’s center, LOOM, by a group of amazing LA women, including celeb nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, healthy baking goddess Laurel Gallucci, green beauty guru Katey Denno among other entrepreneurs and influencers. Guests enjoyed artful crudite and charcuterie boards by Lady & Larder, juices from Pressed Juicery and organic VIP bags filled with Medicine Mama’s cult-status wellness products.
We walked away feeling empowered to explore our most personal needs, equipped with some pro insight we won’t soon forget. Here are a few of our favorite takeaways…
Your Pelvic Floor Is Your Core.
Allison has made the pelvic floor a focus at her studio, Plumb Line. During the panel, she shared a fact that many women don’t know: the pelvic floor works like the foundation of a house (your body) and supports everything that is above and below. The pelvis is truly your core. As such, pelvic alignment and strength is a very important part of holistic health with innumerable ramifications when things are out of whack. From a muscular perspective, the alignment of our pelvis can affect everything from our neck and shoulders all the way down to our feet. The pelvis is also home to lots of nerve bundles. Energetically, it’s represented by our root chakra, which is a key force that keeps us grounded and balanced, as well as the energetic space where intuition lives. Pelvic wellbeing is correlated with how we experience pleasure and joy in life – soft flexibility there is tied to our emotional health on a deep level. The pelvis is also connected to our nervous system, the regulation of cortisol levels, and our fight or flight response.On Body Literacy
Erica emphasized the importance of body literacy, the idea of knowing your body in a holistic sense. This could be as simple as learning the different stages of your menstrual cycle to understanding that your pelvis is connected to your mind, body and energetic well-being. Erica explained that we’re coming from a culture that often hides what’s going on in the most intimate spaces of our body, with no no one helping us to learn, but there is a shift happening. More and more women are coming into Erica’s LOOM for preventative care –not for immediate problems — and there is so much power in that. We need to cultivate a level of curiosity to know what going on before somehting goes wrong. Erica urges her clients to build a language to enable that — one that is inclusive, explorative and more supportive of phasic hormonal shifts that women currently experience.
Connecting With Our BodiesCultivating curiosity about your own body enables you to become more connected to it. That sense of connection doesn’t just have to come from sex. It’s about learning that intimacy can grow from practices like breathwork, pilates, or any kind of movement that makes you become aware of your body and how its connected. Try eating to support your cycle (ever heard of seed cycling?), and consciously treating yourself kindly when your hormones demand that you need to slow down. Give yourself permission to enjoy sex, and to enjoy the pleasure of sensation, and not just through the prism of our partner. Breathe and be at home in your own body.
On Self-Care For Your (Other) Lips
One of the most unique products from Medicine Mama’s Apothecary caters to a need that many women experience but are reluctant to talk about; in Donna’s words, a vagina headache. There’s not a common lexicon for dealing with intimate discomfort, but women of all ages experience it and aren’t sure how to ask for the right kind of help. This vaginal lipstick product can be used to reduce inflammation and to address dryness, chafing, sensitivity and pain.
We love the surge in candid and useful resources for women right now. Medicine Mama’s products are now available at Costco locations in California and Costco.com, becoming part of the movement for more accessible wellness offerings. Check out this piece from Erica on Period Coaching and this fascinating practice of Seed Cycling. Which products, services, books and resources have been the most helpful for you lately? Let us know in the comments!
This post is brought to you by Medicine Mama’s Apothecary.