I’ve mentioned a few times (like here and here) how much I love Katy Bowman’s work.  I’ve gushed so much that someone asked me if I was her friend in real life.

Nope.  I’m just a stalker.  Er, I mean a student.  And I am not the only one.

On Wednesday, I posted to Facebook some information Katy shared about how the hormone relaxin doesn’t actually cause joint pain for pregnant women.  There are other mechanisms at work that cause pain, but it’s not the relaxin.

She said this on her Facebook page:

PREGNANCY SCIENCE UPDATE: The hormone RELAXIN inhibits uterine contraction, increases the length of the interpubic ligament, and softens the cervix. IT DOES NOT increase the laxity of the joints nor affect the whole body, making pregnant women more susceptible to joint injury. About 30 years ago, it was hypothesized that pregnancy hormones created an all-over joint hypermobility, a notion widely spread in the 1980s. More recent research has shown that there is NO CORRELATION between pregnancy hormones and joint mobility. WE NEED TO STOP TEACHING THIS INFO IN PREGNANCY COURSES. What we do have is a widespread issue of women without enough strength to carry the rapidly-increasing load of pregnancy, then straining their ligaments, and getting injured. People also do not have enough information on how to align their body correctly to know when they’re stretching a muscle or when they’re stretching a ligament. It’s time to teach them, don’t you think?

Evidently, this information raised something of a firestorm, because she followed up with links to relevant blog posts she had written in the past about this subject:

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/aligning-or-relaxin-before-pregnancy/

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/natural-pregnancy-natural-birth/

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/hypermobility/

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/pregnancy-and-pain/

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/natural-mama/

But, apparently this did not put out said fire.  So she followed up with this post.

I use a lot of what Katy has taught me through her blog and the courses I have taken online in my exercise classes and (a lot more) in my everyday life.  As I related in my comment to her “The Morning After” post, I have often wondered how she can be so iconoclastic and yet remain so passionate about her work.

I grow weary of sharing information with people that goes against what they read in the popular fitness news or what they have heard from other folks.  I get frustrated when people continue with patterns of movement or lifestyle that are clearly causing them harm.  I have thought to myself on more than one occasion, “I am not sure how Katy does this day in and day out.”

The answer I have come to is that she has science on her side.  She is highly educated and thinks through these issues for herself.  So, unlike folks who are parroting what “they’ve heard” or learned from others (and that includes me, because I don’t have the benefit of a rigorous science education), Katy can make critical assessments and analyses from her own knowledge base.  I think of her as a primary source of information.  I, on the other hand, am just a secondary source.

But this most recent post clearly shows Katy’s frustration with forever being the iconoclast.  However, instead of just ranting, she makes this argument:

We tend not to place the same rigors on initial information as we do subsequent or follow-up amendments to the aforementioned initial information. I’m sorry about that last sentence. I’ve been watching old episodes of West Wing and am channeling my inner Congresswoman right now.

Let me re-state that last sentence: The information we learn first becomes our truths, and anyone who states differently is forced to not only educate, but to defend, convince and hand-walk us through why our first bit of knowledge has to be let go.

Read that again.  A few times, if you will.  I have and I am still processing.

Here’s your homework for the weekend: think about the “knowledge” that you have about health and wellness and whether you have ever really, truly opened yourself up to a new way of thinking about it.  Or, have you laid the “burden of proof” on the new way of thinking, only to reject it time and again for failing to meet said burden?  If you’ve done the latter, I would ask you this – are you where you want to be?  Do you really, truly feel as good as your body and spirit could possibly feel?

I’m going to keep thinking through all of this.  And it will change how I teach, to be sure.

Thanks for that, Katy.

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