As I sit down to begin a new endeavor of creating a blog to guide women toward their optimal health, I struggle to singularly identify as an Occupational Therapist (OT). I have thought more of myself as a pelvic health specialist, yogini, ayurvedic practitioner, internal family systems coach, artist, etc. So you may get the point by now, the list goes on… but I do want to take a step back to reclaim this title. 

While we may initially think of occupational therapy from a physical perspective, its foundation is rooted in mental and emotional wellness. It originated alongside the mental health movement in the 1920s [3]. Hobbies and crafts allowed individuals to connect to themselves, each other, and their greater community for enhanced meaning and purpose. A client educated in sewing her clothes cultivated greater independence. Her ability to maintain attention to task, sequence steps, and accomplish a goal led to improved self esteem and engagement with others. 

As the field continued to grow, the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF-4) outlined nine categories of occupations [1]. These included:

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
    • i.e., ADLs are: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, etc
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
    • i.e., IADLs are: driving, working, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Health management
  • Rest and sleep
  • Education
  • Work
  • Play
  • Leisure
  • Social participation

During evaluation, occupational therapists assess client barriers to completing these occupations of life. The American Occupational Therapy Associate (AOTA) identifies five domains of practice which guides these assessments [2]These are as follows:

  • Occupations (as listed above)
  • Contexts (i.e., environmental and personal factors)
  • Performance patterns (i.e., habits, routines, roles, and rituals)
  • Performance skills (i.e., motor skills, process skills, and social interaction skills)
  • Client factors (i.e., values, beliefs, spirituality, body functions and body structures).

The field of occupational therapy holds a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise in areas that extend far beyond purely physical barriers to wholeness. Therapists are trained to look at the person as a whole which brings physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness into the picture. When we look at a person’s health and wellness we notice how interrelated these areas are.

If a woman has painful periods, dysmenorrhea, she may be unable to go to work, care for her child, or partake in a family gathering. Her physical symptoms may lead to mental and emotional struggles. She may experience a decreased sense of purpose and self worth; which may lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Guilt and shame could cause her to isolate and become depressed.

If we just address the physical alignments, we miss out on the opportunity for mental, emotional and spiritual healing. Healing from the perspective that we are a network of interrelated systems creates an environment that uncovers the root cause of illness and disease.

This is where we weave together the importance of our health on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Throughout these blog posts, I will be focusing on women’s health addressing:

  • Physical wellness through the lens of: Classical Yoga, Nutrition, Sound Healing and Pelvic Health
  • Mental and emotional wellness through the lens of: Internal Family Systems, Classical Yoga, and Somatic Experiencing
  • Spiritual Wellness through the lens of: Classical Yoga and Art 

I believe when we find harmony in these areas, we are able to step into our health. It is not about never being sick or experiencing loss, it is about being whole despite our experiences. When we interact with the world from this space, each movement becomes an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. It is from this space that our authentic self is able to express freely, and creatively live the unique embodied life we have been given. 

Are you ready to join me in living a vibrant life?!

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Schedule a Discovery Call: Contact me


[1] American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (4th ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Suppl. 2), 7412410010. 

[2] American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (4th ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Suppl. 2), 7412410010.

[3] Goodwin University. (2014) Origins of Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Practices Within the Profession.Goodwin University ENEWS.
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