In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with newly certified practitioner Hollis Herman, DPT OCS WCS BCB-PMD IF AASECT PRPC
What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
The postpartum mothers of the kids I was treating, Elizabeth Noble, Linda Gallagher, and Kathe Wallace. I would go to nursing conferences 35 years ago and be the only PT in the audience who thought urinary incontinence was a musculoskeletal issue rather than just a medication prescription. The midwives upstairs from the office would say they could not insert a speculum in a postpartum woman and I thought “it was a muscle/tissue problem” rather than infection.
If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
Bladder, bowel, sexual function and reproduction are daily vital activities. As physical therapists we have the anatomic, physiologic, musculoskeletal, neural, visceral and functional knowledge to help these patients. We can put it all together and make sense of their symptoms and diagnose patients individually. We are a vital team member in Sexual Medicine, licensed to observe, evaluate and treat. We have the musculoskeletal knowledge to connect the dots for why muscles are over or under active. Most of us do not use speculums so we are able to visualize the entire region and find where there is dysfunction.
How have you developed as a therapist after earning your PRPC certification?
I realized there is so much to learn. I take 4-5 continuing education courses per year and am so delighted by the smart people out there willing to share their insights, clinical expertise and knowledge.
What motivated you to earn PRPC?
I believe that therapists that have a passion for pelvic floor should be designated and rewarded. Each of us invest a lot to come to courses, allow ourselves to be so vulnerable for the opportunity to learn about the pelvic floor. We’ve sought out information that was not readily available. We were thinking outside the box. This field’s therapists are a special breed with passion, chutspa and a willingness to seek the unknown. The PRPC is unlike any designation available from any other organization. The test made me think, made me put all my knowledge together and it was fair. The PRPC reflects the passion therapists have put into helping this population.
What role do you see pelvic health playing in general well-being?
Women who do not think well of their genitals are at risk for fewer pap smears, fewer gynecology visits, and have less sexual satisfaction. Having urinary or fecal incontinence causes people to stop being as social, are less outgoing, and experience lower self-esteem. Women and men who suffer bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction are at risk for a lesser quality of life. As therapists involved in these areas we can truly change people’s lives for the better. We can educate the public to demand more attention from their doctors, provide validation for their symptoms, and offer hope that there is a non- surgical option. We can educate doctors to ask the right questions. We can demonstrate that physical therapists are a vital team member in pelvic health.
What is in store for you in the future?
I hope to continue teaching and developing courses, and treating patients. I look forward to taking courses from others pelvic floor therapists so that I can continue to grow and learn.
Learn more about Hollis Herman, DPT OCS WCS BCB-PMD IF AASECT PRPC at her Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner bio page. You can also learn more about the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification at www.hermanwallace.com/certification.