Meet the Instructor of Yoga as Medicine!


This fall, Herman & Wallace is thrilled to be offering two brand new courses instructed by Ginger Garner, MPT, ATC. The first, Yoga as Medicine for Pregnancy, will be offered in Greenville, SC on September 21-22.

Our Pelvic Rehab Report blogger sat down with Ginger to talk about this course. Here's what Ginger had to say:

PRR: What can you tell us about this continuing education course that is not mentioned in the “course description” and “objectives” that are posted online?

Ginger: First I want to say how excited I am about this opportunity to be able to write and teach this landmark integrative maternal health course for Herman and Wallace (H&W). H&W’s progressive philosophy in educational programming has made it possible for me to pen (and teach) a course that can directly affect our poor maternal health outcomes in the US.

Second, what isn’t discussed in the online description is that the core of the Yoga for Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery, and Postpartum coursework (32 CE/hours) is built upon the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2011 “Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research” in medicine, in which the Institute puts its full support behind the biopsychosocial model of integrative care. This is important because the June 2011 reports efficacy in health care could be improved through adoption of the model, since it is found to be the most effective and proven method for patient-centered care, especially when managing pain. Both the prenatal and postpartum course are built on utilization of the biopsychosocial approach.

Third, American mothers deserve a better birth and right now there are definitive measures we can take to influence those outcomes. Combining conventional rehabilitation and therapy with integrative methods, based on the evidence-base and a review of systemic changes during prenatal and postpartum, can be a major tool in empowering mothers and improving care.

Lastly, clinicians who attend either the prenatal and/or labor & delivery/postpartum course will be equipped to be agents of change in improving maternal health, since they will be prepared to apply conventional therapy and integrative yoga methods with their patients. In this way, clinicians who attend the courses will able to offer the best of both worlds.

PRR: What inspired you to create this course?

Ginger: I have two sources of inspiration in creating this coursework. Both are equally important and have prepared me to teach coursework that is both integrative and conventional.

The chief source of my inspiration is my activism in maternal health. Since 2009 I have been blogging, through Breathing In This Life (, and other mediums, on behalf of mothers. Two of my posts, How America’s Broken Health Care System Affects Women and Why Childbirth Needs to Change are both favorites because they establish the urgent need to improve women and maternal health care in America. My inspiration for creating the coursework can be found in these two posts.

The second but equally important source of inspiration for me is infant well-being. I have three sons of my own, and I feel very strongly that there is no greater satisfaction than helping a woman through what is the most transforming and miraculous time of her life: becoming a mother. If we can strive to better support mothers, all American families will be healthier and happier. Caring Economics theory also posits that egalitarian care for mothers would vastly improve American health and wealth (

The National Association of Mothers’ Centers recently asked for my input on motherhood in a series entitled, “Researching Motherhood.” The interview really crystallizes my motivation and inspiration for creating this course. Read the interview here

PRR What resources and research were used when writing this course?

Ginger: As I mentioned above, maternal health is very important to me, both personally and professionally. For that reason, I sourced over 250 research articles, from sources like Cochrane database reviews, systematic reviews, and randomized controlled trials. The World Health Organization, ACOG, State of the World’s Mothers report, and the latest perinatal and midwifery recommendations and bulletin updates are also included, which discuss the latest evidence for maternal health and well-being, systemic changes during pregnancy, and the intervention clinicians should consider. All of the intervention techniques I teach utilize the evidence and provide the clinician with an integrative biopsychosocial model of assessment combining physical therapy and yoga as its chief modality. I also draw on the first generation course I wrote for integrative yoga prenatal and postpartum intervention back in 2005. So actually this course has been in the making for almost 10 years.

PRR: Can you describe the clinical/treatment approach/techniques covered in this continuing education course?

Ginger: The coursework (both prenatal and labor/delivery/postpartum) cover intervention in maternal health using the biopsychosocial model. The model has five facets and covers physical, psycho-emotional-social, intellectual, energetic, and spiritual well-being.

The model acknowledges that individual health and well-being of the mother means more than just an absence of disease, as the World Health Organization also supports, and is made up these five facets which depend on integral balanced intervention. Clinical intervention in these five facets happens through assessment and prescription of physical yoga postures (asana) which also includes some Pilates, breath techniques (pranayama), guided meditation and imagery, physical therapy, manual therapy and soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, neural mobilization, and specific yoga and physical therapy based plans of care for each trimester, including specific intervention for common diagnoses and conditions, as well as labor & delivery and the phases of postpartum.

PRR Why should a therapist take this course? How can these skill sets benefit his/ her practice?

Ginger: The US spends more money than any other country on both overall health care and maternal health care, yet, we have some of the poorest outcomes in the world. America’s healthcare shortcomings in particular include maternal (and infant) health outcomes, pain management, and chronic disease management. What this coursework does is uniquely enable the clinician to change these outcomes and engage mothers on a level that conventional care is unable to accomplish.

What’s more is clinicians who have training in integrative medicine are among the most marketable and sought after by employers. Additionally, this course is interdisciplinary, meaning nurses, midwives, and other maternal health professionals can engage in a dialogue that has not yet happened in the US in maternal health. Interdisciplinary education is also well supported as a means for improving patient satisfaction and patient care.

This course gives clinicians a distinct and measurable advantage because it provides both interdisciplinary interaction and integrative education in maternal health. This is good news for everyone – both patient and provider - because this coursework provides a medical model that empowers everyone. It works because it can improve healthcare and its delivery, and at the same time, reduce clinician burnout. Through its multi-faceted integrative approach, the coursework provides a long-overdue full circle return to holistic healing in an evidence-based container; and that creates a win-win situation for us all.

The Institute is thrilled to be offering these new courses taught by Ginger. Don't miss your chance to learn more about this approach - register today!

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