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180DegreeHealth #14: Biomechanical Origins of Disease with Katy Bowman

Today I brought in a true health pioneer–perhaps the world’s leading scholar and expert on the biomechanical origins of disease. We discuss feet, posture, how sitting too much can cause digestive problems, and discuss several of the vast interconnections between the biologically-inappropriate lifestyle many of us lead (myself included, in fact, I confess to being the world’s worst offender during the call) and an array of seemingly-unrelated ailments that can stem from incurred structural imbalances.

It’s a real treat to speak with Katy, and I have worked hard for well over a year trying to get either a guest post or podcast interview out of her. Hopefully I didn’t annoy her by giggling at my own self for being such a modern slombie (sloth zombie) in the current work/lifestyle predicament I currently find myself in. I mean, I felt like quite a little bitch complaining about how I have trouble just getting up and moving around for a few minutes when I’m in the work zone to a woman who doesn’t own any furniture so that she and her family maintain excellent structure and mobility. I felt like I was eating a cheeseburger in front of a raw vegan. I hope she was not offended.

Enjoy our conversation. Katy is quite a badass. A unicorn among ponies. Learn more from Katy at www.katysays.com

14 Comments
  1. Wow! This was eye-opening. I spend about two hours moving each morning, before I sit down at the computer or start household tasks. Weight-lifting, leisurely cycling, and leisurely swimming. I recognize that I need more movement throughout each day, but also recognize the counter-cultural statement that Katy’s lifestyle makes… Having minimal furniture definitely would affect how my family extends hospitality and how we engage with others. But I do have the privilege of working from home, so I intend to put some of her suggestions into practice. I already tend to go for walks when I make phone calls, like Katy mentioned. I think I could also try her idea of sitting on the floor instead of always sitting on the couch or in a chair. Hopefully little physical changes will start to change my mind, as Katy suggested. Everything she said made sense to me; putting it into practice will take some discipline.

    • “Everything she said made sense to me; putting it into practice will take some discipline.”

      Amen!

  2. Loved this perspective on health! I feel so much better when I’m in movement, I especially notice how much my mental health improves when I’m doing stuff and moving around.

  3. Great stuff!!

  4. Yo thanks Matt and Katy really enjoyed this

  5. Thanks for this Matt! I checked out Katy’s website and bought one of her videos to help with the pain I get when walking. It’s amazing! I can’t believe how much it has helped in less than a week. Great interview.

  6. I am just over the moon that my top 2 health gurus have come together like this…enough to bring me out of lurker mode finally as my 2-week-old newborn naps on her floor pallet next to our floor desk in our studio apartment in South Korea.

    I am certain that both Matt (whom I discovered about 3 1/2 years ago, actually while we previous lived in Korea) and Katy (whom I discovered at 6 months pregnant 4 months ago) were instrumental in allowing me to have a low-risk pregnancy, unmedicated birth, quick postpartum healing, decent sleep (so far) and successful breastfeeding (so far).

    Matt’s “Eat for Heat” S’s (starch, sugar, salt, saturated fat, sleep, sun) helped me get pregnant (I think), feel pretty great during pregnancy (other than heartburn) and awesome so far during postpartum. Then there was Katy’s emphasis on untucking my pelvis, putting the weight in my hamstrings, calves and butt rather than back and/or quads, and continuing walking, stretching, housekeeping and squatting my way to pelvic floor strength. All of these have aided in my recovery from the 24-hour back labor I was trying to avoid, but which ended with only 15 minutes of stressful, directed pushing on my back after my water finally broke like 20 minutes before that…and avoiding both an episiotomy (sorry, TMI) and the more dreaded C-section that is more common in Korea than even in America. Now I’m back to Matt’s S’s…eating and drinking (milk and OJ) like a horse so that my little daughter can do the same, as we follow Katy’s advice to nurse and sleep in a variety of positions on our floor bed.

    Katy is SO right that natural movement is a cultural thing, though. I’m not sure we could currently manage our minimalist furniture lifestyle if we were still back in a bigger house in America (though someday we hope to). Moving to a big city in Korea a year ago, I think, was instrumental in allowing me to choose this path to a low-stress, movement-rich pregnancy (no car or raised bed or sofa or recliner), and will allow my husband and I to live out this lifestyle with our daughter during her first year of life (again with no car, and now with also no stroller or rocker or crib or bouncer or swing or container of any kind other than some fabric carriers and our own arms). I can’t tell you what an inspiration it was for me to see Katy’s furniture-free home, to believe we can bring this lifestyle back to America once we do leave Korea.

    Now if I can figure out how to better sit on the floor for longer periods of nursing without slouching or tucking my pelvis. Also nursing in public while in a carrier (carriers are common in Korea, nursing is not). Also getting my leaky baby out of her cloth diapers more for the sake of her hip development. Also, also, also….

    Thanks SO much to both of you for making the last year of my life so wonderful…here’s to the next one, too!

  7. Sorry for the super-long post…postpartum hormones are making me feel especially articulate and clear-headed these days. Loving it.

    • Awesome Laura! Enjoy those postpartum hormones, haha.

      • Thanks, I will totally enjoy them for however long they last! Speaking of which, while I’m articulating, I would love to see another postpartum blog post dealing with the balance of all the energy, healing and weight loss that some of us enjoy (at least initially) postpartum, with the fact that it seems fertility can also come along with that, even with exclusive breastfeeding on demand pretty much round the clock. Is there any solution other than constant contraception for us potentially hyperthyroid ladies who just aren’t sure when their period might start up again, but who aren’t necessarily wanting to get pregnant again within that first 6 months to a year postpartum? Definitely a great problem to (maybe) have at age 32, but still hoping for some help. I read your postpartum post from back in 2012 and was wondering if you’d done any more research since then, following all the comments from women whose periods had started up again within like 4 months…

        If Katy wanted to weigh in as well from the biomechanics of nursing, that would be awesome. Our newborn doesn’t seem to want to feed more often than every couple of hours most of the day, so super-frequent feedings aren’t what she’s demanding except some first thing in the morning and again before bed. Is that enough to be contraceptive, maybe?

        Also just wanted to add that I wonder if eating the food Matt-style and moving the movements Katy-style during pregnancy contributed to our having a 8+ pound newborn who came out really alert and strong and with great neck control from the get go. For whatever it’s worth to other pregnant ladies who might read this…

  8. Amazing show! Please have her on again. I have some of her DVDs on stretching. Excellent stuff.

  9. OK…I had to switch over to my standing desk (aka an old Victrola case that was my Great Grandmother’s) to finish listening to this. 🙂

  10. I just finally got around to listening to this! Congrats on catching Katy! I’ve listened to all of Katy’s podcast episodes within the last couple of weeks too. She absolutely is a total badass. The past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get myself and the kids oustide for a good walk each day, I’m sitting on the floor more and trying to not settle into a position anywhere for too long, and I’m trying her car fixes too – stretching my left leg out and putting a towel on the seat to make it not a bucket.

    Gotta say, I truly think Teresa Tapp is the person who has “hacked” good biomechanics to be a workable, doable thing for those of us who can’t or aren’t ready to commit to big lifestyle changes like Katy. The T-Tapp stuff is all about alignment and doing those vital moves (scoops, reaches, squats, etc.) and using all muscle groups equally to their full extension. Doing T-Tapp has greatly improved my thyroid/hormones/depression, my strength, and my overall well-being. I do some of the longer workouts now, but I did nothing but the 15-minute workout for like 6 months before adding new stuff in. I’m typically totally without “normal”, or any aches and pains. Just sayin’, I really, really! think you should get Teresa Tapp on to talk about how you can get tons of alignment-based benefits without having to completely transform your lifestyle and get rid of your furniture.