Dec. 28, 2023

Transforming Pain to Power: The Complete Well-Body Method with Cari Vann

Transforming Pain to Power: The Complete Well-Body Method with Cari Vann

In this episode, Dr. Fitness interviews Cari Vann, the creator of the Complete Well-Body Method, to discuss the shortcomings of common exercise programs. Listen in as Cari shares her personal journey from a passionate dancer facing foot issues to developing her unique approach to pain-free movement which integrates various modalities to help people exercise safely. And be sure to stay tuned! Cari explains how her method addresses pain relief, injury prevention, and overall well-being. Cari's program aims to empower individuals with lifelong tools for pain relief, encouraging a shift from fear and pain to a proactive and informed approach to movement.

Cari Vann is an Entrepreneur, Exercise Physiologist & Holistic Movement Mentor with 26 + years of experience both professionally and personally. She loves to move and struggled with pain at an early age which motivated her to find solutions. This led her on my journey and brought her to where she is today.  Cari is grateful to be able to share what she has learned with others.

• [7:45] Cari emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence in physical therapy, citing fear as a common emotion that must be addressed.
• [9:31] “We can still find freedom and movement in our bodies in a safe way, no matter what pain we're dealing with, or going through.”
• [12:26] Dr. Fitness and Cari talk about fascia release being a pillar of the Complete Well Body Method, a holistic approach to pain-free movement and well-being.
• [23:14] Cari offers hope and solutions for chronic pain and exercise, and encourages you to find the right clinician.

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Cari Vann

🤝 This podcast episode was brought to you by McGowan Spinal Rehabilitation Center
🎙️ Podcast Production by Dandelion Media
🔊 Audio Produced by Mountain Valley Media


Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  0:04  
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Moment podcast. I'm your host Max Sturdivant better known as Dr. Fitness. On this podcast, I want to give you the tools to start, continue and never give up on your journey towards health. Now, whether you struggle with your weight, eating the right food, hydration, exercise, or even time management, you're in the right place, and I'm here for you. Now, let's dive right into this episode. 

This episode is brought to you by McGowan Spinal Rehabilitation Centers. 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Your Health Moment. I'm your host, Dr. Fitness. And as always, we're going to discuss all things holistic health and wellness. So it's going to be no different than any other time that we do this. So today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Cari Vann. And we're going to discuss the shortfalls of the most common exercise programs, and learn about Cari's complete wellness or well-body method. And now to date, Cari has helped many people transform their lives and go from living full of pain and fear to being empowered with lifelong tools for pain relief, injury prevention, and improved health and wellness. So over a span of 26 years, Cariry has developed numerous ways to help people to exercise safely, then carry love to move when she was at a young age, but struggled with pain. So Cari is going to share some of that struggle and challenge with us. Because this is when she was motivated to find a solution.

I appreciate you joining us. Cari, why don't we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Cari Vann  2:31  
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here too. So yeah, you you summed it up, I've been doing this stuff for quite some time. And my personal journeys not separate from my professional journey. And I was born a natural mover, I just love to move, my mom put me in a creative movement class at age four. And then I got involved eventually in dance. But my feet weren't really made to dance. And so like by my sophomore year in college, my feet had given out. And I found that I was missing two joints in my feet. And so that was hard, because that was something that I had grown to really love. It was an outlet. And I just became really proactive at that point about wanting to find solutions to find that freedom of movement in different ways. And that's what what I did through education and trainings, and of course, using myself along the way.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  3:34  
That's, that's, you know, it's fascinating. A dance is one of those amazing crafts that people do to not only express themselves, but to maintain really great health and fitness. So did you continue did you take? I mean, because, you know, if you're missing a bone in your foot, I would think some dance would be difficult maybe like ballet and jazz. Were there other dances that you found that you could still participate in do?

Cari Vann  4:12  
Unfortunately, no and that was really hard. I mean, I was a dance minor in college at the time right and so you know, I had to stop my feet mechanically. couldn't handle definitely couldn't handle the ballet, they couldn't handle the modern, they couldn't handle anything. And I get it now they needed they needed to be supported. So I had to be in what was called a UC BL to eliminate the pain which is like kind of an orthotic plus which is a little bit higher up kind of almost like a brace in a sense. So I went into basically wearing hiking boots with with the UCB owl to protect my feet. Yeah, so dancing was not an option.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  4:55  
Wow, see, wow, I could only imagine when it's your passion Having to give it up because of, you know, something is important as, as your feet not wanting to cooperate with you. So what did you do instead?

Cari Vann  5:13  
So I went on I pursued education, I got degrees in exercise physiology. And then I just wanted to know, like, I wanted to know this stuff, I want to know, learn and, and, you know, I ended up being able to work in different medical centers all over University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, Duke Medical Center, but I studied movement, like tons of different movement modalities, right? And so I kind of focused in on, on like, the areas of like, how can we freely move our bodies and do it safely and protect our joints. And that that was kind of like my focus. And, you know, along the way, I did not use exercise, and eating as well in the right manner. So I did push through pain, I did accrue many injuries through repetitive movement, right, I injured almost every part of my body. And I'm really hard headed. And it really took basically a point in my life where I had to have two car wrecks kind of back to back because God knows that I am stubborn, he got my attention. And it was really, I think, at that point, that, you know, I began to develop my own exercising approach, I basically begin to do things completely opposite than what I had been doing before.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  6:34  
Interesting, can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Cari Vann  6:36  
Yeah. So you know, for the first time, I actually began to listen to my own body, I stopped telling you what to do, I stopped pushing through the pain. And I began to really understand at a different level here, how valuable the mind body connection is. And through that, I began to focus on building a strong foundation for my body in a very different way than I had before. And, and this is really where I began to develop all the pillars for pain free movement that I now teach. And basically, it was like over the next, I don't know, 15 to 17 years that I would fit all these pieces together and be able to help people along the way.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  7:23  
Interesting, what were the commonalities that people shared with you, that made it easy to transfer, what the knowledge you've gained from your body, to help someone to do the same thing with theirs? What was the connection was there?

Cari Vann  7:45  
You know, it was interesting, because, you know, I was younger, at the time, I was probably, you know, early 30s 20s. And I was attracting a lot of people into my world, ironically enough, that had had a past physical challenge, or an injury or surgery, or they just didn't want to hurt themselves, while exercising. So what a gift. And you know, I didn't really consider what I was going through at the time with all the pain to be a gift, but it turned out to be a gift, right? Because I could share. So and that's how you learn and learn by doing. And, you know, it's kind of we talked about the science of things, but when we're working with people, there's an art involved to that as well, right?

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  8:27  
Oh, my God, that's so true. And it's kind of neat, because as you're talking, I'm thinking, wow, one of the things that you besides the pain that you all had in common that you people that gravitated to you, but also the fear. Because I mean, pain and fear seem to be together. And situations when, you know, we experience pain. There's also a like, oh my god, fear kind of reaction in there two ways. It's like, Oh, my God, what's going on? Or oh my god, I gotta stop doing that. Yeah. Because that's creating this horrible result. So being an art, I think dealing with people's emotions, like fear is definitely an art. Yeah, so is that when you say art? Is that what you mean by art? Or do you have something else in mind when you say that?

Cari Vann  9:31  
I think it definitely is, including emotions. We can't talk the fact that we're human beings, we're, we're whole, right? It's more than just the physical sense, but that physical outlet actually is what can help our emotions want and so I know for me that to be true. So, you know, when we're dealing with somebody with fear, you know, walking through your own fear is step one. And you know, it's like, okay, and so yeah, knowing that there there are so many Things in so many ways that we can still find freedom and movement in our bodies in a safe way, no matter what pain we're dealing with, or going through, you know, empowering people definitely is an art. I think it's also an intuitive sense about what's going on. And that kind of, you know, I believe we attract people into our world that are meant to to work with us, there's so many things out there, right. And so, intuitively, knowing through working with the body and like, okay, yeah, this is this is gonna, this can be helpful, or, you know, no, this isn't going to be helpful. And, yeah, so I think it's kind of all those things combined.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  10:40  
I can imagine, because even starting for PEEP for someone in pain, approaching them with any type of movement that they think is gonna aggravate the pain is like a non starter. Yeah, I'm not doing that. How do you get around that? How have you helped them? So

Cari Vann  11:03  
there's so many things involved. When I say pain free movement, I just want to say that pain is the last red flag indicator of our body basically screaming Hello, getting our attention. But you don't necessarily have to be in pain to be doing what I call a pain free movement. It is. It's about there's crossover between what we need to do to prevent injury or pain. And actually what we need to do when we're having discomfort and pain. And, you know, boils down to I'm sorry, you know, it's

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  11:34  
hard to like, Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah, please. Yeah,

Cari Vann  11:37  
yeah. It's just like, getting back to that and exercising approach is you connecting to your own body, understanding your own body, getting to know your own body, and that requires working against the grain of pushing, and actually slowing down. And so I think that's where it's at. We got to sometimes take take some steps back and no, I did, and, and learn to kind of go there first. Yeah, that makes sense.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  12:06  
Oh, yeah, I mean, and understanding the process, because the fact that you've had to deal with it, I mean, it, it does move you way ahead, in having an understanding of what other people may be facing or feeling. Oh, yeah. So wow, I think it's a really great gift. Like you were saying, I think it's a really great gift that you're giving people. Very cool. And so in this, so this whole system is what now, you created in it's the Well, I'm sorry, messing up the name of the well, body method. Did I get that? Right? Yeah,

Cari Vann  12:56  
it's a complete while body method.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  12:59  
The complete Well, body method? And so do you deliver it one on one? Have you expanded? Are you teaching other people to do the well body method? I mean, from a clinician standpoint? Or are you primarily working with patients still.

Cari Vann  13:21  
So I am working with people everywhere. And that is why I'm so I'm so excited because I basically have poured like, all of my 26 years into the program, and I'm just really passionate about it, because it's, it's really more about a way of life for me, right? And I've just combined basically all the multiple areas of my expertise into a well rounded experience for people and so I always say it's kind of like you get five practitioners in one and you know, it's, it's, you're really we're really working on just developing those habits for pain free movement into our lives while elevating our well being. And I've made it I'm so excited that I've been able to make it convenient for people to do that, and, you know, help them along the way. And so that's really what it's about.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  14:15  
For our listeners, could you share just one of the pain free modalities that you have helped people with?

Cari Vann  14:23  
Sure. You mean like one of the pillars like for pain free movement, but I would consider a pillar cue.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  14:28  
Yes. One of the pillars of the complete, complete, well Body Program, the complete Well, body method? Yes,

Cari Vann  14:40  
absolutely. So one, one of the pillars now I'll tell you, I believe we need all of them but one of them is fascia release. And for those of you don't know what fascia is, it is we can kind of consider it like a spiderweb like substance that covers our whole interior body all of our mud smells and things. And we can form a lot of different adhesions there, based on many things based on inactivity based on over activity based on past surgeries or injuries or whatever it might be. But I'm super excited to tell people, there are so many tools that we can use to help empower our own body and maintain our own fascist, like, for example, you may go get a massage, or some type of bodywork, deep tissue Rolfing, whatever it is, right. And you may feel better after doing that. Yeah, I know, I don't know if you have experienced that. Right? I do. Yeah, me too, right. And the good news is that you can do plenty of things on your own to help work your own fashion, because that's really what you're what's going on when you're getting a massage or, or deep, deep body work. And, you know, I know I can't get bodywork every day or even every week, right. But I can work my own fascia. And I'm talking about the spine, the neck, the shoulders, the legs, the hips, the feet, all of those things. And, you know, at this point in my life, I I'm pretty particular about the type of fashion products that I use, but I'll tell you one really simple one, you know, yeah.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  16:23  
Yes, please. We're like, tell us more.

Cari Vann  16:27  
Yeah, so so definitely the simple, the simple one that you guys have probably heard of, and if you haven't, there's probably you can see one in the background, the majority is a foam roller, right? It's that cylinder. Object. That's, that's a, that we can roll on and do things. And, I mean, personally, I think there are like, for me at this point, like five things I would use the foam roller for. But that's, that's an example of a tool to work our fashion now. Do I just use a foam roller? No, I use all kinds of different types of balls, different sizes, different densities, that I know work on my own body, that I feel comfortable sharing with other people. And, and that's what that's what I do. And I have been blessed to learn about the fascia along the way through my own issues, actually starting with even feet related issues. And so yeah, you mana Zeki is a woman that she used to have a studio in New York City, and I'd flown out there to work with her in person, just to address the foot fascia issue. And, and so I love all of her products. So if you're listening, you can go to your mana body There's all for fashion related stuff. But yeah, I didn't nutshell. It's just like, you know, we do different different things for different parts of our body. And there goes, there's a lot that goes into that that component we're working on, using our breathing slowing down, that calms our nervous system. What a great outlet just for anxiety. Right? If we're stressed out, I know. Not some of you may never experienced stress. Right? Nobody, right? I know I

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  18:17  
beat you. So like, there's no escaping stress in my opinion. Right? But there was like a plantar. numb, I think, like you were talking about feet, and I think where people would really notice fascia is usually their feet. I think people are more aware of it when it comes to plantar fasciitis than almost anything else. Yeah. And so, you know, have you found that to be true, or is that not true?

Cari Vann  19:02  
Yeah, I mean, it's amazing. You mentioned that it's like so many people. I've worked with so many people with plantar fasciitis, I've had it chronically 100%. That's an area what look, fascia, plantar fascia, it's inflammation of our fascia, right? So yeah, I love being able to I mean, get being able to get a grip on my own plantar fasciitis was game changing. You know, it's like, yeah, you don't have to go there anymore. There are things we can do to prevent that from from happening. So yeah, a lot of people because listen, when the feet are down, that really is that Hello, wake up. Now. I can't walk. You know, I can't do Yeah, it's huge.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  19:40  
Yeah, it's a foundation for everything. And even if you're it's creating a situation where you're limping. I mean, then you're setting yourself up for a lot of other challenges structurally. 100%. So yeah, getting to the root, I think is really important. And it's great because I never think But the way you're, you know, explaining, you know how important it is to deal with the fascia issues. And I think of a lot of people dealt with them in advance, there'd be a lot of injuries they wouldn't have. So, to your point, it's a great way to reduce injuries. And definitely a great way to even resolve some injuries. So Wow. Yeah, that's a really good pillar. Yeah,

Cari Vann  20:27  
yeah, it could be life changing. It's like we think about like, basic foot fascia routine as our foot fitness. Right? Let's just like redefine fitness there for a second, because that's important. But three to five minutes of your day, it's just about, you know, making it a habit. That's all it boils down to just like our whatever type of exercise we're doing is the same thing with our fascia.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  20:51  
Nice. So that's like a huge takeaway from this. So if I mean, this one piece is like enough to make it very valuable for anyone listening. You know what you said in that one piece about fascia? The one pillar? So if one pillar is that profound? I can only imagine how wonderful the other pillars are. How can people get access to your complete? Well, body method?

Cari Vann  21:22  
Sure. So you can reach me by going to the website at movement, the word movement and the word

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  21:33  
And great, and if you miss that, don't worry, if you go to the show notes, all the information is in the show notes of how to get in touch with Kerry, and Kerry's bio, is there in any other information? Because Carrie, you have you've written a book carry?

Cari Vann  21:50  
Not yet.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  21:54  
But it's on the way. Sorry, that's sorry, I can't imagine. It is definitely on the way. Because just from your history, it's just you've worked in what in the medical field? Do you have a background in movement and dance? Where do you see yourself going next with, with your career in with what you're doing now with? The complete Well, body method? What's what's the next in store for you? What can we look forward to next saying from you? That

Cari Vann  22:33  
is a good question. I mean, my goal is to help as many people as I can and get that the word out about the method and just be able to reach those people that I can. And, and then I think it's endless from there. Right? I know, we're always growing. And that's how I feel, and so evolving. And so I don't have the answer. But I know I'm always being called in in that direction.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:04  
See, that's fantastic. You know, is there one final thought that you would like to leave with our listeners?

Cari Vann  23:14  
Yeah, so you don't have to, to suffer. You don't have to be in pain, you don't have to be afraid to exercise, there are so many things that you can do to help your help your body. And so just know that there are solutions. And and that's what I'll leave you with.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:39  
Oh, fantastic. So there's hope. So the takeaway is, whatever you're going through, there is hope. And it's just a matter of finding the right clinician for you. Yeah, that Well, I think what I heard you say,

Cari Vann  23:53  
I think it's right on.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:57  
Oh, yeah. So don't give up. Don't give up and don't stop trying to, to feel better. And I think, you know, to carry, this method is going to really help a lot of people. So thank you for doing what you're doing.

Cari Vann  24:19  
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on here too.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  24:24  
Well, it has been my pleasure. So Cari, thanks for joining us today. And thank you listeners for tuning in for another episode of Your Health Moment. I look forward to talking with you again next week. Take care and bye bye. 

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