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Autoimmune Awareness with Erika Bloom

What was the reason you got into the field of health & movement?

It happened quite organically in some ways out of my deep fascination with the beauty of the inner workings of the body. In other ways it was a result of having multiple autoimmune conditions and being on a search for real solutions.

I have polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type 2 as well as Lupus. I was lucky to grow up with a very healthy lifestyle - paleo homegrown, homemade organic foods, lots of time moving outside in nature, a focus on mindfulness and balance - but still had strong autoimmune symptoms off and on. I became a professional dancer, and while that is generally a healthy lifestyle, I sacrificed self-care for my art. There was a lot of inconsistency in that profession - times of balanced eating and lots of movement interspersed with the opposite. My symptoms became quite serious. I knew what it felt like to feel good and balanced and wanted to maintain that. I began a journey of study of movement methods, body work methods, meditation, breath and nutrition and became deeply embedded in this world. I loved the science and just out of following my joy and fascination, I gathered dozens of certifications in various healing methods. I felt that a holistic approach was more possible in a setting outside of western medicine, and that there should be this overarching care for the many people struggling to manage autoimmune diseases and other complex health conditions. So, I launched my first studio in 2003 and now I, alongside a brilliant team of healers, have been doing this satisfying work for over 20 years. In 2020, we launched our online program, Erika Bloom Digital, to extend this work around the globe.

Erika Bloom

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise among women, why are women more susceptible to these conditions than men?

There’s the hard science of how the x-chromosome (we have two, they have one) participates in inflammatory immune system responses. This is true and I think there are many other important reasons to be aware of that all partly contribute and add up to a ‘perfect storm’ resulting in autoimmune conditions. Our hormone balance is more sensitive and fluctuating. The structure of our modern world does not honor a woman’s peace and balance (this is a whole book in and of itself!). And through all of our many beauty products, if we’re not careful to use natural non-toxic products like OWL, we women are exposed to more toxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

What are potential causes of autoimmunity? i.e. Genetic, Trauma/Stress, Viruses, Environmental toxins

Autoimmunity has a genetic component, but as we know from the amazing field of epigenetics, genes can be kept off or turned on. Additionally, someone with autoimmune disease does not need to be symptomatic. I look at autoimmunity as this ‘perfect storm’ mentioned above. We may have large or small stress that shifts us into our sympathetic nervous system too frequently or for too long, exposure to toxins in our environments, our food and our beauty products, an imbalance in our biome from antibiotics or unsupportive nutrition, lack of sleep and loving connection, and each of these things contributes to the immune system getting confused and attacking our own bodies.

Erika Bloom Movement

Tell us how nutrition and movement play a role in managing & preventing autoimmune conditions? How do you incorporate these into your method?

Managing autoimmune disease is complicated, but it’s also as simple as finding balance and creating an environment for the body to function as it should. Building a relationship with your body as a compassionate partner, not as an enemy, and learning to listen to the body’s signals is also essential. Often our bodies are sending us the messages that we are shifting into an autoimmune flare before it happens, and if we can listen and adjust things to respond, we stay feeling healthy. This listening can be honed through mindful movement practices, meditation, breathwork and mindful eating. We can then give our bodies what they need to not just stay out of autoimmune symptoms, but to thrive with energy, vitality, peace and balance.


We need to make sure we are not doing movement that causes stress and depletion. Harder is not better. My method is gentle and supportive while still effective at building strength and the aesthetics that we want. We don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Healthy and functional can be strong, toned, and beautiful.

We also shouldn’t be doing exercise that causes pain. I see so many people hurting themselves in workouts, or just not getting relief from dysfunction. Living in pain negatively affects mood, increases stress, limits movement outside of exercise class, and therefore downgrades health. Your movement practice should feel good in the moment and every moment after.

Functional well designed movement also increases blood flow and lymph flow and improves brain chemistry. It even helps with organ motility, helping the organs to function better.

I believe in breath centered practice so you get all the benefits of beautiful breathwork while also patterning yourself to breath well all day and all night.

My method was thoughtfully designed to provide all of this so that it is healing and supportive for autoimmune disease while also being the only movement you need to feel and look your best. It is also a strong tool for connecting to our bodies messages, honing this skill of listening so we can support our health. We move mindfully, we feel where we hold stress and learn to release it, we connect to our breath.


We utilize a customized version of the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. We’ve seen amazing results across all our clients in finding relief with this approach. To customize it we need to tune in to ourselves, be conscious and mindful, and adjust for what is right for each of us as individuals. Food should be healing, nourishing and joyful.

What is the most common nutritional solution for those dealing with Autoimmunity? I.e. gluten/grain free, dairy free

Keeping blood sugar consistently stable and low is really effective. This involves reducing or eliminating sugar and simple carbs and ensuring one is getting enough protein and fat. Secondly, I find that many autoimmune diseases fare best on a fully grain free diet. Beyond this, it takes personalization based on your response to foods as we are each unique, so for a few they need to avoid eggs, for others nuts or seeds, nightshades, dairy etc. But no food should be villainized. Trust yourself and your bio-individuality. With clients I often use an all protein and bone broth diet as an elimination, slowly adding beautiful high fiber nutrient rich vegetables in, and then adding more from there as we track symptoms.

Beef Bone Broth and OWL Reset Box

What was your experience with customizing the OWL Reset for your specific health needs?

I stay fully committed to a low-carb autoimmune protocol program. It’s wonderful that the OWL Reset is so easy to customize to fit into this. I made my shakes with avocado so they were low-carb, low-sugar and high-fat. The bone broth was perfect. And then I added in a small high protein, grain free, no carb meal each day - varying it each day to ensure a range of nutrients. Example of a meal includes grilled red snapper with rainbow chard

What supplements are your “go to” routines for reducing inflammation? I.e. fish oil… bone broth counts

I try to manage inflammation with beautiful, whole, organic foods. I drink bone broth for my gut. I make dressings with egg yolks and sardines for the omegas. I add herbs to every meal. I eat a plethora of nutrient rich vegetables. I love that the OWL bone broth makes this so easy and is full of so many healing herbs.

How important is stress management for people with autoimmune disorders?

It is essential. We cannot avoid stressors in our life, but we can manage our nervous system response. When our sympathetic nervous system activates we shift out of rest, digest, birth, and head into fight, flight, fawn and freeze. This is natural and healthy, but when we remain in a sympathetic state for extended periods, or are triggered into it too often, it can exacerbate autoimmune conditions. It does this directly through its effect on the immune system, but also because it disrupts our ability to feel hunger, to breathe well, to digest food, to balance hormones and to sleep deeply. Each of these things is so necessary for balanced holistic health.

Dry Brush

Detoxing the body and supporting the liver are crucial for autoimmune awareness. What are your favorite detox self care practices? I.e sauna, dry brush, movement, liver cleanse, OWL reset

Movement is absolutely my favorite and most effective support for detoxification. It works three fold: moving lymph, increasing full body circulation and mechanically contributing to organ and digestive function with vibration and ‘wringing out’. My practice is breath centered and the full deep diaphragmatic breaths are so cleansing, both chemically and physically, through the movement of breath. I also dry brush. It feels so good and so self loving. And, while it is not appropriate for everyone with auto-immune because it is extreme and can cause a stress response, I love a brief hot plunge followed by a good cold plunge.

Tell us about a client success story using your recommendations and method

There are so many! I feel so happy each day to be a part of clients' healing journeys and see them thrive. My favorite success stories are ones where the client is in the stressful situation of searching for solutions, spending all their time at doctors, feeling hopeless and unempowered, and we teach them to create a whole lifestyle that keeps them autoimmune symptom free and structures a beautiful, joyful life. Autoimmune management is about establishing practices that support our bodies while eliminating things that trigger the immune symptom into attacking self. This shift involves mindset, gentle but effective movement practices, healing nutrition, good sleep and mindfulness. In one case, a client was a singer who had been in a traumatic accident on stage resulting in burns that scarred. I met her years after as she began having extreme pain and itchiness on parts of her skin that were not affected by the burns. She was unable to sleep or find comfort. She also had developed chronic inflammation in her lungs and was struggling to breath. She was doing a myriad of western medicine treatments including steroids, a steroidal inhaler and SLE but not finding relief. We created an eating plan that, among other things, took oats and sugar out of her diet and added bone broth. We did somatic trauma work around her accident. We used Structural Integration to remediate her scarring. With movement we created a mind-body connection, improved her physical structure, and repatterned her breath mechanics. We shifted her commitment to rest, calm, and sleep. She became symptom free, came off her medication, and returned to performing. I saw her step back into her strength, happiness, and trust of self and body. It was beautiful. It’s incredibly satisfying for my team and I to create this level of change amongst so many clients in person, but also equally magnificent to see our digital program create so much change and reach so many people.

Erika Bloom

Wellness pioneer and CEO Erika Bloom is known worldwide for her transformative method incorporating pilates movement-based healing to restore holistic balance to the body and mind. Erika Bloom is an expert in her field of movement and nutrition, drawing from her own wellness journey with Autoimmunity and how each body has unique bio individuality.