Sadly, pelvic floor dysfunctions are becoming more and more common among women. In 2022, research reported that around 32% of women treated in a primary care setting had at least one symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. And this number only represents those who’ve actually reported symptoms to their doctors!
Pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and post menopause can increase the likelihood of pelvic floor issues, such as prolapse, incontinence, heaviness, bulging, pelvic pain, and more. But there are also many women who don’t fall into any of these categories, yet they display pelvic-related symptoms.
Fortunately, Hypopressives alleviate and reverse symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunctions. But, as a word of caution – for best results and for safety, these profoundly effective exercises need to be instructed and guided by a Certified Hypopressive trainer.
What Are Hypopressive Exercises?
Hypopressives refer to a reduction in pressure within the abdomen, and they are commonly referred to as low-pressure fitness exercises. They are a combination of exercises that involve posture, alignment, and lateral breathing techniques as well as the apnea breath, also known as breath holds.
These exercises are taught in a very specific order, starting with the basics, or foundations and then progressively work up to the more advanced poses and postures.
Hypopressives offer a wide range of potential health benefits, especially for women who want to heal naturally and holistically from pelvic floor issues, such as prolapse, incontinence, and diastasis recti. We will explore these benefits in more detail, but first, let’s talk about how Hypopressive breathing and exercise actually work.
How do Hypopressives work?
The fascia, also known as the connective tissue holds everything together in our body from head to toe. It holds our muscles, tendons, bones, organs, blood vessels, etc. in their proper place.
Hypopressives help vitalize the connective tissue creating circulation, activation, relaxation and a lift, which guides tissues and organs back into their proper position. This is how the healing takes place.
Check out this Ultrasound video from Hypopressives pioneer Trista Zinn showing exactly what Hypopressives do internally! Pretty amazing, hey?
Hypopressive Exercises Benefits
The benefits and advantages of hypopressive breathing, posture, and alignment exercises are many. As we’ve said, they were designed for pelvic floor health, but have other known benefits as well. Let’s discuss them now.
1. Reduces & eliminates symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction
When the fascia becomes damaged and scarred due to pelvic injury, trauma, pregnancy, birth injury, hormonal changes and more, the fascia becomes weak and loses its integrity, which can cause the organs in the pelvic floor to be pulled out of their position, leading to conditions like prolapse, incontinence, and more. Hypopressives help vitalize the connective tissue creating circulation, activation, relaxation and a lift, which guides the pelvic floor tissues and organs back in their proper position. This is how the healing takes place.
2. Firms the waistline
It’s common for women to look for ways to reduce their waistline and increase the firmness of their abdominal area. However, in a traditional gym, some exercises can cause damage to the pelvic floor, especially when there are symptoms present, which can make issues worse. But with hypopressive exercises, they actively reduce the pressure in the abdomen and are supportive and gentle, helping women achieve a reduced waistline without harming the pelvic floor.
3. Reduces pain in the lower back and improves posture
Hypopressive exercise benefits include better posture, which has a huge effect on our pelvic floor, overall health and healing ability. With better posture, comes a stronger and more supported back helping to alleviate pain in this area.
In addition, these exercises provide gentle relief from lumbar pain and other discomforts in the back. Some women actually become a couple of centimetres taller from practising hypopressives!
4. Supports health before and after childbirth
Women who are preparing for childbirth benefit from hypopressive training, because the exercises naturally strengthen your most important tool when giving birth – the breath. In combination with elongating the spine – taking some pressure off the pelvic floor and maintaining better alignment for the postpartum months. increase circulation and fluidity in the pelvic floor tissues, making this area flexible and strong. And with this, childbirth becomes easier and injuries are less likely to occur.
Similarly, hypopressives also benefit women postpartum because they help heal the pelvic floor after the miraculous, yet taxing process of giving birth.
5. Improves lung capacity and athletic performance
The Hypopressive breathing exercises improve lung capacity and strengthen the diaphragmatic muscles to improve respiratory and cardiac health. This can benefit anyone by improving quality of life.
For athletes, this is a major advantage and can greatly improve their athletic performance.
6. Improves balance
The pelvic floor, core and abdominal muscles are important aspects in retaining balance and stability. Hypopressives strengthen these areas, so improved balance is a valuable side benefit of this training.
7. Avoids herniation in the spine and abdomen
Since Hypopressives strengthen the abdominal muscles, they can help prevent hernia, herniated discs and other severe issues in these areas.
Even if you have no history of herniation or are not considered at risk, doing hypopressive exercises are an amazing preventative approach.
The History of Hypopressive Exercises
Hypopressive exercising, as a concept, is decades old and has been used by women for around 40 years. The practice began with the abdominal hypopressive technique, or AHT, which first emerged in the 1980s after its development by Dr. Marcel Caufriez.
At that time, and still, to this day, many women used what was recommended to them by their doctors and physiotherapists, which were Kegels. Although this was and is commonly recommended, there have been many underlying flaws reported by women practicing them.
Kegels aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, but oftentimes pelvic floor dysfunction results from pelvic floor muscles that are tight and have too much tension, so strengthening is not the answer.
When Dr. Caufriez examined a woman with prolapse he inserted an instrument too quickly in her vagina. Her reaction to this was to unconsciously do an apnea. Dr. Caufriez could see the prolapse moving back up in the vaginal canal, and this is how Hypopressives were discovered!
Dr. Caufriez and the researchers who developed Hypopressives wanted to create exercises that would activate the muscles in the pelvic floor and abdominal area while simultaneously reducing the pressure in this area.
The exercises first rose to prominence due to the work of Tamara Rial; a Professor of Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation in Spain, and Trista Zinn in Canada, but are now making waves globally.
How to Start a Hypopressive Program
For an online Hypopressive course to be safe and effective, it must be led and instructed by a Certified Hypopressives Instructor.
Even better, by an Instructor who has experienced symptoms, such as prolapse, incontinence, bulging, low libido, pelvic pain, etc., and healed these symptoms using the Hypopressive technique.
We offer such a course at MoonRise, called Hypopressive Exercise Course. Check it out and sign up today!