What is the big fuss over low pressure fitness, or the Hypopressive technique?
Last year, while I was researching courses that I wanted to take in 2016 I came across the Hypopressive level 1 course. As a pelvic floor therapist, I was interested in the technique, but I had not yet explored the theory. I registered for the course and in March I attended it. The course, put on by PABC, was very well run and I am happy I attended as I have been using techniques taught in this course for my pelvic floor and non pelvic floor clients.
What is Hypopressive or low pressure fitness?
When I began the course, I assumed that we would primarily focus on breathing and the vacuum technique. The instructors were careful to educate that hypopressive or low pressure fitness target your postural musculature such as your transversus abdominis and obliques. Postural muscles are generally classified as slow twitch muscles. The Hypopressive routine focuses on slow twitch muscle strengthening via holding postures while completing a deep breath and apneas/vacuum technique for at least four different position changes, or up to 20 minutes.
Three main benefits of hypopressive low pressure fitness
Hypopressive theory outlines that there are three main benefits:
- Reduce intra-abdominal pressure
- Increase activity of postural musculature
- Normalize myofascial tension
What is the vacuum exercise?
Once an individual is comfortable and properly able to hold themselves into the static postures, they are taught how to complete the vacuum. To perform the vacuum an individual begins expanding their chest at the end of expiration while holding their breath and not breathing in any air.
How can this help my prolapse and incontinence?
Low pressure fitness can assist in managing a prolapse by strengthening the pelvic floor, postural musculature and decreasing intra abdominal pressure. When an individual has weakened pelvic floor musculature as well as a prolapse the weakened pelvic floor is unable to support the organ, so it begins to slip forward and down. Furthermore, for individuals with a prolapse the increased abdominal pressure will further push the organ downward and forward. The vacuum maneuver assists by mobilizing the prolapse back into a healthy position. Unfortunately the vacuum technique is not a cure for a prolapse, it is more of a management tool.
Is the hypopressive technique safe PostPartum?
Hypopressives can be a great addition to any new mom’s fitness routine. They are safe and can be started soon after delivery. Hypopressives have been found to safely strengthen postural muscles, treat rectus diastasis and help to recruit pelvic floor muscles.
I don’t have a pelvic floor dysfunction, how can the hypopressive technique help?
I have found that many of my clients have benefited from the hypopressive technique. Clients suffering from back pain benefit from decreased intra abdominal pressure as discs respond well to decreased intra abdominal pressure. Furthermore, clients recently in a motor vehicle accident benefit from the gentle postural muscle restrengthening to manage pain, thereby speeding along recovery.
Visit our Pelvic Health Specialist at Burnaby PhysioCare
This blog was written by Heather Baker, our physiotherapist at Absolute PhysioCare in Burnaby BC. She has completed additional coursework in pelvic health and is an advocate for physiotherapy treatment of incontinence and the hypopressive technique.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, would like to try hypopressives or have any questions regarding women’s health, feel free to book an appointment at Absolute Physio Care. Call us at 604-558-CARE (2273) or get in touch with us online!