In the womens’ health and pelvic health worlds, there is a growing recognition of the importance of holistic approaches to address various issues, from pelvic pain and congestion to the challenges of peri/menopause and postpartum recovery. One of my favorite tools to implement for these concerns is hypopressives ("hypos" for short) and specifically the Low Pressure Fitness (LPF) movement system.
Hypopressives is a breathing technique designed to reduce intra-abdominal pressure by performing an abdominal vacuum. LPF combines this vacuum technique with a series of postures and poses to create an even more effective exercise consisting of fascial and neural mobility, posture, and deep core strengthening.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
LPF differs from traditional core exercises in that it emphasizes breathing techniques and specific postures that target deep core stabilizers, reduce intra-abdominal pressure (necessary for pelvic floor issues like prolapse and incontinence, and diastasis), and assist in strengthening your pelvic floor.
The exercise involves creating a vacuum effect in the abdominal cavity, thus decreasing the pressure in your abdomen. Increased abdominal pressure is one of the main culprits for worsening a prolapse and diastasis recti. The vacuum also initiates a lift of your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum) which can significantly help with feelings of heaviness or bulging in the pelvis.
The practice of creating the vacuum requires one to engage the diaphragm in a unique way that does not occur through normal day-to-day breathing patterns. Your diaphragm is a muscle and can be strengthened. With continued practice, my clients notice greater ease with the vacuums, and secondary effects of better breathing throughout their day-to-day life.
Another main focus of the practice is posture. Sustaining specific positions/poses that promote neural and fascial mobility while performing the vacuum can help with improving posture and decreasing pain and stiffness.
This type of breathwork practice can significantly shift the autonomic nervous system, transitioning from a state of fight/flight mode to rest/digest mode. Thus, one can use this practice to reduce stress, calm the body down in real time (great for my clients with high stress jobs), and improve sleep.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN IT HELP?
- Pelvic Pain and Congestion. Hypopressives can help alleviate pelvic pain and congestion by improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage in the pelvic area. The gentle stretching and relaxation of pelvic muscles can reduce tension and discomfort.
- Peri/Menopause. Hormonal changes during peri/menopause can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats), insomnia, and weight gain. Hypopressives can help to increase vagal tone and improve your stress response. It can also be extremely beneficial in slimming the waistline.
- Postpartum Recovery. I have seen great results of using hypopressives to help with managing a prolapse, decreasing stress incontinence and healing a diastasis recti (abdominal separation).
- Low Back Pain. Hypopressives focus on strengthening the deep core muscles, which play a crucial role in stabilizing the spine and pelvis. This can lead to reduced low back pain and improved posture.
- Overall Pain and Stiffness. The different postures and poses involved in the practice can help to improve neural and fascial mobility.
- Gastrointestinal Issues. Performing hypopressives regularly gives a nice massage to your internal organs and can potentially help with peristalsis of your small intestines. For those prone to constipation, especially when traveling, this can be a game-changer.
Incorporating LPF into my weekly routine has been a game changer. This is why I am so excited to teach it to my clients. I find myself craving the practice when I am feeling overly stressed and anxious, stiff, bloated, or just tired and feel significantly better upon finishing a 15-20 minute hypopressive flow. LPF has changed my life and my clients lives, and I know it can change yours too.
To learn more about LPF and other forms of holistic healing, contact me at Activcore Denver.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.