Women and men are seeking new ways to improve their pelvic power, sexual function and core strength. When women and men have significant weakness in their pelvic floor muscles there are detrimental side effects and these individuals are seeking a new ways to regain their pelvic power. This type of weakness affects the individuals not only on a physical level but also on an emotional and spiritual level.
Pelvic floor weakness can affect the every day functioning of men and women preventing them from exercising, running, lifting their kids and walking. Some are so weak they leak urine with coughing, sneezing or laughing. While others feel pressure in their pelvis after a long day’s work. Many are not able to orgasm or if they do orgasm the orgasms are weak and not very satisfying. For men, I frequently hear complains of premature ejaculation and poor staying power or erections that are not as erect as they use to be. For sure, a course of pelvic therapy is the solution, but I also wanted to introduce to you a new Kegel therapy that we are doing at Renew Physical Therapy called Hypopressives. The research on Hypopressives is promising, showing that this new type of training helps improve incontinence, restore tone and strength to pelvic floor muscles, lift prolapse organs, re-establish core strength and appearance, enhance sexual function and most importantly improve quality of life.
The Hypopressive Approach: The New Kegel
At Renew Physical Therapy we teach you different ways you can modify your daily activities to avoid straining and weakening your muscles. As we work on strengthening the pelvic and abdominal muscles we also teach Hypopressive exercises. Our patients are finding tremendous success and are improving their pelvic power and function very quickly with the Hypopressives. The Hypopressive technique was initially created by a European physician, Dr. Marcel Caufriez, back in the 80s. Dr. Marcel Caufriez noticed that when he was performing a vaginal examination prolapses of the uterus, bladder and rectum would drastically reduce during a diaphragmatic aspiration. In other words he notice that organs such as the bladder, rectum and uterus would lift back up into the pelvis and reposition themselves correctly with a certain type of breathing.
Since then the Hypopressive technique has evolved and has been adopted worldwide producing amazing results for men and women. Hypopressive exercises are big in Europe and have just started to gain popularity in the United States. At Renew Physical Therapy we are on the cutting edge and we want to introduce you to a new way of doing Kegels that works and is fun to do.
How Does the Hypopressive Work, You Ask?
This type of exercise strengthens the core, abdominal and pelvic floor muscles without the harmful increase in abdominal and pelvic pressure that traditional abdominal programs may cause. Not only does it decrease the pressure, it creates negative pressure that ultimately creates a “plunger effect” in the body to activate the muscles and lift the pelvic organs and at the same time contracts the pelvic floor muscles due to a reflex mechanism.
Alignment Counts- Setting Up for the Hypopressive Kegel Exercise
1. Lay on the floor make and perform a chin tuck and make sure your head and lower back make contact with the floor.
2. Make sure to find your neutral pelvis and maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the exercises.
3. As you breathe in and out and set your posture, imagine your spine is lengthening and growing with each breath.
4. Relax your shoulders and think about “widening” the torso as if you were stretching your body out to the sides.
5. This set up is very important and you may want to practice it a couple of times before you advance to the Hypopressive breathing and level one exercise.
Hypopressive Breathing: The New Kegel Breath
1. Slowly inhale through your nose feeling your lower abdomen expand outward, keeping your shoulders quiet and low. Slowly exhale from your mouth feeling your lower abdomen fall inward towards your spine. Do this three times.
2. On the third breath inhale naturally and on your third exhalation– exhale all the air out of your lungs. Removing all the oxygen from your lungs.
3. Once all the air is out you will perform what is called an Apnea, or fake in-breath (false inhalation) – Simultaneously you MUST perform a Kegel. The abdominal muscles will pull inward and the rib cage will widen. Note: If you are having trouble performing the “false inhalation,” imagine bracing yourself for a sucker punch in the stomach while holding your breath. You may need to practice this several times until you master the breath.
4. The “False Inhalation” should be held for 5 seconds initially and should never exceed your tolerance and should never cause you pain. If pain increases stop immediately.
Hypopressive Level One “On Your Back”:
How to Perform:
1. Lie on your back with knees bent, hands on upper hips with fingers pointing towards each other.
2. Make sure to be in correct alignment as stated above with chin tuck and low back making contact with the floor.
3. Perform the Hypopressive breathing as stated above
4. Advanced: Slowly raise arms up in this position during the Hypopressive breathing (up to 90 degrees or shoulder level).
5. Complete Cycle is as follows:
Three Complete breaths → 3rd Exhalation all air is let out →
Flare ribs outwards and perform kegel → False Inhalation
6. Perform 3-5 Cycles, 2 times/ week
Precautions: Be Warned
1. As when beginning any new exercise program, you must decide if this program is appropriate for you. Precautions must be taken seriously and those who are pregnant or have high blood pressure avoid the Hypopressive breathing. Those who have hernias additionally should consult with their doctors as this exercise is not appropriate for those with hernias.
2. Be sure to avoid training immediately after eating and hydrate before and after the exercise.
3. I would also caution those who have herniated discs of the spine to proceed with caution. I have a disc herniation and can do the Hypopressive but I am conservative with my reps and sets.
4. You must always check in with your MD before doing any of the Hypopressive exercises.
5. If you have any questions, please contact us the Renew Physical Therapy team would be more than happy to answer your questions and get you on a Hypopressive Kegel Program. We are experts at programing this new Kegel and will gladly help you so you don’t get injured.
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