Virtually all daily activities and sports increase abdominal pressure. Thus, along with reduced physical activity, the muscles of the abdominal girdle lose their tone.
Hypopressives exercises include reducing the pressure in the abdominal, thoracic and pelvic cavities. They are mainly important for balancing the tone of the pelvic floor, but they are also related to the “sculpting” of a tighter abdomen.
They are suitable both before pregnancy and after childbirth, as prevention of prolapse (the “pulling down” of pelvic organs), incontinence (leakage) of urine, as well as after certain surgical interventions that may affect the pelvic floor.
The term hypopressive refers to reducing pressure, whereas most traditional exercises, including abdominal exercises, are hyperpressive—increasing intra-abdominal pressure. Increased abdominal pressure “looks” for weak places in the sheaths and connective tissue, most often clinically expressed in hernias or prolapse of organs.
Certain injuries in the abdominal or pelvic cavity, as well as multiple pregnancy or with a heavy fetus, can lead to urinary incontinence, hernia and even prolapse of the pelvic organs.
Marcel Kaufries created the hypopressive techniques in 1980 for the rehabilitation of the musculature of the pelvic floor after pregnancy and childbirth, as well as to prevent urinary incontinence in women.
Their regular practice leads to strengthening of the abdominal girdle, tightening of the abdomen, improved posture, and strengthening of the pelvic floor to the extent that hypo- or hypertensive muscles are not observed, which lead to manifestations of pain or disturbances when emptying the pelvic tanks.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is associated with urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, anal incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. These conditions are chronic and are associated with a lower quality of life and reduced physical, social and mental subjective feeling.
Risk factors for occurrence are advanced age, pregnancy, delivery using a vacuum or forcepsoverweight and last but not least, a chronic persistent cough.
The theoretical goal of hypopressive exercises is to reduce intra-abdominal pressure while increasing the core tone of the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles, without volitional activation.
An important effect of long-term application of the exercises is an increase in the thickness of the so-called levator ani muscle. Some manual techniques also affect the muscle and, with repeated stimulation, lead to an improvement in its function. It is important both for urinary incontinence and for some diseases in the small pelvis, for example endometriosis.
At hypopressive exercises the abdominal muscles are not voluntarily activated and the diaphragm is thought to maintain position, theoretically reducing intra-abdominal pressure. Although this mechanism has not been demonstrated empirically, a study using transabdominal ultrasound demonstrated that exercise reduced pelvic floor dysfunction without a direct command to contract.
Exercise is not recommended for pregnant women. If the patient is recovering from an illness or surgery, he should follow the advice of the attending physician or physical therapist who is monitoring him.
They should not practice the exercises with hypertension or with already formed inguinal or umbilical hernia.
In order to notice the effect of the hypopressive method, about two months of regularly performed practices are needed, and in the first month, starting with two trainings per week, each lasting about 20 minutes.
B. Navarro-Brazález et al., Effectiveness of Hypopressive Exercises in Women with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2020