Simone Muller

Restore Harmony and Function: Effective Techniques for a Hypertonic Pelvic Floor

A Hypertonic Pelvic Floor is one that is carrying too much muscle tension, this can be as a result of a birth injury, posture, or in some cases, too many Kegels with not enough emphasis on the release phase. If we compare a kegel to a bicep curl, in other words, a conscious contraction and shortening of a muscle, were we to hold that bicep curl throughout the day we wouldn't have a very happy arm. To function optimally, a muscle needs to be able to contract and release.

We are also working with fascia, the connective tissue throughout the body. The apnea works to stretch the fascial lines, and that will also have an effect on the pelvic floor and aid in normalising tension. This is especially useful after a diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse or if one is experiencing urinary incontinence. What we find is a pattern of tucking the pelvis in (think a scared dog tucking in its tail) to manage the symptoms, and this is associated with tight glutes and pelvic floor.

Hypopressives, on the other hand, are not working as a conscious lift (contraction of the muscles). Instead, there is an involuntary lift that happens in apnea, the unique breathing technique we use, and then a release as you inhale again. Over time, this breathing technique has been shown to regulate the tone of the pelvic floor.

Once the posture, breathing mechanics and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction improve that postural pattern can change. Ultimately, we need the entire core canister (pelvic floor, abdominals, diaphragm and back muscles) to be doing their share of the work so that it is not just up to the pelvic floor to keep our body together. Once the function to the whole core comes back the pelvic floor does not need to hold that extra tension.

In addition to learning Hypopressives it is a good idea to incorporate some stretches specifically for a hypertonic pelvic floor. Such stretches include child’s pose, happy baby pose, and extending one leg to the side from a 4-point kneeling position (hands under shoulders, tabletop position). It is also important to stretch the glutes.

Child's pose

Child's pose is a simple, soothing yoga exercise to try for a hypertonic pelvic floor. It starts with you on all fours, then sitting back towards your heels while your torso stretches over your thighs. Your forehead gently rests on the mat, and your arms lie beside your legs, palms facing down. This pose invites you to breathe slowly and deeply, for at least eight cycles.

If Child's Pose feels tough because of your hypertonic pelvic floor symptoms, a modified version could work better. Here, your knees are spread apart, and you lean forward, resting your forehead on your folded arms or fists on the floor. Remember to breathe deeply, for a minimum of eight breaths.

Child's pose, when practised consistently, can help relax your pelvic floor. Together with other hypertonic pelvic floor exercises, this pose can help manage your symptoms and enhance your well-being. It's always wise to check with a healthcare provider before starting your hypertonic pelvic floor treatment, and remember, listen to your body, making changes to your pose as needed to keep it safe and effective.

Happy Baby Pose

Another great pose to alleviate some hypertonic pelvic floor symptoms, is the Happy Baby Pose. This hypertonic pelvic floor exercise, is a gentle, restorative, and beneficial addition to your hypertonic pelvic floor treatment. Begin this pose by lying flat on your back, taking hold of your shins, and gently guiding your knees towards your shoulders. Grasp the outer sides of your feet and delicately draw your toes downward, bringing your knees closer to your shoulders. It's important to keep your chest open and your spine long to maintain proper alignment. Concentrate on breathing calmly and deeply as you stay in this pose for around 30 seconds, giving your body time to fully benefit from the stretch. Practising this soothing exercise regularly can help alleviate your symptoms and promote pelvic floor relaxation.

Getting Started

For the Hypopressives classes it is important that you learn the Apnea technique properly so that you can get the most out of the classes and the time you invest in yourself.

Each week Simone runs Fundamentals sessions on Zoom where she explains the technique and guides you through all the steps. She will also give you feedback to make sure that you're doing it correctly. For some, the technique may come more quickly than others.

Some of her clients, who are tighter in the ribs and thoracic spine do tend to take a little longer. For the technique to make an impactful change she recommends doing a minimum of 3 workouts a week for 15 to 20 minutes.

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About the Author

Simone Muller is the founder of re-centre and has over 15 years of teaching experience across Pilates, Low Pressure Fitness and Yoga.

She launched the online platform to make Low Pressure Fitness and Hypopressives more accessible to more women around the world so that they can become the strongest and most functional versions of themselves.

Originally from South Africa, Simone's dance and Pilates career evolved when she faced post-childbirth challenges, prompting her to explore Low Pressure Fitness in Spain.

As the first level 3 instructor in London, she has witnessed transformative postnatal rehabilitation results in clients, addressing issues like Diastasis Recti, prolapse and incontinence.

Simone has written articles for the re-centre blog 'Kegels not Working?', 'The connection between menstruation and prolapse symptoms' and 'Why I love teaching postnatal rehabilitation?'.

Simone has also written guest posts for The Shala 'What is Low Pressure Fitness', Yana Active 'Prioritising your Pelvic Floor Health After Giving Birth and Nurturing the Core' and for The Pelvic Academy 'Empowering Women's Health - The Power of Collaboration Between Hypopressives, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths'.

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Hypopressives is an effective technique toward relieving symptoms related to Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Diastasis Recti and Urinary Incontinence. Hypopressives also improves poor posture, pelvic floor weakness and back pain. I offer a flexible approach to memberships and a 14-day free trial.


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