On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Shannon Sepulveda guest hosts and interviews Tamara Rial on hypopressive exercise.  Tamara Rial is the creator and co-founder of Low Pressure Fitness which is an exercise training program based on hypopressive, myofascial & neurodynamic techniques.

In this episode, we discuss:

-What are hypopressive exercises?

-Patient populations that would benefit from hypopressive exercises

-The latest research on the mechanisms and effects of hypopressive exercise

-Common criticisms of hypopressive exercise

-And so much more!


Shannon Sepulveda Website

Shannon Sepulveda Facebook

Tamara Rial Website

Herman and Wallace Website

Pelvic Guru Website

Tamara Rial Instagram

Hypopressive Guru Instagram

Email: rialtamara@gmail.com

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For more information on Tamara:

Tamara Rial earned dual bachelor degrees in exercise science and physical education, a masters degree in exercise science and a doctorate with international distinction from the University of Vigo (Spain). Her dissertation focused on the effects of hypopressive exercise on women’s health. She is also a certified specialist in special populations (CSPS).

She is the creator and co-founder of Low Pressure Fitness which is an exercise training program based on hypopressive, myofascial & neurodynamic techniques. In 2016, this program was awarded the best exercise program by AGAXEDE, a leading sports management association in Galicia, Spain. Dr. Rial is the creative director and professional educator for Low Pressure Fitness. At present, over 2000 health and fitness professionals from around the world are certified Low Pressure Fitness trainers.

Dr. Rial is a professor of pelvic floor rehabilitation in the masters Degree at Fundació Universitaria del Bages in Barcelona, Spain. She is the author of several scientific articles and books about hypopressive exercise. She has also published numerous articles and videos about pelvic floor fitness, hypopressive exercise and women’s health. She is an internationally recognized speaker and has presented at conferences throughout Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Portugal and Spain. As an established researcher and practitioner, she continues to collaborate with colleagues at universities and health care settings to explore the effects of hypopressive exercise on health and wellbeing.

She lives with her husband and two dogs in the United States and Spain. Dr. Rial is available for consulting, speaking and freelance writing in Spanish, Galician, English and Portugues.

 For more information on Shannon:

Shannon Sepulveda, DPT, M.Ed., CSCS, WCS is the owner and Physical Therapist at Shannon Sepulveda, DPT, PLLC. She is an Orthopedic and Women’s Health Physical Therapist and is currently the only Board-Certified Women’s Health Physical Therapist (WCS) in Montana. Shannon received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Masters in Education from Harvard University (M.Ed.) and Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of Montana. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She has been a practicing Physical Therapist in Bozeman, Montana for over 6 years. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, skiing, hunting and spending time with her husband, son and daughter.

 Read the full transcript below:

Shannon Sepulveda:      00:00                Hello and welcome to the healthy wealthy and smart podcast. I’m your guest host Shannon Sepulveda and I am here with Tamara Rial. Hi Tamara. Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

Tamara Rial:                                         Well, we’re going to introduce a little bit how we met because Shannon came to our hypopressive course that we hosted in Portland with Bobby Grew, right. So I like to call myself a hypopressive expert. I been studying and practicing and teaching this technique for over 10 years and I did my PhD based on hypopressive and its effect on urinary incontinence. And then I began teaching this technique to professionals as also to practitioners. And well, I happened to live in Spain also almost all my life and they do my work there. And also I have been a professor in the University of Vigo in Spain.

Tamara Rial:                 01:13                But two years ago I came to United States because I married my husband who happens to be American and we moved into New Jersey and that’s where I currently live.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Well, can you tell us a bit about what hypopressives are and what low pressure fitness is because I would assume the majority of the audience has no idea what that is. I think some of us pelvic health PTs know and some other people in the world, but it’s all the rage in Spain. So tell us about what it is.

Tamara Rial:                                         Yeah, I understand because there’s this word hypopressive and some people kind of listen to this word for the first time. So if we look at the etymology of hyper pressure, really what it means, a hypo pressive, it’s Hypo. Less pressure pressure of course. So it’s an exercise that reduces pressure.

Tamara Rial:                 02:16                It’s specifically a intraabdominal pressure intrabdominal pressure and intrathoracic pressure. So normally we call the hyper pressive exercise as a form of exercising with different postural cues and different poses throughout and a specific mechanism of breathing. And the general name of these exercises was named after that reduction in pressure that we have observed after doing these poses, combined with this specific hypopressive breathing technique. So yes, I know that sometimes it’s quite hard to understand, but they name and especially in some countries are for those people who are not familiar with it pelvic PT area. But, it will be the name given to a form of exercise.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              So can you talk a bit about what you mean by poses and then what you mean about the breathing technique?

Tamara Rial:                                         Well hypopressive exercises are also known as the hypopressive technique as I said, as a form of exercise that is mainly postural and breathing driven.

Tamara Rial:                 03:42                So I also like to say that it’s a mind body kind of technique because it is based on low intensity poses that can resemble a little bit of the kind of poses we were doing pilates exercise or when in Yoga many yoga instructors will find that many of those poses and breathing techniques are very similar of the ones they also practice. So the postural technique of hypopressive is basically one that aims to do a postural correction, a postural correction in a more body awareness. Like how is our spine, how do we activate our pelvic girdle, how do we activate our pelvic, abdominal muscles or shoulder girdle? So we would focus a lot of body awareness as I said, and on posture reeducation, making the person aware of how they stabilize their spine, how they stabilize their body.

Tamara Rial:                 04:54                And from there we would progress the exercise from a more static poses. And then from there going to a dynamic postural position, and then the breathing exercise is mainly the technique made up of lateral costal breathing that is also practicing in pilates and also by a form of exercise that is also called the Ooda bandha technique. So this is a Pranayama, yoga Pranayama that we use in hypopressive and we call it the hypopressive breathing. So it’s a very noticeable and visible technique. But you, because when you practice it, you see how they add them in draws in and the thorax expands and sometimes people confuse it with a hollowing, abdominal vacuum hollowing. Because when you’re doing abdominal hollowing, you see how they belly button draws in and there is actual a little scoop in your abdomen, right?

Tamara Rial:                 06:10                But really when you’re doing abdominal back q or a do the Anna Vanda or hypopressive breathing technique, what is happening is that you’re actually opening your rib cage throughout a breath holding maneuvers. So that means you expel all the air or you expel the current volume of air you have in your lungs. And then after that you open your rib cage. And that will lead to a observable and very noticeable draw in of your abdomen. It is going to be even more noticeable that the actual abdominal Holloway maneuver. Why? Because their rib cage opens and lifts and that’s gonna draw in the abdomen and in and create this vacuum that we call in yoga with the Yana Veranda, which is a Prana Yama. They are yoga teachers in some practitioners may be also aware of. And the combination of this type of breathing in a sequence with different poses that they instruct are not normally a progressive. The person through these form of exercise, the low pressure fitness technique.

Shannon Sepulveda:      07:31                That’s awesome. So let’s talk about who can benefit from this form of exercise because I think that it’s become really popular in the pelvic organ prolapse community and the urinary incontinence community. But then we also had a bodybuilder in our class because she needs to learn these poses for her bodybuilding. And we also learned about other types of athletes in particular in Spain that use this technique to help with their sport. So could you talk about like who can benefit from this?

Tamara Rial:                 08:03                Right. That’s a great question. Well, hypopressives at the beginning where as you a correctly said, we’re especially aimed for the post natal woman. And so specially after giving birth woman began to have some urinary incontinence and many women develop some type of prolapse and also they want to rehab there mommy tummy. So the application of this type of exercises that reduce their waistline and also reduce pressure, especially at the first weeks after giving birth where especially in France and in Belgium, the exercise that they were doing and performing and in France and in Spain, these exercise became to get a more popular and I think almost all a postnatal woman do this kind of routine and pelvic floor physical therapist and also midwives and duolas recommending and teach this kind of exercises in the postnatal phase.

Tamara Rial:                 09:18                So that’s why I think it got very popular. But it’s true that many other people and at the beginning I wasn’t very aware of it because I also began focusing a lot in urinary incontinence because I thought that we’re dealing with pressure, right? So this thought of I want to reduce pressure so it will benefit those women or those people who have some type of issue related with increase or dynamic pressure. So the one that always can come to mind or what stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. But there are other pressure issues that can go that people can deal around. And in the woman’s health community we are very aware of constipation because it could also lead to constipation in the way we breathe and we push when we go to the bathroom can also lead to some symptoms.

Tamara Rial:                 10:23                So we’ve seen that people who a incorporate hypopressive breathing and also hypopressive technique from a regular basics and have constipation issues can benefit. And also there has been some research done on pelvic who suffer nonspecific, lower back pain and who have shown good results doing a basic series of exercises because many people ask what are the exercises? Are they’re doing a lot of a complex exercise or are they doing dynamic? No, the basic routine. For example, in the course we learned the basic normal static exercises and in the easiest vacuum, that means a vacuum that is performed with a low breathe breath holdings only between 6-10 seconds. And also very easy poses that almost anybody can do in a standing position in a sitting and a kneeling. So really you don’t have to be at gym to perform it and even our elderly in our and people with any type of a movement issues or even people who are in wheelchairs can also perform it because really the exercise is very easy.

Tamara Rial:                 11:52                It’s basically controlling your breathing and control your pose. So it’s specifically, we began to see that not only the woman’s health, a community could benefit from hypopressive, but also people suffering, as I said, with a constipation, low back pain. And then there has been an increasing application of this type of training from an aesthetic point of view. Why? Because doing this type of exercise, the transverse abdominis muscle gets quite activated and when you see the abdominal vacuum maneuver, you can see that really the transverse and all the abdominal muscles have this corset effect. There’s a visible waistline reduction so that waistline reduction is visible during the exercise. But after two or three months of continuous practice, that means doing two or three sessions of 30 minutes over a period of three months. You can observe a statistical reduction.

Tamara Rial:                 13:07                Yeah, significant statistical reduction in waistline, we’re talking about between two centimeters of average or 2.5 between 3.5 right? So that will be the average waistline reduction. So for people who really want to reduce their waistline because they want to look better or they’re doing a competition for bodybuilding for example, they are really want to find exercise  that can achieve a waistline reduction without only thinking. Of course we all have to think about our food intake and our caloric expenditure. But when all those variables are taken into account and you also want to want to work on your natural corset that means your abdominal muscles. We all know that we have to train our core, but we can train our core in different ways. And one way that we have seen that also can be an alternative to normal or traditional core training methods is also the stomach vacuum or the abdominal vacuum or the hypopressive technique.

Tamara Rial:                 14:27                In fact, it’s funny to observe that in the body building community they have a pose that they execute. That is called the stomach vacuum pose. And this stomach vacuum pose was a popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1970. There are many, there are some pictures of him that if you go to the Internet and you put an Internet Stomach vacuum pose, you can really see how he had a pose I think he’s the king of the stomach vacuum pose. And he really popularized it because when he would go on stage, he will want to show his serratus. So a way to show the great development or the mass development of his serratus would be going into a big rib cage expansion, lifting his arms behind his head and just pulling in his stomach throughout this abdominal vacuum technique that is really hypopressives.

Tamara Rial:                 15:29                So he even wrote in his bodybuilding, he wrote that he usually trained this technique to achieve a waistline reduction. And if you see his body, it was amazing. He really had a very thin waistline and a big thorax. And now bodybuilder nowadays they’re there. Well at least what they are seen as they’re getting, they’re having trouble in and getting a great lat spread and a great big thorax and in comparison have a very, very thin waistline. So that’s why now we’re recovering a little bit. This knowledge that he brought us in the 70’s it seemed that now more bodybuilders are being aware of doing this type of a stomach vacuum exercises. And even in Spain, the Federation of bodybuilding has a included the stomach vacuum pose again as compulsory for the male competition, which is kind of cool.

Tamara Rial:                 16:34                And that’s why I think it was two years ago. And we begin to see a great demand of body builders to come to our classes to learn, only from aesthetic purpose is to learn the technique because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to be onstage, hold your breath, be smiling, and at the same time hold your breath for 10 seconds when you’re already very tired and open, open your ribs and show that stomach vacuum so you really have to train it. And in our bodybuilders, that came to the course. She is amazing. Of course she was absolutely gorgeous, but she wanted to work a little bit more on her stomach vacuum pose.

Shannon Sepulveda:      17:20                Yeah, yeah, yeah. She told me that, that maybe the difference, like it like she’s like, I need to learn this. And I was like, wow, that’s, I didn’t even think about that. And then when you showed us the pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger I was like, oh yeah. I mean I remember seeing them as a kid, but I was like, oh, it totally is a stomach vacuum. And so I think it’s really fun when you have all of people from different

Shannon Sepulveda:      17:50                backgrounds in the courses because it’s just fun to talk to them and pick their brains and see like why they’re here. So I thought that was, that was really cool.

Tamara Rial:                                         And how different people from different areas, from fitness professionals for women’s health, from even massage therapists, it can have a common link. There was also the course, we had a several yoga instructors because I guess it also makes sense to incorporate a technique  that has so much in common with already yoga.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Yeah. Can you tell us a bit about your research and your education and your PhD work?

Tamara Rial:                                         Okay. Yes. So as I said I was Spanish and I think some of our listeners have noticed that I have a little accent. Well say. I’ve grew up in Spain. I did my education, all of it over there.

Tamara Rial:                 18:54                I also did a semester in the University of Porto, part of my PhD and they laboratory of CNN, Tropo Matree with the professor. But my main focus was always a pilates, and some type of mind exercise. Mind body exercises a woman’s health. So I began to get interested in this because I’ve seen at least in his Spain, it wasn’t a woman’s health wasn’t a topic that was taught so much in the physical education and fitness community. We were talking about the benefits of exercise for health, but we were looking so much of the benefits of exercise also for Woman’s health and how some type of techniques and pelvic floor muscle training could also benefit a lot. Mainly females and males who have some type of dysfunction.

Tamara Rial:                 20:00                And we really had to bring this knowledge into the physical education to the exercise science community and into the gyms. And I also think into the woman’s community because sometimes there’s that, well I really think there’s this feel like great taboo talking about women’s health issues. So maybe it will be easier if we begin to talk about it in a easy way from the gyms and bring this topic into the fitness instructors. So they would bring more awareness and also the coaches into the sports community and that way make aware to our woman and our males that there is option to, and there’s options to take care of your pelvic floor and your health with exercising correct movements and how just by breathing you can affect immensely your pelvic floor health because we are not aware of how we breath, how we are standing now.

Tamara Rial:                 21:06                Now our listeners they’re maybe they’re sitting in the car they’re walking, but are we taking our time? Are we looking in was and are we feeling our brand that we fit in our body? So all those things I thought we, I had to bring it into the fitness community. And that’s why I really wanted to focus on how some type of mind body techniques could impact urinary incontinence. And at that time hypothesis was not a very famous thing in Spain. I think it was not famous. Nothing. Maybe some pelvic floor PTs who had been taught in France. Know a little bit about it, but really it wasn’t a big thing. So I learned about it from Marcel Frey, who was one of the main people and teachers who begin to get interested in this topic. So I thought, why don’t I do a research study on this on urinary incontinence?

Tamara Rial:                 22:12                And I remember at the beginning it was hard because imagine telling your doctoral advisor that you want to do a study on woman that’s kind of, okay, I’m focusing on women and then say I want to focus urinary incontinence. So I’m getting more specific. And then I say, I’m going to assess the effects of hypopressive exercise. When I said this word, he was like, what is this? And we went into the literature and there was nothing in the literature, nothing at that time. And right now there’s still nothing. Okay. But at that time there was negative and it was kind of hard because what is the basis? There is almost no basis. And I know, I know I took a risk, but I began to apply it on myself and I begin to apply on some practitioners and I saw results very quickly and they were telling me even after three sessions that they already were feeling a decrease in their ordinary symptoms and they were, I was even shocked because I like time.

Tamara Rial:                 23:25                I didn’t believe it. I was still one, I was one of the skeptic that’s a little bit the reason why I said I want to study this to prove it’s not working, but when people begin to already tell me, you know, I feel great and I begin to see how women were enthusiastic about it. I said, okay. I really had to give it a chance and that’s how I got paid. I’m really passionate now about it and people say, you’re very passionate. Why? I think that people who I work with made me passionate because whenever I see that somebody can benefit from what I’m teaching, that makes me happy. And that makes me really think that maybe I’m, if I’m making somebody better, I’m helping in some sort of way, I think that’s how I’ve been driven to keep on in this path.

Tamara Rial:                 24:19                And also because I want it to make it more on evidence based or a technique that would have more support. Because at the beginning I would hear people say, hypopressives does this, or hypopressives does this, but there was no, there was no basis behind that. Even sometimes the physiological description of the exercise was wrong and people were very assertive. Like people would say, it does this to the body or you can achieve this, whatever. But what is the research like? What is the, what is the, even the physiological mechanism, which explains that. And, and there was very contradictory explanations in the literature because I guess nobody has really wanted dive into it and study to show that maybe it’s correct or not as correct because I even at the beginning thought that maybe intraabdominal pressure doesn’t increase or maybe decrease.

Tamara Rial:                 25:29                We still don’t know. We still don’t know what has happened at the thoracic level so we cannot just assume things if you really don’t study it. I think that was the big mistake with hypopressives. People got excited and they began to say, there’s no thing called hypopressives. It’s fantastic and blah blah blah, but you cannot put something out in the market and say it is great without really having to first apply it with real people as it in a clinical way and then begin to do some short term studies or some physiological studies. That means, for example, if you argue that there is a decrease in pelvic pressure, you have to assess it. You cannot say it without even assessing, maybe not 200 people, but at least a group of people. And then from there, which we would have to see if there is some type of chronic effects.

Tamara Rial:                 26:39                We still don’t have a research that really shows many claims that people say. So those are lacking in the literature. So we always have to be cautious and see, you know, we don’t know. We don’t know. People are getting some good benefits and they’re claiming that they’re feeling better. For example, they’re feeling more posture rehabilitation or they feel there breathing capacity has increased. But that’s anecdotal evidence and we have to prove that with more randomized trials. Right. So, that’s a little bit how I started and I got interested in it and I’m still working with it and teaching. I came to United States and I did my first courses through Herman and Wallace, pelvic rehabilitation institute, and also through pelvic guru that we’re the first people who trusted me in United States.

Tamara Rial:                 27:52                And they led their hand and they began also to hear from some pelvic floor practitioners who in United States who were already working with this. And I guess there was a little bit of spread of the word and that’s why I think in the United States some people began to get interested in it and now let’s just see how it works and hopefully more universities can open new lines of research on this topic because I think women’s health and pelvic health, although if we focus a lot on urinary incontinence in pelvic organ, there are many other issue that have not been so much address like a hypertonicity, a topic for dysfunctions, pelvic pain. So there is still a lot of research that we can do. And I think also the area of alternative movement exercises, for example, Yoga and even pilates, there should be more, more interested in it because our woman and our people, our population, we need to move, we need to do exercise.

Tamara Rial:                 29:13                And we really, when there is a public condition, many women are afraid of moving and doing exercise. And I don’t think it’s good to tell a woman or to tell a postnatal mom, you know, you have to be careful, don’t lift weights or don’t do this exercise or don’t do curl ups. So are I feel that sometimes we’re frightening too much are woman and there and instead of going to the gym or maybe sometimes you can have a leakage and you say, Oh, I’m a little embarrassed because I’m leaking during my crossfit activity, but I love going to crossfit. So maybe I can also compliment my activity with other more pelvic floor friendly programs or with some programs that kind of counterbalance that high intensity activity. I kind of, I sometimes say that a low pressure of hypopressives are the best friends of high impact activities because we have the metabolic benefits of a high intensity interval training, which has a great background of research that shows that is one of the best type of training for many metabolic conditions for our cardiovascular health. So we want people and we need people to be doing their physical exercise. And on that note, we’re going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor and we’ll be right back.

Shannon Sepulveda:      31:36                Okay, so we learned about some awesome new research in the course. So can you share that with us?

Tamara Rial:                                         Yes. Well, we still didn’t know until some weeks ago what was happening in the diaphragm. Because it’s true that when you do the abdominal breathing maneuver, the hypopressives maneuver, you’re actually opening your rib cage in, you’re holding your breath. So it was hypothesized that because you’re using your inspiratory muscles to hold and expand your rib cage, that diaphragm what is happening it raises up, right? So imagine when you breathe in your diaphragm goes down, contracts and lowers the position and also the pelvic floor because the movement of the breathing and the synergy or the diaphrgm the pelvic floor diaphragm is synergistically, right? So then when you exhale, the diaphragm raises up and also the pelvic floor contracts and raises.

Tamara Rial:                 32:38                So when you’re doing this hypopressive maneuver, what has happened is they’re opening your rib cage in your allowing to your Diaphragm to raise up a little bit more. So that means that it achieves a little bit of higher position than when you’re only exhaling because it’s kind of a stretch of the diaphragm. But the question was, well, but what happens? Because we have some studies that have shown through ultrasounds and MRIs that when you’re doing this hypopressive breathing, there is a pelvic lift, right? There’s a raise of the pelvic floor and also the bladder and the uterus. So this is something you can actually see. And in the course we also see it in ultrasound measurements, but it’s difficult to have an ultrasound measurement of the diaphragm and also it’s difficult to see the pressure in your esophagus or in your abdomen.

Tamara Rial:                 33:40                Because that would have to be through a more difficult assessment that normally in the pelvic settings we don’t have have. So normally if we want to assess in a pelvic floor or physical therapist setting the pressure, we can use intrarectal devices or intra vaginal devices. And that way when we’re doing different types of maneuvers, we can assess what’s happening, right? So when you’re doing the maneuver, what happens with hypopressive is there’s going to be a decrease of intrarectal pressure intracolon and also vagina, right? If you performing the exercise with the correct form, and I always like to say and this and make it a specific, that it’s not something that you can achieve the first day of practice. You have to know how to correctly perform the technique as well as we teach how to correctly perform up pelvic floor muscle contraction to enable the pelvic floor muscle to really lift and contract and not to, for example, Bulge.

Tamara Rial:                 34:51                That can happen if the technique is not correctly performed or if they breathing phase doesn’t accompany the contraction. So in the same way, when we’re doing a hypopressive maneuver, what would happen is that we would exhale first and then after that exhalation we would hold their breath and we would only perform a voluntary muscle contraction of our rib cage muscles. So the question is the diaphragm what happens is a very relaxed is a very contracted, is it not? So Trista sin, which is my colleague and one of my friends who have, I been working also very closely and she teaches courses over there in Canada, she actually flew to Vancouver because there’s a research group there who’s going to access actually with the group of people who are going to do hypopressives and I can’t recall right now his name, but he’s a phd candidate who is a looking forward to do his phd on the effects of a hypopressive technique on the EMG activation of the diaphragm and also into the pressure management, intrathoracic pressure.

Tamara Rial:                 36:29                So we won’t call it the pilot testing and because Trista is a very good practitioner, she already knows how to do the technique and I know that not everybody wants to introduce a catheter, it’s not one of those research that a everybody would want to do. So she did it. And, we have the preliminary results that I can, I can read you some of them. And she also did different poses. So she did the analysis in the standing pose, which was more easier to assess also in kneeling. Because you don’t have to move your face or you’re not on a board where sometimes you can change the position of the catheter.

Tamara Rial:                 37:32                Yeah. And, also supine was an easy pose. So that’s the assessment and there actually was electromyographic activity shown in the diaphragm from which would make sense because the diaphragm cannot relax. So there’s a quite of lengthen in an activity going on even if you’re doing the breath holding maneuver. So I guess that when they results on the group, they’re going to test on the trial. We will get to know more of really what happens, not when you’re doing actually that technique, but what would happen, what chronic effects would have your intercostal, your breathing muscles. And also your Diaphragm from when you’re doing this kind of vacuum technique and also what happens into the pressures. So we would be able to show that there is a reduction, the reduction of thoracic pressure and intrabdominal pressure, which is kind of cool.

Tamara Rial:                 38:40                It’s pretty cool because at least now you can say that it makes sense to call it hypopressives. So, well, that’s the thing. And also when you’re doing hypopressives, the thing is that you’re lifting your rib cage and you’re using your breathing muscles. So for example, they, SCM muscle increases his electromyographic activity because it’s all it has, it enables their rib cage to lift, right? So whenever you’re doing a hypopressive, you will really actually see the lift of the rib cage and also the widening of your intercostal rib cages. All the rib cage actually open. So also this serratus is a muscle that is also going to increase as is electromyographic activity. Right. And there has been another group from Brazil that actually did not a chronic study, but they did an acute study that they assessed the electromyographic activity of the abdominal muscles, so transverse, Oblique and internal oblique.

Tamara Rial:                 40:01                They did it through superficial electromyographic activity and it was with some female practitioners. They were healthy. There were no pelvic floor dysfunction. Just testing when you’re doing the vacuum, what actually happens in the core muscles because some people think that when you’re doing a hypopressive, maybe there’s a high electromyographic activity, but really you’re not doing an active contraction. For example, if you do a a crunch exercise or you actually contract forcefully your abdomen, you will have a very high electromyographic activity, but because what you’re doing is just having a stabilizing pose that makes your spine grow and you’re actually doing a low intensity postural activity and you’re opening your rib cage in your muscles. There’s not going to be such a high activity. There is an increase of activity but not so much on the rectus abdominis and the external oblique as much as there is in the transfers and in the obliques. So that’s why it’s especially indicated for people who need a rehabilitation of their deep inner unit and not so much of the outer unit. So especially in the first rehab phases for example, for those with lumbar pain and want to achieve

Tamara Rial:                 41:34                a greater mind body connection of your deep core muscles or we want to a connect that transverse and the pelvic floor. This could be a technique that we could use for example. So especially more indicated for our deep system. And then from there we can build on a more dynamic exercise that will recruit the larger muscles and the larger dynamic muscles.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Cool. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for that explanation of the new cutting edge research. I think that’s awesome. In my experience, it seems like there’s a little bit of controversy surrounding hypopressives and low pressure fitness where some women’s health people are like, yes. And some women’s health People are like, no. And in my opinion, not that it means anything, but my opinion about something like this is if it works for somebody and there’s no harm in it, then why then what’s the problem?

Shannon Sepulveda:      42:41                Because it’s not like we’re causing any harm with any of this. And so if it’s a tool in your toolbox and it works for certain women, what’s the harm? Yeah. Because really there is none. And so why not try it? But I just wanted to get your thoughts on, you know, what’s going on in the, I mean, I feel like hypopressives are so hot right now. It’s Kinda like diastasis is just so hot right now and it’s the new buzz word I think in women’s health, physical therapy. So, but there’s been, you know, people are like, if people don’t, I don’t really know. But what’s your take on all of that?

Tamara Rial:                                         There has actually been all a lot of controversy and even a lot of controversy in the scientific literature because I think it was last year there has been a discussion paper published by Carrie Bowen, a researcher from Spain, on hypopressives saying that there wasn’t enough evidence to support that hyporessives could be an alternative exercise for women with pelvic organ prolapse.

Tamara Rial:                 43:54                So they based their discussion paper and their results on the articles that our group has published it on this topic. So I wrote a letter to the editor and it was published on the British journalist sports medicine blog. It’s available and they had also a reply. So it’s kind of funny when you get to have these replies. So there has been a lot of controversy even in this field because as I said before, it’s true that there has not been a lot of research and there are studies that have been publishing from the Brazilian groups. They have done some studies on woman with prolapse. We can find a on pub med with the word hypopressive but my argument and my counter argument in the letter and the response to the letter to the editor that is available as you said in British Journal of sports medicine, you can read it is that the thing is when we are applying a technique and especially a technique as hypopressives, that is first difficult to teach, difficult to a specially properly perform if there’s not a good instruction and supervision.

Tamara Rial:                 45:25                That means that first we have to assess if the person is correctly performing the exercise as well as anything as well as pelvic floor muscle training. We will teach first how to do a optimal pelvic floor muscle contraction before beginning the trial. We have to perform or assure that the person who is really doing that vacuum is actually doing a vacuum and if the form is correct that means does that person do a vacuum that is really lowering the pressure. Is that person really in the correct positioning or does that person need a little bit more of supervision of somebody who really knows how to correct and see if the pose is correct? Is the breathing so in the description and they papers and you can read the paper. They don’t describe the exercise as a form of different postural exercises.

Tamara Rial:                 46:25                They only described that they performed on a technique where there is an abdominal contraction a transverse abdominal contraction. But that is that you don’t really know. They have been doing the whole series of exercise as this has been described in the literature because hyporpressives are currently describe the technique as a postural base and a breathing base. So that was my critique that you’re basing your argument on the low number of research that is still available and on research that doesn’t describe quite maybe let’s use the word accurately as all their manuals and other professionals and other also because we can see other research common from other groups that are already doing and describing the technique. And this happens a lot in exercise science and physical therapy. Whenever we’re using exercise that involve a lot of supervision and technical instructions, we have to be very clear and describing that technique.

Tamara Rial:                 47:37                That means how many repetitions did you do, how many rest breaks, how many seconds did you rest between exercise and exercise? Because we know that changing one little variable can change the whole exercise. And, even when it comes to breathing exercise, we have to very accurate accurately describe the time that means, for example, you’re breathing in how many seconds you’re breathing out, what way you’re really now doing a four, six inhalation, or you’re breathing out doing a a more relaxed maneuver. Are you for example, doing a more intercostal breathing? Or are you doing a more diaphragmatic breathing using, you know, there’s so many different aspects that if we really don’t describe how is that technique, it’s gonna be more difficult to replicate that and more. And it’s going to create even more controversy between the readers or the listeners because we really don’t know what the technique is about.

Tamara Rial:                 48:49                And many times we see a video on youtube. This is the worst thing to learn from youtube. I know that we all go to youtube many of our listeners are now, many people that are doing it, but you can see the person do the exercise. But how did you know if you’re really doing what that person is doing it maybe you are contracting or you’re trying to pull your shoulder up or it’s Kinda hard and I would never I love watching those youtube videos and there are some yoga professionals that do amazing exercises, but it will be very hard for me to know if I’m doing the exercise correct if I don’t have somebody that is telling me I think, I think you’re doing the pose or even when I’m instructing pelvic floor muscle training, we really have to have somebody that is supervising that technique and giving us advice to progress in the technique.

Tamara Rial:                 49:56                So I think this has been the first controversy, the lack of research and the claims of some Gurus and like they is the best exercise for the pelvic floor. Well that’s a huge claim. You can never do the say that and, or some people will have, I have also claim a hypopressives if you do hypopressive’s is much better than Kegal Well, no, no, no, you can never have those because that’s going to go against you and, and that’s why maybe I think there has been such a bad reputation and also because maybe there has been a lot of marketing towards that waistline reduction. So if people say you’re selling it as a tool that is only aesthetic, but it kind of sounds like a selling thing, right? Where we want to sell a product only because it Kinda is new, but why, what is it, how is it an other profession?

Tamara Rial:                 51:07                Is it professionally driven, technique driven, and that has been the big, I think, huge controversy in the literature and also between practitioners. Right. And I think also another controversy that I see from my point of view is, is that one of people trying to learn, learn it from professionals who learn it from youtube. If I’m not sure about it and I would rather not do it or if you really want to practice it. I always advise people even to exercise under the guidance of professionals and I know that sometimes hiring up a personal training or higher, you know, going to a physical therapist once in awhile people can say it’s a waste of time. I think I’m good on my own. But no, even, even us as professionals, we should be instructed on the care of over there people because the eye of a professional is better than your own eyes and we need that supervision.

Tamara Rial:                 52:20                We need to a planification and we also need an assessment. So maybe when you’re under the guidance of a pelvic floor physical therapist or a instructor, they would assess you and say, you know, maybe we should do other exercise or we should begin with this. But then progressed to other phases and talking about progression, the idea that hypopressives would be like the magic pill. No, I don’t. I think that that’s a very wrong message to tell our people because there’s nothing that is magic pill there. It’s a tool in your toolbox. So it can be something that you can do to help you in some part of your life, but then you’re going to progress and then you’re going to do more things. Because for example, hypopressive is a good maybe reputative tool kind of. Yeah, kind of reputation tool.

Tamara Rial:                 53:20                But I won’t think that I’m going to get better improvements in my cardiovascular health doing hypopressives, for example, I’m not going to lose weight doing hypopressives it’s not an aerobic driven kind of tool. So if you’re beginning to sell a technique as something that is the best for everything, or maybe that thing of a reduces waists. So people say it’s because it’s because you’re losing weight. No, no, no, it’s maybe because you’re getting a better posture so then you don’t have such a bulge in your abdomen. We all know it. Right? If you have bad posture, your abdomen is going to bulge more so by again having a better posture or by having a better breathing habit, you’re going to help you to have a better abdominal appearance. Right. And then if you tone your inner unit, that will also help, but we will never, never achieve a waistline reduction or a better appearance without a loss of weight because you almost don’t use a lot of energy.

Tamara Rial:                 54:33                In fact the heart rate will even decrease a little so, so not not increase. Interesting. So we still have to do cardiovascular work. We can then counterbalance our running.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              I know. I was like I love to run and I was like okay, 20 minutes a day, 10 or 20 minutes a day. Like I can do this. And it actually felt really good because I’m so tight for running and I just like them. Then it was actually pretty awesome doing it in the class.

Tamara Rial:                                         Yeah. And many, many people who perform running or other type of high intensity activities or aerobic cardiovascular training, they use what he’d do this training, they could operate it after. So as a way of cool down. Yeah. So it’s a set of doing other type of exercise or we can incorporate it into our cooling down or even our stretching because many poses are like our stretching houses lying on the floor, stretching and our arms stretching our legs.

Tamara Rial:                 55:41                So we just incorporate it and it’s 10 minutes. You don’t need much, you really don’t need much. 10 minutes for those that need other 15 maybe 50 minutes and, and I think everybody can find 15 minutes in their day to have sum up some sort of mind, body practice. We really need it nowadays with so much going on. Social media.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Yeah. Well, it actually, it was interesting, I was thinking about why it felt so good and why say I would stick to something like that instead of yoga. I’ve tried yoga before and I wasn’t too into it. I think it’s because never in my life have I stretched that area. Like it’s so hard to stretch your thoracic area, right? Like I couldn’t, there’s no way. Or like even my rectus, right, your front abdominal muscles. Like it’s, unless, I mean you could do up dog to stretch, but it’s really hard to lengthen and stretch all of that. So it was like the first time in my life where like those muscles stretch and it feel really good.

Tamara Rial:                 56:39                Because we’re stretching from the inside. You’ve seen our breath instead of pressing it down, we’re pulling it inwards. So that’s why maybe this sensation is different. I think also the concentration on the breathing in that now it gives you a kind of mindful sensation. So for many people, they only do it as a mindful practice. They’re pressing because they’re so focused in on their breathing. It takes you out of your daily worries.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              I think that’s what I found too because it gave me something to like focus on, like I had an objective so I wasn’t thinking about anything else because it’s hard to do. And so it’s also like a new challenge.

Tamara Rial:                                         Yes. Yeah. So it was really great. And to challenge your breath Holding and to only think as well as we count, we always tell people sometimes when they’re breathing to count breath up to one, two, three.

Tamara Rial:                 57:41                So whenever you’re counting, you’re mindful in your present. And also we’re gonna add they’ve beneficial effects of having us slow paced breathing. That’s to add down train our nervous system. So we’re also going to help us if we want to just do a mindful or a relaxation kind of technique.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Well thank you so much for coming on the podcast. And so where can we find you? Email social media courses and you teach people like where can people find you if that.

Tamara Rial:                                         Thank you. My name is Tamara Rial So my website is tamararial.com but I’m very active in Instagram, so you can find me as Dr.tamararial and I also have another, another Instagram account that is a specific only, only for hypopressive that is called hypopressiveguru because I also teach other women’s health programs, not only hypopressives.

Tamara Rial:                 58:53                So I focus also on the female athlete. Pelvic friendly exercises, so, so you can see all my programs and courses on my website, although in my social media, especially on Instagram and know the courses I’m hosting in United States are throughout Herman and Wallance and also pelvic guru. So if we’d go to the websites we would see their announce all the hypopressive or low pressure courses. And I think contact email is rialtamara@gmail.com.

Shannon Sepulveda:                              Great. Well thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.