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THURSDAY 20 February, 2020
“How many hours did I waste trying to work out my pelvic floor? “
More women need to take a huge sigh of relief and realise that the pelvic floor is probably the hardest muscle group in the body to try and work. I don’t know about you but every time most women I know try to work their pelvic floor their eyebrows get an amazing workout either lifting or frowning!
Which one are you a lifter or a frowner?
Many women who have a pelvic floor weakness either just live with it and spend a small fortune on panty liners or seek help, usually being referred to a women’s health physio. The standard rehab techniques are Kegels or pelvic floor contractions. These conscious muscle contractions work the muscles in the pelvic floor but there are only 30% of the muscle fibres which can be squeezed on demand!
If you are amongst the high percentage of women who feel the pelvic floor is their personal nemesis. You might even be wondering whether your pelvic floor actually exists, let alone is being squeezed when you tell it to, then you can all breathe a sigh of relief. Those of you that didn’t know this already, Kegels or pelvic floor squeezes are not the only way to get rid of those panty liners for good.
Here come the biology facts!
If 30% of the floor can be contracted on demand how do we activate the other 70%?
This is the bit that blew our minds when we first started our journey learning hypopressives.
When we inhale, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor lift. At this moment there is a subconscious contraction of the pelvic floor (that’s the magic 70% of the muscles working). Now we know this the question is “why are there so many women affected by a weak PF?”.
One of the reasons is that most of us shallow breathe, which doesn’t properly activate the pelvic floor. By bringing in deep diaphragmatic breaths we improve our pelvic floor contraction massively.
I need you to focus on this little gem of information before you get disheartened and feel like nothing is ever going to work for you. The important fact is that when we need our pelvic floor to be strong, we normally have no time to activate and squeeze it!
When you sneeze do you get time to squeeze it?
When you cough can you lift it?
If you have to run after the dog, toddler or bus can you hold it?
It’s unlikely, but if your pelvic floor has been strengthened subconsciously, by breathing deeper, then it is strong without having to think about squeezing. It works when we need it to without thinking about it,
We hope that once you understand that there are very good reasons why not everyone has success with the traditional strength exercises you will join our tribe of strong women who are using a simple and effective technique to give their pelvic floor the workout it really needs.
Stop pulling those funny faces as you try to squeeze and just start to breathe!
Hypopressives might be the new kid on the block in the UK, but it has been used successfully in Europe since the 1980’s. Now it’s our turn to see the amazing benefits of this core rehab method.
It combines the deep diaphragmatic breath with postures and pressure control to improve core function.
There are so many benefits to this training. It’s an easy way to work and strengthen the pelvic floor, it can reduce intra-abdominal pressure which will help improve the symptoms of prolapse often avoiding surgery, it also helps with recovery from post abdominal surgery, postnatal recovery, rectus diastasis, back, shoulder and neck ache and discomfort.
But in a world that is becoming more hectic and stressful by taking time out of our day to focus on breathing, posture and restoring the natural balance of our core this system also helps with mindfulness, wellbeing and relaxation.
The major point I wanted to get across from this is that if you can’t Kegel you are not alone, if Kegel squeezes didn’t work you don’t have to give up, there is another way.
The journey to a strong core starts with a single deep breath.
TUESDAY 11 February, 2020
“What are hypopressives and how can they help your prolapse?”
The word is getting out there and more women are asking about Hypopressives but it seems all too often women decide based on the lack of written evidence that surgery is the route for them!
We understand, there is very little research at the moment about Hypopressives, but the information that is already there is all really positive and from our own personal experience with our clients and their results, we find it really is just speaking for itself.
It may not be in guidelines of physio practice because it is still in its infancy. As more research is being carried out all the time more physios, chiropractors and osteopaths are training to become hypopressive instructors every year.
Hypopressive core training is all about breathing, posture and reduced pressure. We all benefit from breathing every day! I think most people will admit they know they could do things to improve their posture and once we explain to clients how this all links in with abdominal pressure it all makes perfect sense.
Now, I am going to advise you based on my own knowledge, experience and health & well-being background and considering the results I have achieved working with my clients over the last five years.
If your prolapse is mild to moderate you can keep it under control mostly with a change of habits and the strengthening of certain aspects of your body, but you do need to make a commitment to this self-care process. It takes effort and not everyone has the time, money or inclination. So if you have the commitment, then there are ways you can help yourself and we will help you to discover them.
Nobody usually chooses surgery lightly. If your symptoms are causing you a lot of problems, you know it is moderate to high (exiting the body) then this may be your only option. However, once you have the surgery it is important to rebuild your body and continue to work on the exercises we advise for a number of reasons.
- It helps to keep things such as scar tissue formed following surgery moving . Scar tissue is rigid and can cause restrictions and as a result, pain. iI you can keep on moving and deep breathing etc .it is going to help.
- When you have a prolapse you are 25% more likely to have another. We have seen this in our own clients. They have had surgery, not done anything for a year or so and then found they have another mild prolapse so have got themselves back doing their exercises to manage the prolapse and avoid further surgery.
You want to be strengthening your body whether you are choosing to have surgery or not, and definitely following surgey.
Now, I am a realist. Hypopressives does not work for everyone, it can be difficult to master the “vacuum” effect of the move and get into good practice with it. The results vary depending on how committed you are to your practice, how bad your prolapse is and how well you have grasped the technique.
It is an ongoing process for some ladies, and they have to do it daily to stay on top of their symptoms. For others, they do a four-week course and then feel fine for ages. It really is very dependable on a number of reasons, this is what we have found working with our clients over the past five years.
Hypopressives is a combination of a lot of different things. To simplify, you will still get the basic posture and breathing benefits even if you don’t complete the vacuum, as Nikki and Richard from Uk Hypopressives say it is the “icing on the cake” so to speak.
Our pelvic floor and diaphragm are connected by connective tissue, as we breathe our pelvic floor lifts, the problem is, is that very few people breathe properly these days, we often shallow breathe, so our ribs aren’t actually moving that much and therefore neither is the pelvic floor.
Does that make sense?
Our posture due to our current lifestyle (i.e. desk-based and sitting) has usually a lot to be desired. Our clients are often slightly arched in their lower back and rounded in their shoulders and therefore have a lot of pressure pushing into their abdominal cavity and onto their pelvic floor.
If you are not mastering hypopressives don’t feel you need to give up! In our experience it is a whole-body approach.
We use it as a resource along with a whole bunch of other fantastic techniques in our clinic sessions.
We focus on strengthening your postural muscles to help you stand stronger using pilates and light strength training.
Releasing tight and weak muscles with stretching and mobilising the body and focusing on any specific weak areas with strengthening exercises.
We work with women using a whole combination of fantastic movements and exercises to help them feel stronger, reduce pain and improve symptoms.
Our advice is “what have you got to lose?”!
By improving these aspects through hypopressives your body and core will become stronger and function better.
So how do I learn this technique?
We believe it is so much easier to learn the technique face to face, so firstly look for a local Hypopressive instructor on the Uk Hypopressive website.
If there isn’t anyone local then please contact us with the button below for a consultation call so we can talk through your needs and plan a rehab solution for you.
If you have tried hypopressives and struggled to master the technique then bear in mind we have found focusing on standing taller and breathing deeper (which we can all do) can really help reduce the build-up of pressure on your prolapse, we have seen great results with this alone.
Remember we have our Core Control video library when you have mastered the technique for ongoing training and support. These are set up as a class format for you to follow at home, only £12 per month, no contract, no hidden fees and cancel at anytime via your membership account. Find out more about it here and then contact us for your unique code to purchase.
Any questions? Get in touch.
WEDNESDAY 04 December, 2019
Welcome to our latest “What’s New?” newsletter!
In this installment…
“Why does the aging process mean Pilates is not enough?”
After her trip to Brighton, Sarah explains why you may think that Pilates does enough to work your core, but as we age you may need to do more.
“Why does the aging process mean Pilates is just not enough?”
I recently spent a day in Brighton at a women’s wellness event with UK Hypopressives, the biggest response we got when talking to women about their core and pelvic floor health was “I am OK! I do pilates…”.
Fantastic, Lizzie and I love Pilates. We teach it and see the benefits but, yes there is a but, research is showing us that our bodies need more than just Pilates.
The female body goes through so many life changes, puberty and periods, pregnancy and childbirth and the grand finale menopause.
Our bodies as we age see a change in hormone levels which studies are showing have a large impact on our core and pelvic floor. The statistics show half the female population has some level of prolapse whether diagnosed or not, often with the only symptom being the odd leak when you sneeze. Yes, of course, that could just mean a weak pelvic floor but hopefully, if you have been following us for a while you will understand that it’s all connected.
In our 20’s and 30’s luckily most of us are unaware of our internal health, I only realised I had an issue in my early 40’s, postnatal I felt fine. As the aging process goes on its merry way these underlying weaknesses in the core do still need addressing so that you can avoid joining the 50% of suffering women.
“But I do Pilates!”
How does Pilates differ from hypopressives?
Pilates is a core-focused workout, working the transverse abdominals, this muscle group is positioned across the front of the hips below your belly button, the back muscles and the obliques (waist). Yes, we want to work these, and when we do pilates we consciously activate (contract) these muscles. If our Pilates instructor reminds us we will also squeeze the pelvic floor, again consciously.
This means we are working the core and pelvic floor and it will become stronger.
When we sneeze do we have time to consciously hold our pelvic floor? If we lift something heavy or fall do we have time to pull everything in to protect us?
Sometimes maybe yes, sometimes the Pilates work we have done will help of course but we need to look at the core a little differently, look deeper to understand why hypopressives will help us as we age.
The hormone changes we experience as we age affects the fascia (connective tissue) that connects everything in our bodies. As we start to notice changes on the outside for example our skin becoming looser and those little wrinkles start to appear, inside a similar thing is happening everything loses a little bit of va va voom as someone used to say. The corset muscles that we work in Pilates will help support us externally but we now need to stay strong internally by keeping everything moving. Think of this connective tissue like sticky toffee the more its moved the more pliable it becomes sticking your teeth together but if it isn’t moved it becomes hard and brittle and will break!!!!
Have I gone off track? Possibly.
The point is if the stuff on the outside is being used (outer corset) but not the stuff on the inside (deeper abdominal muscles and connective fascia) then you still need to address the inside strength so we can stop the inside stuff turning into toffee!!
You can guess where I am going now right? Let’s stop waffling and break it down to basics:
1. Posture – the weird and wonderful positions we get you to stand, lie and kneel in are designed to reactivate those external posture muscles that if left put more pressure in the abdominal cavity. More pressure means pushing down on the pelvic organs the ones that can prolapse. Bad posture also means less movement in the fascia connective tissue.
2. Diaphragmatic breathing – simply gets all the fascia and the internal bits and bobs moving. More moving less treacle!!
3. Hypopressive Rib flare – The abdominal vacuum is the icing on the cake lifting the pelvic floor in a subconscious contraction, working 70% of the muscles fibres in the pelvic floor. The vacuum keeps the facia moving the same as the diaphragmatic breathe and keeps everything strong to support those pelvic organs and the structures that hold them in place.
So when you cough, trip or suddenly have to pick up a toddler your core is used to subconscious workload and will support you.
If we are working both the outer core and the inner core throughout our lives as we age we stand a far better chance of avoiding these issues.
Inner health starts with a deep breath.
MONDAY 28 OCTOBER, 2019
Welcome to our latest “What’s New?” newsletter!
In this installment…
“What are these hypopressive things you speak of?”
Sarah takes us through what hypopressives are and how they can help you.
If you’ve been with us a while you’ll no doubt be familiar with our WORKSHOPS and the good news is, we’re running another one! Our Core and Pelvic Floor Introductory Workshop will be running at K2 NEXT MONTH. Details and how to book below!
And that’s just the start! TWO. NEW. VIDEOS. If you’re a subscriber to Empower Me or Core Control Library can enjoy a new workout.
We’ll be adding EVEN MORE CONTENT to both packages as soon as we can – so keep an eye on your inboxes!
So let’s get stuck in!
“What are these hypopressives you talk of?”
How do you know if you need to be doing these?
Have you ever sneezed and had an accident in your pants?
Have you ever run after the kids and had to stop because you knew you were going to leak?
Do you ever get a dull back ache when exercising or feel your back more than your abdominals in Pilates?
Do you have to nip to the loo mid way through an exercise class?
Do you get a heavy sensation or a dragging feeling in your pelvis at certain times of the month or maybe all the time?
Do you say no to certain days out or trips due to not knowing where the toilets are?
Do you still feel like you have a mummy tummy?
Do you just feel generally weak?
All these issues have links to a weak core and that’s where hypopressive training comes in.
We get the fact that not everyone enjoys exercise, but we all know it’s important to stay healthy and relatively active. But if any of the above issues affect you then you won’t feel very confident about trying to stay active and usually what we think might help us can often make matters worse.
This is why we love Hypopressives its achievable by everyone and it can be used as a relaxation and mediation tool or it can give you a really tough workout out challenging you and your core to really work.
How does it work?
It works on two main principals breathing and posture. Let’s look at posture first, if you have poor posture, most of us do, then this puts pressure into the core creating an imbalance. Wherever your core weakness is this is where your issue will usually appear. Pelvic floor, lower back, hips shoulders, abdominal separation or a prolapse.
If we can address your posture then things will be in balance and the true magic of breathing comes into its own.
When we inhale our diaphragm and our pelvic floor lifts up and contracts this is a subconscious contraction of the muscles in the pelvic floor, so without even thinking about it we work our pelvic floor or do we??? Because we shallow breath our diaphragm and pelvic floor hardly move, so hardly contract as we breathe naturally. Therefore we are not actually working these effectively so step 1 we need to breath deeper. When we do a deep diaphragmatic inhale using our ribs, a deep breath making the rib cage expand, we make an affective contraction in the pelvic floor which by the way works 70% of the muscles fibres as opposed to a kegal only working 30%.
Hypopressive breathing uses this deep diaphragmatic breath and gives it’s a magical twist to work the whole of the core. It gets all the facia, connective tissue, in the core moving breaking down scar tissue, for example C section or hysterectomy scars, getting the core to function properly again. The vacuum we create when in a hypopressive breathe lifts the pelvic floor and pulls the deeper core muscles in hence encouraging the rectus abdominals to come in together if you have rectus diastasis, this vacuum lifts everything in the pelvic organ cavity and holds it there whilst you hold the apnoea helping to improve the symptoms of prolapse and this also strengthens the back at the same time.
By combining posture and hypopressive breathing with our Core Control programme of mobility, stretches and Pilates the core will start to function again meaning you can start to feel confident again that your body is fit for purpose.
Core and Pelvic Floor Introductory Workshop
K2 Leisure Centre, Pease Pottage Hill, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9BQ
Join us on this course over two sessions
Saturday 23rd November
12:15 – 2:15pm
and returning to see your progress on
Saturday 14th December
12:15 – 1:45pm
What you’ll cover
- Find out why bad posture can cause pelvic floor weakness
Learn how to exercise the right way post-abdominal or hysterectomy surgery
- Reduce the symptoms of prolapse and stress incontinence
Discover the right way to do most abdominal exercises, which can do damage if not performed correctly
- “Ask the Experts” section, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask Lizzie and Sarah any questions you may have.
- To find out more – and to book via email or phone – click the button below!
There’s an Earlybird discount if you’re quick!
Early Bird price of £60.00 if booked in the next...
COMPLETE CORE CONTROL’S
“CORE AND PELVIC FLOOR INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP”
Three things every woman should be doing daily to fix embarrassing leaks
Get your copy of “Three things every woman should be doing daily to fix embarrassing leaks” here!
It’s a free download to say a big “THANK YOU!” to all our lovely clients. Just click through to the download page to get yours!
MONDAY 07 OCTOBER, 2019
“So, you pee your pants? Oh well. Never mind…”
I recently was shown an advert for a very famous brand of incontinence pads and was horrified by the campaign and how their whole marketing slogan was “C’est la vie” – These things happen!
I got cross. Really cross.
This is not a “C’est la vie” issue this is real. This is an “I leak and it makes me feel pretty crap, actually” issue. Why do these multi-million pound companies minimise this problem as if it’s no big deal?
I had this issue it made me feel embarrassed. It knocked my confidence and I felt unclean. Personally, I have had two natural births so I wasn’t that surprised when I discovered I had an issue. I was also teaching lots of Pilates classes which I thought would have kept my pelvic floor strong, but I was wrong!
Yes, it is common women can also suffer who haven’t had children or who have had C sections just as much as those with natural deliveries. It’s not our fault. It comes with modern life and factors like posture and a core weakness. We shouldn’t be made to feel that it’s irreversible and we certainly shouldn’t be told “oh well it happens shove in a pad”!
I will not be patronised like that and nor should you.
It’s my body and I can do something about it. 7 million women suffer from incontinence in the UK with the industry predicting sales of $12,250 million by 2024 globally.
Us girls need to understand that these feelings of depression, anxiety and loss of confidence should not be combated with a “C’est la vie” attitude. We have the power to do something about this.
So why don’t we? Time, that is it. That’s the biggest issue for most women we work with. We don’t have the time to focus on ourselves! So we tolerate wetting ourselves. We have time to brush our teeth for our dental health, we have time to wash and brush our hair, we find time to eat but why can’t we find a few minutes a day for our pelvic floor and core health?
I don’t want to sound all holier than thou about this but I’m busy too and I know what modern life is like. I have two teenagers who need running around. I am a single mum and I work six days a week but if I don’t find my time daily, I will go back to peeing my pants. So after I have got up and got dressed while the girls eat breakfast I do my 20 hypopressives in less than 5 minutes.
Occasionally this doesn’t happen and thankfully I can skip the odd day but I am back on it the next day as I know this is a daily lifelong commitment for me if I want to make sure I am not lining the pockets of these companies like Tena.
The programmes we offer like Fitter Floor and Core and Mummy Rebuild give you the tools to perfect the hypopressive technique, the videos and PDFs are designed to make this easy to follow and get the best results all you need to do is invest that little bit of time to your body and health.
I want more women to stand up and say to incontinence pads “no, I don’t need those” it could be like when people give up smoking the money you save on pads mounts up and you can treat yourself to a cheeky spa day or some new sexy pants.
So who’s with me? “Ce n’pas la vie.” Ditch the Pads bring back the sexy pants.
Thursday 15 August, 2019
Knowledge is EMPOWERMENT!
If you’re one of our regular email subscribers you’ll have been reading our “Let’s Talk!” series on different women’s health issues. You may have also attended one of our webinars.
Well, we’re collating all of those articles and videos into a free online resource for everyone.
That’s right, the Complete Core Control Knowledge Base is now live! 🙌😍😁
We’ll be regularly adding to this, so keep checking back. If you want to receive our “Let’s Talk!” emails so that you’re getting the latest information on all those health issues, then sign up to receive our email newsletter.
In the meantime, check out our articles and videos on Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Incontinence here.
Just hit that button below! 👇
WEDNESDAY 26 JUNE 2019
Summer Sale Now On!
We’ve finally launched our online shop! 🙌😍😁
We have new online courses for you which give all the tools you need to succeed. We’ll guide you through everything step-by-step in our special videos and downloadable PDFs.
Get your 50% introductory discount in our special summer sale! Just hit that button below! 👇
TUESDAY 11 JUNE 2019
“Have Lizzie and Sarah forgotten us?”
We know we are sorry if we have been neglecting you lately, as we strive towards completing our new branding, online structure and just generally trying to keep our families going, we have just completely run out of time.
Not that is a good enough excuse – which is why I am apologising – but wanted to let you know that we are right on the brink of sending you that email to show you what we have got in store for you! Until then we have some great content coming your way over the next few weeks, so hopefully you will forgive us.
The first instalment is a little intro into how Sarah and I met and what has led us down this path that we are on now.
Like what we’re about?
There’s always loads happening here, so why not stay in touch?
We’ll let you know what’s going on as and when it happens and give you a gentle reminder when any deals are about to expire.
Fill in your details and keep an eye on your inbox so you don’t miss anything.
What people are saying
"I learned so much while maintaining my fitness and had all those questions which I thought were stupid (but really weren't) answered!"
"Helped my overall fitness and worked the muscles I needed to support the weight of my pregnant bump, as well as for delivery."
"Kept me feeling like myself! I loved being able to exercise, knowing that Lizzie and Sarah knew their stuff and would keep me and my baby safe. I also give this class at least some credit for my having two relatively easy births, as I felt that I was strong and healthy even at the end of my pregnancy. Thank you, Lizzie and Sarah!"
“After my second child I was looking to focus on re-building my pelvic floor to regain the strength and control that I had pre-baby. Thankfully after a lot of searching I found Lizzie and Sarah. From the first consultancy to the following course it was clear that these ladies knew what they were doing and were very passionate about improving the lives of their clients. I now have the tools to practice and rebuild myself. I look forward to jumping on a trampoline with confidence. Thank you both”.
“I was concerned about my pelvic floor and core after having my second child. The Mummy Rebuild course has shown me how to do simple breathing and exercises to help improve this. After a short time I already feel stronger and my pelvic floor is improved. I no longer have to panic if I need to sneeze! Lizzie and Sarah are excellent coaches and the videos and resources provided has been great for me to follow at home.”
"Really interesting to learn what happens to the body after babies and why you feel so weak. Such a supportive and informative course.
I think for someone who isn’t into exercise this course challenges and helps. You can do it at your own pace to your own standard.
Lizzie is so supportive. I have had real issues throughout with the techniques but she has taken extra time out to support me. It also takes me a while to grasp exercise instructions and Lizzie is non-judgemental and patient. She has helped my confidence and that I CAN do it, I feel I have the tools to continue."
"Really useful and very motivating and empowering, feeling myself heal.
I feel stronger, I have less back pain and reflux. I feel my core re-engaging. This has a massive positive influence on my physical health but also my mental health, I thought I was a lost cause! I love belly dancing and to get core strength back is so important to me."
"I am so glad that I have signed up to the Core Control online library. At first, I was reluctant to sign up as I always do my hypopressives at home anyway, but it’s so much more beneficial to do them with the videos. Sarah and Lizzie are so inspiring and offer a wide variety of hypopressive videos suitable for whatever mood you’re in. Having them right there to give you little reminders is invaluable. It’s the best purchase I’ve made in ages!"
"Hi I’m Natalie (on the right!) and I’ve been attending Sarah and Lizzie’s complete core control classes for over a year now. I have two children of 18 and 16 both born via Caesarean section. I suffer from urgency and frequency not because of childbirth but due to the fact I have MS.
Since working with Sarah and Lizzie I have stopped taking medication to help my bladder issues and I am slowly gaining some strength back in my pelvic floor. I’ve even run two half marathon without any accidents!
There are many reasons why we women having issues with our bladders! But it doesn’t matter why you attend but what does matter is that you are made to feel welcome and classes are fun (yes, ‘fun’. Who would have thought pelvic strengthening exercises could be fun!). The classes remind you of all the things you are initially taught and get you back on track with your exercises!
As women, we put so much time and effort into everyone else, but this is about me - my confidence, my body and my future! And after a class you will have the best night's sleep in ages!
"My name is Diane and I am 58 years old. I had my first assessment with Sarah in May this year. My main complaint was a back problem and I was trying all sorts of different things to improve the situation- osteopath, changing mattress, stretching, pilates classes but the improvement was minimal. I also struggle with some bladder control (not all related to pelvic floor)
Since May and using the hypopressive breathing technique I cannot believe the difference and as a result quality of life. (even my osteopath is very impressed) So now I aim to do 20 breaths a day but the additional support with classes and tutorials on the internet this reinforces technique, and on not so good days knowing you can get this access videos and redefine technique is great, and that you are not on your own. My back is so much stronger and I know that my pelvic floor is tightened and engaged reducing the problem, but not totally eliminating, with control of the bladder.
Thank you to Sarah and Lizzie who are always there, smiling and enthusiastic. Life has improved significantly for me in just 4 months!"
“I attended a new mum assessment as I was experiencing lower back pain. Sarah was fantastic in recognising the cause of my pain and teaching me exercises to improve my core strength. The follow-up appointment was really beneficial as I was able to build upon the initial exercises and feel more confident when returning to exercise. Thank you very much Sarah! Xx“