Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics
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The abdominal hypopressive technique (AHT) was proposed in the 1980´s by Marcel Caufriez, doctor in Motor Function Sciences, for the treatment of the pelvic floor disorders. This method is aimed to tone up the abdominal, pelvic floor and spine stabilizing muscles. It is based on several postural exercises coordinated with a specific breathing rhythm with the aim to decrease intra-abdominal pressure. These standards need to be followed to perform the hypopressive abdominals: axial auto-elongation, chin toward the neck, shoulder joint decoaptation, moving forward of gravity axis, costo-diaphragmatic breathing and an exhalation of 10 to 40 seconds.
This method works to relax and stretch the diaphragm, decrease intra-abdominal pressure and may activate the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles simultaneously without increase of the intra-abdominal pressure and consequently, without negative effect on the pelvis floor musculature and the abdominal wall. It means that AHT prevents and improves different type of hernias (vaginal, abdominal, inguinal, umbilical, discal, etc), the dysfunctions in the urogenital areas, the incontinence and postural problems because of a weak core.
Because it is a relatively new technique that has started to be used in countries such as Portugal, Brazil or Spain, first to improve fitness since 2007, and for rehabilitation in more recent years, the scientific evidence is still not vast, but the results in the short and medium term open a door of possibilities for this technique to improve the quality of life of people, especially in post-partum and in the maturity of the pelvic floor.