Posts

“LOW PRESSURE FITNESS LITERALLY SAVED MY LIFE“

And for that reason we have a Low Pressure Fitness trainer in Norway!

 

“I felt completely broken and devastated that my life had been ruined by childbirth. My doctors were no help.”

 

Sadie is now paving the way for a more developed post natal approach of health care in Norway.

 

We leave Sadie’s testimonial to you.

sadie-low-pressure-fitness

A year after my daughter was born I was in a very bad place. I had suffered grade 3 pelvic organ prolapses post partum (bladder, uterus and rectum), also had anal prolapse, and diastasis recti. I was in so much pain and discomfort on a daily basis that all I could do was get through the day and try and take care of my daughter. I had never envisioned that something like that could happen after birth. I had never thought my life as I knew it could be over. I was so lost and desperate, and extremely depressed.

 

Every doctor I had been to had told me it was no big deal. They had ignored all my pain and issues voiding my bladder and bowels. They brushed off my symptoms, like the fact that I tore every time I had a bowel movement. Or the fact that I could not stand for more than 5 minutes without severe back pain. None of them examined me standing, even though I begged, and said the damage wasn’t that bad. When standing my organs were literally falling out. But nobody cared. I wasn’t interested in surgery (why would I want the people who were ignoring me to cut me open?) and so they didn’t have anything to offer.

 

I had been going to physical therapy and all I was given was kegels. I became so hypertonic that my pain got much worse. I couldn’t even sit without discomfort. I was told there was nothing else I could do. I was so tired, so exhausted (my baby didn’t sleep) and in so much pain I didn’t think to question anyone. I assumed since everyone said it was so common (even though nobody talks about it!) that they knew what they were talking about. One day I had a follow up with my doctor, and when I told her how desperate I was she actually said “well, you chose to have children so you must have known something like this could happen”. And that was the slap across the face that I needed to wake up.

 

I went home and did what I have always done but had forgotten to do this time (due to hormones, lack of sleep, and an assumption that those caring for me actually cared), which was to take my health into my own hands. It didn’t take me long to find hypopressives and read more about Low Pressure Fitness – luckily I was born and raised in Spain so it was easy for me to find information. I couldn’t believe something so widespread hadn’t even been heard of here. I immediately contacted trainers to train via skype (there were no trainers anywhere in Scandinavia, I live in Oslo). The first to reply was Trista Zinn in Canada, and I got started.

 

After just a few days (after a year of thinking my life was over!!!!) my symptoms were so much better I could go for a walk with the stroller pain-free for the first time. I couldn’t believe it! Why is not everyone teaching this to new mothers everywhere? Why hadn’t anyone cared enough to learn about other techniques than useless kegels? How could this not be the norm for post-partum care? I trained religiously, and as I got better my conviction grew stronger, Low Pressure Fitness needed to be available to everyone who needed it!

 

I incorporated other techniques (osteopathy, myofascial release) and kept training, and am now asymptomatic from injuries so bad that the medical community meant surgery was the only way to go. But now I can carry my daughter as much as she’ll let me, and she’s 12kg. When she was 3kg I could hardly hold her, I was in so much pain. I even jumped on a trampoline recently. The future is bright!

 

Even though I had started a business before having my baby, I felt it was wrong for me to find a way to heal and just go on with my life, while other women who were in my same situation might never get the help they needed. I felt like the only way I could deal with everything that had happened to me was to try and make something good of it. So I decided to go back to my hometown of Barcelona and become a certified trainer for Low Pressure Fitness, and help others learn how to get their cores and pelvic floors functional again, reduce their diastasis and back issues, and feel stronger and more stable in their bodies than they thought possible.

 

As I have built up my practice here in Oslo, my story has spread, and I also train clients via skype, both in Norway and around the world. It’s so amazing to be able to build something so positive out of such an awful personal experience. I am so happy to be able to give hope to others and help them get their bodies back to feeling well. If nothing else, I would like to prevent others living in fear that their lives are over for as long as I did. Because there is always something you can do. I collaborate with other therapists and find that in many cases, a holistic approach really accelerates healing. I am working hard to spread information about the effectiveness of Low Pressure Fitness and am happy to see more and more professionals, not just patients, opening their minds to a new approach. If nothing else, I feel we should all want to have as many tools in our toolbox as possible, so we can help people as much as possible. That is what I wished had been true for those helping me. And I am working hard for it to be the norm in the future. I still meet some skepticism from time to time, and if people aren’t convinced by mine or others’ results, I like to remind them, that if they open their minds, they won’t fall out.

 


Sadie Lawler
LPF-CT

Sadie Lawler is a personal trainer and LPF-CT living in Oslo, Norway. She grew up in Barcelona and spent some years in New York and London as well, her professional life has included everything from directing TV shows to starting one of Oslo’s first organic local groceries. After having her daughter and experiencing first hand how limited the post-partum care is in Norway, she is now on a mission to spread the word of Low Pressure Fitness, in the hopes that no other women will have to experience what she did. She is an advocate for women’s health and believes that caring for new mothers is crucial in a society that is constantly pushing for effectivity in all areas of life.

STABILIZE YOUR SPINE WITH LOW PRESSURE FITNESS

Eight out of ten people suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the main causes of seeking medical advice, But, did you know that exercise is the therapy that has shown the most evidence in treating lower back pain?

 

There are a variety of exercises which can be grouped under the label of core stability or core training. Core stability training refers to the strengthening of the trunk muscles which help to stabilize the spine. These muscles, responsible for spine stabilization, are divided into two main groups: global and local stabilization muscles.

 

  • The global and superficial stabilization system generates the major torques of movement involving the spinal erectors, the quadratus lumborum and the rectus abdominis muscles.
  • The local and deep stabilization system is responsible for providing a rigid base for movement and posture. This system includes the pelvic floor, the multifidus and the transverse abdominal muscles.

 

Different studies on exercises for core stability training have shown positive results in the areas of prevention and of treatment of lower back pain. Today, these exercise techniques have become an essential part of all rehab programs carried out in gyms, sports centers, hospitals and clinical practices.

 

One of the principal goals of core training is to locate and maintain a neutral spine position across exercises which will favor muscle co-activation and central muscular stability within the natural physiological limits of each person. Progressive and regular core training will improve motor control and patterns of muscular recruitment. Core stabilization exercises designed to reduce lumbar back pain may also aim increase spinal strength and rigidity.

 

In the initial phase of core training the main goal is to activate the local and deep stabilization system. Attention is focused on activating the muscles while keeping the back in a neutral position which will help in keeping postural balance. The most suitable positions at this early stage are lying, sitting and on all-fours. Two of the best beginner exercises are the bridge and all-fours.

 

Low Pressure Fitness training system has adapted these basic core stability positions and their corresponding transitions from the most basic level to the most advanced, and given them the names of Aphrodite and Gaia.

 

Learn Aphrodite and Gaia

The key aspects of  Aphrodite as Gaia are awareness of spinal elongation and the maintenance of spinal neutral position. In the learning phase of Aphrodite and Gaia, one of the most common mistakes is to perform a pelvic tilt as a reflex mechanism to protect your lumbar spine. That’s why it is essential to identify technical errors and to learn the exercises properly with a qualified LPF trainer.

 

APHRODITE

To perform Aphrodite in its basic level, lie down on your back with bent knees and ankles in dorsi-flexion. Stretch your arms with the palm facing upwards as shown in the picture. Your arms should be pressing slightly the floor and you should be trying to lengthen and stretch your arms by increasing the space between your chest and shoulders. From this position, lift your hips to draw a perfect straight line between your knees, pelvis and chest. You should hold this pose during three respiratory cycles. During the third exhalation, slowly bring your hips down and lower your back to the floor.

 

 

afrodita-lpf

The next step in Aphrodite combines the upward pelvic movement with the breathing Low Pressure Fitness technique. After the third exhalation, hold your breath, slowly expand your ribcage, and open your chest while your hips rise slowly from the floor. Once you have your back, chest and knees in perfect alignment, breathe for three respiratory cycles. Lower your hips slowly during the third exhalation.

aphrodite-lpf

GAIA

Start off on an all-fours position as shown in the image. The ankles are in dorsi-flexion with your knees in line with your pelvis and your hands in line with your shoulders. For Low Pressure Fitness first level beginners, the first step should be to learn the correct spine alignment. Your spine should be perfectly aligned, parallel with the floor.

 

Gaia-lpf

One of the challenges in this position is to keep the pelvis neutral and your neck in line with your back. For beginners, it is common to see hyperextension in the neck or pelvic tilt. Hold the position during three complete respiratory cycles, in which you will lengthen the spine by pushing your head in the opposite direction of the sacrum.

gaia-lpf

If you can hold the position successfully for several repetitions you are ready to move on to the next level of Gaia which includes the specific breathing pattern from the Low Pressure Fitness program.

 

It is always advisable to consult with a specialist before starting any exercise program for lower back pain on your own. Qualified health and exercise professionals are your best guarantee of guidance. You can find a list of all our certified Low Pressure Fitness trainers in our online directory.

 

 

Author:
Tamara Rial, PhD

HOW CAN LOW PRESSURE FITNESS BENEFIT PILATES?

In his first Law of Thermodynamics Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) said that matter can’t be created nor destroyed, it is only transformed. When a general law is properly stated, it will also apply to the specific. In our case, we are talking about physical exercise and recovery, where this rule certainly holds. After all, every new approach springs from the what our forebearers have said before, and in today’s fast paced world, fusion is the buzzword for any discipline.

 

In the following article we will understand how Low Pressure Fitness connects to Yoga and Pilates, emphasising the benefits of Low Pressure Fitness training. Many people practice the three or just two of them in a training combo, or else they practice them in succession, depending on their mood or the class timetables available. The three disciplines share common ground and differences in approach, focus and style.

 

Centuries after it was first developed, Yoga is still a relevant holistic training method, and after its advent in the fifties the same can be said for Pilates. More recently created, Low Pressure Fitness is a great new approach to exercise and wellness, with particular aims and features.

 

Yoga, Pilates and Low Pressure Fitness share a common goal, which can be broadly stated as regaining control of the body through awareness. They prioritise body alignment, breathing and postural fitness. Stacking the spine, engaging the core, inhaling and exhaling with control are classic cues we will find in the three disciplines. Low Pressure Fitness is a training program with an ecclectic outlook, stemming partly from Yoga and which was developed some decades after Pilates.

 

Neither of them require complex machinery or a specific place, but they might make use of simple accessories. Low Pressure Fitness includes certain props such as massage balls and wood-rollers, Pilates uses the well-known swiss ball and Yoga, elastic bands and blocks.

 

The main difference between Yoga and Pilates and Low Pressure Fitness is the spiritual component of Yoga, which the other two do not have. Yoga is generally more static than Pilates and Low Pressure Fitness. Yoga poses or assanas are held for as long as possible, excepting the continuous movement of vinyasa, a continuous flowing sequence which connects several poses, like the sun salutation (surianamaskara).

 

Pilates exercises are usually done in a specific order, one after another, and like Yoga, have colourful names to identify them, like the swan, the jack-knife or the criss-cross. They appear to be simple, but they require precision and strength. Strong emphasis is put on technique.

 

The connection between Low Pressure Fitness and Pilates is obvious, since both aim for a better management of intra-abdominal pressure. Scientific research also shows that one of the common benefits of Low Pressure Fitness and Pilates is the increase flexibility.

 

Both Pilates and Low Pressure Fitness consider local body awareness. Pilates will focus on specific areas of the body, especially the voluntary contraction of core muscles. Low Pressure Fitness will also provide the added value of another type of concentration and centralisation, which is the apnea, that activates the involuntary muscles in the pelvic floor.

 

Like Yoga and Pilates, Low Pressure Fitness belongs in the category of useful exercises to balance myofascial tensions, realign posture and improve breathing. Exercises are also sequenced from the simple to the complex, with a focus on the core muscles, the pelvic floor and breathing. Low Pressure Fitness exercises include the same patient and focused attitude as in Yoga and Pilates, but with one distinctive feature: permanent focus on decreasing pressure on pelvic area.

 

What is specific to Low Pressure Fitness is the breath-holding which allows for a wider range of motion. Exercise will often focus on working on the sagittal plane (right or left sides) of the body. As we can see in the pictures, these are probably the exercises which provide more improvements, but we also find more advanced postures targeting coronal plan and the three planes at the same time, with complete torsions of the upper body.

 

Unlike the traditional approaches to abdominal and pelvic floor exercise, which will focus on one segment of the core at a time, the Low Pressure Fitness program addresses the core to perform synergistically and as a whole.  

 

What are the benefits of Low Pressure Fitness?

 

Among its many benefits, Low Pressure Fitness is used by physiotherapists and trainers for:

  • pelvic floor restoration
  • trimming the waist-line
  • preventing and reducing back pain
  • enhancing breathing
  • posture and balance.

It is specifically focused for:

Myofascial release of the abdominal wall and diaphragm, resulting from Low Pressure Fitness are also well-acknowledged benefits of Low Pressure Fitness. The constant movement of the diaphragm in a Low Pressure Fitness session, promoted both by breathing and by the apneas produces a cooperation between the need for a longer range of motion and the abdominal response. Connective tissue loosens up and so does the abdomen.

 

How does Low Pressure Fitness work?

 

Low Pressure Fitness optimises the body posture by adjusting the neuromuscular connections between the autonomous nervous system and portions of the body lacking in alignment and relief. It prevents urinary incontinence by restoring muscular tone in the abdomen and the pelvic floor. It improves breathing patterns by enhancing movement in the torso and the diaphragm and it relieves back pain by promoting flexibility and a wider range of movement.

 

Low Pressure Fitness promotes axial lengthening and restoring the strength of the abdominal oblique and transverse muscles.

 

Since there is so much in common between the Low Pressure Fitness, Yoga and Pilates, it is also frequent to find contentious attitudes, with people trying to argue which of the three is better. We feel that it is not necessary to choose between either. An all-inclusive stance will allow us to reap the benefits of all of them. Just workout, enjoy be ecumenical and enjoy!

 

Hugo Loureiro
Low Pressure Fitness Portugal Coach and Pilates Personal Trainer (PT Studio)
Dr. Tamara Rial
Founder & Developer of Low Pressure Fitness