Are you Leaking Pressure?


Leaking urine when lifting, jumping, sneezing, walking and running is a sign of leaking pressure.

The body has 4 containers with different pressure systems, and maintaining the correct pressures in these areas is fundamental to the function of the organs within them.


  • The container of the head is maintained at a negative pressure to lift the brain in the skull allowing for its motility, circulation and drainage.
  • The container of the chest is also maintained at a negative pressure in order to aid the suspension of the heart and lungs, and provide space for their movement.
  • The container of the abdomen is slightly positive, as it needs a little pressure to aid digestion and excretion.
  • The container of the pelvis is negative, to aid the suspension of the pelvic organs and reduce the downward pressure on the pelvic floor.

However, when the demands of our lifestyle outstrip our ability to adapt to it, these pressure systems are affected. Altered movement patterns, uneven loading through the body, poor posture and sedentary lifestyles contribute to increasing the pressure from above.

If the head is sitting forward of the body and the shoulders are rolling forward, the upper chest becomes depressed, the upper back rounds, and the pressure rises in the thorax. The lower ribs then flare, and the belly pooches out.

If the balance of the head on the neck is lost, the control of the pressure system throughout the whole body is lost.

The only place for the displaced pressure to go is downwards, and it will find the weak points to ‘leak’, such as the abdominal wall or pelvic floor.

Some symptoms of altered pressure gradients in the body range from stress incontinence, varicosities, congestion and hemorrhoids, to diastasis recti (abdominal wall separation) pelvic pain, painful sex, infection and infertility.

So when we consider the influence of one pressure container on another, we can see that in order to treat pelvic health dysfunction, it is vital to work from the top to lighten the load going down.

To do this, treatment, exercise and education must focus on the balance of the head on the thorax, the thorax on the pelvis and the even distribution of load to the hips. The diaphragm is the crossroads between the containers and its function is also critical to the organ health above and below.

Therefore to stop ‘leaking pressure’ and feel strong and in control, it is vital to reestablish the pressure gradients by relearning efficient whole body movement patterns, improving breathing mechanics, improving bowel health, addressing loading imbalances and improve tone and function of the muscles of the pelvis.

Only when we move away from just performing Kegel’s (pelvic floor exercises) and consider the bigger picture, is it possible to really help women long term with their pelvic health.

Visit the Downloads page and our Video Guides page for free resources on posture, breathing, exercises and pelvic health.

Emma Wightman


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