Pilates is a comprehensive exercise system that connects the mind and body, thus helping increase your awareness and perception of your own body. Pilates is excellent for improving your overall strength, mobility, coordination and stamina.
The central concept of Pilates is to strengthen the core of the body, AKA your “powerhouse”, which includes the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles, muscles which ordinarily are neglected and become weak and cause problems such as back pain and contribute to the development of uro-genital problems. With Pilates you learn to properly activate these muscles, which will support and protect the spine not only during exercise but also during your daily activities and other sports.
Pilates is an extremely effective form of exercise. While the exercises may seem simple, the major challenge is to pay attention to very small details of movement while concentrating your awareness on the sensations of these movements. Your body gradually gets firmer and more stable, the back becomes more “straight” and diaphragmatic breathing provides an increased supply of oxygen to the lungs, increasing overall fitness, while building a solid and flat stomach and by changing the distribution of subcutaneous fat, weight decreases. Improvements are seen in posture, gait and grace of movement.
Pilates is an exercise extremely versatile method, suitable for the general public as well as for athletes and dancers. Exercises can be performed on a Mat on the ground or on more specialized Pilates equipment. Matwork has no requirements regarding age, fitness, space or equipment. By changing the degree of intensity, Pilates can be both for beginners as well as for the savvy individual.
Questions and Answers
1. How long have you worked as a physical therapist and how long have you used Pilates?
I have worked as a physiotherapist since 2006. I started training in Pilates 2 ½ years ago in Canada, where I started as a client-first and then I took a course to become an instructor.
2.What is it about Pilates that you find beneficial for your work, how do you integrate Pilates into your practice?
Because Pilates takes a friendly and individual approach to each client it can form the physical basis of a therapeutic rehabilitation program that gives physiotherapist an amazing tool to help the client gain (or retain) balance and harmony in the body. Because it helps to eliminate back pain, relieves joints and has an excellent effect in the rehabilitation of all post-traumatic conditions it helps the client rapidly and gently return functionality to weakened body parts. For athletes, it is an excellent method to counterbalance the offset caused as a consequence of the usually unilateral load of particular athletic activities.
3.What are those machines and why does Pilates use them?
Sometimes it is the goal of therapy and training to reduce tension in certain parts of the body, and because these devices do just that, they can be an indispensable part of every session. Also, for the client is very interesting and motivating to train with various tools and equipment. For example, with the reformer, the client can train with different tensioned springs and vary the resistance to the lower or upper limbs. By changing the settings and putting the muscles of the body in different positions with the machine, as appropriate, we can accomplish different effects. Also, certain positions and setting will allow you to train more aerobically if so desired.
4.What sorts of complaints do your patients suffer from?
Because I work in a rehabilitation clinic and in a Pilates studio, I see a great variety of clients suffering from back pain, joint pain, post traumatic pain, surgeries and more. But just as importantly, there are also a number of clients who simply want to keep fit, mentally relax, and enjoy a comfortable workout under professional guidance while gradually learning to perceive their own body.
5.Can you give an example of a specific diagnosis with which you successfully used Pilates?
I have had a number of clients who suffered from prolapsed intervertebral discs or post-operative or post-traumatic conditions in which their physical activity was significantly limited. With Pilates clients were able to achieve great improvements in their return to active life.
6.For many people, Pilates is still considered mainly an exercise for women.
Even though the preponderance of clients are women, is not at all exceptional to work with men both on an individual and group basis. I believe that this trend will continue to grow. Pilates method is a great way to keep the body conditioned and pain-free.
7.What connections do you see the future of physiotherapy and Pilates?
Pilates and rehabilitation go hand in hand and by taking an individual approach we can achieve great results.