In the 1920’s German athlete, Joseph Pilates, developed a revolutionary form of exercise known as pilates. Using special resistance equipment, or performed on a mat, Pilates is comprised of more than 500 exercises. There are various pieces of apparatus used to hone technique and promote muscle control. This control is vital to conditioning the body and gaining all of the benefits of the exercise.
Pilates exercises emphasize the concepts of core strength and stabilization. The pilates method incorporates the principles of concentration, control, centering, efficiency of movement, precision, and breathing. These principles used together, build the “Powerhouse” or the center of your body. This, in turn, will provide a solid foundation for any movement.
Pilates-based physical therapy blends Joseph Pilate’s methods with the application of physical therapy techniques. The benefits of pilates-based physical therapy are remarkable. Some of the same concepts that form the basis of most therapy programs are found in the main principle of the Pilates method such as, posture, muscle performance and motor control. The primary causes of many injuries are muscle imbalance, muscle weakness, and faulty movement patterns. Pilates will address these issues, because it is a low-impact exercise system that utilizes safe, controlled movements to build strength and flexibility while promoting proper alignment and posture.
In physical therapy, the pilates exercises are modified to tailor the needs of each patient. The patient’s can range from a top athlete to an elderly patient and can benefit clients with conditions ranging from recurring pain, to Fibromyalgia and everything in between. It is an excellent treatment for individuals with chronic neck and back pain and patients with overall de-conditioning. It is also ideal for some post surgical patients.
Therapists can use Pilate’s methods to work on problem areas and/or major muscle groups. As a result, clients function better and safer in their daily lives. There are many programs available for a physical therapist or physical therapist assistants to become certified as a pilates instructor. But certified or not, physical therapists will see results when incorporating these methods into their practice.
I personally participate in a pilates reformer class once per week and have for month. I continue to feel and see the benefits of pilates exercises each week.
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