Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named. Pilates called his method “Contrology”. It is practiced worldwide, especially in Western countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom
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Pilates & Manual Therapy
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, which include the abdominal muscles, back muscles, and pelvic floor. By developing a strong core, Pilates aims to improve overall body strength, flexibility, posture, and balance.
Clinical Pilates, as you mentioned, is based on the principles of Pilates but is taught by instructors who have a medical background. This typically includes professionals such as kinesiologists, physiotherapists, doctors, or nurses who have expertise in anatomy, movement, and rehabilitation.
The combination of a medical background and knowledge of Pilates allows these instructors to provide a specialized approach to Pilates exercises. They can adapt the exercises to suit individuals with specific medical conditions or injuries, making it a safe and effective form of exercise for rehabilitation purposes.
In clinical Pilates, the instructor may tailor the exercises to address specific needs, such as improving posture, rehabilitating an injury, managing chronic pain, or enhancing functional movement. The focus is on promoting overall well-being and supporting the individual's specific health goals.
It's worth noting that while clinical Pilates instructors have a medical background, they may not have the same level of expertise as specialized medical professionals like doctors or physiotherapists. However, their combination of knowledge in movement, Pilates principles, and understanding of the body can be beneficial in providing a holistic approach to fitness and rehabilitation.
During a clinical Pilates session, the process typically involves the following steps:
Initial Discussion: You and the instructor/physiotherapist would have a conversation about your goals, prior experience with Pilates or other forms of exercise, and any specific issues or pain you may be experiencing. This discussion helps them understand your needs and tailor the session accordingly.
Assessment: The instructor/physiotherapist would perform an assessment of your body, looking for any imbalances or areas of weakness. They may observe your posture, movement patterns, and muscle activation to identify areas that require attention.
Manual Therapy (if needed): Depending on the findings of the assessment, the instructor/physiotherapist may provide manual therapy techniques to address any specific issues. This could include hands-on interventions like soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, or other therapeutic techniques to aid in improving muscle activation or reducing pain.
Core-Specific Exercises: Based on the assessment results and your individual goals, the instructor/physiotherapist would design a core program using Pilates exercises. Pilates is known for its focus on core strength, stability, and control. These exercises target deep abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and other stabilizing muscles to enhance core strength and function.
The core program created for you would be tailored to your specific needs, taking into account any imbalances or weaknesses identified during the assessment. The exercises would be based on Pilates principles, which emphasize proper alignment, breath control, precision, concentration, and flowing movements.
Throughout the session, the instructor/physiotherapist would provide guidance and cues to ensure you perform the exercises correctly and safely. They may also make adjustments or modifications to the exercises as needed, considering your individual abilities and limitations.
The ultimate goal of a clinical Pilates session is to improve your core strength, stability, posture, and overall body alignment, thereby reducing pain, enhancing movement patterns, and helping you achieve your specific goals.
Clinical Pilates can be a very safe way to exercise because it has different equipment, it has a one-on-one setting that can help support you. It has somebody who has the knowledge as well. Often seeing your local family physician or doctor can help with a referral to the right option localy to deal witjh edcuation on Pilates. ,
If you have osteoporosis, if you have osteoarthritis, it can be…So far as even a dancer with scoliosis who’s experiencing pain when they’re dancing. It could be a pregnant woman who is experiencing pelvic pain. We even get athletes who have foot pain, so it’s very bio-mechanical as well. Or a rock climber with shoulder pain when they come up into that position.
So there’s numerous things that we get. We often get the person who’s sitting at their desk and postural pain with neck and back pain. Or if you have a fear of falling. There’s, there’s lots of different things that, that we can help you with and create a safe environment for you to exercise in.
If someone has any questions about clinical Pilates or is interested in joining a class, they can contact their local clinical Pilates instructor.
Pilates and Flexibility
Pilates is well-known for its ability to improve flexibility, among other benefits. The equipment used in a Pilates studio, such as the reformer, Cadillac, and chair, are designed to assist and challenge the body in various positions. Here's how Pilates can help increase flexibility:
Improved Range of Motion: Pilates exercises focus on controlled movements that gradually lengthen and stretch the muscles. By regularly performing these exercises, you can gradually increase your range of motion and flexibility.
Targeted Stretching: Pilates exercises often incorporate specific stretches that target different muscle groups. These stretches help to lengthen and release tight muscles, improving flexibility over time.
Supportive Equipment: Pilates equipment, such as the reformer, provides support and resistance, allowing you to work within a comfortable range of motion while still challenging your body. The equipment's adjustable springs and straps can be utilized to gradually increase the intensity of the exercises as your flexibility improves.
Muscle Conditioning: Pilates focuses on strengthening and stabilizing the core muscles, including the deep abdominal muscles, back muscles, and pelvic floor muscles. As these muscles become stronger and more balanced, they can support better posture and movement, which in turn can enhance flexibility.
Mind-Body Connection: Pilates emphasizes precise movements, proper alignment, and body awareness. By paying close attention to your body and its movements, you can identify areas of tightness or restriction and work on releasing them through specific exercises. This mind-body connection can help you better understand your body's limitations and gradually improve flexibility.
Expert Guidance: Working with a trained Pilates instructor in a studio setting provides personalized guidance and corrections. They can assess your current flexibility, identify areas of improvement, and guide you through exercises tailored to your needs. Their expertise and hands-on assistance can help you safely explore and expand your range of motion.
Remember, consistency is key when it comes to improving flexibility through Pilates. Regular practice, combined with proper technique and guidance, can lead to significant gains in flexibility over time.
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