I can’t tell you how many times a person has come to me, well Pilates, after they have tried everything. Why is it that Pilates is more often than not a person’s last ditch effort?
I can’t say I’ve seen it all but I’ve seen A LOT in my almost 25 years of teaching Pilates. I’ve had people walk into my studio immediately after a physical therapy session complaining of worse pain than when they went in. The same is true for personal training at the gym. (I in no way mean to poo poo on physical therapy or personal trainers. There are many great ones but there are also not so great ones. The same goes for Pilates instructors.)
So why is Pilates sometimes a last ditch effort to avoid surgery or recover from an injury? Is it because it isn’t covered by insurance? Is it because it is for the elite athlete? Pilates can be done by anyone at any level of fitness. There are over 500 exercises that can be modified or advanced to fit your specific needs. Pilates can be extremely gentle, very supportive and amazingly powerful for people.
One of the many culprits of injury is muscle imbalance. Our posture and one sided daily activities leave us more susceptible to strains, tears or worse. Pilates promotes even musculature throughout the body by strengthening the core and the muscles closest to the spine. It places huge importance on spinal and pelvic alignment which is critical for getting us to move efficiently to avoid injury.
Kris Bosch, president of Northstar Pilates in Buffalo, NY, says Pilates is tremendously effective for other reasons, too. “Part of its success is indeed based on the approach to the principles of Pilates – core strength, an even musculature, etc. But another reason is that it provides a greater degree of flexibility than most conventional forms of physical therapy. This is true because Pilates exercises can be modified for each person and still be extremely effective. You can go from basic movements to very advanced, depending on how a patient needs to progress or how badly they are injured.”
Conventional physical therapy often gives a patient a specific set of exercises that may be too hard for them to tolerate partly because they are not aware of how to correctly position their body for maximum results, something that Pilates teaches you to do. Pilates teaches you to be aware and to become responsible for your own rehabilitation. In Pilates you learn where your body is in space and what movements work best for your body. “When you create a positive movement experience, you are able to take a step forward without pain. The more you move without pain, the more confidence you gain. And the more confidence you gain, the more likely you are to try another movement or exercise. That’s a very healthy rehabilitative cycle” says Bosch.
Often people come to Pilates after their physical therapy sessions have run out or they’ve tried everything and they still have pain. Pilates can look like physical therapy but while taking in consideration the entire body vs just the area that hurts. Pilates is a full body system and can heal many issues. In my practice, I’ve worked with hip replacements, ACL surgeries, ankle replacements, spinal fusions, discectomies, shoulder replacements, to name a few.
I’m a firm believer that if we all learned Pilates as an adolescent we’d have less wear and tear throughout our most active years and less pain and discomfort in our older years. The majority of the public doesn’t fully understand how rehabilitative Pilates can be and maybe you don’t either. We offer a free Discovery session so you can check it out and see if Pilates is the right fit for you.
At Core Wisdom, we offer a free 30 minute one on one private session. In this Discovery Session we will teach you the fundamental concepts, educate you on the foundational anatomy we access while doing the movements and find the movements that best support your needs and goals. You will get to experience all the Pilates equipment and together we can talk about what your future Pilates can look like.
Endelman, Ken. “MenuPilates.” Pilates: Effective For Injury Rehabilitation – Balanced Body, Balanced Body