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5 Reasons Why You Should Try Pilates

5 Reasons Why You Should Try Pilates 

Guest Blog by Allison Moss

Before I share Allison’s awesome blog post, I want to thank her and Club Pilates on Mercer Island for opening up their doors to us.  As a physical therapist, I am always trying to find ways for patients to either become more active or to diversify how they move to maintain a healthy movement system. Pilates is a great option, and Allison does a great job of explaining more…

Take it away, Allison.

Pilates has blown up in the U.S. these last few years and it has everyone wondering what it is about this system that has people flocking into the studios. Pilates is a progressive approach to modern-day fitness that helps people from all walks of life come into the studio with confidence that their instructor will know how to safely and effectively give them the best workout for their body. Whether you are dealing with an injury, recovering from a surgery or just wanting to add in another form of exercise; Pilates has you covered! So, let’s take a look at a few reasons you should consider trying Pilates.

  1. Pilates focuses on the powerhouse, which is the core and back muscles or the midsection of your body. These muscles initiate and support our every movement and also help to protect our spine by strengthening the muscles that surround it. The Pilates Method develops a significantly strengthened core through specifically targeted exercises using fun and integrated techniques to challenge you with every class.
  2. Pilates is a gentle workout that isn’t going to harm the body which is mainly done on an apparatus called a Reformer. The Reformer is a bed like structure and has a carriage that is on wheels and uses resistance via springs connected underneath. Laying down and being able to work out horizontally allows you to use a resistance that is lighter than your body which is very useful for anyone going thru physical therapy or with any medical conditions.
  3. Pilates provides a full-body workout, making sure that you leave every class feeling balanced, energized and focused. Paying attention to all planes of the body, Pilates offers a whole-body commitment in every class. Connecting your mind and body to each exercise helps you understand how and why you benefit from Pilates exercises and keeps you coming back for the same good feeling every time you leave.
  4. Pilates instructors really know their stuff. A major requirement for instructors is that they know anatomy and have knowledge of injuries and medical conditions and how Pilates can help with each one. They look at the why behind each exercise and provide safe progressions for those who are ready by layering on their exercises, this means by starting with the basic foundations of the movements and adding on progressions so that everyone gets the work out they are looking for.
  5. Every class is a new experience. Pilates instructors strive to bring new innovative techniques to keep the classes fun, engaging and challenging while still keeping all the original concepts and principles. Awareness, breath, control and efficiency play a huge part in every exercise and while they keep things fun and new these are always the upmost focus of each class.



Pain: Everything works, but nothing is effective

Pain: Everything works, but nothing is effective

By Terri Sullivan, DPT OCS


When it comes to the treating a patient in pain, physical therapists often speak highly of their favorite methods and how effective his or her unique techniques are.  On the other hand, naysayers will quickly

refute those methods, presenting research that shows how that treatment is ineffective. There is simply disagreement on the best practices to improve a patient’s pain experience. There are so many different methods that physical therapists have adopted that they state will help with pain reduction, when what should really be emphasized are the principles of how to treat pain.  

While reading this blog post in Evidence in Motion, written by Kory Zimney, PT, DPT, it made me stop and think about how physical therapists treat pain.  It made me really think of how pain needs to be treated differently in the medical community.  What we as physical therapists need to embrace is “psychologically informed practice”.  How this is employed is by using evidence based practice guidelines and helping educate a patient to return to full activity despite the pain.  Obviously, in helping a patient cope with the pain, there must be ways to recognize and also manage psychological obstacles with the combination of activity based interventions.   What are most helpful and essential for a physical therapist are assessment skills, treatment planning, and communication with the patient.  

But the question that was brought up by Patrick Wall, PT, was “if we are so good, why are our patients so bad?”  An Institute of Medicine report from 2011 found that 100 million people are dealing with chronic pain conditions regularly.  How are physical therapists treating and helping these people?  Why when the physical therapists report success that the science does not seem to validate our methods?  When we are teaching a patient how to correct their posture or correct a movement pattern with an exercise, it may not help them fix the problem but it may instead help with self-efficacy.   There also could be reduced learned response to the pain or decreased learned helplessness when patients are more well informed of their movements that are contributing to the pain.  The manual therapy that is used may not be improving motion at the joint or decreasing muscle restriction as much as it’s helping sharpen a patient’s ability to be more familiar with different parts of their body. 

The final thoughts of the blog are what resonated with me the most.   What we as physical therapists should try to do for our patients is be more psychologically aware.  Maybe we can all reach a point in the spectrum of our careers when we can focus less on the methods of treatment and more on the principles of what is behind them.   Understanding the principles of treatment will drive our care to choose methods that work best for the patient, not the methods that work best for the physical therapist. 

So whomever is reading this post, think about the treatment approach that is utilized.  Whether you are a provider or a patient, is the treatment approach addressing all the principles of treating an individual biomechanically, psychologically, and sociologically?  It’s always important to think outside of the box and let the patient’s multidimensional presentation help a physical therapist choose a form of treatment that is a patient-centric model for pain management.