What is Clinical Pilates?
Clinical Pilates is derived from regular Pilates, which is a form of exercise that focuses on achieving core stability, balance and breathing. This form of therapeutic intervention is often paired with physiotherapy and is used to treat injuries in the neck and back. A treatment regimen that includes Clinical Pilates will consist of exercises that are suited to each patient’s needs. This tailoring approach maximizes the potential benefits of the treatment, while also minimizing the possibility of further injury.
The History of Pilates
The discipline known as Pilates is named for its German-born founder, Joseph Pilates. Born sickly, Joseph Pilates was determined to make himself well. To this end, he took up bodybuilding and got to the point (in his teenage years) where he could work as an anatomical model for artists.
In the creation of his new method, Pilates combined both Eastern and Western approaches to health and fitness and researched every kind of exercise from classical Greek and Roman exercise regimes to gymnastics. He studied every kind of fitness discipline he could, sampled them, and recorded his impressions.
It was during an internment by the British in WW2 that Pilates began to devote himself to collating what he had learned and developing a new approach to fitness, which would later come to be known as simply Pilates.
What to Expect
Although Clinical Pilates can be beneficial in treating certain types of injuries, the regimen needs to be specifically tailored to each individual. Thus, it is not used as a generic treatment for everyone. To be considered for Clinical Pilates, the patient needs to be assessed by a Physiotherapist. Since Clinical Pilates is oriented toward achieving a specific goal, the number of sessions to be expected is limited. Patients are generally reassessed every six sessions and are provided with a new set of goals and protocols for their exercise regimen.
The Six Principles of Pilates
There are six principles that can be applied to all forms of Pilates, in order to ensure that the patient gets the most benefit. These are:
- Concentration: The patient should focus on properly executing the postures, concentrating on the muscles used in each exercise.
- Centering: The patient should achieve what’s called a “neutral spine”—that is, a spine in its natural position, with all three curves in good alignment. The patient should also use their core muscles to stabilize the lower back and pelvic area.
- Control: The patient should strive to maintain proper posture and control in all their movements.
- Flowing Movement: The patient should strive for smooth and efficient movement
- Precision: The patient should strive to perform each exercise correctly, while paying attention to the correct techniques.
- Breathing: The patient should maintain normal breathing during the exercise, without holding their breath.
The Benefits of Clinical Pilates
There are many benefits to using Clinical Pilates exercises as a method of improving overall health and wellbeing. Some of these include:
- Improved posture and core stability
- Enhanced breathing control
- Increased muscular strength and flexibility
- Increased co-ordination and muscular control
- Prevention of injuries
- Firmer and flatter stomach muscles
- Aiding rehabilitation
- Improved overall body tone and fitness
- Restoration of normal movement patterns
- Improved balance