Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967). Joseph was born in Germany and suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He used exercise and body building to overcome his impairments. In 1926 he immigrated to New York and opened an exercise studio in New York City with his wife Clara. Both Joseph and Clara taught exercise to many people, including many famous dancers. Joseph’s method of exercise became known as “Contrology”. The Pilates method of exercise became more popular in the 1960’s in the USA. Joseph Pilates died in 1967. Unfortunately, he did not get to see what he started as Pilates exercise is now a popular form of exercise. Since the 1980’s, Pilates has become one of the fastest growing forms of exercise.
“Contrology (Pilates) develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit”
– Joseph Pilates
Pilates is not just an exercise program but a practice that will give you amazing benefits. The Pilates method of exercise will not only strengthen your body, but also your mind. This unique method of exercise is both physical and mental conditioning. When taught correctly and practiced frequently, you should see incredible results within weeks. The goal of Pilates is have better posture, balance and core strength.
Very few Pilates trainers will use the original classical approach that Joseph created. Over the years the original form has been modified by instructors and also rehabilitation practitioners, including physical therapists. In either method, the whole body is trained by integrating movement of the upper and lower extremities with the trunk. Pilates movement integration distinguishes it from other generic forms of exercise. Attention to core, proper alignment and efficient movement patterns are part of the Pilates method. Pilates exercises incorporate fluidity and smoothness, training the core and training several muscles at once for a whole-body experience.
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young”
– Joseph Pilates
With Pilates, you’ll notice a significant increase in strength and flexibility, particularly of the core and back muscles. Your will see improved ability to breath correctly. You will be educated and taught exercises to move and function optimally. Not only will you see improved core strength and improve breathing, many individuals who regularly perform Pilates exercises will learn how to integrate the arms and legs with the trunk and pelvis. This occurs with developing core strength. Not only will these individuals develop core strength, they will be able to move more efficiently, improve their muscle performance and motor control. The improve muscle performance and motor control can occur both by improving breathing and strengthening the deep stabilizing muscles around the spine and pelvis. In addition to strengthening core muscles and moving more efficiently, posture and alignment of the body will improve by the combination of stretching and strengthening exercises. Individuals, who practice Pilates, will also see improved joint mobility, muscle length and muscle strength. By increasing joint mobility, the range of motion of the arms, legs and spine will improve. Research is now improving the strength of your core will help to reduce neck and back pain.
“One of the major results of Contrology (Pilates) is gaining the mastery of the mind over complete control of your body”
– Joseph Pilates, Return to Life
Joseph Pilates created several pieces of equipment (reformer, trapeze table/Cadillac table, Wunda chair and barrel). Pilates uses resistance training machines with springs that are adjustable for various strength levels. The Pilates apparatus provides assistance and/or resistance to clients when they are learning how to properly use their body.
The reformer is the most widely known piece of Pilates equipment, which consists of a mat with a carriage that slides back and forth. The trapeze/Cadillac table is a mat table (that does not move) but allows springs to be attached at top or bottom of the table. The Pilates chair (Wunda chair) is used to strengthen the upper body and lower body. The chair has a moveable foot bar with springs attached to the chair. Poles with handles to hold onto are also attached to the chair. The barrel is a large fixed arc with an attached ladder. The barrel can be used for a variety of exercises including stretches for the lower extremities and spine and lower abdominal strengthening exercises.
Throughout the years, many physical therapists have started to use the Pilates method of exercise as part of their rehabilitation with their patients. What is the difference between receiving Pilates from a physical therapist (trained in Pilates) versus a regular Pilates trainer? A physical therapist has a clinical focus that now requires a doctorate degree. The physical therapist has extensive education in academic knowledge of pathological conditions, biomechanics, anatomy, kinesiology, therapeutic exercise and the rehabilitation process. A physical therapist, who is PMA certified or has gone through a comprehensive Pilates training program, can include the principles of the Pilates Method (strength, coordination, balance, motor control, flexibility, breathing, and conscious and unconscious mastery of functional movement) into the rehabilitation exercise program. These principles will allow the program to be more successful. The physical therapist, trained in Pilates, can integrate the whole body approach and movement assessment into the rehabilitation program. A Pilates trained physical therapist should have improved ability to assess, re-educate and correct the cause of pain, versus treating the symptoms of pain as many common pathologies are a result of poor movement patterns or postural patterns and not necessarily a result of injury or trauma.
By combining both a PT’s approach and a Pilates approach, Dr. Patricia Oys will be able to custom design an exercise program that meets your individual needs.
Even though a physical therapist has years of academic education and training, it is Patricia’s opinion that the physical therapist should be required to go through the extensive training that Pilates trainers go through. Taking one or two weekend seminars on Pilates, does not make the physical therapist a comprehensive Pilates trainer. Just as you should ask your Pilates trainer about the type of their Pilates training, make sure you verify that the physical therapist also went through a comprehensive training program and is Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certified.
The approach at Therapeutic Pilates is to integrate research-based science, whole-body movement, and the power of visualization/imagery. Patricia will leverage her experience in the field of Physical Therapy, Pilates, fitness, rehabilitation, and biomechanics to help you have a better understanding on how to exercise safely. You will see the changes in your body.
At Therapeutic Pilates, Patricia Oys will perform a detailed examination prior to initiating an exercise program. The assessment will include both an assessment of both static and dynamic musculoskeletal system, alignment, posture, body mechanics and ergonomics. She has the training, education and ability to see the relationships between structure and symptoms/pain.
After the initial examination/assessment, Patricia will then prescribe a Pilates exercise program tailored to meet your identified needs, which should result in a better long term outcome. Your Pilates exercises program may be modified depending on your musculoskeletal impairments. Unlike many Pilates studios, you will not be given a repertoire of exercises to perform. With Patricia’s extensive Pilates training, you will be re-educated on how to properly align your body which should allow you to move your body more efficiently and with less pain.
In addition to Patricia’s extensive physical therapy education and Pilates training, she has had advanced training on the aging adult and deconditioned adult through the American Physical Therapy Association, Geriatric Section. http://www.geriatricspt.org/events/experts.cfm.
She will be able to assess your impairments, which may include general strengthening, gait training and balance and proprioception exercises.