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Therapeutic services for the work environment located in London and the South-East, UK



What is Pilates?:
Typical session:
Is it safe?
A bit of History:
Which conditions?
Supporting Research :




The Pilates Foundation



What is Pilates?:

Pilates is a phyical exercise method, designed to elongate, strengthen and restore the body to balance. Based upon an anatomical understanding of the body's muscular and skeletal systems, the Pilates teacher creates a comprehensive exercise programme for the students.

It can be taught individually or in classes generally with matwork but studio classes use specific Pilates devices to enhance results.

It emphasises the importance of beginning movement from a central core of stability, namely the lumbo-pelvic region.


Typical session:

For your first session, the practitioner will ask you to fill a health screening form in order to identifiy any contraindication or adjustements to the session.

Feel free to discuss with her more specifically any condition you arel unsecure about.


You need to wear lose clothing in order to perform easily the exercises.


Mats are provided but feel free to bring yours if you wish.


Is it safe?

It is normal to feel some muscle soreness the day after your session.

Some people may become more aware of their body stiffness as they get used to different postures.

Be sure to check with your doctor before trying Pilates if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, or a recent back injury, as you would with any other physical activity. Moreover some postures are not recommended during pregnancy

As with any physical activity, Pilates may lead to an injury if not done properly.

Make sure that you report to the instructor before the session any condition/pregnancy on the health screen template provided to you.


Be sure to see your doctor if any exercises cause headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, or severe pain in your back, legs, or joints.


A bit of history :


Pilates is the work of art of a single man : Joseph Pilates.

Joseph Pilates (1880,1967) spent his childhood in Germany as a frail child with asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever and eventually overcame these conditions with will power to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.

During the First World War, he developed his technique of physical fitness by teaching fellow German prisoners, then worked with bedridden hospital patients where he created his famous piece of equipment 'the 'Cadillac' to reeducate their walk.

Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s, and soon became very popular, particularly with the dance community, as its techniques and fitness and rehabilitation devices offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. He developed close links with dance celebrities such as Martha Graham and George Ballenchine, whose ballerinas he instructed at the New York Ballet.

It was only after his death that his teaching became known as Pilates or the Pilates method.

Which conditions?


Pilated is presently widely recomended by health practitioners including GPs for all back injuries as well as for poor posture and weak abdominal muscles.


However, Pilates does not pretend to replace mainstream medicine.

Patients with a condition should always been seen by their GP or consultant and Pilates remains so far an adjunct tool.


Supporting Research


The research into the benefit and safety of Pilates for rehabilitation of back injuries is at a stage wich is more exploratory than definitive.

Several studies point out the benefits of Pilates, although because of design imperfections and lack of large groups, large studies with better design are needed to set results in stone.


List of some Pilates Research Studies:


Anderson B, Spector A. Introduction to Pilatesbased rehabilitation. Orthop Phys Ther Clin N Am. 2000;9:395-410.

Blum CL. Chiropractic and pilates therapy forthe treatment of adult scoliosis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002;25:E3.


Bryan M, Hawson S. The benefits of Pilates exercise in orthopaedic rehabilitation. Tech Orthop.

Curnow D, Cobbin D, Wyndham J, Boris Choy ST. Altered motor control, posture and the Pilates method of exercise prescription. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009;13:104-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2008.06.013

da Fonseca JL, Magini M, de Freitas TH. Laboratory gait analysis in patients with low back pain before and after a pilates intervention. J Sport Rehabil. 2009;18:269-282.

da Silva A, Mannrich G. Pilates on rehabilitation: a systematic review [Portuguese]. Phys Ther Movement. 2009;22:449-455.

Dolan A, Hutchinson M, Fraser R. The Pilates based exercise programme in the management of low back pain [abstract]. J Bone Joint Surg.2001;83B.

Donzelli S, Di Domenica E, Cova AM, Galletti R, Giunta N. Two different techniques in the rehabilitation treatment of low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Eura Medicophys. 2006;42:205-210.

Ekici G, Bingul O, Yakut E. Effects of pilatesbased exercises on tranversus abdominus in females
with non-specific chronic low back pain: a pilot study [Turkish]. Fizyoterapi Rehabilitasyon. 2008;19:201.

Ekici G, Bingul O, Yakut E. Is there any effect of Pilates exercises on emotional status of patients with chronic low back pain? [Turkish]. Fizyoterapi Rehabilitasyon. 2008;19:202.

Gagnon L. Efficacy of Pilates Exercises as Therapeutic Intervention in Treating Patients With Low
Back Pain [thesis]. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee; 2005.

Gladwell V, Head S, Haggar M, Beneke R. Does a program of Pilates improve chronic non-specifc low iback pain? J Sport Rehabil. 2006;15:338-350.

Hancock MJ, Maher CG, Latimer J, et al. Systematic review of tests to identify the disc, SIJ
or facet joint as the source of low back pain. Eur Spine J. 2007;16:1539-1550. http://dx.doi. org/10.1007/s00586-007-0391-1

Hawson S, Klein M, Miller A. Efficacy of Pilates exercises in the treatment of chronic low back pain [abstract]. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.

Herrington L, Davies R. The influence of Pilates training on the ability to contract the transverses abdominis muscle in asymptomatic individuals. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2005;9:52-57.


La Touche R, Escalante K, Linares M. Treating non-specific chronic low back pain through the Pilates Method. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2008;12:364-370.

Lange C, Unnithan V, Larkam E, Latta P. Maximizing the benefits of Pilates-inspired exercise for learning functional motor skills. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2000;4:99-108.

Lim E, Chen Y, Lim W, Quek J. A Retrospective Evaluation of Isotonic Strengthening with Clinical Pilates Exercises on Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain. Physiother Singapore. 2008;11:5-12.

O’Brien N, Hanlon M, Meldrum D. Randomised, controlled trial comparing physiotherapy and Pilates in the treatment of ordinary low back pain. Phys Ther Rev. 2006;11:224-225.

Quinn J. Influence of Pilates-Based Mat Exercise on Chronic Lower Back Pain [thesis]. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University; 2005.

Rydeard R, Leger A, Smith D. Pilates-based therapeutic exercise: effect on subjects with nonspecific chronic low back pain and functional disability: a randomized controlled trial.J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2006;36:472-484. http://dx.doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2006.2144

Schroeder J, Crussemeyer J, Newton S. Flexibility and heart rate response to an acute Pilates reformer session [abstract]. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34:S258.

Segal NA, Hein J, Basford JR. The effects of Pilates training on flexibility and body composition: an observational study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;85:1977-1981.

Smith K, Smith B. Integrating Pilates-based core strengthening into older adult fitness programs implications for practice. Top Geriatr Rehabil. 2005;21:57-68.

Sorosky S, Stilp S, Akuthota V. Yoga and pilates in the management of low back pain. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008;1:39-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12178-007-9004-1





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