What is Clinical Pilates?


It is common to hear that someone knows another Pilates practitioner or that they have been thinking about trying it out for some time or that the family doctor has recommended it to them. And then there are others who already practice Pilates.

But what is Clinical Pilates? What is the history and how did it come about?

What is Pilates?

In the early 20th century, Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Humbertus Pilates. As a child, Joseph suffered from both asthma and rheumatic fever. However, with his determination to overcome the ongoing symptoms of the conditions and become a healthy adult, he studied and began the practice of yoga and meditation. In 1960, he opened “The Pilates Studio” in New York.

In 2000, two Australian physiotherapists travelled to London to study the relevance of Pilates in rehabilitation. Realising there was a gap in rehabilitation using movement, they adapted the traditional Pilates method to a new Pilates method particularly focussed on rehabilitation.

What is Pilates adapted to Rehabilitation?

It is a method that contains 34 exercises classified by levels of difficulty that includes dynamic stability training, which is based on 8 principles:

  1. Concentration – is fundamental to any activity and exercise. More important than quantity, is the quality of exercise. For this, concentration on the exercises to gain body awareness is key.
  2. Breathing – it is intended that the movement is performed so that there is a pattern of functional movement through breathing through the lower costal grid, During inhalation, the costal grid goes up and away; and in exhalation the costal grid goes down and comes back together. During movement, there is less stability so it is during exhalation (when the costal grid is low and united) that the movement is performed to counteract this instability.
  3. Centre – is considered the focus of Pilates. The muscles of the “centre”, “powerhouse” or “core” are those that are intended to strengthen the body (encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs). All movement in Pilates should begin from the centre and move outward to the limbs.
  4. Control – as in all movements and exercises of any method, the movements must be done calmly and calmly, rather than rushing. Breath control, movement, sequence, and position variations.
  5. Accuracy – the movements must be precise. The instructor should help with verbal and tactile commands to optimise the movements.
  6. Fluidity of movement – in Clinical Pilates, it is understood as the integration of movements and breathing.
  7. Integrated isolation – association of the exercises performed in Clinical Pilates and the daily activities. The aim, therefore, is not to teach the perfect exercise but rather to be able to integrate them in everyday life.
  8. Routine – practice Clinical Pilates as a routine, performing the “homework” between classes is essential to integrate all the 7 previous principles.

The above is a lot of information so in order to get started, there are 5 key elements to focus on:

  1. Lateral breathing and lower ribs;
  2. Centre;
  3. Repositioning of the costal grid;
  4. Repositioning the scapula-thoracic waist;
  5. Repositioning the head and neck.

Who is Pilates Clinical for?

Pilates Clinical can be practiced by all family members! From children to the elderly – not forgetting parents, siblings, a family member with neurological disease or dementia or an aunt with spinal pain or a cousin with bad flexibility!  In fact, Clinical Pilates can be used to complement the rehabilitation treatment of any patient.

Benefits of Clinical Pilates

What really improves? Testimonials from those who practice:

  1. Improves posture, health and ability/physical stamina;
  2. Helps in rehabilitation after injury, surgery or illness;
  3. Body awareness;
  4. Development of body capabilities, including movement;
  5. Improves breathing;
  6. Help in urinary incontinence;
  7. Improves sexual intercourse;
  8. Promotes relaxation;
  9. Improves self-esteem;
  10. Makes you feel better!

According to written reviews, the method:

  • Improves dynamic equilibrium – increasing static and dynamic equilibrium in the short term (5 weeks) and its maintenance in the long term (12 weeks);
  • Mobility of the column;
  • Stability of the spine by strengthening pelvic floor muscles, abdominal transverse and multi-fold;
  • Decreases the percentage of fat mass and increases the lean mass;
  • Improves flexibility;
  • Improves strength;
  • Decreases reaction time;
  • Decreases the risk of falls;
  • Decrease the systolic blood pressure.

Can Pilates be practised at home?

If you are familiar with the method, it is an excellent opportunity to expand it to the family members, and to practice together! Spending quality time in safety!

If you are interested, you should contact your Physiotherapist who will certainly be happy to help you!



Adapted from the original: https://www.cmm.com.pt/pilates-clinico/

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