History of Pilates
Pilates is a series of exercise techniques that can help patients with the goal of developing their strength and flexibility, while also providing musculoskeletal and overall health benefits. Joseph Pilates this exercise system in early half of the 20th century. Another name for Pilates is “Contrology”. Joseph took a holistic approach to developing his system. He believed that there exists an important connection between the mind and the body. The original method of performing Pilates required special equipment, and the “Classical/Traditional” method still employs those techniques. “Modern” Pilates can now be done anywhere, without the use of any kind of specialized apparatus. This is the more economical choice for patients who do not have the space to store equipment.
Pilates has 6 principles: flow, center, control, breathing, and precision. The creator of the exercise system believed in muscle control and how it is applied to work against resistance and gravity to further strengthen the body. The exercise also requires focus and precision. Concentration methods can even be used to relieve degenerative Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The area around the mid-section of the body, the lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, thighs, and abdomen are all called the “powerhouse”, and all movement is centered around this region. All flowing movement and control comes from the core of the body. This exercise system also requires control in breathing, with complete inhalation and exhalation methods.
Pilates vs Yoga
While both may be considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, Pilates and yoga do have aspects of their practice where they differ. Yoga concentrates primarily on the spine and limbs, whereas Pilates starts with abdominal strength. Yoga principles are also different, and its origins and the purest form of its beliefs are more spiritual. Patients do more Pilates exercises in a lying down position, whereas yoga positions tend to involve more standing. Both exercise systems focus on the mind-body connection. The two therapies can use just mats, or props such as straps, blocks, or balls. Both types of exercises are helpful for circulation, as well.1
There are many types of exercises which are available to do in this system of core exercises. Some involve equipment which could be found at a Pilates studio, but others can be done at home. In the same way, a patient might attend a class and perform Pilates in a group with others in a studio. Or they might follow the exercises methods alone, at home, with the use of an instructional video or through recommendations of a Pilates instructor. Some patients might prefer the more social, group setting that comes with attending a class while others could be more interested in exercising alone.
Pilates ball techniques include “Mermaid with Ball”, “Swan on Ball”, “Footwork on Ball”, “Roll Back and Up”, and “Coordination with Ball”. Some exercises without the ball are called “Rollover”, “Back Arm Rowing”, and “Mermaid with Twist”. These exercises might be found both through videos online or instructed at a Pilates class. Patients should only try engaging in several repetitions as they are ready because performing too many exercises too quickly before the body has been gradually strengthened is more likely to cause injury in any field or method of exercising. Taken together, the exercises that the patient performed in a series that they can handle for an extended period of time can provide a complete body workout, even at home.
If they have time, patients might try breaking up their work out. They can do some of the routines in the morning and some in the evening as their schedule allows. A Pilates ball is an alternative which is much less expensive when compared to a Reformer machine.2
Benefits of Pilates
As a type of CAM therapy, Pilates can not only increase the fitness of already healthy people, but it can work on people who suffer from various conditions as part of recovery, treatment, or physical therapy. It has been found to be a safe and very effective method when it is used to improve physical capacity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.3 There is the possibility that it could increase self-esteem and “life satisfaction” in anyone who has difficulty with self-image who tries it. This could be the case for almost any type of exercise where the patient finds satisfaction in the outcome of their routine.4
Upper spine posture, abdominal strength, and core posture can be helpful in preventing disorders of the neck and shoulders. Of course, this is no replacement for remembering to maintain good posture and ergonomics throughout the day, even when not engaged in a workout routine.5 This exercise system is useful in improving body awareness, posture, strengthening, and stretching. It also improves core strength and body control.6
Learn more information about various CAM therapies