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Pilates: History and Current Thinking
Developed by Joseph Pilates toward the beginning of the 20th century, Pilates is a system of core-based exercises that use gravity and/or special equipment, designed to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, posture, and body awareness. Most of the instructors at Life in Balance are trained in STOTT Pilates, which has updated the original Pilates' methodology by incorporating scientifically-based exercise and rehabilitation principles, and applying proven and accepted practices in biomechanics, rehabilitation, and athletic performance enhancement.
STOTT Pilates exercises serve to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance muscles around the joints. This involves placing more emphasis on dynamic pelvic and scapular stabilization and developing the spine-supporting trunk muscles of the abdomen, back, and buttocks. Our core muscles -- the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis, and multifidi -(as well as many others!)- help us maintain postural stability and minimize the impact of loads on the spine. Retraining and exercising these muscles is widely used in managing every conceivable orthopedic condition, but particularly low back and neck pain.
Physical Therapy and Pilates: What Research Reveals
A 2008 pilot study found that Pilates exercises may be effective and safe for women who are recovering from breast cancer treatments. Study participants noted improvement in shoulder range of motion, pain levels, mood, and upper extremity function. (Keays, Harris, et al. Effects of Pilates exercises on shoulder range of motion, pain, mood, and upper-extremity function in women living with breast cancer: a pilot study. PT Journal. 2008:88(4).)
A 2003 study found that Pilates trained subjects could better contract the transversus abdominis muscles and maintain superior lumbopelvic control compared to those who completed regular abdominal curls or no abdominal exercise at all. (Herrington, Davies. The inﬂuence of Pilates training on the ability to contract the transversus abdominis muscle in asymptomatic individuals. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2003:9.)
5410 California Ave SW, Ste 101 , Seattle, WA, 98136 206-913-8082 19711 1st Ave S, Normandy Park, WA, 98148 206-743-8942