Why Physical therapy?
Pilates comes under many a guise. It may be a fitness based mat or reformer class – choreographed (sometimes to music), all participants doing the same thing and enjoying the fundamental inclusions that this system of exercise offers. Pilates could be with a physio or osteo – a dry, dull version of stale movements never intended to inspire, repeated for clinical practices only.
But if you ask me, after 15 years of teaching and practicing Pilates for both fitness and clinical benefit, Pilates in its entirety is best practiced as Physical therapy – marrying the physical, emotional and soulful relationship of the body, mind and spirit, a true healing journey that endeavours to first extract and then restore the individual from the inside out.
One of the amazing things about our job as Pilates therapists is that we get to dive deep. I liken it to frolicking in the ocean. Pilates in the gym or in a purely clinical setting would be like snorkelling – a surface experience where the participant gets to peer into the abyss from above without actually being a part of the intricate World below. Pilates therapy on the other hand is a deep sea dive, exploring the wonders of that underwater expanse, beyond the sunlit border, in search of the unfound treasures that are hidden below.
A true immersion into an experience where the participant is completely enveloped and becomes a part of the entire experience; the body, mind and soul transposed by the affair and guided by an expert who lives and breathes the environment so serenely that it seems they may themselves be able to breathe underwater.
A Pilates therapist is the expert in their field. They live and breath Pilates in its entirety. They will listen to your story, look at your learned patterns and investigate any compensatory movements you have adopted. They take notes (sometimes in their head, sometimes on paper), reflect on what they see and deconstruct your experience so that they can understand your body better and teach you how to move with more ease.
With specific movements you become stronger, your flexibility improves and the stability you gain from individually prescribed exercises means that you feel more balanced and supported in your every day. The pain that was your normal decreases, you sleep better, feel happier and look more rested. The scowl on your face softens, you smile more often and the meds you relied on no longer roll around in the bottom of your bag ‘just in case’. Your relationship with the World brightens and without even realising it, the dark cloud that had covered your life for oh so long dissipates and you finally take a breath.
A good Pilates teacher is full of curiosity, will inquire, examine and explore – pulling you apart like a finely built machine before meticulously putting you back together again.
For many, starting Pilates can be daunting. The idea of walking in to a studio can be scary and the preconceived idea that Pilates is for the fit and flexible can put you off for longer than necessary.
The reality is, no-one comes to Pilates when they’re fit, healthy and working optimally. Most people try everything else first. In fact one of the most consistent things we hear from new clients is “I’ve tried this treatment and that treatment, I’ve dabbled in dieting, considered surgery and consumed an alphabet of drugs but I have never done Pilates”. Most people walk through our door deflated, in pain and out of ideas. They’ve spent hard earned money and wasted precious time hoping to find a cure all – looking for someone to solve their problems, waiting for a magic pill and Pilates feels like the end of the road – another dead end, another case of ‘what have a I got to loseitis’. Indeed, most people come to Pilates because there just isn’t anywhere else for them to try and someone may have mentioned the word but they always thought they weren’t strong enough, flexible enough or co-ordinated enough to take the plunge.
Walking into the studio takes courage because it means that you are now ready to be accountable, you are ready to take responsibility and you are ready to learn how to help yourself. Pilates therapy is the great revealer. Pilates therapy tells the truth. Pilates therapy leaves nothing behind and has nothing to hide.
No-one can do Pilates for you – it is not a quick fix, it can not be bought for a higher price and no, there is no magic pill (believe me, if there was I would be a millionaire). Pilates therapy is your chance to return to yourself and to take back your God given right to autonomous health.
Many people walk out of their first Pilates experience feeling more alive, more capable and more understood than they dare to remember. For some there is a ‘lightness’, like a weight has been lifted, space in the joints, a little bit more freedom to move. For others there is less strain, a softening of the tightness, the unwinding of stress, the activation of something unfamiliar. For some there is a lightbulb moment, something that is said, an intimate discussion, an explanation where there never had been before. For others there is a remembering of the story as it unfolds.
I recall clearly as someone who lived with chronic pain, that feeling of waiting desperately for my next treatment – checking my diary once, twice, thrice, wishing the days away so that I could get back on the table, for whoever it was I had given my body to in the hope they could fix it. For years I went through that cycle of dependence, trying all sorts of treatments but never actually learning why I was in pain or how I could help myself. It wasn’t until I found Pilates therapy that things really started to shift.
Pilates therapy strips you of that desperation and replaces it with strategies to help yourself. Over time you become less dependent on your sessions because your body learns how to move and you learn how to listen to the subtle signs your body gives you day to day.
Once it reveals, Pilates therapy educates and it is through learning that you become free. Pilates therapy is empowering, it gives participants an opportunity to take control of the only thing you ever really own in this World – your body.
Pilates therapy is for every one. The most injured, the most pained, the diseased, the elderly and the young. Over the years I have seen how Pilates therapy has changed peoples lives for the better. Pilates therapy has saved marriages, prevented people from having surgery or supported them after the fact and has rehabilitated people from the most horrific accidents. Pilates therapy has helped athletes win races, supported new mums through having babies, picked people up from falling down and given countless many the hope we all deserve.
The World would be a better place if more people practiced Pilates – that I know for sure.
Are you looking for help with your own pain, rehabilitation or return to sport? Download the app here and choose Initial Assessment under appointments or book in for a one on one if you are an exisiting customer. If you are on a desktop click here and choose an Initial assessment time slot with one of our Pilates therapy experts.
There really is no better place for you if you want individualised attention within a caring, compassionate environment of health professionals who specialise in Pilates therapy.
Did you know that Encore Pilates uses Pilates therapy for workplace injury, motor vehicle accident insurance claims and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. If you have an NDSP manager or a TIO case manager we can work with them to provide Pilates therapy as part of your regular activity allocation.
Need help with a claim or advice on how to get started? Contact us and we will assist you in making Pilates therapy part of your road to recovery and ongoing support.
Email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you get started today.