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Clinical Pilates - What’s it all about and is it right for me?

Clinical Pilates - What’s it all about and is it right for me?

Clinical Pilates is one of the main services that we have on offer here at Four. The term reformer Pilates may make sense to some, however those of you who are unfamiliar with this form of exercise may be thinking - reformer what? This article will break down the ins and outs of Pilates and how it can be used in the clinical setting.

Holly McIntosh ·
~3 minute read

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of low impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. It originated in the early 1900’s in Germany and was initially developed as a physical therapy to help improve various ailments by the man himself, Joseph Pilates. 

Mr Pilates described it as a “complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” in order to achieve the natural rhythm and coordination required for all activities. Pilates is guided by three key principles:

  • Whole body health

  • Whole body commitment

  • and Breath

Today, Pilates is used widely as a form of exercise and fitness, as well as being used by many physios as a very effective rehabilitation tool. There are a number of different techniques and styles, from mat-based Pilates to using more elaborate equipment models. Here at Four we use the reformer as our main form of Pilates equipment.

What is a reformer?

Commonly mistaken for some kind of torture device, the reformer is a bed-like machine that has a sliding carriage, ropes, springs, pulleys and various other props and attachments. So yes, it does sound somewhat intimidating but it is in fact an incredibly versatile and effective tool for getting the body moving!

When using the reformer, resistance is created by spring tension - each reformer has five springs of varying thicknesses which can be used in different combinations depending on the exercise. For example, a heavier spring can be used for a heavy lunge set, whereas a lighter spring may be used for a slow and steady core exercise to challenge your stability - both options can get the heart pumping in such different ways!

The beauty of having spring tension means that there is assisted recovery in every movement, meaning reformer Pilates is very easy on your body. And it never gets boring! There are endless options for different types of movements and exercises which can range from lying to kneeling to standing positions and everything in between. 

How can it be used as a rehabilitation tool?

There are a multitude of benefits of reformer Pilates. In particular it places a strong focus on core strength and posture, so is an excellent tool for the treatment of back pain and injuries. It can also be used in a non weight-bearing capacity to help those recovering from lower limb injury or surgery. And due to its low impact nature it is an excellent tool for helping those coming back from general deconditioning or illness, who may be wanting to build some overall strength and fitness.

The reformer can also be incredibly useful for training proper movement patterns and coordination for the sporting athlete or gym goer, or simply to refine and improve technique in those already attending Pilates classes.

So, to put it simply, reformer Pilates is useful for almost everything and anything. There really is no limit!

Is it covered by ACC?

If you have a current ACC claim for a recent injury, then you are able to use this towards your 1:1 clinical Pilates sessions with our physiotherapists here at Four. 

How can I book in?

You can book yourself in for an initial physiotherapy consultation, during which your physiotherapist will take a full history, carry out a functional assessment and assess your goals before coming up with a treatment plan. This will determine whether reformer Pilates classes are appropriate for you, and what to expect moving forward.

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