|The Pilates Method of Conditioning — A Medical Point of View|
Joseph Pilates founded the Pilates Method of Conditioning in the early 1900's. Joseph, a frail child and the underdog in several school yard fights, worked to develop his body strength. As a nurse during the war, he began experimenting by attaching springs to the patients hospital beds which allowed the patient to begin working out even before they were able to get out of bed. Pilates found that the springs gave enough resistance to the patients' muscles to help them recover. This lead him to expand his work and come up with even more exercises. Moving from Europe he and his wife Clare opened a studio in New York and operated it for over 40 years. This method has been used by dancers for many years and now has attracted many other followers such as gymnasts, divers, professional football players, and lower back pain suffers. Doctors also utilize it in physical therapy and in some cases use it to replace standard therapy.
This is not merely a collection of exercises but is a method that has been carefully developed over a period of 60 years through use and observation. Doctors have found this method a supplement to standard physical therapy and also recommend it as an excellent means of general conditioning.
"... it is probably more comprehensive than many of the exercise programs we utilize in the traditional physical therapy environment."
Dr. James G. Garrick
The Pilates Method corrects imbalances and faulty neuromuscular patterning and can help restore full range of motion, strength, and control. Individual programs can be developed for specific injuries and weaknesses therefore lessening the chance of these imbalances continuing after recovery.
The Pilates Method emphasizes restoration of the bodies true balance. These exercises develop strength, flexibility, endurance and improve posture, alignment, coordination and balance. The exercises evolved from a series of movements done on a mat and have been revised to be done on the Reformer. The Reformer is a horizontal platform about the size of a twin bed attached to a carriage by four springs that slides along tracks. The springs can offer between 10 and 160 pounds of pressure. The quality of each movement is emphasized by stressing attention to detail. Breathing and abdominal support are also emphasized in every movement sequence. The heightened breathing awareness helps to increase oxygen intake during the workout leaving you feeling stimulated and refreshed.