Debunking Pilates Myths
From the desk of Kristen M. Reynolds, DPT, CPT... As a physical therapist, I have found myself in the unique situation of introducing a wide variety of patients to Pilates. I thoroughly enjoy this opportunity and have seen it change the way these patients sit, stand, walk, and play. I also find great amusement in mentally cataloguing the preconceived notions that individuals have formed about Pilates, often from the media. Common perceptions include:
- “Isn’t it the same thing as yoga?”
- “Pilates is pretty easy and just a bunch of stretching.”
- “I’m out of shape. There is no way that I can do Pilates.”
- “Pilates is a quick fix to get flat abs and a bikini body. That’s why all the celebrities do it.”
- “What is that machine? It looks like a medieval torture device!”
I am pleased to say that these statements are myths. In fact, those who regularly engage in these workouts testify that Pilates is different (http://www.pilatesworkoutblog.com/2011/05).
What is Pilates?
Pilates is an innovative mind-body exercise system that evolved from the rehabilitation techniques of Joseph Pilates during World War I to facilitate whole body conditioning. Based on the principles of proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement, the repertoire of exercises is modifiable and designed to address the needs of individuals ranging from elite athletes to those with chronic disease. Pilates practice includes a variety of postures to facilitate a gentle progression from non to full weight bearing activity and the spring-loaded equipment (e.g. Reformer) provides proprioceptive feedback to enhance neuromuscular re-education.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
- Corrects impaired spinal, scapular, and pelvic postures
- Promotes balanced muscle strength, flexibility, and joint mobility to prevent further injury
- Integrates the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle for proximal stabilization
- Enhances kinesthetic awareness
- Teaches proper breathing patterns that improve circulation and reduce stress
- Cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral pain
- Shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle injuries, including bursitis, tendinopathy, and tenosynovitis
- Sacroiliac dysfunction
- Post-operative rehab
- Pre- and post-natal
OMBE offers Pilates Mat and the Reformer as a holistic approach to wellness. During private lessons, your Pilates teacher is able identify postural faults and impaired movement patterns that may contribute to musculoskeletal pain or limitations in sports performance. Considering your goals and physical status, your teacher will guide you through a customized workout with verbal, tactile, and visual cueing to maximize results.
OMBE also offers group mat classes that focus on developing core strength and stability, flexibility, and whole body balance. Our classes are limited to six participants to ensure that each student receives individual attention.
Kristen M. Reynolds, DPT, CPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Pilates Teacher
Kristen Reynolds earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from James Madison University in 2006 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2009.
While practicing in orthopedics and sports medicine, a mentor introduced her to the Pilates Method and she has since pursued comprehensive certification to compliment her clinical interests. She has studied with Balanced Body, Peak Pilates, and most recently Balancepoint Pilates. She is an active member of the Pilates Method Alliance, American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Sections, as well as the APTA of Massachusetts Shoulder and Manual Physical Therapy Special Interest Groups.
Always interested in sports and fitness, she is a former YMCA and Junior Olympic gymnast, coach, and ACE personal trainer. Integrating the Pilates principles and Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, and Chair repertoire into her physical therapy practice has produced successful rehabilitation outcomes for a wide variety of patients, including adolescents, elite athletes and dancers, and individuals with chronic orthopedic conditions. Kristen utilizes this alternative therapeutic approach to improve muscle performance and joint mobility, correct posture and alignment, enhance body awareness, and create an evenly conditioned body that is more resilient to extremity and spinal injury. She greatly enjoys designing programs to target personal goals, educating clients to incorporate Pilates into their daily activities, and teaching small group classes.