Why Physical Therapists Use Pilates as a Tool

If you ever go to the gym or fitness studio, you may be familiar with Pilates. It is a fitness system that is used to strengthen the core through a controlled workout. Pilates has become a popular choice in exercise and a vital tool in physical therapy. I use Pilates in my clinic because it helps strengthen weak muscles and improves movement practices, which help lower the risk of recurring injuries.

What is Pilates: In Pilates we focus on mind-body techniques in order to stabilize and engage the central core. Developing a strong core aids in controlled movement and teaches us to utilize our breathing patterns in order to power our energy systems. The two types of Pilates (mat-work and machine-based work) target core muscles and stabilization through strengthening, mobilizing, and stretching.

Why I use Pilates in Physical Therapy: Before I go into the reasons why I use Pilates as a physical therapist, it is important to understand the causes for recurring injuries: 9 times out of 10, a recurring injury is caused by poor movement practices. These are the seemingly minuscule habits that frequently take a toll on our physical function.

Our poor movement practices are often comprised of stronger muscles overcompensating for weak ones. Why do we do this? It is completely normal for us to use our strongest muscles because our bodies are programmed to do what feels the easiest. However, the easy way out does not always mean the right way. When we primary use our strongest muscles and neglect to strength weak muscles, our body will begin to suffer from imbalance. Imbalance results in injuries.

The reason why I decided to become a certified mat Pilates instructor, and use the technique in my physical therapy, is because I realized the benefit of rehab Pilates to help my patients realign, correct, and re-educate their muscles in order to prevent injuries from recurring. We find that the Pilates method works because it addresses the smaller muscles that are often overlooked during recovery. It helps us focus on balancing the body’s muscular system, and through that balance, many other body systems as well.

All in all, I use Pilates in treatment and as a rehabilitation tool because it helps my patients be mindful of the muscles they are targeting. Pilates helps adjust the body in alignment and eliminates bad habits so that injuries do not recur.

CranioSacral Therapy in Big Sur

"It is said when the Eagle and the Condor share the same sky the world will come more into balance," Daniel Bianchetta

Last week I had the pleasure of assistant teaching at a CranioSacral Seminar with the Upledger Institute at Esalen in Big Sur. And I must say, Esalen, the Center for Theory and Research, is a really wonderful spot. When we were not delving into the intricacies of CranioSacral techniques, we had the pleasure of enjoying all the various activities the site had to offer.

I spent my evenings soaking in the hotsprings, enjoying the farm and garden, visiting the art center, and feeling the soothing waft of the ocean breeze. Between discovering the place, the waters, and the land, it felt less like work and more like a rejuvenating vacation.

My favorite part of the seminar was getting to share what was given to me when I began studying CranioSacral Therapy 23 years ago. The gift I gained from working closely under Dr. John E. Upledger, the developer of CranioSacral therapy, was the insight to listen with the touch of my hands. Even after his passing in 2012, his teachings remind me to constantly keep an open mind about the validity of non-traditional medicine, to stay on my path no matter the obstacle, and to make a positive impact on people's lives.

I am so grateful for the knowledge I have gained training with Dr. Upledger. Not only has he given me the tools to succeed in my field, he has also inspired me to learn more and teach this wisdom to other holistic healers and CranioSacral practitioners.

Last week at such a magical site I was surrounded by healers and intellectuals. This week, I can't help but feeling energized. So with this energy I hope to pass on the appreciation for life. Take a moment to ask yourself who has given you wisdom and shaped you into the person you are today. Finish out your week with positivity and have a great weekend!