Pilates is a form of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates. Pilates exercise emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength and stabilization. Pilates exercises consist of more than 500 exercises and are done either on a mat on the floor, or using special exercise equipment. It is a technique that focuses on core strengthening, balance, and flexibility. Pilates-based rehabilitation is one of the most effective forms of physical therapy to treat knee, back, hip, shoulder, and repetitive stress injuries.
The Pilates approach comprises of six key principles, which put together build the 'powerhouse' or center of your body and forms a strong foundation for any movement.
The six Pilates principles include:
- Concentration: Pay attention to the exercise your body is doing to gain maximum benefit from each movement.
- Control: Every Pilates exercise is done using control with the muscles and thereby control the movement of the body.
- Centering: All movements in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse, center of the body, the area between your lower ribs and the top of your pubic bone.
- The efficiency of movement or flow: Pilates exercise is done slowly and gracefully.
- Precision: As there are an appropriate placement and alignment relative to other body parts, awareness should be sustained throughout each movement.
- Breathing: As most Pilates exercises stress upon the use of full breath, proper breathing is an essential part of Pilates exercise.
Pilates-based rehabilitation is suitable for people of all ages and is an excellent treatment for individuals with recurrent pain, fibromyalgia, chronic neck and back pain, some post-surgical conditions, and patients with overall de-conditioning. There are several benefits of Pilates-based rehabilitation which include an increase in flexibility, improvement in posture and core strength, it tones and builds muscles without bulk, increases energy, provides relief from back pain, tension and joint stress helps recovery from strain or injury, and increases range of motion in the joints.