The Pilates Method is a whole approach of exercising the body.
What can the Pilates Method help treat?
The Pilates Method is suitable for children from the age of 12 and for the elderly. It can help with:
- pregnancy, post and ante-natal
- remedial and rehabilitation work
- children from the age of 12
- senior citizens
- those who are active in dance and sports to help prevent injury and to improve technical standards
Devised by German Joseph Pilates in the early twentieth century, the Pilates Method aims to address the needs of the individual client with exercises specially designed and carefully structured to stretch and strengthen the body.
The exercises given depend on individual physical requirements, fitness and ability, and range from gentle basic body mechanics to advanced aerobic matwork exercises. Emphasis is placed on correct alignment, posture and breathing. The Method is not simply a set of exercises but a whole approach of exercising the body.
The Pilates Method can be learnt in a class, in individual studio sessions in a studio where apparatus is used or from mat classes. Pilates has been popular amongst dancers for some time but is now gaining popularity in the UK with the wider public.
Consultation and treatment
During the initial consultation at a Pilates studio, the teacher will ask you to complete a health questionnaire. This will include questions about medical history and any injuries suffered by the client. The first few sessions focus on core stabilisation, generally through mat exercises. Machine work is introduced once the general principles of core stabilisation have been understood. The machines utilise resistance against tensioned springs in order to develop musculo-skeletal balance.
During sessions, clients work on their own individual and supervised programmes. In a Pilates studio, sessions will last up to 90 minutes. Matwork classes are available in some health clubs, sports centres and dance establishments but you are advised not to use the equipment without a qualified teacher present or the subtleties of each exercise could be lost.
Costs start at between £10 to £16 an hour. Private tuition is also available through the studios and qualified Pilates trainers. Costs for private tuition range from £35 to £50.
Although studios sometimes give their clients exercises to do at home, progress can only be made from regular attendance to sessions where the exercises can be monitored and altered as the bodyís needs change. There are books and videos on the Pilates Method for you to work with at home but learning from a book or video is only useful in that it peaks interest in the Pilates Method.
How to find a practitioner
For a list of qualified teachers, send an SAE to the PILATES foundation UK Ltd. Because of the current publicity on Pilates, there are many exercise teachers who may have had little or no proper training. The PILATES foundation UK Ltd is the governing body of the Pilates Method in Great Britain. Its members must have completed a yearís training followed by a six month apprenticeship. All members are bound by the Foundationís rules and Code of Conduct. At the moment, most Pilates studios are situated in London.
Clients should seek advice from their GP or physiotherapist if they suffer from conditions such as high blood pressure or a history of heart problems.