Therapist Search
 Select Therapy    Postcode 

   Learn About Therapies | Pilates


Pilates was developed over 70 years ago by Joseph Pilates. It's an exercise-based treatment for the spine & overall body maintenance. Pilates works on controlling & balancing body movement by targeting deep postural muscles. Over time Pilates can promote core stability & improve muscle tone, body awareness & posture.

In This Article
History Of Pilates How does it work?
A typical appointment What to expect
Timings/ Cost/ Sessions Is it right for you?
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates, born 1881 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Pilates was a former circus performer and boxer turned physical trainer. Having suffered a frail childhood with rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever, Pilates turned to exercise and bodybuilding to overcome his poor health. By the age of 14, his physique was so impressive he was often the subject for anatomical drawing.

Pilates moved to the UK in 1912 to work as a self-defence instructor and at the outbreak of the First World War became interned with fellow German nationals. During this time, he developed a physical fitness technique for his internees. In the latter part of the war, Pilates' technique developed further as he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man. Treating patients who were unable to walk, Pilates devised a clever device from bedsprings to support their limbs. This was the evolution of Pilates equipment still in use to date.

After the war, Pilates returned to his native Germany and his methods became popular among the dance community. In 1923, Pilates emigrated from Germany to the United States and opened his first body-conditioning studio in a building that also housed the New York Ballet. Many of the dancers became clients. Pilates continued to teach his fitness techniques at his studio up until his death in 1967 at the age of 87.

Pilates is a fitness and exercise method that looks to restore balance in the body, promote good health and also aid recovery from injury. Pilates uses breathing techniques and physical exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles improving flexibility and mobility.

Pilates instructors teach exercises that stem from the torso to help develop a strong core for the body to work from. Important principles to the Pilates system also include alignment and stability. Proper alignment of the head, neck and spine promotes good posture while stability gives a strong platform for improving mobility.

The breathing exercises help with focus and concentration. Deep inhalation and exhalation initiates movement by activating muscles. The control and fluidity of Pilates exercise differs from the intense repetitions of other body conditioning methods. Pilates is a graceful work-out and integrates muscle groups to help with control and support (which is why many dancers use Pilates).

Be prepared - It is advisable to choose a Pilates instructor who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main Pilates organisations are listed at the foot of this article.

Pilates can be carried out within a class environment or on a one-to-one basis. If you are suffering with a particular condition then an individual session may be preferable. Your Pilates instructor will be able to tailor the session to your needs and also employ other therapy techniques such as massage to aid your recovery. Check with your local Pilates practitioner to ensure they have undertaken further training to administer other therapies and that they have a sound medical understanding of your problem.

It is advisable not to drink alcohol on the day of your appointment, drink plenty of water instead. Have a light meal (nothing spicy or fatty) a couple of hours before you see the Pilates instructor. Wear loose, comfortable clothing but nothing too baggy. Your Pilates instructor needs to see enough of your body's movement and alignment.

Pilates studios usually provide mats for you to work-out on but you may prefer to buy your own. Pilates mats tend to be thicker than Yoga mats so check with your local practitioner to see what they recommend.

During your first appointment, your Pilates instructor will begin with an assessment of your general health, medical history and lifestyle. They will then do a postural analysis to understand your current alignment, flexibility and mobility. After this initial assessment, your Pilates instructor will explain a suitable programme of exercise and treatment to suit your needs.

Pilates exercises take place on a mat or by using work-out equipment. In a Pilates studio, you will see some unusual physical exercise equipment. This equipment has been specifically designed for resistance work enabling the muscles to be stretched without any weight-bearing on the joints. Your session may not utilise the equipment but if it does, be assured that your instructor will inform you what it does and how to use it.

Your Pilates instructor will then guide through various stretches and exercises on the mat. Once you are comfortable with the Pilates techniques, you may start to use the exercise equipment. The equipment has names like 'Cadillac', 'Reformer' and 'Wunda Chair' and comprises of springs, pulleys and straps. If your Pilates instructor feels a session of massage would be beneficial, this will be carried out too.

After your session, your Pilates instructor will discuss the experience with you and recommend any follow-up sessions and exercises to do at home. People experience different sensations after treatment such as invigoration and pain relief. Some people feel tired or a bit sore after Pilates while others experience headaches or emotional changes. These effects, however disruptive to your usual state, are a sign of the body responding to Pilates.

Your first Pilates session may take longer than subsequent sessions as your instructor questions you about your medical history and lifestyle and then recommends a programme. Expect this session to last 60 - 90 minutes. Follow-up sessions may be slightly shorter but if massage is recommended this alone can last for 30-40 minutes.

The cost for Pilates varies so check with your local practitioner before making an appointment. Expect to pay £40 - £70 for your first session with subsequent sessions costing £30 - £50. If massage is recommended, this may incur an additional cost of around £30 for a 40 minute massage.

You will usually attend on a weekly basis and over a period of six to ten weeks. A programme of 10-12 sessions is recommended to explore all the exercises and methods of Pilates. Many people continue to use Pilates as a routine exercise regime to promote good health and prevent further problems.

Pilates is a proven and safe therapy recommended by Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and other healthcare professionals. It is widely used as a general fitness tool and suitable for rehabilitation after specific operations. Pregnant women can also benefit from the techniques in ante-natal and post-natal classes.

Consult with your GP and Pilates instructor about any medical problems or concerns you have as they are trained to recognise what can and cannot be treated with Pilates.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Accident trauma Anorexia nervosa
Anxiety Arthritis Asthma
Back Pain Blood pressure Breathing disorders
Bulimia Childbirth Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Pain Circulation Problems Constipation
Depression Digestive Problems Disc Problems
Eczema Frozen Shoulder Headaches
Heart disease Joint Pain Ligament Sprain
Lumbago Lymphedema M E
Menopausal symptoms Migraines Multiple Sclerosis MS
Muscle Cramps Neck pain Neck stiffness
Obesity Osteoporosis Period pain
Personal development Post operative pain Postural problems
Pregnancy Repetitive strain injury Rheumatism
Sciatica Scoliosis Shoulder pain
Spinal Injury Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee)
Stomach cramps Stress Stroke
Tennis Elbow Tiredness Ulcerative colitis
Urinary Problems Weight Management Whiplash

Click Here to Learn More About Ailments

Featured Pilates Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location

About Therapist Qualifications

Pilates Foundation Pilates Foundation More Info Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) More Info


Pilates Articles
Learn more by reading GoToSee's Health Articles                          


Pilates Health News
Read GoToSee's Health News                                       


Pilates Colleges & Courses
Find your nearest Colleges & Courses

Subscribe to our Health Articles Click Here
Subscirbe to our Health News Click Here

Advertise Here

By getting your products and services listed on GoToSee, you will be helping your business to be found by a highly targeted group of new potential clients.

Contact our sales team here

Classified Ads

Classified Health Ads


Search The Listings Here

Back Back
Email this page Print this page
Bookmark and Share
Do not copy from this page - plagiarism will be detected by Copyscape. If you want to use our content contact us for syndication criteria.
GoToSee Home | About Us | Contact Us | Media | Terms & Conditions | Site Map
Learn About Therapies | Learn About Ailments | Find A Practitioner | Find A College Course | Health Articles Videos | Health News | Natural Health Products |
Free Classifieds | Counselling | Hypnotherapy | Nutritional Therapy | Osteopathy | Physiotherapy | Psychotherapy | Health Articles Videos RSS | Health News RSS |
Low Cost Therapist WebsitesAdvertising | Internet Marketing Team

Copyright 2014
The UKs leading Complementary Therapy, Complementary Medicine & Alternative Medicine Website

We always advise with any conditions, ailment or health problem you take independent medical advice
from your GP before considering a complementrary therapy, alternative medicine or alternative treatment.