In the world of fitness and rehabilitation, Clinical Pilates has emerged as a game-changer. Whether you’re a high-level athlete looking to optimize that last 1% for the ultimate performance, or someone working to rehabilitate your body after an injury, Clinical Pilates is versatile, accessible, and effective.
This holistic approach to exercise not only strengthens your core but also enhances your overall well-being. But, have you ever wondered about the distinction between mat-based and reformer-based Clinical Pilates? Or, who benefits the most from this versatile workout regimen?
In this article, we dive into the world of Clinical Pilates, exploring the differences between mat and reformer exercises, shedding light on the conditions it can effectively treat, and defining what Clinical Pilates truly is and who it can help.
How Does Clinical Pilates Work?
Clinical Pilates is a unique form of exercise rehabilitation that aims to support the body in a number of ways. The most essential goals of Clinical Pilates are to:
- Increase muscle strength
- Improve endurance
- Increase flexibility and range of motion
- Improve posture
- Improve balance
Clinical Pilates, or Physiotherapy-based Pilates, is a specialized form of Pilates that integrates traditional Pilates principles with evidence-based techniques from physiotherapy and rehabilitation. It’s typically a Physiotherapist overseeing and supervising a Pilates instructor to implement the treatment plan that has been developed after the physio assessment.
Here at ProActive Pilates, I am the physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. All the treatments are provided by me, so you are under my expert eye at all times. The primary goal of Clinical Pilates is to improve your overall body awareness while addressing specific musculoskeletal issues or health concerns.
Mat vs. Reformer Pilates: Understanding the Difference
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of Clinical Pilates, it’s essential to distinguish between two primary approaches: mat-based and reformer-based exercises.
Mat-Based Clinical Pilates: Mat-based Pilates is the foundation of Clinical Pilates, and it can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment. It focuses on body-weight exercises that target core strength, flexibility, and balance. Mat exercises can range from beginner-friendly to advanced, making them accessible to people of all fitness levels.
Reformer-Based Clinical Pilates: On the other hand, reformer-based Clinical Pilates involves the use of specialized equipment known as the Pilates Reformer. This machine adds resistance to your exercises using springs, creating a more challenging and dynamic workout. Reformer exercises can be customized to address specific physical needs and goals, making them a popular choice for rehabilitation and fitness enthusiasts seeking an extra challenge.
What to Expect from Clinical Pilates
When you work with ProActive Pilates in a Clinical Pilates program, there are four major steps to expect from the process. They are:
1. The Assessment
It all begins with a conversation. An in-depth physical assessment is essential for me to find out about your concerns, your goals, and your personal needs for treatment. This one-on-one assessment is the crucial first step in creating a detailed, customized treatment plan that will guide you to the healthy, happy physical future you deserve.
2. The Treatment Plan
Once the assessment is complete, it’s time to make a plan. This treatment plan is made especially for you, and takes into account your goals, your needs, and your current abilities. It’s intended to push you without overwhelming you, and it can always be adapted down the line as things change.
3. The Sessions
With the treatment plan created, we get into it. Carefully guiding you through each and every move, I’ll help implement the treatment routine into a real-life regimen that helps you get results with each and every session.
4. The Lifestyle
The work of Clinical Pilates doesn’t end when the session does. It’s important to keep up with the lifestyle of recovery and strengthening as well. This means keeping up with a routine of exercises to do at home throughout the week. This helps you continue to push forward with your recovery between sessions, and will help you meet your goals sooner.
Who Needs Clinical Pilates?
Clinical Pilates is incredibly versatile, catering to a wide range of individuals, including those who:
1. Seek Rehabilitation: Clinical Pilates is often recommended by healthcare professionals for rehabilitation purposes. It can help people recover from injuries, surgeries, or chronic pain conditions by targeting specific muscle groups and improving mobility.
2. Aim to Enhance Core Strength: If you’re looking to strengthen your core muscles, improve posture, and prevent back pain, Clinical Pilates can be your best friend. It focuses on developing deep core muscles, which are essential for stability and overall strength.
3. Want to Boost Flexibility and Balance: Pilates, in general, places a significant emphasis on flexibility and balance. This is particularly beneficial for athletes, dancers, and older adults who want to maintain or improve their range of motion and equilibrium.
4. Struggle with Stress and Mental Health: The mind-body connection is a fundamental aspect of Pilates. Practicing it regularly can reduce stress and anxiety, and even improve mood. The focus on breath control and mindfulness is a natural stress reliever.
As we mentioned before, Pilates isn’t just for people with injuries. It can be used to help just about anyone get stronger, improve flexibility, and feel the other benefits of regular physical exercise. With that said, there are a number of acute and chronic issues that can be greatly relieved with regular Clinical Pilates. Some of the most common problems that bring people into ProActive Pilates include:
- Neck or back pain (can be caused by either injury or poor posture)
- Sports injuries
- General pain, weakness, or poor stability
- Weakness in the core and/or pelvic floor
- Ongoing joint stiffness
- Strains and sprains
If you’re dealing with any of the above issues, Clinical Pilates can almost certainly be used to help you rehabilitate and start feeling your best again. It can often be incorporated into your existing physical treatments (such as massage or chiropractic) for a more holistic approach to your wellness. And even if you’re not troubled by ongoing physical pain or other symptoms, you can still make use of Clinical Pilates to get stronger, more flexible, more stable, and generally get back in touch with your body.
How to Get Started with Clinical Pilates
Clinical Pilates can be a great asset for people recovering from an injury or looking to get proactive about their health. If you’re curious to see the firsthand benefits of Clinical Pilates for yourself, the first step is to reach out and schedule the initial assessment.
As a former national-level athlete and a physiotherapist for over 25 years, I know how incredible it feels to be in charge and in control of your physicality—I also know how frustrating it can feel when those abilities are limited. Clinical Pilates is a great way to push your limits while still remaining in control, improving every aspect of your physical strength and endurance slowly and steadily.