My answer to the question “Do Pilates work?” is quite simple – YES, and if you ask me What is Pilates? I’d have to say that to me the answer to that question is simple “Pilates is essential”.

30 years now I am working as a Chartered Physiotherapist and have encountered people with all types of pain in all kinds of places, and as I have had my own fair share of pains and aches I am empathetic and inventive in my approach to treatment. I’ve always striven not only to relieve people of their pains but to work out why they got them in the first place and then tried to change the cause of the problem so as to provide effective long term relief.

I have struggled with back pain. I’ve sought treatment from my colleagues, I’ve stretched and I’ve strengthened, I’ve walked and I’ve jogged, I’ve medicated and I’ve iced, but I never fully got on top of the back pain, until I studied pilates.

10 years ago I did the gruelling Stott Pilates course, and qualified with a top grade, as did all of the Chartered physiotherapists doing the course at the time, and my first step after that was to open my own pilates studio. With trepidation I gave my first class, and started my road to permanent relief of pain. The trepidation was uncalled for as some of the participants of that class still attend my intermediate class on a weekly basis as they love it so much.

That was when I really got to grips with providing permanent solutions for my patients, now I was equipped with the tools, not only to thoroughly assess, treat and educate my patients, but also to give them the tools to keep themselves functioning pain-free for years to come.

Pilates works! but how? Basically pilates works by strengthening your deep core muscles while performing functional movements which enable you to use your deep core muscles in all activities you encounter on a daily basis.

Pilates frees up your limb muscles

Pilates frees up your limb muscles

In strengthening the deep core muscles, your moving muscles such as your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors, are offloaded so you become more flexible. Too often these leg muscles, which should be free to make you move and run and play sport, are actually helping to keep you upright because your deep core muscles are on a permanent holiday.

This concept can work for everyone, be they an elite athlete, an amateur soccer league player

, an elderly granny, an office worker, a pregnant lady, a new mother, a lively teenager or your average Joe Bloggs.

The key to success is your pilates instructor! – learning pilates off a video, from your local fitness fanatic who did a days course in pilates, or your buddy who joined the pilates class in the gym down the road, wont give you success. The best instructor has to be the one with the deepest understanding of the anatomy of the body, normal and abnormal movement and all the postural deviances that Chartered Physiotherapists encounter on a daily basis.

Pilates class with chartered physiotherapist

Pilates class with chartered physiotherapist

We frequently have clients who join our classes telling us that they have “done loads of pilates in the past”, and when we palpate their muscles to check that they are working, they realise that they weren’t even engaging their deep core muscles, as they had never been properly instructed how to before.

So yes, the answer to the question is – Pilates do work, but only if you are properly taught, professionally instructed and guided through the exercises, and your deep core muscles are palpated to ensure that the right muscles are being used. Chartered Physiotherapist who have done extra training to become Certified Pilates Instructors will give you the expert instruction you need to develop your deep core strength in a safe effective manner.

Getting out of the bed completely painfree in the morning, standing at a match with no back ache, walking the ploughing championships all day with no pain, shopping till you drop painfree or climbing Croagh Patrick and enjoying it, are all simple things that I didn’t think I’d ever do, but I’ve done them all in the last few years – totally painfree, so YES Pilates does work !