Articles and further reading: Pilates, Massage, Counselling and Psychotherpy

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Pilates in The Office

bodimind-centre-pilates-in-the-office-stretchesNo matter how much we enjoy working in an office invariably we will spend long stretches of time sitting or not moving very much. Being inactive or sitting in front of a computer, can be one of the most detrimental things we can do to ourselves.

Think about the sitting position for a moment, flexed on our joints and shortening our hip flexors, abdominals, slumping back muscles, forward head, the list goes on. Attention to our posture and positioning is crucial from day to day.

Taking regular Pilates sessions will give you targeted attention to your specific needs and working progressively on long term strengthening and postural correction. Pilates sessions in a studio with a qualified instructor will give you the most benefit. Along with structured consistent Pilates practice it is of great importance to do regular, short sequences that will help to change your postural patterns during working hours. So… don’t want to be the talk of the office by doing Pilates on the floor?

Talk to your instructor about a sequence, but in the meantime you could try these office inspired exercises, compliments of Estelle, editor-in-Chief of Smart Healthy Women Magazine, to start you on your way:

1. “Hands clasped behind your head, press the base of your skull into your hands to lengthen and draw the neck into good alignment, inhale to extend your upper back upwards and backwards, using the back of the chair to help you bend in the upper or thoracic spine. Keep your ribs and abdominals drawing in and shoulders released.

2. Keeping an upright torso and hands clasped behind the head position alternate side banding and rotations, always with moving from the abdominals and ribs drawing in, pelvis stable and using an exhale for each movement”.

Do these regularly to help with movement patterns, muscle release, torso control, circulation and a lot of other benefits. You will be more productive too.

Happy days in the office!

The Healing Power Of Pilates

Source: Vol. 30, Issue 4, 2012/13 Dr. Hamish Osborne, “Breast cancer treatment needs a lesson in Exercise.” 

“It is more than a decade since the World Health Organisation declared there was sufficient human evidence to say physical activity has a significant effect on the prevention of breast cancer”

Why then would any of us as Pilates practitioners be reading the Australasian College of sports physicians latest journal?  Well, I do as I am a member of Sports Medicine and may I say that from time to time, included in their research, are absolute gems for the Pilates instructor.   From a journal such as this one, we would expect that general practitioners would now be prescribing activity to all inactive men and women.  

So why does activity help?  Movement  or Pilates in particular, can  broken down into small pieces using springs and the change of ‘body’ gravity.  Adapting body restraints such as gravity helps degrees of freedom which must be controlled by the nervous system. It doesn’t matter if the client wants to jump, run, walk or whatever Pilates can use equipment (or the instructor’s experience) to design an appropriate load to support a particular limb or trunk while it heals.  In other words we are re-educating the body system. The Pilates environment is conductive to designing task oriented interventions. 

The bad effects of not enough physical activity and too much inactivity aren’t new and trendy – get on and use physical activity as a powerful tool in your arsenal and get others to do so. 

Come on people, at the Bodimind centre we prescribe plenty of activity. 

Bring and friend and have a complete workout in our small and intimate studio.  

For Rehabilitation

Pilates For Rehabilitation

"Pilates is extremely useful for helping people to recover from injuries from accidents and sport, especially soft tissue damage."

Whether you have a back or neck injury, or problems with hamstrings,knees, hips or piriformis syndrome, we can assist you with a slow and gentle recovery program. Our practitioners work with clients, their doctors and rehabilitation providers to provide individualised programs using a range of Pilates resistance equipment.

Pilates is a safe exercise program for rehabilitation that can be easily altered depending on the extent of injury and the client’s flexibility. Not only does Pilates help resolve muscle injury, it helps the body regain its full functional movement and increases strength and flexilbity - all important to help prevent against future injury.

Want to know more? Contact the Team at Bodimind Centre Here


Does Pilates over-cue the core?

Bodimind Centre has trained numerous Pilates students over the years. The diversity of ideas and training they bring with them adds value to the centre and fully qualified staff by keeping up with the latest trends and learnings and it gives us a unique understanding of the growth and the exciting research going on in Pilates worldwide.

Qualified instructors are required to maintain their knowledge on Pilates, this can be achieved through articles of interest that help with answering methods that are questioned either watching students go through their repertoire or from client feedback.

The latest snippet that caught our attention was from the “Pilates Coreterly”, published in California, USA and written by Lindy Royer; an Aussie lass who moved to Colorado some years ago - She has asked this question…

“Do we, as Pilates instructors, ‘over cue the core’?”

The “core” is something people have always had. It’s not something new but it is important, and Pilates teachers especially, have a deep understanding of the core… or do we? I have heard, “Squeeze your tummy until it feels like a dish rag” or, “Pull your belly button to your spine” and an assortment of other encouragements given to instructors and clients. 

The core, according to spine research is comprised of the muscles and connective tissue that corsets the spine and supports it. That is, the pelvic floor,
the diaphragm, multifidus and the transverses abdominis, called the inner unit. These muscles, as we know, can be disrupted by pain or the fear of pain (which isn’t much different really). Either way there is some sort of miscommunication happening especially when there is pain or the memory of pain. Hence we have superficial muscles such as the external obliques, rectus dominus and long back muscles doing the job that the deep core should optimally be doing.

As the Bodimind Centre is committed to providing the best information to increase the wellbeing of our clients we will be visiting the Lansdowne Physiotherapists to put this new theory to the test.

Stay tuned for further details….

Arwen McCutcheon, Director

Real Men Do Pilates!

If you think pilates is just for women, don't tell the New Zealand All Blacks, the Professional Footballers Association or the thousands of men worldwide who use Pilates to improve their fitness and wellbeing!

Read more about Pilates for Men at:

The curriculum the Bodimind centre uses is based on the principles of movement common to most rehabilitation professionals, and clinical reasoning skills within the Pilates environment. Such organization has made it easier to understand and integrate the benefits of Pilates for rehabilitation professionals. Each principle contains fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor learning, and bioenergetics. This outline allows therapists who have patients and clients with a variety of movement impairments to use a much broader application to implement Pilates. Pilates rehabilitation is no longer limited to just orthopedics but benefits individuals with neurological impairments, cardiopulmonary restrictions, chronic pain, women’s health needs, performance enhancement needs, arthritic impairments, and other movement dysfunctions.

Breath is one of the key elements of Pilates training. Breath is thought to be a facilitator for stabilization and mobilization of the spine and extremities. Faulty breath patterns can be responsible for common complaints of pain and movement dysfunction. Pilates movements create an environment whereby breath is facilitated to increase the efficiency of breath exchange, increase breath capacity, and facilitate thoracic postural changes thought to be a causative factor in common cervical and lumbar pathologies. The Pilates approach to breathing varies depending on which school of Pilates you graduate from, but one element in common is that breath is an integral part of each exercise.

Axial elongation/core control:
The principle of stabilization and axial elongation greatly relies on research from Queensland, Australia. Such studies demonstrate that the transverses abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm, and abdominal oblique muscles are key organization muscles of movement in healthy individuals with historical low back pain.

Motor control studies and theories of trunk organization and stabilization show that sub-threshold contraction of global stabilization muscles can provide safe movement throughout daily activities. Sahrmann relates control of the trunk to a balance of stiffness between muscles, in order to provide efficient control of dynamic posture.

Axial elongation is thought to organize the spine in its optimal orientation for efficient movement, thus avoiding resting or working at the end of range, which can place undue stresses on the inert and contractile structures of the trunk and extremities. The above organization of spine and extremities also provides optimal potential for performance of sport and leisure activities. With an ever-growing population interested in feeling good and performing daily activities and recreation without the risk of injury, this principle is a high priority and could account for many of the anecdotal spontaneous resolutions of low back pain with Pilates.

Pilates exercises have an innate way of facilitating trunk organization at a subconscious level, allowing the individual to explore and assimilate more efficient control of the trunk. These clinical observations warrant scientific investigation.

Pilates also provides an environment where the difficulty of the exercise can be modified, thus facilitating successful execution of a desired movement outcome. The use of springs allows assistance, the tables allow the practitioner to lower the center of gravity and increase base of support, and all the exercises can be modified by changing the length of the levers. This formula allows the therapist to facilitate motor changes of the trunk quickly.

Efficient organization of head, neck, and shoulder girdle:
This principle allows the patient to organize and relax the head, neck, and shoulder girdle in relationship to the thoracic spine. Many restrictions and stress can occur in this area. Increasing awareness of the head, face, neck, and shoulder girdle in relation to the trunk can significantly increase efficiency of movement and diminish unwanted energy expenditures. Correct organization and facilitation of the upper extremity in relationship to the trunk can also prevent potentially harmful forces from causing injury to the shoulder joint and surrounding structures.

Spine articulation:
The distribution of segmental movement through the spine is a topic researchers are anxious to measure. Does distributing the motion between spinal segments significantly reduce stressful forces from causing micro and macro traumas to the hypermobile segment? Currently, there are no instruments that can measure this accurately.

Alignment and posture:
Postural organization can significantly improve energy expenditure in daily activities. Looking down at the ground while walking will cause much more expenditure of energy than when looking forward. Pilates not only pays attention to static alignment and posture but also, and more importantly, to dynamic posture and alignment. With a device called the rotating T-bar, a therapist can measure weight-bearing asymmetries while squatting. Using the closed chain foot bar on all reformers can assess asymmetries between hip rotators as they apply to alignment through a squatting range of motion. These diagnostic and treatment applications in the Pilates environment allow rehabilitation practitioners to better assess and treat alignment impairments not only in the lower extremity but also in the upper extremity and trunk.

Movement integration:
Not only does Pilates affect people physically, but also emotionally. When experiencing movement integration, the patient often feels an emotional release. According to master clinicians, this type of behavior is seen or expressed quite often. If movement integration is allowed to be expanded beyond just the musculoskeletal and to incorporate the entire person, including the mind, emotions, subconscious, spirit, and physical body with its digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and reproductive systems, then this is true movement integration of the entire person.

Movement systems such as Pilates, tai chi, yoga, Feldenkrais, and Gyrotonic expansion that incorporate the movement of the whole person will continue to receive more and more attention because of the great results. Rehabilitation sciences need to look for other ways of measuring outcomes as they pertain to movement of the whole person. Studies on perception of self through movement, depression scales as they pertain to perception of ability to move or inability to move, and communication of disability through movement patterns are examples of possible directions that movement research might go.

Pilates is now being subjected to multi-faceted research and is likely to become commonplace for rehabilitation experts around the world. Many are not waiting for the research, but are quickly integrating Pilates-evolved exercises into their practices and reaping the benefits.

Arwen McCutcheon

Why Live In Pain?

"Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise that will tone and strengthen your muscles without stressing the joints or the heart."

A large number of people live with pain on a daily basis suffering from:
- back injuries;
- sciatica;
- repetitive strain injury;
- neck pain;
- shoulder injury; and
- knee and hip problems.

Most of these injuries are from over-used and over-stretched muscles or simply from bad posture over a period of time.
A regular Pilates exercise program, designed specifically for the injury, can help clients become pain free and allow a freedom of movement not experienced for years.

By stetching muscles regularly, pain is reduced, tension is released - all leading to increased strength and stamina and often much better sleeping patterns.

To find out how the Bodimind Centre can help you, contact the Team here


Attention Golf Enthusiasts: A professional’s hidden weapon!

Pilates has been popular with dancers, footballers (the all Blacks), soccer players and basketballers for many years now. Yes guys, “real men do Pilates” but do golf enthusiasts practice Pilates? Apparently so!!! Recently I came across an article in a Health and Fitness magazine written by Michael Court. Michael had been talking to Gold Coast based ALPG star, Verity Knight.

Verity waxes lyrical about how her golf swing has improved and her flexibility amazing and its all due to Pilates.

A lot of golfers suffer with lower back issues due to leaning forward which switches off the core. Not using the core puts extra weight into the lumber and
therefore the spine. Having strength through the core not only helps with the golf swing but is great for the well-being of the golf enthusiast.

Pilates emphasizes building strength, flexibility, posture, balance and coordination. These are all strengths that any golfer requires in order to increase
his level of golfing success, plus Pilates golf stretching exercises add energy and stamina. The following stretches are some of the key to avoiding lower back pain injuries.

  • Wall Roll down
  • The saw
  • Mermaid stretch
  • Pilates arc for hip internal rotation and hip extension
  • Parallel on the foam roller for scapular stabilization while the spine moves
  • into spinal extension and rotation.
  • The reformer, Skating strengthens legs and hips.

And much more…


Arwen McCutcheon

Support For Illness

"Pilates is not only a great activity for a healthy lifestyle, but also an important aspect for recovery from illness."

There are significant number of chronic illnesses that can benefit from a structured Pilates exercise program including:
• Arthritis;
• Incontinence;
• Multiple Schlerosis;
• Parkinsons Disease;
• Osteoporosis;
• Scolioses; and
• Fibromyalgia.

Sufferers with symptoms of stiffness, slowness of movement, joint pain, weakened pelvic floor muscles, loss of balance and bad posture can be helped with a gentle exercise program.

Pilates will help them to:
- rebuild core muscles strength;
- provide greater overall stability;
- improve balance and body awareness;
- improve muscle elasticity/joint mobility;
- reduce joint pain and stabilise hypermobile joints; and
- emphasise proper breathing and therefore help to alleviate stress.

To find out how Pilates can assist you, contact the Bodimind Team Here


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