Pilates is a mind body conditioning exercise programme that targets the deep postural muscles of the tummy and spine to improve central core stability and posture. A stable central core is essential for maintaining correct postures and good body balance and control. 
Pilates is a set of low impact, corrective exercises, mainly mat based. It works the whole body, coordinating upper and lower body muscles and your core. When performed correctly and practiced regularly, it changes the body. Pilates combines awareness of deep postural muscles, breathing sequencing, and postural correction with suppleness and flexibility. 
All of the Physiotherapists at the clinic who teach Pilates are trained with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute - APPI. 
The medical world is now recognising the benefits of Pilates for the prevention and rehabilitation of back injuries. By retraining the core stability muscles in the tummy and spine it can prevent recurrence of injuries. Pilates is also used by athletes and dancers, even up to elite level, to improve the quality of their sporting performance by improving core stability. 
Pilates at Bodyworks Physiotherapy Clinic 
You can join a class if you are both a beginner or have done Pilates before. 
Courses are run in six week blocks. Current classes available at: 
Bodyworks Physiotherapy clinic:- 
Monday mornings 9.45 and 11.00 
Monday evenings 5.15, 6.30 and 8.00 
Wednesday morning 11.00 
Thursday evenings 5.30, 6.45 and 8.00 
Friday mornings 9.45 and 11.00 
Courses also available at:- 
St Andrews Hall Stanway: Tuesday evenings 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 
Leavenheath Village Hall: Wednesdays 5:00 and 6:15 
One to one, one to two, one to three and one to four sessions also available at the clinic 
Pilates on the Reformer 
The origins of the Pilates reformer date back to the original Pilates studio in New York in the 1920's and was designed by Joseph Pilates himself. It is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment which looks like a bed with springs, a sliding carriage, ropes and pulleys. The springs provide different levels of resistance as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame. 
Reformer Pilates is a great tool for rehabilitation purposes too as it allows the client to exercise in a horizontal plane of motion and not be vertically loaded and weight bearing through their legs. For example if you have a back injury using the reformer could speed up your recovery through controlled movement. 
The reformer also has long straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame. They can be pulled with legs or arms to move the carriage as well. Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move. 
How Is a Reformer Used? 
The reformer is very versatile, exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perching on the footbar, perching on the shoulder blocks, in other words, the reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in so many different ways with just one piece of equipment. All kinds of exercises are done on the reformer to promote length, strength, flexibility, and balance. 
What Are the Benefits of Pilates Reformer Exercises? 
The reformer offers all the benefits of Pilates including overall strength, flexibility, co-ordination, and balance. These things in turn lead to general improvements like better posture, graceful, efficient movement, and for many, relief from pain associated with conditions such as back pain. 
Exercising with the reformer is possible for anyone, at any level of fitness. 

Who is Pilates suitable for? 

Pilates suits all ages and fitness levels, and is particularly beneficial for those with back pain, poor postures, sports injuries, arthritis, after gynaecological or spinal surgery, and during or after pregnancy. It can also be used to compliment your sports or activity, by improving your deep tummy and spinal muscles. 
Being a Physiotherapist, your Pilates instructor will assess your suitability for Pilates by asking you to complete a registration form prior to commencing a course of Pilates. We will also be very aware of any medical problems and modify the exercises to suit you. 
If you have any concerns please contact one of our Chartered Physiotherapists or your GP before starting your Pilates class. 
Pilates: The man 
Joseph Humbertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He spent his childhood fighting rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Determined to become physically fit and immune to the effects of his ailments Joe studied Yoga, Zen meditation and the rigorous exercise regimes of the ancient Greeks and Romans. 
In 1912, Joe moved to England where he worked as a boxer, circus performer and trained detectives in self defence. World War 1 broke out in 1914 and Joe was interned as a prisoner of war. Here he was first recognized for his expertise in illness prevention. Joe's physical fitness routines are said to have prevented him and his fellow prisoners from contracting the influenza that killed thousands of POW’s. 
While he was a POW Joe trained as a nurse/orderly in a local hospital and was appalled to see so many ill people lying in bed doing no exercise. He devised a gentle exercise program for inpatients under his care. It soon became evident that the patients completing Joe’s exercises were improving faster than other patients. 
In 1926 Joe emigrated to America and married Clara. On arriving in New York, Joe and Clara opened an exercise centre on Eighth Avenue in which Pilates, the man and the technique, grew in popularity. 
Today ‘Pilates’ legacy is carried on by many instructors who have benefited from Joe's original exercise technique.