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A1 Pilates Blog:
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Clinical Studies about Pilates Therapy

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An individualized clinical Pilates program produced similar beneficial effects on self-reported disability, pain, function and health-related quality of life as a general exercise program in community volunteers with chronic low back pain.

All participants attended 60-min exercise sessions twice weekly for 6 wk supervised by a physiotherapist and performed daily home exercises that were continued during the follow-up. Participants from the clinical Pilates group received an individualized direction-specific exercise program prescribed by the physiotherapist after a clinical examination. The general exercise group received a generic set of exercises that were multidirectional and nonspecific. Outcomes were assessed after 6 wk (primary time point) and at 12 and 24 wk. Differences in mean change were compared between groups using ANCOVA adjusted for baseline values of the outcome.

Results of a Pilates study provide high-quality evidence on the usefulness of Pilates-based exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain.

The objective of this paper is to present a study protocol to investigate the efficacy of adding Pilates-based exercises to a minimum intervention in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.
86 participants between ages 18 and 60 will be randomly allocated into 2 treatment groups: the Booklet Group, which will receive a booklet with postural orientations, and the Pilates Group, which will receive the same booklet in addition to a Pilates-based exercises program.
The Pilates method was developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates and consists of comprehensive body conditioning for the development of the body and mind that promotes better body awareness and improves posture.5,24 It is based on the philosophy and principles of Asian cultures, drawing on activities like meditation, yoga, and martial arts to control muscles by performing movements while maintaining as much awareness as possible.32,33 The exercises mainly involve isometric contractions of the powerhouse, which is the muscular center responsible for the static and dynamic stabilization of the body. These exercises are considered to be similar to spinal stabilization exercises. During isotonic exercises, the powerhouse strength center is activated during exhalation, when there is demand for contraction of the multifidus, transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, and diaphragm muscles, with the goal of reducing joint compression and altering the pelvic tilt.1,2,33

Equipment-based Pilates was superior to mat Pilates in the 6-month follow-up for the outcomes of disability and kinesiophobia.

The Pilates method has been widely used to treat patients with chronic low back pain. Pilates exercises can be performed in 2 ways: by using specific equipment or without it (also known as mat Pilates). There are no studies, however, that have compared the effectiveness of mat Pilates with that of equipment-based Pilates.
The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of mat Pilates and equipment-based Pilates in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.
The primary outcomes were pain intensity and disability. The secondary outcomes were global perceived effect, patient’s specific disability, and kinesiophobia. A blinded assessor evaluated the outcomes at baseline and 6 weeks and 6 months after randomization.

A 6-week Pilates exercise program is beneficial to patients who are prone to falls, and resulted in significant improvements in their balance and mobility and greater confidence with activities of daily living (ADLs). January 2013

Postural instability (PI) and falls are a major problem in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) and are poorly responsive to dopaminergic medications [1-3]. The cses of PI are multifactorial and include axial rigidity, bradykinesia, freezing, impaired sensorimotor integration and cognitive function [4-7]. One of the factors contributing to PI is reduced truncal flexibility due to axial rigidity, which tends to worsen as the disease progresses [8,9]. Pilates is a type of exercise therapy that aims to improve flexibility and axial stability by strengthening the core musculature of the body and is based on the performance of coordinated movement sequences rather than simple repetitive movements as in other exercise programs [10,11]. Pilates has been shown to improve balance in elderly individuals.

Data suggessts that a Pilates exercise program improves shoulder abduction and external rotation ROM in women who are recovering from breast cancer treatments. April 2008

Visual analyses of the data suggest a modest effect of the Pilates exercise program in improving shoulder abduction and external rotation ROM. Statistically significant improvement in shoulder internal and external rotation in the affected UE was shown for the one participant with pre-existing metastatic disease. The improving baselines seen for pain, mood, and UE function data made it impossible to assess the effects of Pilates exercises on those outcomes. No adverse events were experienced.

Pilates improves muscle endurance, flexibility, balance, and posture. March 2010.

This study demonstrated that in active middle-aged men and women, exposure to Pilates exercise for 12 weeks, for two 60-minute sessions per week, was enough to promote statistically significant increases in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper-body muscular endurance. Participants did not demonstrate improvements in either posture or balance when compared with the control group. Exercise-training programs that address physical inactivity concerns and that are accessible and enjoyable to the general public are a desirable commodity for exercise and fitness trainers. This study suggests that individuals can improve their muscular endurance and flexibility using relatively low-intensity Pilates exercises that do not require equipment or a high degree of skill and are easy to master and use within a personal fitness routine.

A Pilates exercise program can have a positive impact on the gait of elderly participants, potentially by enhancing neuromuscular adjustment, which may have positive implications for reducing their fall risk. December 2016.

Three-dimensional motion analysis was performed on both groups to evaluate the effects of the Pilates exercise. [Results] There was no significant difference in the joint variability of the ankle, knee, and hip joints between the groups, both before training and after training. However, there was a significant increase in the hip-knee deviation phase value in the exercise group after the program was completed, and this increase was also significant when compared with that in the control group.

Pilates and McKenzie training reduced pain in patients with chronic low back pain, but the Pilates training more effectively improved general health. January 2017.

BACKGROUND:

Today, chronic low back pain is one of the special challenges in healthcare. There is no unique approach to treat chronic low back pain. A variety of methods are used for the treatment of low back pain, but the effects of these methods have not yet been investigated adequately.

AIM:

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of Pilates and McKenzie training on pain and general health of men with chronic low back pain.

RESULTS:

After therapeutic exercises, there was no significant difference between Pilates and McKenzie groups in pain relief (P = 0.327). Neither of the two methods was superior over the other for pain relief. However, there was a significant difference in general health indexes between Pilates and McKenzie groups.

CONCLUSION:

Pilates and McKenzie training reduced pain in patients with chronic low back pain, but the Pilates training was more effective to improve general health.

The Pilates breathing technique increases the electromyographic amplitude level of the deep abdominal muscles in untrained people. January 2015.

Objective

To evaluate the behaviour of the upper rectus abdominis, lower rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis/internal oblique (TrA/IO) by using surface electromyography during trunk flexion with and without the Pilates breathing technique.

Conclusion

The breathing technique of the Pilates method associated with trunk flexion increases TrA/IO electrical activity.

Pilates Exercise Training should be taken into account as a way to improve quality of life in the elderly, due to the imparted benefits of fall prevention, physical fitness, and mood states. June 2015.

This systematic review aims to summarize the effects of Pilates exercise training (PET) in elderly population on physical fitness, balance and fall prevention, and its effects on mood states, quality of life and independence in the daily living activities.

CONCLUSIONS:

PET should be taken into account as a way to improve quality of life in the elderly, due to the imparted benefits of fall prevention, physical fitness, and mood states. In this context, physicians might include PET as a tool for exercise prescriptions for the elderly.

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