Pilates For People with Disabilities

Sep 24, 2013
Tagged with: Pilates For People with Disabilities

“Pilates cannot be performed by a person with physical disability or injury” is a widespread myth. The reality is quite the opposite. Pilates is implemented as a physical alternative therapy in various rehabilitation centers. Most people picture aerobics or high intensity movements when Pilates is discussed. There are more than 500 Pilates exercises and most of them have smooth movements and can be performed without standing or sitting.

Whether you succumb to a disability by birth or as a result of an accident, Pilates exercises can speed up the healing process and facilitate recovery. It is a tool that strengthens the core and enables us to achieve self awareness. The function of Pilates doesn’t really change for patients with disabilities. In fact, the pilates spine corrector exercises can reduce back pain and improve the flexibility of the spine.

I was recently introduced to the idea of Pilates when I was searching for a recovery system for patients of hyotonia – a condition that slows child development. The problem is that these patients have a weak trunk which makes it hard for them to crawl or stand up. However, it’s not a totally untreatable condition. Pilates rehab therapy can strengthen the muscles surrounding the core and this goes for all individuals who have back problems or spinal injuries. 

In a person without a disability, every movement is initiated and controlled by our trunks. Joseph Pilates realized this a century ago and devised an exercise routine exclusively for the core strength and flexibility. Here are some reasons why Pilates is an excellent choice of rehab therapy for everyone especially a person with a disability.

Stabilizes and strengthens the core

Almost half of the Pilates mat exercises are performed with stomach muscles. The smooth and co-ordinated movements improve circulation. Ultimately the posture is improved, and the person has more ease in sitting straight and independent.

Standing not required

Since most Pilates exercises can be performed while sitting or lying on the bed, it’s an excellent choice for anyone who hates to get out of bed just to exercise. It’s safe to try some Pilates exercises when you are on the bed. For those with bone injuries, the road to recovery is long and quite painful. Pilates is an art of healing that relieves pain and you don’t have to stand or take awkward positions to perform them.

Relieves stress from pressure points

Some Pilates  exercises are aimed at relieving stress from pressure points. These are regions where muscles loses their flexibility. For instance if a person remains seated for long durations, the muscles around the lower spine get stiff.  In case of people with disabilities, the spine needs correction. Pilates offers flexibility to the muscles surrounding the spine. This improves posture and relieves pain from pressure regions. Only by correct breathing and co-ordinated movements, stress can be relieved from various pressure points.

Articles and links for more information:

http://www.nchpad.org/20/References/69599

http://www.ncpad.org/295/1834/Yoga~for~Individuals~with~Disabilities


Author: Katy Reeve