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Osteopathy and Pilates: The Perfect Balance?

Katie Clayton joined our team of Osteopaths 5 years ago. A keen dancer from a young age, she has experienced how strengthening movement is a key part of maintaining a healthy and active life. She finds enormous satisfaction helping patients find their way out of pain, back to health and mobility. As with all treatment, Osteopathy can only take the patient so far before the body has to take over and be strong and flexible enough to maintain a healthy state. Katie always focuses on looking for tools to enable patients to achieve their goals and live full lives beyond the treatment room.

Katie says: I have noticed a significant proportion of patients, of all fitness levels, returning periodically with reoccurring symptoms in their ‘trouble areas’. Even if treatment provides relief and exercises and lifestyle / posture advice initially keep symptoms at bay, triggers in their lives force the cycle to repeat. Some may not even fully leave their symptom cycle.

Many triggers are essential parts of their lives e.g. driving long distances for work or feeding their baby. Others are side-effects of a treasured hobby like sewing or a sporting passion like tennis.

Awkward postures and asymmetrical activity can cause muscle imbalances pulling joints off their ideal axis. It is thought this ultimately causes repeated microtrauma, stiffness and pain. To prevent or recover from this joints and muscles need retraining to ensure good biomechanical timing and patterning, so the flow of movement is correct.

It has long been known that Pilates is an excellent way to combat these imbalances for all round strength and flexibility as it uses natural, functional planes of movement. Through my own personal experience and my patients’ positive reports, Pilates has become my ‘No. 1’ when suggesting safe onward exercise.

What is Pilates?

“Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility, muscular strength and endurance movements… Pilates emphasises proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.” Mayo Clinic 2016.

How to avoid getting injured

Before starting any new exercise programme you should consult your doctor (especially if you have any underlying conditions affecting the heart or lungs). Getting looked over by one of our Osteopaths would also be recommended, as they will be able to highlight areas of weakness or tightness that may affect you as you start running.

Pilates is still based upon the 6 core principles of: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath and Flow developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s.

Whilst Pilates is suitable for many, it is not for all, so seek advice from your health practitioner on whether it is right for you and disclose your relevant health history to your instructor.

Achieving a balance

Osteopathy and Pilates share a love of quality, functional movement – perfect partners in supporting your health. Osteopathy can help release tensions, ease joint and soft tissue movement and improve circulation which accelerates the body’s road to recovery. Pilates can then rehabilitate after injury and prevent future pain using exercise that strengthens and balances joints and re-teaches good biomechanics.

Pilates comes in a range of styles and levels and finding the right class is key to your success. We have compiled a list of local classes with a brief synopsis of what to expect. If you would like a copy of this list, or would like to make sure your class is on it, please call into The Odiham Clinic.