Jump to content

Pilates & Pain...?

Posted by Carole Amend, in Continuing Education 17 February 2012 · 1,898 views

pilates & somatics Bodies Mind® Program of Study Continuing Education pain pilates & neuroscience
This is a continuation of a post I made in response to a question by reb in the Arrogance Or Foolishness To Think That I Was "above" Having Back Problems thread.

Simply stated: Pain is a really complex issue, and neuroscience is not part of the curriculum for pilates instructors.
So, if instructors can’t consistently be expected to get people out of pain, then, it stands to reason why some would argue that, collectively, they perhaps shouldn’t advertise pain relief/alleviation as a benefit of pilates. And to be fair, the reality that bodyworkers and medical professionals can’t either should be duly noted; they just tend to claim more “expertise,” naming “evidence-based research” as the source (although, I probably should admit here that I place my bets on, that is, my bias rests with, the neuroscience crowd ; ). That said, it's clear that the public often welcomes and values "anecdotal evidence" as well. When it's left up to the public to figure out what all this means, a "raised-eyebrow" response--from people who think that practitioners ought never be in pain--shouldn't be a surprise.

I am also not at all surprised when someone’s response to the word "pilates" isn’t in alignment with my definition. The public, (and I am including professionals in other fields) has all kinds of ideas on the meaning of the term “pilates.” I take the opportunity to inform them what “pilates” means to me….and, I also educate teachers to know and understand the full scope and possibility of our practice so they can begin a conversation/dialogue with their clients. The subject of pain has continued to fascinate me for my entire career; that's actually a huge reason why I still teach "pilates." Teaching people how to develop a better relationship between their body-mind and gravity has resulted in many benefits to my clients, on levels far beyond the body.

As an fyi to movement teachers...the buzz in the professional realm these days is about using "biopsychosocial" models. Last year, there was a discussion that created a stir as a result of an article by Professor Eyal Lederman entitled, "THE FALL OF THE POSTURAL-STRUCTURAL-BIOMECHANICAL MODEL IN MANUAL AND PHYSICAL THERAPIES: EXEMPLIFIED BY LOWER BACK PAIN." Inquisitive minds can find a free download here. Lederman wrote a shortened version for The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, to which several prominent professionals responded, including Stuart McGill. This is an ongoing discussion that's been a focus of mine for many, many years...definitely a topic for another day.
[See the Bodies Mind link under my signature below; the Bodies Mind Academy curriculum links biomechanics, neurophysiology, and communication for movement teachers and enthusiasts. By definition, our curriculum borders a biopsychosocial model in content and intent, clearly outlining ethical and scope of practice boundaries.]

For enthusiasts who are interested in more about pain and perception, visit my Bodies Mind youtube channel and check out this fantastic TED talk by Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, Lorimer Moseley, on "Why Things Hurt." It is well worth the view!
Let me know what you think!
While there, please peruse some of the other topics I inform clients about as well. The more clients are educated, the more the full scope (and boundaries) of what I teach my clients is made clear. The more I explain my definition of "pilates" to clients, the more I find I am also met with raised eyebrows...from excited interest and curiosity!

-Carole : )
Bodies Mind Studio & Academy

4/3/12 Edit to add:
See also:
The Whole Body Vs. Core Debate
Edit to refresh links


  • Report

Search My Blog

Note To Readers

In order to access the links I have included, please:
Go to your Profile page>
(upper right corner) Edit my Profile>
(left side) Your options>
View/Posting/Email Prefs>
Topic Display Mode
and choose "Outline"

Note: For some links, I have also included the post number for those in standard mode.


>Bodies Mind® Program of Study
>AASI Contributions Blog >The Greater Pilates Community
>AIM Academy Forum (A PCDB Archives Forum June 2009-June 2011)
see my 6-21-11 entry, Coming Full Circle & Summer Spirals on the
AASI Contributions Blog