Pilates by Physios – what is the difference?
We are often asked “What is the difference between Physio led Pilates and other types of Pilates at gyms, people’s houses etc.?”
Below we have summarised the key aspects to consider.
Level of Training of a Health Professional
The major difference is the extent of knowledge and training that a Physiotherapist has – which allows them to modify, adjust and choose safe and appropriate exercises for the individual.
A qualified Physiotherapist has a minimum four-year university degree. Combined with post graduate clinical experience, this leads to Physiotherapists becoming experts in anatomy, movement and injury management. Pilates is then used as one of many solutions that a Physiotherapist may prescribe depending on the needs of the client and the clients goals.
In comparison, qualifications for a typical Pilates Instructor varies widely. Unlike Physiotherapy which is closely regulated, there are no regulations regarding the minimum standard of training a Pilates Instructor must have. Some instructors may have a full Personal Training certificate or Exercise Degree whilst others may have completed a simple weekend introductory course.
Catering to Individual Bodies and Injuries
Both forms of Pilates are great ways to improve strength and flexibility. However, regular Pilates cannot consider an individual’s injuries, medical history, and specific needs to the same level of detail as a trained Physiotherapist can.
This is why our Members first complete a thorough Initial assessment and introduction period to ensure that the program within classes is specifically adapted to individual needs.
The specific choice of Pilates exercises that you do is the difference between a routine that works and one that doesn’t.
Suitability / safety
A fit and healthy person with no injuries or medical conditions that exercises regularly can benefit and enjoy a typical Pilates class just as they can safely participate in a most gym/ personal training/ circuit classes.
An individual with medical conditions, injuries, is pre or post natal or hasn’t exercised in a while will be safer in a Physiotherapy based class. Despite activities such as Yoga and Pilates being perceived as gentle, there is still a significant risk of injury if performed incorrectly or prescribed without consideration of the individual’s specific condition.
For example, for a person with back pain due to a disc bulge, there are certain Pilates exercises that a Physiotherapist would avoid. For back pain due to a different issue, such as a joint sprain, those exercises would be fine and different exercises would need to be avoided.
A Physiotherapist has the knowledge to make this clinical judgement.
Similarly, Clinical Pilates is great for Pregnant women. However, there are some exercises that can increase risk of prolapse, pelvic floor issues, abdominal separation or place the baby at risk.
A Physiotherapist has a thorough understanding of which exercises to avoid ensuring safety.
Improved Performance and Results
Physiotherapists are experts in movement analysis. If you are looking to take up Pilates to help your performance in other activities such as sport or even simple day to day activities, then a Physiotherapist is best suited to analyse your current movement and any specific limitations, or weaknesses that may be impairing your ability to perform. They can then set a program that is specific to you giving you quicker, better results.
Cost varies for different classes. Generally a Physiotherapy based class will be more expensive to account for the higher level of expertise and specific healthcare of the Physiotherapist.
However, if you are seeking Pilates as a rehab option for an injury that is covered by ACC a Physiotherapy 1-on-1 Pilates program may work out cheaper and is more likely to cater for the specific needs of your injury than a general Pilates class.
This is because Physiotherapy based Pilates is recognised as an evidenced based, proven method to treat injuries and enhance function.
If you have any further questions or are interested in joining our classes, please don’t hesitate to contact our clinic.