Pilates vs Physical Therapy? What Is The Difference Between Physical Therapy And Pilates?

All right. How’s it going everybody? It’s Stephen with CORE Therapy & Pilates in Austin, Texas. Today I wanted to answer a quick question that I got in the clinic just last week, right before the holiday

… And, I was working with a client, it was what his free discovery session where he came in. He had been referred to me by his wife who I’d seen several years ago for some hip and back issues. He saw a surgeon who basically said, “Go to PR and if PT doesn’t work, we’ll do some surgery.”

He didn’t really understand that PT was, and when he was in here I was discussing our program and how we help solve back pain. I was going over physical therapy and I was going over how we use Pilates as a part of our treatment plan. I was able to basically discuss this whole longterm plan of how we help people avoid those surgeries and avoid pain pills. And he was a little confused because he just didn’t really understand what Pilates was. It wasn’t something he was seeking or searching. He wasn’t seeking or searching physical therapy either.

He asked me the question after we were going through the full discussion and he says, “Well, what’s the difference between physical therapy and Pilates?” And I was like, “Oh, that’s a great question. Let me explain because I want you to understand what this whole process is about.”

And so, how I answer was, “Well, physical therapy is a form of allied health.” I specialize in manual therapy in an outpatient setting and I utilize Pilates exercises and Pilates concepts for my form of rehab. So as a physical therapist, I get to pick and choose any type of exercise, any type of modality, any type of way that I feel is appropriate for treating my patients, and then I discussed Pilates.

I said, “Okay, physical therapy is this side of the business. That’s where I use my hands. That’s what I do manual therapy, that’s where I teach you homework, and that’s where I teach you how to lift properly and improve your posture.”

Now, through that process, I’m going to be teaching you Pilates exercises. Now let’s talk about Pilates. Well, what is this Pilates. Pilates is a form of exercise that’s been around since the early 1900s. The first patent on the Pilates equipment, the Reformer was in 1926 or ’27, I think ’27. And so the actual field of physical therapy and the actual field of Pilates, these are about the same age. They’ve came around about the same time, so physical therapy and Pilates two different worlds, but in my world they merged and came together once I learned Pilates and I started to implementing Pilates with all of my physical therapy patients.

That was my answer to him. I explained that some people come to us for Pilate for fitness or for exercise, and they don’t come for us for PT and they join our Pilates classes, and that some people come to us for physical therapy because they have back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or whatever. And then once they see me for physical therapy, I get their mechanics improved. I get their muscles improved. Then I move them over to work with my Pilates trainers for a longterm treatment plan.

So with that said, I just wanted to ask that question, and for me, there’s really not a difference between physical therapy and Pilates. It’s how we get people better. It’s not a this or that, but we combine the two, and it is physical therapy with what I do with my hands, and it is a longterm is with what my trainers do, and in a situation where they can do it one on one or they can do it in a group class.

So with that said, if you’re interested in getting more information about our Pilates program, visit our Pilates page and click the YELLOW Button. I’ll send you a little free guide that we’ve put together on the reasons why you should do Pilates. If you’re interested in some physical therapy side of what we do, then CLICK HERE and push the YELLOW BUTTON… and I’ll get you this little free guide with some tips on how to eliminate back pain.

So, those are some things that I wanted to go over today. I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and is getting ready for the new year. We are back in action today, we’ve got some clients today, tomorrow, and Friday, so if you need to get in for some physical therapy, Pilates, or Gyrotonic, give us a call, (512) 215-4227.

We’ll talk to you all real soon. Thanks a lot. Have a fantastic day. Peace.

Stephen Dunn

Co-Owner / Physical Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Stephen graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 1998 from LSUMC in New Orleans. Immediately interested in hands on therapy, he began to study with known manual therapist Brian Mulligan and became certified in the Maitland Australian Approach in 2003. Stephen completed a comprehensive Pilates training in Santa Monica at retroFit Pilates in 2002 and is Certified through The Pilates Method Alliance. The combined treatment of manual therapy with mind body awareness exercises using Pilates concepts was the start of his whole body treatment approach.
Stephen Dunn

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