Pilates was invented in the the early 1900’s by Joseph Pilates. Mr Pilates had multiple medical conditions including asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. The suffering he endured motivated him to get stronger, which eventually established the ground work for his method, originally called “Contrology.” From a sickly kid, he became a professional boxer, circus performer and he even trained police in self defense. He moved to NYC from Germany around 1925 and the first Pilates Reformer was born soon thereafter. So he was living proof of his system and the powers of its strength building capacity. It was his Physical Therapy about the same time in history that the Physical Therapy profession was also coming to life.
After moving to NYC, it was the dance community that found him and embraced his system, which encouraged the use of the mind to control the body with a focused attention on the core postural muscles. With focus on proper breathing and alignment while performing the exercises, it became a tremendous tool to rehabilitate dancers after injury. Pilates exercises were then used to maintain these improvements long term after rehab.
Mr Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 83 due to complications from smoke inhalation from the fire in his studio. Unfortunately, he passed away well before his Pilates Method became a household name. And to all of the Physical Therapist and Pilates Instructors using this system to help clients across the world today, keep up the good work!
Watch this video to see a simple demonstration on the Pilates Reformer.
Check out our website if you would like more information on Pilates and how we use the system for both our Physical Therapy patients and our fitness clients.
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