As a Pilates-based physical therapy rehab facility, we utilize, of course, Pilates equipment. Sports injuries, accidental injuries, overuse injuries and traumatic injuries all benefit from Pilates rehabilitation and basic Physical Therapy treatment.
That means you won’t see any big, hulking pieces of gym equipment, and we’re pretty proud of that, because we get better results in injury recovery with Pilates equipment, free weights or body resistance.
Two of my favorite pieces of Pilates equipment are the Allegro Refomer and the Trapeze Table or Cadillac. Both of these medieval-looking pieces of equipment offer a multitude of exercise for the entire body.
Joseph Pilates originally developed these exercises because he was a sickly child himself. He was interned in a German camp and used what he had, which were springs from the mattresses. This is why Pilates has spring-loaded resistance on all of its pieces of equipment.
The springs offer resistance in both directions and low-load resistance. This work with resistance, rather than using heavy-load weights, is less aggressive on the body and particularly beneficial for treating injuries.
Plus, you can do many of the exercises lying down, as opposed to standing. This is more therapeutic for two reasons. First, when you have an inflamed joint and it hurts to be vertical or weight-bearing, it’s easier to work the muscles around the joint. Secondly, laying down minimizes the amount of swelling that will pool in a joint thereby making the exercises more tolerable and more effective without the backlash of swelling and inflammation from compression, poor circulation, and increased stress in and around the joint.
The beauty of the spring resistance is that you start with core stabilization. Then you do the exercise working against spring resistance and applying elongation, so you are strengthening as well as lengthening. Taking pressure off the joints minimizes irritation, increases stabilization, and allows for more effective muscle activation which gives you more control in movements.
Here are some exercises that we do with the Cadillac and Reformer.
For the Cadillac, the Legs in Straps exercise, which includes both back and side leg lifts, allows the legs to move with control.
On the Reformer, you can do either Arms in Straps or Legs in Straps exercises, with the same controlled motion.
For rehabilitation you need to cater to both joint and tissue inflammation. Pilates-based rehabilitation is all about stretching and strengthening, while also reducing inflammation. Because of the core activation, you get a holistic exercise that benefits more than just the injured body part. Overall, this makes for less stress on the joint, while speeding healing.
Both add up to a quicker and more wholesome recovery, so when you need physical therapy, try to find a clinic that offers holistic treatment, Pilates-based exercises, and Pilates equipment for rehabilitation.