woman in pilates exercise clothesPilates has long been popular with Hollywood celebrities, gymnast and dancers because it helps create the long and lean look so many people chase after. But did you know that pilates has a strong history as a rehabilitation therapy?

Pilates was actually originally designed by Joseph H. Pilates to treat injured and bedridden soldiers during the First World War.

Although it was originally developed for rehabilitation purposes, pilates soon became more popular with dancers, gymnasts, and celebrities seeking the long and lean look.

Pilates for Rehabilitation Therapy

Why is pilates a good choice as part of rehabilitation therapy? Pilates is effective in rehabilitation therapy because its focus on controlled movements and breathing can greatly ease pain, stiffness, and rigid joints.

Pilates is also a popular choice for rehabilitation therapy because it is very versatile. Almost any move can be adjusted for the needs of the patient.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using pilates as part of your rehabilitation therapy.

Pilates has been much lauded in helping patients who suffer from neck and back pain. Chronic back pain is a problem for many, and recent studies have demonstrated that pilates can be used to treat the stiffness and discomfort associated with back pain. Pilates helps by increasing circulation and flexibility.


Pilates may also be beneficial in treating shoulder impingement and tendonitis. Hip bursitis and sciatica have also responded very positively to regular pilates practice. Another condition that has been shown to respond positively to pilates is Multiple Sclerosis.

Pilates can help by improving the patient’s flexibility and mobility through the practice of controlled and focused movements. Individuals who have received total hip or knee replacements may also greatly benefit from pilates.

Pilates can help restore the fluidity and flexibility that is lost after hip or knee replacements. Parkinson’s Disease and Scoliosis are conditions that may also benefit from regular pilates practice.


Almost all arthritis patients can also experience relief from the pain and stiffness of this condition through the practice of pilates. Pilates can help relieve the loss of range of movement that many arthritis patients experience as a result of their condition.

Who else can benefit from pilates? Almost anyone who has sustained some kind of injury can benefit from pilates. Ankle and knee injuries are two common forms of injuries that can be treated successfully through regular pilates practice.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists have started to integrate pilates into their patient’s therapy programs with much success. The demand for pilates has grown so large, in fact, that many rehabilitation centers have begun to provide full service pilates classes. Many centers have even opened their doors to the general public.

Pilates has become a viable source of independent revenue for many rehabilitation clinics and wellness centers. Pilates has been shown to provide many of the same benefits that can be achieved through more traditional rehabilitation formats.

Pilates focuses on the core stabilization of the body. Regular practice can help achieve superior motor control, muscle strength and performance, increased circulation, and improved posture. Moreover, pilates was designed as a mind-body practice. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety through regular focused practice.

Image by Sally, Creative Commons 2.0 License