I’m really passionate about Pilates! When Joseph Pilates invented Pilates, he introduced a system of movement with concentration, control, centre, flow, precision and breathing being the 6 main principles. This is the true form of Pilates, and so when I hear about Pilates being marketed as “clinical Pilates” and “fitness Pilates” I get a little bit more passionate because this is just marketing spin, not Pilates! Pilates is Pilates. Please read on so that I can set the record straight!!!!
As a Pilates instructor I am so proud of our industry, from where it originated to how far it has come. I meet committed, educated and inspiring instructors all the time who are invested in making our industry the very best it can be. The unfortunate thing is that although we have governing bodies the Pilates industry is unregulated, and that means that people who have undertaken a weekend course can call themselves Pilates Instructors, and then, often deliver sub-standard ‘clinical Pilates” or ‘fitness Pilates’ classes. Buyer beware!
Pilates is not meant to be prescribed in a clinical setting (sometimes marketed as “clinical Pilates”) or taught to the masses of 15 people or more where each body is treated as the same (“fitness Pilates”). Pilates requires correct execution of the exercises taught with precision and care and a deep understanding of body alignment, joint placement and whole body integration. This requires instructors who have concentrated their studies in Pilates, and for a minimum of 18 months. My instructors and I engage in at least 60 hours per year of further study and professional education to ensure we provide the very best exercise and advice to our clients. During our study we are taught how to choose appropriate exercises for the client and their specific needs. This means that we can provide instruction irrespective of whether our client is pregnant, injured, training for a marathon or just trying to get the best out of their bodies. The skills we are taught as Pilates instructors means we have the understanding of movement to put together an appropriate Pilates program or class for our varied clientele. Often I’m asked if our instructors are physiotherapists or fitness instructors. Being a physiotherapist or a fitness instructor does not give you the skills or the know how to teach Pilates. Only with the education and training of an educated instructor do you truly get a Pilates instructor!
Clinical and definitely fitness Pilates are, in my very strong opinion, a watered down version of the true essence of Pilates. I believe, without the intensity of the study that it takes to become a highly educated and experienced Pilates instructor, these terms are often used to “elevate” Pilates. However, in truth these terms markets a substandard, and potentially unsafe product. Sadly, many of the public do not know the difference.
You might ask, “why can I claim my health insurance on “clinical Pilates” which is delivered by a physiotherapist and not your classes?” This is a great question! The physiotherapist has a provider number and can use this number for any of the services that they provide. There is not a claim number for Pilates or “clinical Pilates”. The problem is, they may not have undertaken the level of training and education needed to deliver Pilates in a safe and effective way. Check your provider’s education and delivery details!!!
Pilates takes hundreds of hours of learning, observing and practicing to understand the method. It is not a weekend course!!!!
Why am I so passionate? Because the instructors like myself and my team, and those that have spent thousands on education, and hundreds of hours of learning to provide an exceptional, safe and effective Pilates instruction, are bucketed into the same space as people who have undertaken a weekend course and then deliver “clinical Pilates” or “fitness Pilates” and are potentially putting their customer’s health at risk!
I emplore you to overlook the marketing spin, and health insurance claims and look at the experience and education of your instructor instead. Ask them about their education level, ask about the number of hours of education, and hours of instruction given to becoming a Pilates instructor. Ensure that your instructor has the education, training and experience to give you safe and effective exercises for your body.