Massage and Pilates, what does one have to do with the other?
While it may seem as though they have nothing in common, let me present you with these words and we will proceed from there. One relieves pain and the other helps to prevent injury in the first place.
During my career as a masseuse, I have often been called upon to help people deal with pain that resulted from a lack of core strength in their bodies. Strong, powerful people who are in so much pain they can barely function. When you combined this type of pain with stress, these ailments of the body could become debilitating. While I my practice relies on a regular clientele of people call on me in their times of need, it always bothered me to see people in pain. I could work out pockets of pain and injury through my massages, but then the pain would return.
That led me to investigate exercise as a way to help strengthen my clients in order to prevent recurrences of injuries. This investigation led me first to Pilates and strength training.
What is Pilates? Here is the textbook definition:
“Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, a physical-culturist born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, in 1883. He developed a system of exercises during the first half of the twentieth-century which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. Joseph Pilates believed that mental and physical health are inter-related.
He had practiced many of the physical training regimes which were available in Germany during his youth, and it was out of this context that he developed his own work, which has clear connections with the physical culture of the late nineteenth-century such as the use of specially invented apparatuses and the claim that the exercises could cure illness. It is also related to the tradition of “corrective exercise” or “medical gymnastics” which is typified by Pehr Henrik Ling.”
For my purposes, what Pilates does is offer people the ability to strengthen and stretch their bodies from their core. In other words, many times, back pain can be caused by weak stomach muscles. Strengthen the stomach; relieve the pressure on the back. Hip pain can be caused by leg misalignment, or an uneven gait. Work on the legs, cure the hip pain. And so it goes.
The other instance of repeated pain and illness had to do with stress. In my field, I work with people who have high-powered positions in the community, in their corporate cultures, or even within the athletic communities. Not only are these people constantly going from one project to another (carrying big burdens), but they rarely take the time to stop and relax. That means stress stores up in their bodies, right down to the cellular level. Pilates, if they took the time to work with me, would help them.