Pilates Therapy for Children with Neuromuscular Disorders

My Thoughts:
When Joseph Pilates created Pilates, he did not call it Pilates. He called it Contrology. This is exactly what this article talks about – muscle control. While we are borne with an ability to control the way we use our muscles, each of us has a different level of competence to do so. There are many people who get injured after overexerting force that they did not realise or embarking on an activity that requires a level of muscle control way above their own competence level. In my opinion, this is even more dangerous than people who do not exercise at all. I feel that this group of people need to focus on resistance training whereby there is some contact with an equipment to help them understand body placement better when they move in space. This teaches them better muscle control. That is why, although mat Pilates has tremendous benefits to people, equipment Pilates is still a must-have in an exercise/conditioning program.

Lately I noticed a trend in some large group classes I teach in gyms (not so much in Pilates studio setting), the students who were getting more advanced were moving with the intention of going the fastest and furthest in every piece of Pilates mat exercise we do, to the extend of compromising on control. At the same time, there is also a thinking that if they are not working ‘HARD”, they are not working well. I would much prefer them working towards changing this mindset to: I work efficiently towards having CONTROL and GRACE.


As the use of Pilates grows, especially within the area of physical therapy, therapists are finding more and more new areas in which to integrate Pilates exercises into their therapy regime. On new exciting area where Pilates is showing positive results is with children who have neuromuscular disorders. In this article, provided by Pilates Glasgow, we will look at we will look at how Pilates can help children with neuromuscular disorders.

Neuromuscular disorders include a fairly wide range of specific illnesses and chronic problems, all of which share the commonality of attacking the nervous system and impeding the person’s ability to control their voluntary muscles. Multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy are two of the most widely known diseases in this category.

Therapists on the cutting edge of utilizing Pilates to work with children who have these diseases have uniformly reported excellent results. The children respond very well to the exercises, and show marked improvement in their ability to control their muscles.

The thing that makes Pilates an ideal choice for these patients is the degree of control that is associated with Pilates exercise. Instead of trying to go the fastest, farthest or use the greatest weight, the patient is taught to control the movement, drawing it out to gain the maximum benefit from each exercise movement.

Since most neuromuscular disorders are problems with controlling the muscles, Pilates therapy helps these patients learn how to control their muscles. More specifically, the great difference between motor control of a normal healthy person and one who has a neuromuscular disorder is in the degree of control they can exercise over their muscles.

A normal person can control their muscles, coordinating between the flexion and extension of different muscles in a full range of degrees. Those who have neuromuscular disorders, have a control that is more “on/off” than the typical varied degrees of on and off that the rest of us have. By utilizing Pilates, therapists are able to help them learn how to better control their muscles.

As children perform these Pilates exercises, especially the “Reformer” exercises, they receive resistance from contact with the equipment that they are using. This helps them with understanding their body’s position as they move through space and time; a major part of motor control.

Pilates exercises can also be customized to work on very specific muscles or muscle groups, isolating them, so that the patient doesn’t have to concentrate on several movements at the same time. Allowing them to exercise in the supine position, avoids the necessity of concentrating on staying upright and allowing them to concentrate instead on controlling the specific muscles they are exercising.

All in all, using Pilates with these patients shows great promise for making breakthroughs in their motor control ability.

Article source: http://www.whatsupzone.com/reviews/pilates-therapy-for-children-with-neuromuscular-disorders/


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