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Fribomialgia and Pilates


JAQUIROUIN
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Have you considered purchasing a Pilates Performer or Total Gym? Both of these are great machines and you can perform MANY pilates excersises at your own level/pace... I Know Nina owns a Performer, and I own a Total Gym..... I love both of these machines and it was well worth the investment......

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This is going to be a strange question, but what is pilates? I gather it is some form of exercise but I have never heard of it. Vanessa

Hi,

I don`t know if the pilates class is good for my POTS and Fibromialgia, because when I finish the class I am very tired and I can`t do anything more.

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JAQUIROUIN, I've met people at the Pilates studio I went to who found it very helpful despite their fibro. One of the instructors has POTS, too!

I took Pilates several times a week when I was dancing and can attest to how beneficial it is to the body -- I loved it & planned to go through Romana's NYC studio teacher certification. That said, I am not currently taking it because of my CFS. I simply haven't the energy for a full class yet; I do do some matwork at home, though. As I see it, until I can take a class without being totally exhausted, it will be just as harmful to my overall health as running, too much walking, swimming, etc.

Graduated exercise is important to maintain and improve our ability to function, so I'm not advising you to chuck it completely. Would it be beneficial to substitute some very taxing exercises with less taxing ones? Teaser on the box really exacerbated my lightheadedness, so I did Leg Circles and Frog instead; right now, I skip the 100 and do some extra Roll-ups instead. You're not wimping out :) , you're doing exercises that are just as beneficial but not as exhausting. Any Pilates teacher worth a bean should be more than happy to let you modify as needed! If you find that too wearing, do you maybe need to take a slower-paced class (beginner level as opposed to intermediate)? If taking an actual class with other people is too much, why not try doing matwork at home? It's equally as important as work on the machines (not as many fun gadgets though! :( ) and will help maintain your strength until you feel ready to return to class.

Angela

Vanessa,

Pilates (pronounced pih-lah-tees) is a form of total-body exercise that focuses especially on developing a strong "powerhouse" (abdominal region). When properly performed, it develops strong, well-stretched, toned, and elongated muscles (as opposed to the bulky muscles the "pumping iron" practice usually produces), as well as fosters excellent posture. Machine work has you working against the tension of springs and your own body weight. Emphasis is on good technique with fewer repetitions as opposed to many repetions in bad form (5 good reps are better in the long run than 50 reps that strain other muscles due to poor technique. Because it has been carefully designed to protect you anatomically, it tends to be very safe and body-friendly. It is also notorious for helping people find and work muscles they never knew existed! :P

Mat work is the base of Pilates -- you working with your own body. Of the machines, the Reformer is the most frequently used. It looks rather like a low, narrow bed with springs attatched to the front (where you would tuck your sheets in) with a foot bar above them. You can lie on your back on the carriage (the mattress section, if we continue with the bed model), put your feet up on the footbar, and press, moving yourself back and forth against the weight of the springs. If you only have one spring in use, it will be much easier to push yourself back than if you had four in use. Most exercises on the Reformer bear much resemblance to those on the mat, but have their own little quirks (use of arm straps, feet straps, gondola poles, etc.). My mom said that watching an advanced Reformer class done well is more entertaining than a movie. We would be doing back rolls off of the machines, full splits at various tempos without holding onto anything, riding "horseback" on a box while pulling our weight back and forth using arm straps...it's tremendous fun! :) Even more so because you can see such great results quickly (that little black dress never looked better on me! :D )! People are often under the wrong impression that mat work is somehow easier or inferior to machine work -- machine work usually looks more spectacular (appeals to that hidden showperson in you!), but in reality matwork is where you really gain strength faster. There are no arm straps or do-dads to cheat with -- it's just you and you body and mistakes are obvious! It should be the base of one's Pilates regimen.

Dancers and other athletes have flocked to Pilates for years because it can produce such great results without injury (as long as one's technique is good), but has experienced a boom within the last decade in other populations as well. At the studio I was going to we had business people, elderly retirees (some 80+ years!), musicians, actors, writers, homemakers, teens...you name it, we had it!

The medical world is starting to take notice of its superb benefits, too (even some insurance companies will cover it now, considering a good preventative medicine measure!); several pre- and post- operative patients are prescribed with Pilates to build strength and flexibility, many pregnant women find it helpful, several of the people at my studio said that it cured their ciatica...the benefits are clear. We had a 7-year-old boy with some type of severe muscular dystrophy who began taking it. From the time he was born, he could not use his arms or legs even with braces -- he had seen doctors from all over the world and stumped them. His parents tried Pilates as a last effort. He would flop himself across the floor like a fish each week for a private class with my teacher, who specially designed a program for him. After 5 faithful years of Pilates at the studio and at home, Civa can now walk for several minutes with special braces on his legs. He has been an inspiration to us all! :(

Unfortunately, along with this sudden recognition of Pilates' good points, a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon and decided to open their own studios. 1-3 day certification "programs" abound, people proclaim themselves competent to teach others Pilates after reading a few books or watching a few videos, etc. Apparently much the same phenomenon occured in the Yoga sphere, too. It's unfortunate, because people have gotten hurt because of it -- I met a woman who hurt her spine because she had one of those "certified in a weekend" teachers. A good prospective teacher should have basic knowledge in human anatomy and physiology, an understanding of the purpose for each exercise (and there are over a hundred), and at least a year doing the exercises on a high intermediate level before trying to start the certification process. And that's just the beginning! It's time consuming, but absolutely necessary if you are willing to take responsibility for instructing other people's bodies. When finding a teacher, one should look carefully at their certification program.

I would recommend that just about anyone give Pilates a try. It's best to start under the watchful eyes of a good instructor; they will find what your physical need/deficiencies are and curb bad habits your own "bad habits." I started with a Pilates-based video at home, but grew frustrated at my lack of progress -- it wasn't until I had actual teachers telling me what I needed to fix and how exactly to fix it on my body that I began to make any headway. It can be an moderately expensive undertaking depending on where you live, but I highly recommend looking into it! I can't wait until I'm ready to start back to class! :)

Angela

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I can say enough about the importance of slow, careful exercise. Doesn't matter if it's pilates, as long as it's careful and it's tailored to you and your issues.

nina

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Instead of taking a class, I suggest taking a private lesson with a certified, very advanced pilates instructor at least once a week. All of my pilates instructors have gone through extensive training, and also have degrees specific to anatomy, physical therapy, etc.

I do an hour with an instructor once a week that is very intense. We have set up various programs for me to do at home the other six days. Take home exercises can be very simple and will help you. Mine are set up so on a bad day, I do very easy stuff that at the worst I can do in bed. Than medium, good, and very good days...different exercises for each days, and I know how to rotate them, etc.

I love pilates, its so cool when you get to the advanced moves!!! That is when you get to do super cool stuff, that is using everything you were taught in the beginning!

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Nina, Do you use the pilates machine. Like the one that is on qvc? If so how long have you used it.

Thinking about ordering one? I know I will need to be very slow. But do you think it will help? I talked

to my Dr. and she said it would bo ok. She does the mat. But I thought the machine would help be

if I got dizzy. Thanks ern :D

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we're obviously all different in terms of what works for us individually, but i'm a big pilates fan. i've only done matwork...started with classes after my neck surgery a few years back, was encouraged to do some by my PT this past year, and all along have done some on my own either with or without video. my body likes it better than anything else on land. swimming is still my fave exercise but getting to/from the pool takes energy that i don't always have...i need a pool in my apartment :D

i'm a big fan of all the "flat" pilates work though...

:) melissa

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I have the Pilates Performer machine, which I bought used. I also have a number of DVD's that do floor and therapy (aka swiss) ball work. I like all of them. If you can't afford the machine, consider the Stott Pilates DVD's for back care. They're under 20$ US and are done completely on the floor/mat.

Nina

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