Benefits of Pilates for Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders affect the central nervous system (i.e. brain, spine, nerves, neuromuscular system, & muscles). Some of the most common neurological disorders are Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and Lupus. However, neurological disorders can also arise from brain damage, severe injury or trauma, autoimmune disorders, cancers, viral, bacterial or parasitic infections and more.

Though each person with a neurological disorder may experience different symptoms or severity levels, Pilates can help improve a wide range of these symptoms. Alongside prescribed medication, Pilates is a great form of exercise to help combat some of the symptoms and side effects of neurological disorders. Though scientific research is limited, many studies are now showing that Pilates has a positive effect on those with MS and Parkinson’s. The MS Society is currently funding more studies and recommending more people diagnosed with MS to start a Pilates practice.

Working with a qualified Pilates instructor to create a program specific to your needs can help improve coordination, balance, range of motion and core strength, while also helping alleviate pain and discomfort. Victoria Pilates specializes in Pilates exercise programing for neurological conditions, and incorporate the latest research in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation into Pilates programs. Studio owner, Susan VanCadsand along with the team of instructors at Victoria Pilates, have completed advanced training for MS & other neurological conditions, as well as Traumatic Brain Injury, Ataxia, Parkinsonism, stroke and other neurological disorders.

Their studies have helped them create programming to overcome the most common symptoms of neurological disorders including balance difficulties, weakness, muscle spasticity, gait abnormalities, as well as the principles and applications of neuromuscular rehabilitation and neuroplasticity.

It can be hard for some people living with neurological disorders to participate in regular physical activities. Due to the uniqueness of Pilates and specialized equipment, programs and exercises are tailored to the exact needs of the participant. It is also important to remember that a sedentary lifestyle can further complicate the progression of many disorders, so maintaining movement is an important part of a complete health and wellness regime.

Victoria Pilates has created an exercise and rehabilitation approach that can provide positive relief to individuals who are experiencing conditions that affect their neurological system. It is a wonderful tool for individuals for the purpose of neurological rehabilitation. This specialized programing can be used to help relieve the challenges of neurological disorders at any stage of the injury or disease process but is especially promising in the early stages of the condition or injury.

Since little research has been done on the use of exercise for neurological conditions, Victoria Pilates has incorporated their own personal research on exercise and physical therapy for other neurological conditions and injuries, including stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, Ataxia, and traumatic brain injury. The core program focuses on movement issues such as poor balance, muscle imbalances, and compensatory patterns. Susan’s personal experience working with the Parkinson and Epileptic Association, along with extensive experience working with other MS clients, she believes there to be significant potential for treating other conditions to positively impact those suffering from other neurological conditions.

During the Month of May, we will be raising awareness and funds for those with neurological disorders. All funds will be donated to the Neurological Wellness Association. We will also be offering complimentary 15 minute consultations, in person or over the phone, with studio owner and director, Susan VanCadsand, for anyone who is living with a neurological disorder and is interested in exploring Pilates.

For more information on Pilates and Neurological Wellness, take a peek at these resources:

https://mssociety.ca/research-news/article/ms-society-funds-three-new-studies-that-seek-to-provide-more-options-for-accessing-physical-activity-for-people-living-with-ms

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/elder/3354927/Parkinsons-Can-Pilates-help.html

http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/library/articles/pilates-for-people-with-parkinsons-disease.html

Continuing Education With Our Instructors – The 3 Core Perspectives Workshop

Wendy_Leblanc-ArbuckleOver this past weekend, renowned Pilates elder, Wendy Leblanc Arbuckle (Pilates Center of Austin) held an intensive workshop at Victoria Pilates. Most of our instructors were in attendance, along with professionals from the USA and other areas of BC.

Victoria Pilates owner, Susan Van Cadsand, has known Wendy for a number of years, and shares an aligned vision with Wendy’s teaching style and techniques. Susan asked Wendy to instruct her “3 Core Connections Perspective” to help further educate Pilates instructors and movement professionals in how to develop their instruction styles.

Wendy helped instructors develop their cuing techniques and to further understand the deep relationships between all of the body systems, and human movement potential.

Anyone familiar with Pilates understands that core control involves the entire body. However, Wendy’s perspective elaborates further, and helps instructors to gain a better understanding of how this happens through core coordination. Through cue refining and learning about the core as a relationship with ourselves and our environment, practitioners were able to gain a more intuitive perspective of body awareness and intelligence.

Everyone who attended the workshop enjoyed it and look forward to sharing Wendy’s teachings with you!

Life is Motion!

 

While Pilates exercises seek to restore the body’s capacity for flowing motion, osteopathic treatment seeks to restore the inherent motility of each body part.  By restoring the individual parts, and integrating the parts into the whole, health and harmony are achieved.

Optimum health depends upon the free movement of the joints, bones, organs, muscles, and connective tissues.  The heart must beat fully and the lungs expand freely for vibrant health.  Other organs also must move in their natural rhythms.  The gut must pulsate enthusiastically as it pulls in nutrients.  The liver must rock as it processes toxins to render them harmless.  And the most essential organ—the brain—must expand and contract six to fourteen times a minute to enliven the whole body.  Restriction of any of these critical motions can damage health.

Because the body parts are interconnected, restriction of motion in one area can have profound effects elsewhere.  An ankle sprain doesn’t just restrict the normal range of motion of the foot.  It can have a ripple effect elsewhere, as other joints are strained, stretched and pushed out of alignment as they try to compensate for the ankle’s dysfunction.  Low back pain may originate as an ankle problem.  As the pelvis reacts to the ankle’s instability, the sacrum rotates out of alignment, twisting the vertebrae above, and trapping nerves.   Hence a sprained ankle may lead to sciatica, low-back pain, headaches, and pain in the opposite shoulder.

Injury to one kind of structure can also cause a problem in a completely different system of the body.   A fall on the ice can jar the spine resulting in a blockage of spinal nerves at any level, perhaps those that feed the uterus and reproductive organs, leading to painful menstrual cramps.

Just as essential as the motion of the tissues is the free flow of fluids that permeate the body.  Injury can twist the blood vessels that bring nutrients to damaged tissue and the lymphatic channels that wash away inflammation-causing debris.  The injured site then becomes increasingly compromised.  Further, injury can constrict the nerves that manage the complex task of healing.  Restoring motion to all these systems, not just to the joints, is essential to healing.

Once the somatic dysfunction is identified—an area of restriction or rigidity—the area can be aligned, its fluid pathway can be restored, and it can be integrated with the rest of the body.  The body orients naturally towards health.  When anatomic restrictions are removed, the body’s self-regulating mechanisms are liberated to optimize the healing process.

For an osteopathic practitioner, the basic principle is to find what is not moving, invite it to move, and trust the body’s capacity to heal itself.

-Article by Jenny Trost

 

Jenny Trost is a certified Osteopath. Through her business, Pacific Osteopathy, Jenny offers treatments from her studio as well as out of the Victoria Pilates studio. For an appointment with Jenny, contact her at 250-891-2391 or jenny@pacificosteopathy.ca