Advanz Health Interviews Scott Thomson

What is clinical pilates?
Clinical Pilates is a unique and individually tailored treatment method that is very different from the generic or Fitness Pilates. It is used in conjunction with mainstream physiotherapy techniques and designed to find and fix the root cause of an injury, not just the injury itself.
What are its origins and how does it differ from more classical pilates methods?
Australian physiotherapist Craig Phillips created the clinical pilates method over 25 years ago based on pre-existing physiotherapy techniques and and his early exposure to pilates through his involvement with ballet and dance. Since then it has continue to innovate, evolve and produce increase evidence-based studies proving its efficacy.

Unlike general Pilates it has been designed by physiotherapists for use by trained clinicians (physiotherapists, osteopaths or chiropractors) as an assessment and treatment tool to address a patient’s specific pathology (injury). It is designed to treat the cause of problems, not just symptoms and therefore is extremely effective with addressing chronic issue (pain or problems that have existed for longer than three months). It is not a prescriptive or homogenous Pilates exercise approach and programs are individually based a patient’s outcome testing.

How long have you been practicing clinical pilates and how did this begin?

I first trained with Craig Phillips back in 2005 taking the DMA level 1 and 2 course for physiotherapist. Being an athlete and dancer myself, I immediately saw the results and benefits of the treatment method. Incorporating it into my treatments over the years, I looked to further my understanding and training in the method and moved to Melbourne to work at the DMA clinic and Craig Phillips himself. During the 2 year period at DMA I gained invaluable insight into the method and was even acting as a facilitator/educator for physiotherapist in the same course I took back in 2005.
What types of people benefit from this type of pilates method?
Clinical Pilates is ideal for most types of rehabilitation, preventing further injury and for general health and well-being. It’s main benefits include:

  • Reduce pain and safely manage your injury
  • Find and treat the cause of your injury
  • Correct poor mechanics that underlie injuries
  • Create a greater resistance to injury
  • Training your muscle groups to help your body to work safely and more efficiently
  • An overall feeling of physical well being, with improved posture, balance and motor control.

In what setting is it best taught for best results (eg. Machines, mat, home ex etc).?

The Traditional Pilates approach dictates that we begin with floor work as it will prepare you for the equipment work. Unfortunately the motor control literature cannot support this premise and long term clinical experience has shown us that the ‘open chain’ type exercises, such as the floor work and ‘cross fit’ type exercises, do not provide the appropriate peripheral ‘afferent’ input required for the brain to make informed choices about recruitment patterns. That lack of appropriate input is the reason that we see over recruitment of the stability systems in so many cases and poor movement patterns.   Furthermore this becomes apparent on real time ultrasound where patients struggle to disassociate recruitment from movement. Clinically patients “get it” much faster when the system is better informed on the pilates equipment like the reformer and the trap table and with
Can i do this as part of a group or does it always need to be one on one with a physiotherapist?
The initial treatment must be set up by one on one appointment with a physiotherapist trained in the method. This can be progressed into a 4:1 class on the reformers that keeps to the individual’s specific program and is closely supervised. Regular one to one ‘check ups’ are advised at the 2,4 and 6 week marks when participating in such a program.

How can people best access this service through advanz health?

We offer a range of Pilates classes at Advanz Therapies, the majority are general and fitness classes that still give all the amazing benefits that pilates has to offer. If you are interested in a Clinical Pilates program, an initial appointment will need to be booked in with myself. You can expect 3-4 one to one session followed by a progression into the 4:1 class environment.