The history of Pilates, its Founder and what is ment by "remedial pilates".

The Founder of Pilates 

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and  through out his childhood suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Joe was determined to become physically immune to the effects of these conditions and began to study the affects of exercise.

In 1912 when WW1 broke out Joe was remanded in a POW camp and it was then that his focus changed towards exercise as a remedy. Joe was trained as an orderly in the hospital and was appalled to see so many people in bed doing no exercise. He devised gentle bed based exercise programs and the results were remarkable. He progressed his ideas to provide resistance and weight bearing exercises to partial load muscles, tendons and ligaments to aid tissue healing. It is believe that Joe prevented him and many of his fellow prisoners from dying from influenza whilst in the POW camp. 


After the war Joe developed his ideas within the dance world and moved to America. Together with his wife Clara they opened the first 'Pilates Studio' in New York.

 By the 1950's Joe had a solid reputation and was training young ballerinas in the pilates technique. Several of Joe's students went on to open their own Pilates studios and brought innovations and advancements to Joe's original work.  Joe died in 1967 but his Pilates legacy still lives on and continues to evolve in order to benefit thousands around the world.

The Technique
Pilates helps increase an individuals awareness about their own body and emphasises the importance of central core stability in normal functional movement.
Joe believed by concentrating on the flow and precision of a movement coupled with controlled breathing that abnormal movement patterns could be rectified.
Matwork based Pilates consists of strengthening, mobility and stretching exercises to help resolve weaknesses, compensations and overdevelopment thus correct malalignment and re-educate the body.
Research into the prevention of recurrence of back pain, has unearthed the need to retrain the deep abdominal and spinal muscles following an episode of back pain. Hodges (1999) developed a model of spinal stability proposing that TrA, multifidus, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles are co-activated and form an enclosed abdominal ring, termed a 'cylinder of stability'. Co-contraction of these muscles increases IAP and tension in TLF which generates an increase in lumbar stability.