Pilates supports every manual method of care in medicine including Osteopathy and Physiotherapy. This is one of the foundations of patient care at Trimetrics.
In this article, Adam Ridgewell, Trimetrics Posturologist and Osteopathic practitioner, will discuss how Osteopathic mobilizations and cranio-sacral balancing alongside Pilates treatments create a subconscious neurological re-programming, creating an optimal combination for patient recovery.
How does Pilates combine with neurological re-programming protocols of Posturology? In other words, how do we “Do” Posture?
This being the first principle in Pilates and other movement-based practices, a practitioner knows that the diaphragm attaches to sternum, lower ribs and spine; also having fascial connections with the psoas centrally (centering muscle?)
This has an influence on lower body mechanics (femoral attachment) and in this regard, the breathing cues to these parts of the upper body are essential in creating the stability of the core, enabling the lower “powerhouse” muscles of the body to work more efficiently.
Postural insoles balance afferent muscle spindle activity (also known as sensory input) for both sides of the brain and body. This in turn gives equal access (motor output) to both leaflets of diaphragm and psoas throughout the day, levelling out shoulders and pelvis as the conscious un-learning/ re-learning process of Pilates occurs.
Postural insoles can provide a “maintenance” connection between the learned effects of Pilates breath work and subconscious postural re-programming.
Concentration in Pilates is emphasized by instructors to execute finesse movements of body parts in a precise fashion to create proper alignment. This is mostly “conscious attention” which is limited to the beginning and end of the Pilates drill. Posturology principles suggest that the “default mode network” is accessed as soon as we finish this movement and becomes “subconscious” where general postural effort takes over.
The learning effect of conscious, repetitive movements may create more efficiency in the default mode network, as it is “unlearned” so the brain body pathways are more efficient and well trained.
How does posturology contribute to improved muscular control? It makes it more efficient by using less effort once “sensory obstacle” inputs are reduced and more motor units are “permitted” to engage in complex movement patterns.
This is achieved from relative balancing of muscle spindle sensitivity or “Centering” of nervous flow; once podal (foot) receptors are balanced, peripheral vision is altered by ocular tension reduction (eye muscles) and stomatognathic (TMJ or Jaw) mechanics are balanced out, postural security can occur. Postural security enables greater control of Pilates movement patterns and ultimately more confidence in these movement patterns.
Harmony and associated flow can be achieved once postural “security” is subconsciously realized, ie. no “harm” will come from repeated movements in a sequence, as in during transitional movements in Pilates, in Yoga asanas or Tai Chi flows
Eye movements are occasionally used in the more precise Pilates movement patterns that a client may execute. In Posturology principles, the eyes are the “steering wheel” of the body and ensure that any external image remains fixed on specific retinal cells, to provide the brain with exact relative position of the head on the neck and body in relation to the horizontal ground surfaces.
Alignment in Pilates, and therefore conjunct balance and resulting awareness (proprioception) is maximized through finesse movement analysis and execution. During Posturology re-wiring, individualized ocular exercises and (occasional) magnetic assistance is implemented, making centering more manageable by making available more functioning motor units, ultimately making Pilates more rewarding.
During a Pilates session, being fully aware of correct body positions in space (proprioception) is important to “know” or be “mindful” that you have got it right; which eventually builds confidence into new, advanced movement territory.
Instructors can pick up on incorrect technique and advise. Pain, or even anticipated pain may be inhibiting movement and once perceived, can throw doubt into repeating this same movement. Pain often results from a muscle not being able to contract efficiently and stabilize associated joints, which may then lead to ligament and/or joint capsule sprain.
Osteopathic unwinding and easing of structural blockages can be fortified through integration of Pilates work; ultimately by safely re-learning the once avoided, pain-driven movement, patients can return to a more homeostatic, balanced life.