In 2008, I was working in a traditional outpatient physical therapy clinic. I had been a physical therapist for about 6 years. I noticed I was continually seeing “repeat customers." Year after year, these poor patients would return with the same or similar issues or symptoms. I started to wonder why? How could we keep these patients out of pain for longer or even for good?
It seems that the traditional system doesn't allow for patients to fully heal, recover, and learn preventative care before being discharged. It felt clear to me that clients or patients needed a place to go where they could have continued healing, even when their symptoms were no longer present...and hence the birth of Pilates Santé!
I began seeing clients in my home after I left the PT clinic. Most of these clients had completed a lot of traditional outpatient PT, but continued to have intermittent issues with chronic conditions, such as degenerative disc disease of the spine, total hip and knee replacements, autoimmune issues, chronic migraines, and more. Pilates therapeutic movement allowed them to continue safe movement and progression of strength and mobility exercises. The common response post session was “I feel soooo good!"
Soon Pilates Santé began to grow, and I needed to move to a studio space (other then my home) and hire another teacher. This growth has steadily continued over the years. This year marks the 14th anniversary of Pilates Santé - as a team of 5 therapists and 4 pilates instructors!
I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to teach the Pilates method (which has been a part of my life and healing path since childhood) in a safe and effective way. Thank you so much to you, our Pilates Santé clients, for trusting us with your care!
Dr. Hyman writes that our microbiome, the 100 trillion microbes that live inside each one of us including bacteria and fungi, is likely the most important regulator of our health. That's a bold statement, and probably means that we should all be paying more attention to the state of our gut.
Why is healing your gut in particular important? Healing the gut will decrease the inflammation in your body generally which can lessen your pain!
Some of Mark Hymans tools to heal your gut include ;
In addition, we can add supplements to properly restore the balance of our GI tract. Here are some that I recommend from Designs for Health:
The first time I was on a reformer was life changing. I was 9 years old and I had sprained my ankle in ballet class. I began receiving physical therapy for my injury. The physical therapy clinic had a pilates instructor working alongside them and they thought I would benefit from it. I will never forget the first time I experienced the incredible use of my deep abdominal muscles. I began strengthening my leg muscles without the ankle pain. That experience clearly changed my life.
As I continued the intense ballet training, so did my chronic pain and injuries. I sought out pilates studios in New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco. The pilates exercise method not only encouraged healing of my injuries, but made me a better dancer. It inspired so much hope for me at times when I felt my dream of professional dancing was suffering.
After 20 years of working as a physical therapist, I continue to be in awe of the work of Joseph Pilates & the radical change this method of movement can have on people's lives. I am forever grateful now that my dancing career was short-lived, because ultimately becoming a pilates-based physical therapist is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
"Change happens through movement, and movement heals."
Pilates Santé Owner & Physical Therapist
When we are dealing with chronic conditions or pain, we occasionally have flare ups. There may be a mechanical reason for increased pain, such as prolonged sitting for low back pain or sleeping in a poor position for cervical pain. Other times, there may not appear to be a specific reason for increased symptoms, which can be frustrating! Either way, there are steps you can take to feel empowered to control your pain. Below are a few steps to help manage pain and inflammation:
Remember that flare up in symptoms are temporary, and the body can heal and recover! We are here for you, and are deeply grateful for you trusting us with your care!
“Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.“
Pilates Santé Owner & Physical Therapist
What is Pilates?
Pilates is an increasingly popular form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. It is a low impact, versatile, and effective option for people wanting to improve their strength, posture, balance, flexibility and muscle tone. Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, providing a ‘stable core’ that supports the back and allows efficient movement. Exercise programs can be extensively modified to focus on different body parts and accommodate individual needs. Exercises can be performed on a mat or with resistance provided through Pilates equipment known as ‘reformers’ and ‘trapeze tables’, and other smaller equipment such as exercise balls and resistance bands.
Pilates for Labor Preparation
Why is deep breath so important in labor? How can a calm inward focus change your birth? A woman who is in tune with her body and her physical capabilities will have a much more empowered labor. It is not necessary to tell a laboring woman when or how to breathe if she is already breathing deeply and directed her intention with her breath, which is learned through the pilates method. A pilates client in labor will probably not need to know when to push or for how long. She will simply push when her body tells her to because she has learned to listen. Certified professional midwife Stacey Haugland notices very positive effects of pilates during births.
How does pregnancy affect the abdominal muscles, back and pelvic floor?
During pregnancy, the abdominal (tummy) muscles are stretched to make room for the growing baby. This may weaken the muscles, particularly the deep abdominal muscles. Deep abdominal muscles are responsible for providing support to the back (working like a corset). Lack of support makes the back vulnerable to injury. This is made worse by the hormone relaxin, which is released in pregnant women to soften the ligaments and allow the pelvis to stretch during delivery. All ligaments are softened by relaxin, including the ones in the back. With reduced support from ligaments and abdominal muscles, many pregnant women experience back pain. Relaxin remains in the body for some time after the baby is born. It is therefore important to protect the back not only during pregnancy, but also after birth, particularly when lifting, bending, breastfeeding, etc.
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for controlling the bladder and bowel. They are weakened as they stretch and hold the weight of the growing baby. Weak pelvic floor muscles can result in difficulty controlling the bladder or bowel (incontinence) and can impact on sexual function. For example, some women find they leak urine when they cough or sneeze (stress incontinence). Around 46% of pregnant women in Australia experience urinary incontinence, and 30% have ongoing problems after delivery.
Is Pilates useful in pregnancy?Pilates is an ideal exercise during pregnancy as it is designed to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Strength in these areas is known as ‘core stability’. These exercises can be performed in positions that are suitable for women at all stages of pregnancy, such as on hands and knees. Such exercises may take the stress off the back and pelvic floor, and help position the baby for delivery. Pelvic floor exercises have been shown to reduce urine leakage in women with stress incontinence and women who have to rush to get to the toilet on time.
Is Pilates safe in pregnancy? It is important to check with your doctor or midwife before starting any new exercise program during pregnancy. If you have not done Pilates before pregnancy, it is essential to receive input from a Pilates instructor or physiotherapist in a setting where you can receive individual attention. Do not attempt exercises on your own until a professional has assessed your performance.
Certain exercises are no longer appropriate from mid pregnancy onwards due to the positions they require (e.g. lying on your tummy or flat on your back). However, exercises on hands and knees, in sitting, and in kneeling positions are all likely to be safe. As your pregnancy progresses the muscles become more stretched, and it may become more difficult to achieve good contractions.
Many of us picture the rounded or “hunched” posture with a forward head position as poor posture. However, there are many variations of postural abnormalities. One of the most common we see at Pilates Sante, is an overly upright "military" like posture.
In western society, the military bracing pose is frequently held as the ideal posture. However, this idea of 'suck in your gut, stick out your chest, and pull in your chin' is not ideal for many or most of us!
The problem with this military posing is excessive straightening of the spine by reducing or eliminating its natural curves. The lordotic curves in the neck and low back, and kyphotic curve in the mid back are essential. These curves convert the spine into a flexible spring rather than a rigid post. The cervical and lumbar curves place the intervertebral discs at their optional position to handle gravitational load as well. Therefore reduction of these curves can lead (and often does) to disc pain & injuries, and degenerative disc disease!
At Pilates Santé, we always begin with a postural assessment from either a trained Pilates Instructor or Physical Therapist. Once the type of postural malalignment is determined, the instructor can address the muscles tightness, weakness, joint restrictions, and proprioceptive (sense of position) deficits contributing to the poor posture.
The pilates based exercise repertoire has an enormous variety of exercises to choose from in order to make postural improvements. If you have questions about your posture, or would like a postural assessment, please feel free to ask your pilates instructor or therapist!
Ariel Lehaitre PT
Pilates Sante founder/owner
Many of us with low back pain have been told by our doctors or therapists to strengthen our core. But what does that mean exactly? Is the core purely our abdominal muscles? And how exactly do our abdominal muscles help our back from hurting?
The core is not just our abdominal muscles, but rather our entire torso! Our core encompasses our pelvis all the way to our rib cage. Our core is a cylinder of sorts, creating a support system around all sides of our body.
The specific muscles that make up our core, include our
Here are a few of our videos demonstrating therapeutic core exercises:
If you have any questions about your home core exercises, please don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for assistance. If your exercises begin to feel easy, please inquire about core exercise progressions as well!
Thank you so much for trusting us with your care.
Pilates Sante owner/founder
Over the last 20 years as a physical therapist treating chronic conditions, I have learned a lot about about pain, inflammation and the healing process. However not until recently, did I understand the incredible response that diet and nutrition can have on inflammation and symptoms.
Tammy Parkinson is the incredible Nutritionist and lifestyle coach that I’ve been consistently working with since November 2020, and I feel better in my 40s than I did in my 20s! Whenever I have this kind of experience, I want to share it with YOU!
If your healing journey is feeling slow, I highly recommend you consider approaching your back or neck pain as part of a whole body treatment approach...looking specifically at how you can decrease inflammatory foods that are contributing to your pain, and increase anti inflammatory measures.
I’ve fallen in love with Dr. Mark Hyman’s Nutritional advice. He makes this vastly growing and complex topic easier to understand and apply.
In addition to diet changes, I’ve become a bit if a supplement “junkie”. I truly believe with the current food industry, no matter how “clean” we eat, we are still lacking. Some of the supplements I’ve been taking that have made a great difference on my inflammation, mood and fatigue are:
Whole Body Collagen - in my morning coffee :)
Plant Based Protein Powder - in my morning smoothie
Essential Greens - this is so good in just water
Inflammatone - I take this any time I'm in pain, even more effective when combined with fish oil
I wish you all the best in your healing journey. Thank you so much for trusting us with your care.
Many of our patients with neck and low back pain come to us with a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, but are not clear on what this means. Degenerative Disc disease (DDD) is the process of losing disc height The inner most part of the intervertebral disc called the nucleus pulposus, looses fluid and often small cracks or fissures develop in outer annulus of disc.
DDD is not necessarily a "normal" process of aging, but a common process. It is often a progression of previous disc herniation or bulge, but can occur at the same time. DDD can occur in individuals as young a 30 years old ,and into 90 years of age.
Common Symptoms of DDD include :
DDD is most commonly diagnosed by an MRI. Treatment can include oral anti-inflammatories, cortisone injection into the spine, spine traction, and physical therapy.
Nearly 90% of our patients at Pilates Sante have DDD in their neck and pain. Very often these clients improve with lifestyle adjustments and specific therapeutic pilates exercises.
A couple of common exercises we might give include :
For any questions or concerns about your spine pain, feel free to contact us at Pilates Sante!
What is inflammation? We generally have two different inflammatory responses. Acute inflammation is a necessary (and helpful) short term immune system response to ward off “invaders” such as pathogens, bacteria, viruses, etc. Immune cells will rush to the site of injury or pathology to help heal and recover. This occurs with musculoskeletal injuries.
Chronic inflammation is long term, sustained inflammation in various systems of the body caused by repeated “hits” to the immune system such as poor diet, lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle, and high stress levels. Chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, chronic pain, IBS, high blood pressure and even depression. Chronic Inflammation is typically the cause of pain.
“All acute and chronic disease states have pathophysiology that is multifactorial, but nearly all have an inflammatory component to them”
Generally our new patients or clients come to Pilates Sante with symptoms and pain due to excessive inflammation. The inflammation of their condition prevents us from being able to effectively apply pilates therapeutic exercise to improve their condition. Therefore an immediate anti inflammatory regime is needed. This generally includes postural changes, ice, & oral medications such as NSAIDs.
Many clients are allergic to NSAIDs or have been on them long term, and are not tolerating them. It seems we have found the solution with Inflammatone.
This is a holistic anti-inflammatory supplement which consists of a protein enzyme blend which assists the breakdown of the inflammatory process. Many of our clients have experienced significant decrease in symptoms and increased tolerance for exercise, as well as daily activities.
We also recommend changes in lifestyle such as diet & stress management.
Please let us know of you have any questions about your level of inflammation , & whether you could benefit from an anti inflammatory regime.
Source: Jackie Miller Designs for Health