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Pelvic Power for men.Encouraging the male community to start the dialogue about Men’s Health. This Pilates class will assist in exploring the power and support within the body. It will include a strong focus on the male pelvic floor and pelvic health. This will specifically relate to the prostate and healthy movement patterns. The specialised Pilates Mat Class will target pelvic floor support and integrate this with full body movements. For more than 25 years, Paul Schembri has taught Pilates to a wide ranging clientele. He has a driving passion for the Pilates Method and a strong desire to help people improve their health and wellbeing and realise their movement potential. After sustaining a back injury whilst completing his Bachelor of Education in 1990, Paul was introduced to Pilates which assisted his recovery. He went on to perform as a dance professional for many years throughout Australia. His training in Pilates has also led him to pursue a career as an instructor reaching National accreditation in Pilates most recently through the Pilates International Training Centre. Over the years, Paul has developed his skills working with leading Pilates Instructors. Along with previously owning his own boutique Pilates Studio, Paul has assisted in delivering many Instructor courses and workshops throughout his career. In recent years, Paul has started to focus more so on Men’s health and the power of Pilates to help with their everyday lives. Workshop Dates & Times: Saturday 22nd October 2016, 1:30pm – 3pm Saturday 18th March 2017, 1:30pm – 3pm Saturday 17th June 2017, 1:30pm – 3pm. Register http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pelvic-power-for-men-tickets-27119088925 or call Infinity Pilates Studio Ph.: 9534 6233 email: email@example.com [post_title] => Pelvic Power for men [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => men-pilates-pelvic-power-classes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-10 19:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-10 09:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=835 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 833 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2016-08-16 07:57:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-15 21:57:43 [post_content] =>
Men, Pilates and the Pelvic FloorThis article will focus on the male pelvic floor and pelvic health especially as it relates to the prostate, bowel; pelvic and spinal alignment; the use of breath and healthy movement patterns. My name is Paul Schembri and I work at Infinity Pilates Studio. Over the past 16 years I have focused on bodywork within the Pilates Method methodology. Within my own Pilates teaching practice I have recently been experiencing a number of my male clientele; age 50+, who are experiencing issues with their prostate and bowel health and therefore a loss of continence – whether as a result of inflammation, the development of cancer or as a post-surgery complication or symptom. In my experience it is easy for us men to get caught up in the thinking part of our minds and be removed from the awareness that the mind and body work together. We respond to life’s demands and external stressors such as work; family commitments; obligations and financial responsibilities. We generally don’t know there is something wrong with our bodies until pain and discomfort causes us to stop from performing our daily tasks. Forced to address an underlying health concern or address a movement dysfunction. Generally, I believe men are already compromised in their optimum function of pelvic strength due to their sedentary seated lifestyles and working lives. Often, the comfort design of most chairs allows us to slump in our seats and therefore slump in our spines and we end up sitting on our tailbones and on the belly of our gluteal muscles instead of sitting upright onto our sit-bones and allowing our tailbones to float behind us (1). This positioning of the pelvis in a posterior pelvic tilt is often replicated in standing and general posturing. Such positioning of the pelvis can cause our gluteus max muscles, our hip flexors (psoas, ilio-psoas, rectus femoris) and our piriformis muscles (sometimes considered a part of our pelvic floor diaphragm ) to shorten. In a posterior pelvic tilt, there can be increased pelvic pain from this increased loading, positioning and instability of the pelvis. This pain and postural slump can create "a change in the nerve pathways that send pain messages to the brain. Once muscles and nerves in the pelvis start to behave abnormally other organs can subsequently develop problems. There may be difficulty passing urine, with bowel function or with sexual function" (3). The pelvic floor – or diaphragm – is like a bouncy trampoline which connects the bony landmarks of our pubic bones, tailbone and sit-bones. This diaphragm bounces and responds to our breath and also the forces operating in and around the pelvis. Combining this with the notion that muscles i.e. the trampoline of the pelvic diaphragm can be short, tight and weak, or, long, loose and weak; we can begin to appreciate how dynamic this sling musculature can be. The forces of movement pass through it from both above and below. This musculature wraps around our prostrate, urethra and bowel. This can commonly be appreciated and understood with male populations after they have undergone surgery for either prostate issues or bowel issues. Immediately following such surgical procedures, there is often a loss – or further loss - of pelvic floor continence and sexual control. In fact, when a catheter has been inserted through the urethra of the penis, any pelvic floor exercises are discouraged due to the obstruction of this foreign object, and from the intrusion of a surgical blade and site inflammation. Combine this with lots of bed or couch rest, this slumped posture becomes the norm. This may result in a loss of function – or further loss in terms of continence and sexual health – all of which can affect our self-perceptions of masculinity and virility and therefore self-esteem. Once the catheter has been removed, the usual protocols for self-management and recovery are ‘Kegal’ exercises (contracting the pelvic floor sphincters) and walking short distances. Building endurance of these tasks is encouraged over time. If the pelvis has already been compromised in alignment however and function prior to surgery, such prescriptive self-management exercises may work in the short term, but long term, there could be ongoing issues.
Faulty pelvic alignment is reflected throughout the body where posture and functional movement meet.It alters the natural curvature of the spine. It can also affect the internal functions of the torso and pelvis: lungs, internal organs, bladder, bowel and sexual organs. It alters the way we move in space through changed gait. The imbalances affect efficient movement and postural patterns which is then recycled along the chain of dysfunction (4). Through alignment and effective physical exercise, as taught and beautifully encompassed in the Pilates method, we can promote efficient movement and optimum function that can help men on the pathway to better health and improved lifestyle. As Pilates Instructors we can utilize the Pilates Method to bring intentional awareness and focus to the areas of the body that are compromised and can facilitate all parts of the body to move energetically as an integrated whole.
At Infinity Pilates Studio, we understand the body in motion.We teach the Pilates method to evoke awareness of the mind, body and spirit working together as one and see each individual as they present their unique movement patterns. Imbalances are addressed and also where that imbalance may be translated elsewhere in the body. I believe that the key to a speedy recovery post-surgery is achieved through conditioning the body by addressing spinal alignment and pelvic support. Providing the tools to build confidence and to resume and enjoy the life they want to live. "[I] felt as if I had every muscle working for me. First day out of bed – firmly putting two feet on the floor aligned was a feeling I will never forget" David, aged 65, post his bowel surgery "My level of physical fitness assisted in a much quicker recovery. Both my Surgeon and Cardiologist were amazed at the speed of my recovery and used it as an example of what can be achieved by having a reasonable level of fitness pre surgery. I was out of hospital 2 days earlier than scheduled. Their physical assessment of me pre surgery was equal to a fit 60 year old." Sonnie, aged 80, post his bowel surgery According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, 1 in 5 Australian men will develop prostate cancer by the age of 85; 3300 men die each year! Over 120000 Australian men are living with Prostate cancer. More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer! (5) Pelvic floor dysfunction is evident post-op in those who have undertaken prostate or bowel surgery. If the patient has postural patterns that inhibit functional motion, this will impact on their recovery. In comparison to those who work on posture and alignment pre-op this speeds their recovery. "There is some evidence to show that physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer" (6). Thirty minutes a day minimum is recommended. Men understand the importance of exercise. Many choose gym training as their exercise routine. Heavy loading and inefficient performance can potentially place undue strain on joints and ligaments. Intra abdominal pressure is overloaded and the pelvic floor is stretched. This type of overloading can exacerbate already compromised function. If not addressed, we can create sacro-iliac joint dysfunction, abdominal herniation, hip joint degeneration and dysfunction and these things can eventually create further problems up the spine and into the neck, shoulders and down into the hips, knees and feet. "As you might imagine, hip strength plays a role in pelvic floor strength. When you move dynamically you stress your hip muscles (glutes, adductors etc). This stress is transferred to the pelvic floor and asks the pelvic floor to fire.
... If you never move dynamically, then your pelvic floor does not get the stress it needs to get stronger." (7)This brings us to the problem of the classic Kegal exercises. Such exercises are designed to draw awareness to the pelvic floor and in particular the closing of the passages (anus, urethra and in women, the vagina). While it is a great starting point to draw attention and awareness to the pelvic diaphragm, the alignment of the whole body is involved in support. If the pelvic floor is already dysfunctional and tight, trying to tighten those muscles more will create further problems and establish gripping patterns. Kegals are like your hand grabbing a suitcase handle, but that action is not going to help you lift the suitcase above you into the overhead locker. More work, awareness and integration are needed. Gripping these already dysfunctional muscles can results in further gripping of tight muscles around the hips. This action shifts the head of our femur forwards (think of a golf ball teetering on the edge of the hole on the green as opposed to it dropping into the hole) preventing the joint to function freely. Physical pain contributes to increased guarding, and inefficient movement patterns. "It is well established that when a novice learns a new skill, they tend to use a co-contraction strategy until they learn to refine their movement. Co-contraction is known to be an ‘energy waster’ in initial motor learning situations" (8). In the case of an overly tight, hypertonic pelvic diaphragm, sometimes reverse Kegal exercises are prescribed i.e. to let go and release those muscles. If the pelvis has already been compromised in alignment and function prior to surgery, such prescriptive self-management exercises may work in the short term, but create long term issues. There is always a level of activity sustained throughout the body for spinal and postural support. If the body is unable to lengthen and contract when load is applied this could set up bracing patterns to perform any task. Undue stress and pressure bearing down on the pelvic diaphragm could result in herniation within the abdominal wall and along the inguinal canal. "Post op, every patient is given a folded towel taped to hold its shape - approx. 30 X 20 cm and about 5 cm thick. It is held against the stomach like a comforter. The pressure gives a sense of security especially as you are being asked to cough which tends to exert pressure in the opposite direction (from the inside.) They also suggest that you sleep with the towel on your stomach for the first 3 days." Sonnie "The pelvic floor is more than just a set of muscles in the middle, benignly tightening to prevent incontinence. The pelvic floor is a dynamic sling of muscles that work in conjunction with surrounding hip musculature and abdominal cavity, as well as actively responding to the pressure of the diaphragm [the floor of our lungs]. Since Pilates focuses on the hips, core and proper breathing, these results [that Pilates is as effective as traditional pelvic floor exercises] do not surprise me one bit...The pelvic floor should not be isolated! It is part of an interconnected system of moving parts that must function together to function properly" (9). It is this interconnectedness that brings us so readily into the world of Pilates and therefore into the integrative nature of the method. "I am sure my... pelvic floor and core work was of great benefit in handling the operation but and also the continence management period (today is day 13 without catheter) and has been hugely successful with only very minor events on a sporadic basis... I am certain the abdominal and core work were all helpful in the recovery and would hate to think how people who haven’t prepared would respond in any other way than shock to the system!). Not trying to dwell on the detail but I anticipate it could be helpful to understand the procedure. Interestingly, I was also advised that even when nerves are not interfered with the actual shock of the region being disturbed can cause them to shut down. For example, without the side effects of constipation from pain killing drugs, the bowel effectively goes on strike for 2 – 3 days because of the disturbance and the nerves involved with erectile function, even when not touched or disturbed mechanically can take many months to recover (can be 18 months or more) and return to their pre-operative state, whatever that might have been." Rob, aged 61, 2 weeks after his prostate surgery
The work of the Pilates method increases your awareness of postural alignment.Imagine 3 spheres balanced on top of each other, with space in-between each one. Each sphere playing the part of the torso: head, chest and pelvis respectively. If we relate this sphere image to our slumping spine, then the middle sphere will be behind and out of line with the other two. Imagine a canister in-between the spheres that creates length and space within the spheres. Space along the torso provides room for the joints to move more freely. The spine elongates and minimizes any holding, guarding or gripping patterns. Our lungs and internal organs are no longer compressed and compromised: we can breathe more freely and more deeply into our lungs and oxygenate our bodily tissues more readily. It is this space and breath that connects us so intimately to our pelvic diaphragm. In respiration, the diaphragm of our lungs moves upwards in our chests to reduce the size of the lungs and causes us to exhale. If we’re not breathing to our full capacity, chances are, our pelvic floor is not tramlining to its’ full capacity either and this poor breathing pattern will create a loss of mobility along the spine. In the Pilates method breath is the key to develop awareness and postural support and movement. As the diaphragm moves down our chest, this increases the lung dimensions and therefore we inhale. If we are slumped and misaligned, the lung diaphragm is restricted in its’ movement and therefore we are restricted in our capacity to breathe. Our pelvic floor – at the very least – should mirror our lung diaphragm movement (10). As Pilates practitioners we observe where the breath is moving and encourage and awareness and attention to areas of their lungs and ribcage they are not accessing to their full potential in respiration. Once this is achieved, we start to develop awareness and integrate the pelvic floor for full body movements. I’ve mentioned two diaphragms (pelvic and thoracic) and these are also reflective of our cranial diaphragm and cervical diaphragm (tongue, soft palate). The knee joints i.e. our meniscus and bursa and the arches of our feet can also be considered diaphragmatic (11). We can really begin to appreciate the interconnectedness of the body systems. A slumped posture or imbalanced posture has a direct implication on our Vagus nerve which plays the role in regulating the flight, fight response in the autonomic nervous system. The vagus nerve begins approximately from our brains below our ears, down the sides of our necks, our chests and into our heart, lungs, thoracic diaphragm and digestive tract. It runs from the neck as it runs parallel to the common carotid artery and internal jugular vein inside the carotid sheath  which is inside the thick rope-like muscles, you can see extending from your ears to the top of your breastbone). The ideal head-neck-shoulder-chest alignment becomes even more important to allow this nerve to do its job freely and not be crimped or challenged by a faulty alignment. It helps to prevent inflammation in the body by alerting the brain to any inflamed areas and instructs the brain to release anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters. It help us breathe and controls the heart. It is the regulator of our ‘fight/flight/freeze’ response and helps to transmit acetylcholine which calms us down and it helps to create memories as it releases norepinephrine into our brain’s amygdala to consolidate our memories (12). "Functionally, the vagal brake, by modulating visceral state, enables the individual to rapidly engage and disengage with objects and other individuals and to promote self-soothing behaviors and calm states...the vagal brake provides a neural mechanism to rapidly change visceral state by slowing or speeding heart rate"(13).
It allows our breath to be the vehicle to connect mind and body.The cone of silence around issues for men who to suffer from pelvic issues needs to be lifted. The loss of or poor continence or sexual control through postural dysfunction and pelvic surgery can add to feelings of embarrassment and emasculation and ultimately be potentially deadly. Promoting a healthy, informative and experiential discourse should be encouraged for a full and active life.
Kegal exercises are the "Once upon a time" introduction to a larger story about pelvic and spinal alignment and the health of our pelvic floor diaphragm.At Infinity Pilates Studio, we work together with each individual to bring awareness to the function and integrated nature of the male pelvic floor and how misalignment can contribute to dysfunction. The interruption of the flow of energy upwards from the feet impacts on the rest of the body. We create a safe and supportive environment to allow men to address their imbalances within their whole body.
It’s never too late to understand how strengthening and realigning your pelvic floor can optimize the lifestyle you want to embrace!With an increasing complement of male clientele attending the studio, it’s great to see them sink their teeth into the various issues that are concerning them. To watch them feel empowered as they develop insight into how they use their bodies and experience the changes they are exploring in their bodies. This provides the means for a full and meaningful life and they are able to meet the challenges they experience every day.
Men, Pilates and Pelvic floor Pilates classesSee on our workshop page or register: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pelvic-power-for-men-tickets-27119088925 Endnotes...
Other Useful references/links... http://www.eastgosfordphysio.com.au/men_4_men.php Spannerman http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au http://www.continence.org.au ‘Vagus, Baby, Vagus!’ Breathing How can Pilates assist with continence issues? [post_title] => Men, Pilates and the male pelvic floor [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => men-pilates-pelvic-floor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-27 15:24:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-27 05:24:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=833 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 725 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2015-05-12 09:16:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-11 23:16:35 [post_content] => As an instructor of the Pilates Method – and as a member of the Pilates Alliance Australasia (PAA) – undertaking continuing education is a wonderful way to ensure one’s skills are being improved upon and refined. This not only keeps us ‘in line’ with Joseph Pilates’ original intentions of his work, but also provides an opportunity to place ourselves in the same trusting ‘beginner’s mind’ position that we expect of our clientele as we too learn movements, cues and repertoire that we either may not have experienced before; have lost touch with or are less familiar with. On Saturday 11th April, I was fortunate to experience the amazing Lanette Gavran, a visiting instructor from Canberra, and to partake in her 1.5 hour Mat class, followed by a 3 hour workshop on the Wunda Chair. Having participated in a mat class with Lanette in June last year, I was excited to work with this dynamic and informative instructor once again and to test my own limitations, strength, flexibility and endurance and to basically, learn from one of the best in the industry – apart from Infinity’s own Kerrie Murphy of course! The mat class moved from roll-downs and squats, through to the abdominal series, spinal articulations, back extensions, side lie work, support work and finished off with full body integration challenges. Lanette’s basic rule (and warning at the beginning of class) was that the class would be continual i.e. no stopping between exercises and that each exercise would prepare us for the next in the class. I love a good challenge and this class was no exception! In a mat class, there is just you and your breath, working against gravity on the mat, as you follow the (excellent) instruction and move from one exercise sequence to the next. What should be exhausting and annihilating becomes refreshing and energising and I can honestly say I met the various challenges put before me. That hour and a half flew by and I felt more than ready and prepared to face my ‘once-upon-a-time’ nemesis: the Wunda Chair! “It is the only chair purposefully designed to Pleasantly Correct your present Deplorable Physical Condition. It’s the Silent Artist-Sculptor-Moulding, Forming and Correcting every Part of the Human Body – as you will it” -Joseph Pilates, in an advertisement for his Wunda Chair (Lanette’s workshop notes, page 3, source unknown) I have to say that the Wunda Chair has become my most favourite piece of Pilates apparatus over the last few years primarily because of the solid foundational work I have undertaken in my own training sessions with Kerrie. On the Wunda chair, there is just a moving pedal, adjustable spring resistance (from very, very light to very strong and firm) and a small table-top like surface to interact with. Because of this, there is “the least amount of surface area or support for the body, and therefore exposes us to the ability to work more three dimensionally than other apparatus” (Lanette’s workshop notes, p.5). Lanette guided us through some very familiar repertoire, and then added some interesting tweaks, themes and variations to each as informed by her own vast experience with other Pilates Masters such as the late Julian Littleford (his ‘killer Pike series certainly had me shaking and sweating!) Deborah Lessen and Blossom Leilani-Crawford: All instructors whom Kerrie too, has worked with and been inspired by. Once the bulk of the new/expanded repertoire was presented and experienced, we were then given opportunities to create exercise programs for the Wunda chair with different populations in mind e.g. A pregnant woman in her third trimester versus an elderly client. As we worked through said programs, I took time to note Lanette’s verbal cues, hands-on techniques and modifications made as she moved from participant to participant. To say that I walked away feeling strong & confident, with a new ‘bag of tricks’ to play with on myself and on my clients, is an understatement! I’m already starting to see small, but significant changes in the bodies of my clients throughout the last week since the workshop – hopefully they can see and feel those changes too! Paul Schembri. 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- http://www.thelifeisamazing.com/this-is-what-sitting-too-long-does-to-your body/
- Professor Eyal Lederman, The myth of Core Stability, CPDO Online Journal/www.cpdo.net, page 8.(http://www.cpdo.net/Lederman_The_myth_of_core_stability.pdf)
- To be advised...
Come inside and explore the wide matrix of the fascial web and its relationship with Pilates and movement.The New Year began for me in a dusty community hall in Marrickville, NSW, alongside other body workers from many disciplines. We were there to be inspired and to learn from a leading researcher in fascia from the University of Ulm in Germany, Dr Robert Schleip, who led us on a journey of discovery of the body’s fascial web and its’ wonderful matrix. His wife, Divo Müller, joined him and presented the practical application of these findings through movement. With industrial fans blowing on the back of our necks in the mid-summer heat, we began madly scribbling down notes about the discoveries Robert and his colleagues had to share, hungry for all the latest findings about the largest sensory organ of the body, Fascia. Fascia (or ‘fascial net’, ‘fascial body suit’, ‘connective tissue’) is situated beneath the skin. It consists of fibrous collagen and soft living tissue, including ligaments, tendons and joint capsules: All of which gives shape to the body and holds everything together. Healthy fascia is elastic and resilient. It helps improve movement performance and assists, to a large extent, with injury prevention. The Pilates technique has always understood the important role well-trained fascia has when developing a well-balanced body. But up until now, in the world of sports training, there has been a great emphasis placed on muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and neuromuscular, co-ordination training. Modern insight in the field of fascia research has dramatically developed and is now able to apply specific training to the body and to incorporate the principles presented more specifically to body work. Not only is this information great to target and address specific areas of the body, this information is wonderful for the Pilates industry where scientific based evidence is now more attainable and supports what we do so well for the health of fascia and it relationship to the whole. Our fascial body suit adapts to the changes of load that is placed on the body, it stretches and shifts in the direction that we move. Through movement of the fascia, it remodels the collagen network, which in turn moulds to the body and gives the body suit tone. Pilates, with its multi-directional patterns, assists in these qualities. So tone is not just about how good we look (as some may believe) but it is actually important for healthy fascia! Pilates therefore improves the elasticity and flexibility of the spine, which helps correct imbalances in postures and “restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit”. (Joseph Pilates, Return to life Through Contrology, Presentation Dynamics Inc. 1998, page 9) When we are young, our fascia throughout our body acts like a series of elastic springs, yet as we age, fascia appears flattened. This is caused though the limitations of movement in our everyday lives and work place. The elasticity loses its springiness and our ‘kangaroo/gazelle-like’ qualities of spring and bounce that we once had becomes reduced. Good news! Through regular practice we can induce more youthful collagen architecture. Increasing more stretch whilst maintaining the control and rhythm in your movements, will improve the elastic qualities, thereby easing undue body fatigue and mental strain. “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young” (Ibid, p.16). In between Robert’s lectures on the scientific findings, Divo would have us up on our feet demonstrating the science in motions with great detail. To watch Divo move and ripple like a fish, and swing and bounce with ease was a delight. Then it was our turn to explore. It was great fun and you could really sense the fascia moving and rippling under the skin was a new experience for me and one to visualise in the Pilates classes for breath, flow and ease. This exploration took us out on the streets jumping and skipping towards the playground where we reclaimed our youth, climbing and swinging in and around the equipment. Not quite with grace and vigour but I am sure with practice this too could spring back!! [caption id="attachment_578" align="alignleft" width="168"] Robert Schleip flexing & stretching his fascia.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_586" align="alignright" width="300"] Fascial fitness workshop Sydney[/caption] Out with the old and in with the new! Two-thirds of our fascia consists of water. Rolling and unrolling, bending around rollers, spiralling on the barrels and flexing and extending on the mat and apparatus: All of these actions are similar to squeezing out a sponge, releasing inflammation and waste products, only to be replaced by healthy water which is referred to as Liquid Crystal. Lovely to think this is being produced when we are moving, Mr Pilates would equate this to an “internal shower” (Ibid, p.12). Fascia is the richest sensory organ of the body. It has a rich supply of sensory nerves which provides a sense of proprioception i.e. what we feel, how we feel and where we are in space. These are all qualities that are created though this amazing sensory organ. To attain good alignment and functional movement, Pilates provides the tools to enhance our proprioception. Other challenges to this sense can be found through the use of imagery, change of pace, changes in spacial orientation and the way the instructor assists and guides you though movement. When there is an increase of proprioception there is a decrease in myofascial pain. This has been proven with non-specific lower back pain. The thoraco-lumbar fascia is drenched in nerve endings and often the problem. Stress and emotional tension cause changes in back pain more so through the fascia then in the muscles, so if the proprioception of the lumbar spine is improved, the pain receptors of this area are decreased. Those who suffer with lower back pain, experience a relief in discomfort after a good session of Pilates and this latest research supports this decrease in myofascial pain. Patience and persistence is necessary. Unlike muscles, fascia changes more slowly. Robert compared it to filling an aquarium, one small droplet of water at a time. Slowly the fascia grows, but the results are much longer lasting. Often however, muscles increase faster and the fascia is overloaded causing strain and tension, losing its ability to stretch, bounce and move within the body. Pilates is a journey, mentally and physically, but the rewards are great when we are patient and work towards our ultimate goal for a fit, healthy and happy life. The co-ordination of the mind and body is important “not only to accomplish the maximum result with minimum expenditure of the mental and physical energy, but also to live as long as possible in normal health and enjoy the benefits of a useful and happy life” (Joseph Pilates, Your Health, Presentation Dynamics Inc. 1998, p.41). After 4 full days of work with Robert and Divo, I walked away with a greater appreciation of the function and purpose of the living sensory organ. This insight also shone light on how well Pilates trains the body harmoniously. With this gained knowledge I can only draw more greatness out of the body of work that we call ‘Pilates’ and share it with my clients and my fellow teachers. [post_title] => Fascia and Pilates [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fascia-and-pilates [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-29 14:10:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-29 04:10:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=577 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 566 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2014-01-21 12:23:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-01-21 01:23:05 [post_content] => PILATES AND OSTEOPOROSIS One of the most potentially devastating conditions that can develop during one’s life - and that may present itself within a client attending a Pilates Studio - is that of Osteoporosis. It is believed that over 2 million Australians have developed this disease and it is becoming another ‘silent killer’ (similar to Hypertension) in the sense that the condition can develop without any initial tell-tale symptoms. Two-in-three women and one-in-three men over the age of 60 will develop an osteoporotic fracture in their remaining lifetime. What is it? How does it develop? Throughout our life span, the specialised cells that create bone in our body are constantly being renewed, broken down and replaced again. In our early years, more bone is being laid down – hence our bone growth – and by our late teen years, we have reached peak bone mass. As we move and exercise and build muscle, this assists in building and strengthening bone: Muscles pull on tendons attached to the bone, more cells are laid down and the bone is then ‘strengthened’ to cope with the stress of movement and exercise. As we age bones lose minerals, such as calcium, much quicker than can be replaced and can become porous (full of holes) losing their strength and become fragile and brittle. As the bones become thinner and weaker, even a minor bump or fall can cause serious fractures (a partial or complete break in a bone) with the most commonly affected areas being the wrist, hip, upper arm or forearm and spine. One of the most visual signs of advanced Osteoporosis affecting the spinal column is the classic ‘Dowager’s hump’. If you can imagine a stack of vanilla slices as the spinal column and then replace the custard with meringue, you can begin to appreciate the fragility created by this condition. As small fractures occur within the bodies of the vertebra, they start to collapse, become wedge-like and alter the natural curves of the spine. As the spine deteriorates and we lose height, the ribcage becomes shortened and compromises our ability to use our lungs effectively and places further compression onto our internal organs. Causes There are many factors that can contribute to the development of Osteoporosis. One of the leading causes in women is that of menopause (whether early or usual onset) when oestrogen rapidly declines and calcium/other bone minerals are reduced. It is said that within the first 5 years during the onset of menopause, a woman can lose up to 10% of her bone density! Low testosterone in men can also contribute to the development of Osteoporosis although, generally, the decline is much more gradual and bone mass can remain adequate until later in life. Other contributing factors can be: Age; low levels of physical activity; Genetics (i.e. a direct family member is diagnosed); Smoking; a low dietary intake of calcium (Adults require 1000mg of calcium per day – 1300mg once over the age of 50); weight levels i.e. excessive weight gain/loss can affect hormone levels; excessive alcohol intake; delayed onset of puberty & menstruation (the menstrual cycle can be disrupted following excessive exercise and/or dieting) and Low vitamin D dietary intake/levels (Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption). Vitamin D is also absorbed into our body through sun exposure. Strong anti skin cancer messages, such as the ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide’ campaigns have also indirectly assisted the rise of this condition as sunscreens can prevent the skin form absorbing vitamin D. Some conditions such as Asthma and Rheumatoid Arthritis and their associated medications can also increase risk factors for Osteoporosis. Long term use of corticosteroids, used to treat such conditions, can prevent calcium from being absorbed. Other conditions such as Thyroid disease, Chronic Liver &/or Kidney disease, Crohn’s disease and Coeliac disease (which affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients) can also contribute to the development of Osteoporosis. Diagnosis As mentioned earlier, often a fracture is the first alert that there is something wrong when bones are X-Rayed and the condition of the bones is then seen. One of the more reliable scans to do is a painless DXA scan which specifically measures the density of the bones. In Australia, Medicare rebates are often available for such scans especially if one or more of the above ‘causes’ are met by the individual. Treatments and Prevention Men and women can take steps from a young age to prevent the development of osteoporosis such as maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; eat calcium-rich foods and increase Vitamin D absorption/consumption – sardines, spinach and almonds are quite high in calcium, and fatty fish, liver and eggs are high in Vitamin D. One should also avoid smoking, limit alcohol and caffeine intake and undertake regular strength training and weight bearing activities. It is never too late for Osteoporosis prevention or, if diagnosed, treatment! If this condition has been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend you take medications to assist in minimising bone loss and to increase bone building. Hormone therapy may also assist in maintaining the strength of bone tissue, however it is now generally not recommended to remain on long term hormone therapy due to the potential side effects of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke. How can Pilates assist? As mentioned earlier, modified strength training and weight bearing exercises can assist in preventing osteoporosis and/or delay its’ progression. Exercises and movements that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination are important as they promote muscular endurance and muscular mass and therefore increase bone density. Such muscle work – especially within the Pilates studio setting – will also assist in maintaining and improving posture and muscular balance. Pilates will also develop proprioception (sensing the body in space in response to weight loading, weight shifts and gravity) and therefore improves balance and helps with the prevention of falls. A fully trained Pilates Instructor or registered studio will be able to consider and program safer exercise options for each individual/affected client (Infinity Pilates is a registered studio with the Pilates Alliance of Australasia – PAA – and all its’ instructors are fully trained Diploma graduates). It is recommended that a combination of strength training and weight bearing exercises, done 4 – 6 times per week, is important as exercising for bone growth needs to be regular, varied and last 30 - 40 minutes per session. References/Websites consulted www.osteoporosis.org.au http://www.weight-loss-trust.com/images/osteoporosis.JPG http://austudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Fights-Osteoporosis.jpg http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Osteoporosis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteoporosis http://www.garvan.org.au/research/our-work/osteoporosis http://www.backpain-guide.com/Chapter_Fig_folders/Ch06_Path_Folder/8Osteoporosis.html [post_title] => Pilates and osteoporosis [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pilates-osteoporosis [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-29 14:12:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-29 04:12:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=566 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 460 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2013-09-19 09:40:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-18 23:40:09 [post_content] => ‘Hypertension’ (or high blood pressure) is becoming a familiar condition that presents itself in many Pilates studios and can often be a precursor to Cardio-Vascular Disease (CVD): both conditions can seriously affect the client and it is important within the Pilates studio that programs are specifically tailored and designed to address hypertension in order to avoid further stress on the body. Hypertension can affect 1 in 7 adults – particularly those age 45 and over, though it is more common in men - and is often called ‘the silent killer’ as generally, it often does not present obvious symptoms for many years until it reaches high levels and thus causes damage to certain organs. What is Hypertension? When the body is physically challenged, the heart is forced to work harder and increases the blood pressure (BP) through the arteries. Blood pressure, when measured, is usually presented as a figure above another figure i.e. the systolic (heart muscle contraction) pressure over the diastolic (the relaxation of the heart muscle between beats) pressure. Normal ranges are defined as 90-120mmHg (millimetres of mercury) over/above 60-80mmHg. ‘Pre-Hypertension’ is defined when the pressures are 120-139mmHg over 80-89mmHg; ‘Stage 1/Grade 1 Hypertension’ is when pressures are 140-159 over 90-99mmHg; ‘Stage 2/Grade 2 Hypertension’ is defined as 160-179 over 100-109mmHg and ‘Severe/Grade/Stage 3 Hypertension’ is the label given when blood pressure is 180mmHg over 110mmHg or more. What causes Hypertension? There can be many reasons for increases in BP. ‘White coat Hypertension’ is the label applied when the patient is in the Doctor’s room and may feel nervous or anxious as the test is taking place and therefore may give a false reading. Pregnancy may also affect BP as the body undergoes many physiological changes as the pregnancy progresses. While hypertension may exist prior to pregnancy, it can be something that develops. Either situation is cause for concern as it may be an early warning sign of Pre-Eclampsia. This may be accompanied by headaches, vision loss, vomiting, epigastric pain and edema. If this and/or high BP is left unchecked, this could develop into Eclampsia: a hypertensive emergency. When such pressures are high, there is an increased risk for the client towards stroke, heart attacks/heart failure, aneurisms and a lower life expectancy. With such high pressures, sometimes there may be symptoms such as dizziness, headaches (particularly at the back of the head), vertigo, tinnitus, shortness of breath and/or nausea or vomiting. How is it treated? When a diagnosis has been made, medications may be prescribed to assist in lowering blood pressure. Often however, the first line of defence are major lifestyle changes, generally being to avoid cigarette smoking, salt and fat; keep alcohol intake at small, moderate levels; have your BP checked and monitored regularly and to try to encourage a stress-free life i.e. incorporate relaxation techniques and to lead an active lifestyle. How can Pilates help? Clearly, this is where Pilates can be of most assistance (also walking, running, cycling, Tai Chi and swimming) - indeed any physical activity which is rhythmical, dynamic, isotonic (not static), aerobic and of a moderate intensity i.e. where the heart is exercised at 40-60% of maximum heart rate that can be built upon. This level of work should still allow the participant to converse with a slight challenge to the breathing rate. Resistance training to retain muscle mass and performed at a slow to moderate speed through full ranges of motion without holding the breath become important. Pilates, with its’ use of spring resistance and pulley systems has a wonderful focus on working muscles both concentrically and eccentrically (strengthen whilst lengthening). Pilates exercises are designed to assist us in our everyday life, working the body through full ranges of motion that are very similar to everyday activities, from bending over and picking up/putting on one’s socks through to reaching up into high cupboards or lifting heavy loads. Whilst there may be initial concerns about exertion/over exertion – particularly from a formally sedentary client, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks and place a greater importance on participating in well-supervised sessions with a well trained instructor in a supportive and safe environment. Exercises to avoid are ones that involve static/held positions for long periods of time and also those exercises which require inversion i.e. legs and feet being higher than the heart. Undertaking the appropriate training program can actually lower BP by 5-7mmHg and can last up to 22 hours afterwards. This is known as P.E.H: Post exercise hypotension. Pilates, done on a regular basis, also assists in keeping the arteries elastic, thereby keeping the blood flowing and reducing BP. An added – and important – element in Pilates is the use of breath. In general, we intuitively understand the importance of breathing: “Take a breather” or “breathe deeply, count to ten and calm yourself”. In a Pilates session, all movements are coordinated with breath. Not only does this assist the rhythm, flow and pace of your workout, it also promotes better lung capacity; elasticity in the muscles and fascia of the body, thereby ensuring better blood flow and oxygenation. Breathing also facilitates relaxation and stress release and minimises overwork/tension patterns in the body, allowing the joints of the body become open and actively stable (not locked and rigid). For more information about Pilates and Hypertension, please feel free to contact the staff at Infinity Pilates, either by phone: (03) 9534 6233 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. [post_title] => Pilates and Hypertension [post_excerpt] => The Pilates method can be a great way of treating hypertension or high blood pressure, and help prevent cardio-vascular disease (CVD). Find out how. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pilates-and-hypertension [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-29 14:16:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-29 04:16:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=400 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 459 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2013-09-19 09:38:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-18 23:38:19 [post_content] => Throughout a Pilates session, a client will invariably hear the cue to “pull up” or “lift” their pelvic floor muscles; or to “draw their tail bone to their pubic bone,” or to “squeeze your sit-bones together”: These are all cues designed to find a deeper, internal sensation of work and support for the various challenges applied to the torso as a client moves through all their healthy/appropriate ranges of motion. But what IS the pelvic floor? How do we know if we’re using the correct musculature? How does it support and help – not only one’s Pilates practice – but ALL of our movements and activities in our daily lives? Often, we are not fully aware of our pelvic floor until it lets us down somehow. Or we are asked to find work, connection and awareness in that area and we rise to the challenge and discover the varying degrees of muscular activity and potential...or fall humbly short. In our western culture, the discussion and exploration of this pelvic area is generally fraught with taboo, censorship, sexual overtones and/or restriction. Societal ‘niceties’ insist that one generally doesn’t discuss such a topic over the office water cooler or family dinner gathering! As a result, many people are confused by what working their pelvic floor actually consists of and there is much misinformation floating around. Add to that all that is associated with the pelvis: urination, defecation, sex and childbirth - all intensely personal, private and individual matters - we can begin to appreciate how misinformation can persist and/or the area be ignored. So let’s clarify a little what the pelvic floor is not and some other misconceptions. The term ‘Pelvic floor’ does not mean you are going to push or press your pelvis into the floor. You do not even need to get onto the floor to work these muscles, as they can be worked (or found) in a seated position, standing, on all fours, or whilst lying on your front, side or back. The pelvic floor is also an area that your instructor would never directly touch, opting instead to verbally cue the required work, or to touch surrounding areas to focus your attention and assist muscular activity there. It is also not just a “woman’s thing” – men have a pelvic floor too and it is just as important for them to develop awareness, strength and flexibility there as it is for women, to ensure continence control, minimise hernias, and to achieve stronger erection/ejaculatory control. So how do we find our pelvic floor? Let’s start with the bones. In a seated position, rock your body from side to side a few times and feel how your sit bones alternately press into your chair. Now (keeping the body still) place one hand on your pubic bone and the other hand on your tailbone. You have now just defined and identified a diamond shape using these bony landmarks. If we divide this diamond horizontally, we get two triangles: the Urogenital triangle (right sit bone – pubic bone – left sit bone – the ‘front triangle’) and the anal triangle (right sit bone – tailbone/coccyx – left sit bone – the ‘back triangle’). Together, they form the pelvic diaphragm and sit within this bone-diamond structure and support the viscera i.e. bladder, intestines, the uterus (in women) and also helps with continence functions with the urinary and anal sphincters. Now, how do we work the pelvic floor? Often, people are advised to interrupt their water flow when going to the toilet to help identify these muscles (also known as the ‘stop-test’) however it is not recommended as a long term/regular exercise in and of itself. This awareness can be then layered with ongoing visualisations/imagery of stopping the water flow and holding in wind at the same time. The muscles around the front and back passages should lift and feel like they are lifting/squeezing up inside the pelvis. Then, it is important to relax these same muscles, creating a sensation of letting go (not pushing or bearing down). Many people can confuse this internal squeeze action with the external actions of their gluteals and may tuck or curl their bottoms under, shortening the length of their torso and/or holding their breath. If done correctly, there is no ‘obvious’ bodily movement, save for the internal lift/squeeze sensation and perhaps a drawing in/narrowing of the lower abdomen (and a visible lift/sensation of lift of the scrotum in men) and the breath cycle is still normal. Once the pelvic floor muscles have been identified and a degree of conscious control is experienced, a sense of endurance then needs to be developed. This can be done by holding the squeeze for longer (5 – 10 seconds) followed by a release and/or doing quick contractions/releases: both exercises can be done a number of times throughout the day. Remember, if you’re having trouble with these exercises, try doing them in some of the different positions mentioned earlier (seated, standing, on all fours, lying on your back, side or front). Once awareness and endurance has been developed, the next step is integration into one’s daily activities, especially within a Pilates session. The pelvic floor muscles are part of the core stability ‘trinity’ (the transversus and the multifidus muscles being the other two). A general rule of thumb when it comes to integration within one’s Pilates session is to work the pelvic floor as much as you can (for the given exercise) yet as little as you need (to discourage overwork/gripping or bracing patterns). To work well and efficiently, these muscles need the ability to not only contract, lift and tighten but also to relax and soften. Constant ‘bracing’ and not allowing the muscles to relax can create stiffness in these muscles which can create other issues of incontinence, pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, or possibly the prolapse of pelvic organs. Many factors can contribute to pelvic floor problems: pregnancy and childbirth; constipation; over/under-working the pelvic floor; being overweight; heavy lifting, persistent coughing or sneezing and also aging in general. It is also possible, depending on the contributing factors, to develop asymmetries within the pelvic floor (some muscles within the pelvic diaphragm may engage more readily than their mirrored counterpart) and these may need to be addressed by your instructor. In such cases, or if there are further problems with activating pelvic floor, you may need to be referred to a continence professional who can assess your pelvic floor and create an individual pelvic floor training program.
***Infinity Pilates is also a registered studio with the Pilates Alliance of Australasia (PAA). The PAA (www.pilatesalliance.net) is an independent and not-for-profit organization established by the Pilates industry as a regulatory body for control of quality instruction, member support and integrity within all legitimate approaches to the Pilates Method. It is a strong non-biased regulatory body that represents a broad range of styles and stipulates a firm educational underpinning for membership and encourages the public to look for well educated and holistic Pilates Practitioners/studios. Highlighting educational standards in Australia for Pilates Professionals is of paramount importance and all of Infinity’s Instructors have as a minimum qualification, a comprehensive ‘Diploma of Professional Pilates Practice’ in conjunction with the studio’s PAA registry. Websites Consulted www.wikipedia.org www.med.umich.edu/bowelcontrol/patient/teaching/male_kegels.pgf www.thewomens.org.au www.prostate.org.au www.juju.com.au/pelvic-floor-exercises/ http://www.kidspot.com.au/familyhealth/Pregnancy-Health-Pelvic-floor-exercises+2642+184+article.htm https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au/how-to-do-kegel-exercises-2/ http://pilatesbodyworkout.com/?p=398 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/subjects/subject/119 http://www.netteranatomy.com [post_title] => Pilates and the Pelvic Floor [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pilates-and-the-pelvic-floor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-09-19 09:38:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-09-18 23:38:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=398 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 7 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 835 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2016-08-16 14:20:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-16 04:20:34 [post_content] =>
Pelvic Power for men.Encouraging the male community to start the dialogue about Men’s Health. This Pilates class will assist in exploring the power and support within the body. It will include a strong focus on the male pelvic floor and pelvic health. This will specifically relate to the prostate and healthy movement patterns. The specialised Pilates Mat Class will target pelvic floor support and integrate this with full body movements. For more than 25 years, Paul Schembri has taught Pilates to a wide ranging clientele. He has a driving passion for the Pilates Method and a strong desire to help people improve their health and wellbeing and realise their movement potential. After sustaining a back injury whilst completing his Bachelor of Education in 1990, Paul was introduced to Pilates which assisted his recovery. He went on to perform as a dance professional for many years throughout Australia. His training in Pilates has also led him to pursue a career as an instructor reaching National accreditation in Pilates most recently through the Pilates International Training Centre. Over the years, Paul has developed his skills working with leading Pilates Instructors. Along with previously owning his own boutique Pilates Studio, Paul has assisted in delivering many Instructor courses and workshops throughout his career. In recent years, Paul has started to focus more so on Men’s health and the power of Pilates to help with their everyday lives. Workshop Dates & Times: Saturday 22nd October 2016, 1:30pm – 3pm Saturday 18th March 2017, 1:30pm – 3pm Saturday 17th June 2017, 1:30pm – 3pm. Register http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pelvic-power-for-men-tickets-27119088925 or call Infinity Pilates Studio Ph.: 9534 6233 email: email@example.com [post_title] => Pelvic Power for men [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => men-pilates-pelvic-power-classes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-10 19:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-10 09:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.infinitypilates.com/?p=835 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 7 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => b939218749f3569808e28a054b72ab79 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array (  => query_vars_hash  => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array (  => init_query_flags  => parse_tax_query ) )