What Are the Benefits of Pilates for Scoliosis?

Dawn Green

The brainchild of Joseph Pilates, Pilates initially was intended to provide wounded soldiers with an accessible exercise program. It offers total body conditioning with a key focus on the core muscles — notably the back, pelvic and abdomen areas. Now a popular part of fitness routines around the world, Pilates is believed to provide relief for a number of physical and health conditions, including scoliosis. Specific Pilates for scoliosis movements might alleviate the discomfort of spinal curvatures and could, in some instances, help reduce the severity of the curve.

Many people suffering from scoliosis turn to Pilates to supplement treatment.
Many people suffering from scoliosis turn to Pilates to supplement treatment.

Intended to be a balanced combination of strength-building and flexibility training, a structured Pilates program is thought to be able to reduce both physical and psychological stress and to improve posture. The typical movements of this style of exercise are fluid and non-jarring, which lessens the likelihood of suffering an injury. Pilates also is thought to have an advantageous effect on those who suffer from scoliosis because of its ability to redress balances and create new patterns of movement.

In some cases, the use of Pilates for scoliosis can reduce the severity of the curve.
In some cases, the use of Pilates for scoliosis can reduce the severity of the curve.

An additional benefit of using Pilates for scoliosis is the connection that lies between using Pilates and improving balance. The muscoskeletal changes that occur in people who suffer from scoliosis can have a dramatic effect on balance. The focus on tightening and training the core muscles of the body, however, is thought to help sufferers improve their balance over time.

Balance training may help people with scoliosis.
Balance training may help people with scoliosis.

The prominent philosophy behind this belief is that these exercises will restore natural internal and external balance to the body, repairing internal systems and creating a natural and strong frame. When this occurs, the body is believed to be able to operate at optimal levels and move as nature intended it to move. In addition to strengthening key muscle groups, Pilates for scoliosis can aid in enhancing the process of toxin removal and the distribution of nutrients, so one major part of the advantages that are gained by using Pilates for scoliosis is purely holistic in nature. By encouraging optimal posture and natural movements, Pilates is also thought to increase the efficiency of the lymphatic, circulatory and skeletal systems.

In addition to Pilates, certain yoga poses also cultivate strength and help improve balance.
In addition to Pilates, certain yoga poses also cultivate strength and help improve balance.

Not all expert opinions are in support of using Pilates for scoliosis to alleviate the signs and symptoms of this condition. Some people believe that scoliosis is most often the result of a genetic predisposition. These people believe that scoliosis is essentially caused by neurological underdevelopment and therefore is rarely able to be corrected by making efforts to improve posture and movement patterns. This school of thought is generally opposed to the use of Pilates for scoliosis, believing that certain positions might even exacerbate the condition.

Many doctors recommend several different types of physical therapy to reduce effects of scoliosis, and improve the shape of the body.
Many doctors recommend several different types of physical therapy to reduce effects of scoliosis, and improve the shape of the body.

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