What is Pilates, and how can it help you?

What is Pilates, and how can it help you?


Pilates simply refers to an extensive repertoire of exercises developed under the ‘Pilates Method’ by Josef Pilates back in the mid 1900’s. He developed the repertoire primarily to help rehabilitate injured Ballet dancers and athletes. Its popularity has grown over the last few decades with Australian Physiotherapists adopting the repertoire and applying it to assist todays patients and their problems. It is also offered in many other studios and gyms.

What is Clinical Pilates?

Clinical Pilates incorporates traditional Pilates methodology and repertoire, applying it in a clinical setting. It typically uses a full studio of Pilates equipment, including Reformers and Trapeze tables. At Central Bassendean Physiotherapy Clinical Pilates is incorporated in exercise rehabilitation as part of Physiotherapy management. Each patient is individually assessed prior to commencing. During the assessment the Physiotherapist will work with you to establish goals and determine likely causes and contributing factors to your problems. Our physiotherapists are trained to identify and target postures and movement patterns that maybe contributing to your pain and dysfunction. Your program will then be individualised to help you achieve your goals, improving and optimising your movement patterns. At Central Bassendean Physiotherapy we strive to help you in an evidence based manner, empowering you to regain your health and function.

Since our Clinical Pilates sessions are part of Physiotherapy management, as a participant you are able to claim a rebate through your appropriate health insurance. This will not change with the new health insurance funding arrangements, however, you may not be able to claim Pilates that is not part of Physiotherapy e.g. at your local gym or a non-physio studio.

What is Mat Pilates?

Mat Pilates is vastly different to Clinical Pilates. At Central Bassendean Physiotherapy, it is run as a group, with everyone doing the same exercises. The programming is not individualised and usually involves the instructor performing the exercises as you copy them. At Central Bassendean Physiotherapy they are classified as Physiotherapy Group Exercise, meaning they are claimable under appropriate private health insurance. Most of exercises are performed on a mat with equipment involved being limited to exercise balls, hand weights, theraband and foam rollers. Our group classes are still small, with no more than 8 participants, meaning you still get excellent supervision and care. If you have an injury or pain this may not be suitable for you. Talk to your physiotherapist.

What is the difference between Pilates at my local gym and in the Physiotherapy practice?

Our Physiotherapists have undergone extensive extra training on top of their university degrees to be able to run Clinical Pilates sessions. Pilates instructors outside of Physiotherapy will have varying levels of training and as there is no regulatory body, there is no limitation on who can call themselves a Pilates instructor. Your gym instructor may have done a reputable course or only a brief weekend one! Pilates has become known for helping with things like back pain and improving ‘core strength’ but if you have an injury or pain and commence a class without assessment that is led by a non-physio, you may find the outcomes aren’t what you expected. We hope this newsletter helps you understand the differences between these programs!

How do I start Pilates at Central Bassendean Physiotherapy?

Simply BOOK an initial consultation HERE with a Physiotherapist or call us on 9279 7411.

For Mat Pilates this will be a briefer assessment lasting up to 30 min. For Clinical Pilates, it will depend on your presentation. The initial assessment may take anywhere from 30 min to 60 min and your physiotherapist may need to do it over two sessions. This will depend on how complicated your problems are.

Once your initial assessment has been completed you can book into our Clinical Pilates or mat sessions. We have a huge variety of times available for Clinical Pilates sessions, meaning there are no excuses to not get started! View our timetable here.
If you are still not sure, call and speak to our helpful staff and they can answer your questions!


Sarah Clay
Senior Physiotherapist
Senior Pilates Instructor

South Australian Institute Technology 1987

Sarah has always had a keen interest in working with Sporting Clubs and spent many years at ‘grass roots’ level working with Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union Clubs. She continues to work closely with Athletes and musculo-skeletal injuries, now in the rehabilitative setting. Read more…

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