It never ceases to amaze me how a little success in movement can make such a big difference in one’s perceived level of health. I recently had a patient in her mid 60’s who had retired a few years ago. Anxious to begin her retired life that she had worked so hard for resulted in two torn rotator cuffs (shoulder injuries), one total knee replacement, low back pain and a gain of 30 pounds. She was so frustrated in her new retired life. I asked her what she wanted now and her response was to not have pain. In her physical evaluation she was not able to lift her arms even shoulder height due to pain, could not squat independently and low back pain did not allow her to bend forward.
30 minutes later we were on the Pilates equipment, using the Tower Bar sprung from above to assist her in lifting her arms over head and moving the scapula-thoracic complex. We did some basic foot work looking at her alignment post knee surgery. Unfortunately she did not have any PT following her surgery. She was able to do a little bridging on the Reformer. She was able to lift arms over head without pain, do a half squat without pain and bend forward touching her shins without pain. She thought she just experienced a healing from Joseph Pilates.
The look on her face made my profession so worthwhile. I am a firm believer that when we provide these successful movement experiences to our clients, it shifts their paradigm of well-being. I have learned that one of the greatest attributes of Pilates and the like is the restoration of the individual’s belief that their body is built to function well and have a lot of potential. If we push clients so hard that they have a negative experience then we only reinforce the soul’s inabilities.
I think if we follow an intention as practitioners to create a positive movement experience without pain that exceeds our client’s expectations, they will increase in overall function and joy that can only be found in successful movement. I would love to hear about your experiences.