“A strong-yet-flexible body leads to a
strong and flexible mind”
– Joseph Pilates
Pilates is said to offer more than just physical strength. Stress relief is considered one of Pilates’ most positive effects. Here are some possible reasons as to why and how Pilates offers stress relief and overall wellbeing.
Being in pain is stressful all by itself. Chronic pain can be stressful to the point of debilitation. Joseph Pilates made the bold claim that he never needed an aspirin, and suggested that others who practice his exercises wouldn’t need any either. While such a claim may not be for everyone, it does lend credence to the idea that Pilates relieves pain.
So how could an exercise program relief pain and stress?
Pilates promotes body alignment and core muscle strength, as well as flexibility. Pilates works toward “spine lengthening” and encourages breath control.
Health and medical practitioners all over the world will tell you that a major issue for chronic pain is the body’s misalignment, often aggravated or caused by tense muscles. They say that muscle tension can pull bones and joints (especially the spine) out of their correct positions. The body then tries to compromise with more muscle tension to pull the bones back where they belong. With its emphasis on strengthening and relaxing the important core muscles you can see how Pilates could relieve pain.
Circulation is enhanced by the practice of Pilates. Perhaps this benefit could lower blood pressure and other stress-induced cardiovascular problems that, when left unaddressed, can be deadly. Healthy circulation can go a long way toward an overall sense of wellbeing.
Muscle relaxation and stretching is a key component of Pilates. The exercises elongate muscles and increase strength as well as flexibility. As the body takes on stress during the day, flexibility and relaxed muscles can help deal with those stresses in a healthy way, before they can take hold of the muscles and misalign the body.
Pilates is certainly not the sole remedy, nor a cure all for a lifestyle consumed with chronic stress. It is, however, one of many positive agents that assist in making permanent lifestyle changes that include physical activity, relaxation and meditation. Most importantly, the true nature of Pilates is one of dynamic balance and harmony, making Pilates a positive way to reduce stress