Multiple Sclerosis (MS): How Pilates Can Help
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic and often debilitating illness, which affects nearly 100,000 – 1 in 600 – Britons, devastating the lives of many. Yet, around a third of those diagnosed with it, says the MS Resource Centre, "are still working, walking and functioning relatively normally 25-30 years following their diagnosis".
How can this be? For a growing number of people, Pilates is a big part of the answer.
MS has a number of symptoms that can rob sufferers of a normal life - with muscle and motor disturbances being among the most common. Because Pilates places an emphasis on using gentle and controlled movements, it is an ideal choice for the muscle and motor-control problems associated with MS.
By combining the best elements of different exercise systems, Pilates can alleviate common MS symptoms such as clumsiness and loss of co-ordination. Pilates offers a number of exercises to improve co-ordination, balance and posture.
Using Pilates in treating MS can also help forge a better connection between the mind, body and spirit.
Particularly helpful in doing so are the exercises that focus on the breathing, which Joseph Pilates adapted from yoga and meditation. Such exercises can help improve brain-body integration, as well as help with depression.
One of the best things about Pilates, especially at Pilates Central, is that it can be tailored to fit the changing needs of each individual. Striking the right balance between, on the one hand, avoiding over-exertion, while, on the other hand, still providing a sense of accomplishment on completing a session, is all part of using Pilates as a complimentary therapy in treating MS.
As always, it is advisable to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime.