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1.  The effects of pilates exercise on lipid metabolism and inflammatory cytokines mRNA expression in female undergraduates 
The purpose of the study was to verify the effects of Pilates exercise by observing the impact of 8 weeks of Pilates exercise on lipid metabolism and inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression in female undergraduates in their 20s who had no prior experience in Pilates exercise and had not exercised in the previous 6 months.
There were 18 subjects with no prior experience in Pilates exercise. The subjects were separated into the Pilates exercise group (n = 9) and the non-exercise control group (n = 9). The former performed Pilates exercise for 60-70 minutes over 8 weeks with a gradual strength increase of 9-16 in the Rating of Perceived Exercise (RPE). The body composition, creatine kinase in the bloodstream and lipid metabolism (TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, TG) were measured before and after the experiment and Real-Time PCR was used to investigate the mRNA expression of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-⍺.
The creatine kinase (CK) in the blood had significant differences between the groups. The test group showed significant increase compared to the control group after 8 weeks of Pilates exercise (p = 0.007). Lipid analysis showed that the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was significantly different in the two groups (p = 0.049), with the Pilates exercise group exhibiting significantly higher levels compared to the control group. No significant differences were observed in the levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride (TG). IL-6 mRNA expression did not show significant differences between the groups either. Timing and TNF-α mRNA expression showed significant effect in both the exercise and the control groups (p = 0.013) but no correlation.
It was found from the study that Pilates exercise for 8 weeks affected CK expression (the muscle damage marker) and induced positive changes in the levels of high-density lipoprotein.
PMCID: PMC4241897  PMID: 25566463
Pilates; creatine kinase; lipid metabolism; inflammatory cytokine mRNA
2.  Comparison of deep and superficial abdominal muscle activity between experienced Pilates and resistance exercise instructors and controls during stabilization exercise 
Pilates and resistance exercises are used for lumbar stabilization training. However, it is unclear which exercise is more effective for lumbar stabilization. In our study, we aimed to compare surface muscle activity and deep muscle thickness during relaxation and spinal stabilization exercise in experienced Pilates and resistance exercise instructors. This study is a retrospective case control study set in the Exercise Prescription Laboratory and Sports Medicine Center. The participants included Pilates instructors (mean years of experience, 3.20±1.76; n=10), resistance exercise instructors (mean years of experience, 2.53±0.63; n=10), and controls (n=10). The participants performed 4 different stabilization exercises: abdominal drawing-in maneuver, bridging, roll-up, and one-leg raise. During the stabilization exercises, surface muscle activity was measured with electromyography, whereas deep muscle thickness was measured by ultrasound imaging. During the 4 stabilization exercises, the thickness of the transverse abdominis (TrA) was significantly greater in the Pilates-trained group than the other 2 other groups. The internal oblique (IO) thickness was significantly greater in the Pilates- and resistance-trained group than the control group, during the 4 exercises. However, the surface muscle activities were similar between the groups. Both Pilates and resistance exercise instructors had greater activation of deep muscles, such as the TrA and IO, than the control subjects. Pilates and resistance exercise are both effective for increasing abdominal deep muscle thickness.
PMCID: PMC4492427  PMID: 26171383
Transversus abdominis; Obliquus internus abdominis; Ultrasonography; Electromyography; Exercise
3.  A Comparison of 12 Weeks of Pilates and Aquatic Training on the Dynamic Balance of Women with Mulitple Sclerosis 
International Journal of Preventive Medicine  2013;4(Suppl 1):S110-S117.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disabling chronic disease of the nervous system in which the myelin system of the central nervous system is deteriorated. The objective of this study is to understand the effect of Pilates exercises and aquatic training for a 12 week period on the dynamic balance of MS patients.
The research method is semi-experimental. As a result, among the female patients visiting the MS clinic of Kashani hospital in Esfahan, 57 patients with disease intensity levels between 0 and 4.5 were taken as samples. The average length of the disease was 8 ± 2 years, 20;40 years old, and they were randomly divided into three groups of Pilates exercise group, aquatic training group, and the control group. The exercise schedule for the experiment groups consisted of 12 weeks, three sessions per week, and 1 hour for each session. The dynamic balance of the patients, before and after the exercises was measured by Six Spot Step Test.
The adjusted mean differences of Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT) scores of the experimental groups are significantly different (P<0.05). Therefore, it can be said that Pilates exercise interventions and aquatic training can significantly increase the dynamic balance of the examinees in the post-experiment stage.
Performing the Pilate exercises and aquatic training increases dynamic balance of the MS patients. Considering the role of dynamic balance on physical fitness and enabling the person in doing is daily chores and routines, and its direct effect on the quality of life, it leads the specialists in applying these exercises as a supplementary treatment along with the medicinal treatments for MS patients.
PMCID: PMC3665016  PMID: 23717760
Aquatic training; dynamic balance; multiple sclerosis; pilates
4.  Effects of a mat pilates program on cardiometabolic parameters in elderly women 
Objective: This study aimed to determine the effects of mat Pilates on resting heart rate, resting blood pressure and fasting blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in elderly women.
Methodology: Fifty sedentary, apparently healthy females aged 60 and older were randomly assigned into a control (CG, n = 25) or an intervention (IG, n = 25) group. The IG took part in an eight-week progressive mat Pilates exercise program, three times weekly while the CG did not take part in any structured exercises throughout the eight-week period. All subjects underwent pre- and post-tests in which cardiometabolic parameters were assessed.
Results: In the eight-week mat Pilates program, the IG only demonstrated a significant (p ≤ 0.05) decrease in systolic BP (p = 0.040) from 135.84 ± 14.66mmHg to 128.80 ± 16.36mmHg and a significant increase in blood glucose (p = 0.000) from 5.07 ± 0.46mmol.L-1 to 5.83 ± 0.57mmol.L-1, whereas resting HR (p = 0.148) (from 68.80 ± 12.58beats.min-1 to 73.20 ± 11.46beats.min-1), resting diastolic BP (p = 0.342) (from 75.64 ± 10.10mmHg to 77.44 ± 9.32mmHg), blood TC (p = 0.073) (from 5.37 ± 0.99mmol.L-1 to 5.67 ± 1.04mmol.L-1) and blood TG (p = 0.384) (from 1.77 ± 0.88mmol.L-1 to 1.92 ± 0.87mmol.L-1) did not produce any significant changes.
Conclusion: Due to the contradictory nature of the cardiometabolic variables (except systolic BP) with the findings of previous studies, it is difficult to establish a case for using Pilates as a substitute for more conventional forms of exercising when exclusively attempting to favourably alter cardiometabolic parameters at least among the elderly women in our sample.
PMCID: PMC3809231  PMID: 24353564
Pilates program; Resting heart rate; Resting blood pressure; Fasting blood glucose; Cholesterol; Triglycerides; Elderly women
5.  The Effectiveness of Pilates Exercise in People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100402.
To evaluate the effectiveness of Pilates exercise in people with chronic low back pain (CLBP) through a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
Data Sources
A search for RCTs was undertaken using Medical Search Terms and synonyms for “Pilates” and “low back pain” within the maximal date range of 10 databases. Databases included the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; Cochrane Library; Medline; Physiotherapy Evidence Database; ProQuest: Health and Medical Complete, Nursing and Allied Health Source, Dissertation and Theses; Scopus; Sport Discus; Web of Science.
Study Selection
Two independent reviewers were involved in the selection of evidence. To be included, relevant RCTs needed to be published in the English language. From 152 studies, 14 RCTs were included.
Data Extraction
Two independent reviewers appraised the methodological quality of RCTs using the McMaster Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies. The author(s), year of publication, and details regarding participants, Pilates exercise, comparison treatments, and outcome measures, and findings, were then extracted.
Data Synthesis
The methodological quality of RCTs ranged from “poor” to “excellent”. A meta-analysis of RCTs was not undertaken due to the heterogeneity of RCTs. Pilates exercise provided statistically significant improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity between 4 and 15 weeks, but not at 24 weeks. There were no consistent statistically significant differences in improvements in pain and functional ability with Pilates exercise, massage therapy, or other forms of exercise at any time period.
Pilates exercise offers greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity in the short term. Pilates exercise offers equivalent improvements to massage therapy and other forms of exercise. Future research should explore optimal Pilates exercise designs, and whether some people with CLBP may benefit from Pilates exercise more than others.
PMCID: PMC4077575  PMID: 24984069
6.  Pilates based core stability training in ambulant individuals with multiple sclerosis: protocol for a multi-centre randomised controlled trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:19.
People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) frequently experience balance and mobility impairments, including reduced trunk stability. Pilates-based core stability training, which is aimed at improving control of the body's stabilising muscles, is popular as a form of exercise with people with MS and therapists. A replicated single case series study facilitated by the Therapists in MS Group in the United Kingdom (UK) provides preliminary evidence that this approach can improve balance and mobility in ambulant people with MS; further evidence is needed to substantiate these findings to ensure that limited time, energy, finances and resources are used to best effect.
This study builds upon the pilot work undertaken in the case series study by implementing a powered randomised controlled study, with the aims of:
1 Establishing the effectiveness of core stability training
2 Comparing core stability training with standardised physiotherapy exercise
3 Exploring underlying mechanisms of change associated with this intervention
This is a multi-centre, double blind, block randomised, controlled trial. Eligible participants will be recruited from 4 UK centres. Participants will be randomly allocated to one of three groups: Pilates based core stability training, standardised physiotherapy exercise or contract-relax relaxation sessions (placebo control). All will receive face to face training sessions over a 12 week period; together with a 15 minute daily home programme. All will be assessed by a blinded assessor before training, at the end of the 12 week programme and at 4 week follow-up. The primary outcome measure is the 10 metre timed walk. Secondary outcome measures are the MS walking Scale (MSWS-12), the Functional Reach (forwards and lateral), a 10 point Numerical Rating Scale to determine "Difficulty in carrying a drink when walking", and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale. In addition, ultrasound imaging of the abdominal muscles will be performed before and after intervention to assess changes in abdominal musculature at one of the four centres (Plymouth).
This pragmatic trial will assess the effect of these exercise programmes on ambulatory people with MS. It may not be possible to extrapolate the conclusions to those who are non-ambulatory.
Trial registration NCT01414725
PMCID: PMC3364845  PMID: 22480437
Multiple sclerosis; Mobility; Balance; Exercise; Physiotherapy; Core stability
7.  Efficacy of the Pilates method for pain and disability in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis 
To systematically review the available evidence on the efficacy of the Pilates method in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.
Searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PEDro, SciELO, LILACS, CINAHL and CENTRAL in March 2013. Randomized controlled trials that tested the effectiveness of the Pilates method (against a nontreatment group, minimal intervention or other types of interventions) in adults with chronic low back pain were included regardless the language of publication. The outcome data were extracted from the eligible studies and were combined using a meta-analysis approach.
The searches identified a total of 1,545 articles. From these, eight trials were considered eligible, and seven trials were combined in the meta-analysis. The comparison groups were as follows: Pilates versus other types of exercises (n=2 trials), and Pilates versus no treatment group or minimal intervention (n=4 trials) for short term pain; Pilates versus minimal intervention for short-term disability (n=4).We determined that Pilates was not better than other types of exercises for reducing pain intensity. However, Pilates was better than a minimal intervention for reducing short-term pain and disability (pain: pooled mean difference=1.6 points; 95% CI 1.4 to 1.8; disability: pooled mean difference=5.2 points; 95% CI 4.3 to 6.1).
Pilates was better than a minimal intervention for reducing pain and disability in patients with chronic low back pain. Pilates was not better than other types of exercise for short-term pain reduction.
PMCID: PMC4207151  PMID: 24346291
backache; exercise therapy; rehabilitation
8.  The Effect of Pilates Exercise on Trunk and Postural Stability and Throwing Velocity in College Baseball Pitchers: Single Subject Design 
Baseball pitchers need trunk strength to maximize performance. The Pilates method of exercise is gaining popularity throughout the country as a fitness and rehabilitation method of exercise. However, very few studies exist that examine the effects of the Pilates method of exercise on trunk strength or performance.
Using a single subject, multiple baseline across subjects design, this study examines the effects of the Pilates method of exercise on performance of double leg lowering, star excursion balance test, and throwing velocity in college-aged baseball pitchers.
A convenience sample of three college baseball pitchers served as the subjects for this single subject design study. For each subject, double leg lowering, star excursion balance test, and throwing speed were measured prior to the introduction of the intervention. When baseline test values showed consistent performance, the intervention was introduced to one subject at a time. Intervention was introduced to the other subjects over a period of 4 weeks as they also demonstrated consistent performance on the baseline tests. Intervention was continued with periodic tests for the remainder of the 10 week trial.
Each subject improved in performance on double leg lowering (increased 24.43-32.7%) and star excursion balance test (increased 4.63-17.84%) after introduction of the intervention. Throwing speed improved in two of the three subjects (up to 5.61%).
Discussion and Conclusions
The Pilates method of exercise may contribute to improved performance in double leg lowering, star excursion balance tests, and throwing speed in college baseball pitchers.
PMCID: PMC2953286  PMID: 21522199
trunk strength; throwing speed; core stability
9.  The Effects of Pilates Mat Exercise on the Balance Ability of Elderly Females 
[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Pilates exercise on a mat and balance exercise on an unstable base of support for trunk stability on the balance ability of elderly females. [Subjects and Methods] Forty elderly women aged 65 or older were equally assigned to a Pilates mat exercise (PME) group and an unstable support surface exercise (USSE) group. They conducted exercise three times per week for 12 weeks for 40 minutes each time. In order to examine balance, sway length and the speed of the center of foot pressure were measured for one minute, and in order to examine dynamic balance, the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test was conducted. [Results] After the intervention, sway length, sway speed, and TUG significantly decreased in both groups. A comparison of sway speed after the intervention between the two groups revealed that the PME group showed larger decreases than the USSE group. [Conclusion] PME and USSE elicited significant effects on the static and dynamic balance of elderly female subjects, suggesting that those exercises are effective at enhancing the balance ability of this group of subjects. However, the Pilates mat exercise is regarded as being safer than exercise on an unstable base of support.
PMCID: PMC3944308  PMID: 24648651
Pilates mat exercise; Unstable support surface exercise; Elderly females
10.  The effects of a single bout pilates exercise on mRNA expression of bone metabolic cytokines in osteopenia women 
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a single bout pilates exercise on mRNA expression of bone metabolic cytokines in elderly osteopenia women.
We selected 11 people of elderly osteopenia women and loaded a single bout pilates exercise about RPE 10-14 level. The blood samples were collected before, immediately after and 60 minute after pilates exercise, then examined calcium metabolic markers in serum and extracted peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) from whole blood and confirmed mRNA expression of bone metabolic cytokines from PBMC. To clarify the changes during exercise, we designed repeated measure ANOVA as the control group to perform blood sampling without exercise.
As a result, serum P showed significant interaction effect between group and time (p<.001), the pilates exercise group decreased about 9% at immediately after exercise and 13% during recovery after exercise (p<.05), while the control group showed a tendency to increase. Serum CK also showed a significant interaction between group and time (p<.05), the pilates group significantly increased at immediately after exercise and during recovery after exercise (p<.05) but the control group didn’t have changes. TNF-α and IL-6 mRNA expression in PBMC was significantly increased in the pilates group (p<.01, p<.05), although INF-γ mRNA expression didn’t show statistically significant difference, it tended to increase in the pilates group (NS).
These results suggested that a single bout pilates exercise of elderly osteopenia women cause hypophosphatemia with temporary muscle damage, and it leading high turnover bone metabolic state with to activate both of bone formation and bone resorption.
PMCID: PMC4241937  PMID: 25566441
Pilates exercise; PBMC; TNF-α; IL-6; INF-γ; mRNA expression; Hypophosphatemia.
11.  Integrating Pilates Exercise into an Exercise Program for 65+ Year-Old Women to Reduce Falls 
The purpose of this study was to determine if Pilates exercise could improve dynamic balance, flexibility, reaction time and muscle strength in order to reduce the number of falls among older women. 60 female volunteers over the age of 65 from a residential home in Ankara participated in this study. Participants joined a 12-week series of 1-hour Pilates sessions three times per week. Dynamic balance, flexibility, reaction time and muscle strength were measured before and after the program. The number of falls before and during the 12-week period was also recorded. Dynamic balance, flexibility, reaction time and muscle strength improved (p < 0. 05) in the exercise group when compared to the non-exercise group. In conclusion, Pilates exercises are effective in improving dynamic balance, flexibility, reaction time, and muscle strength as well as decreasing the propensity to fall in older women.
Key pointsPilates-based exercises improve dynamic balance, reaction time and muscle strength in the elderly.Pilates exercise may reduce the number of falls in elderly women by increasing these fitness parameters.
PMCID: PMC3737905  PMID: 24149302
Pilates; elderly women; balance; reaction time; muscle strength
12.  Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? 
Pilates uses a combination of approximately 50 simple, repetitive exercises to create muscular exertion. Advocates of this system of exercise claim that exercises can be adapted to provide either gentle strength training for rehabilitation or a strenuous workout vigorous enough to challenge skilled athletes. The exercises are designed to increase muscle strength and endurance, as well as flexibility and to improve posture and balance. There is cautious support for the effectiveness of Pilates in improving flexibility, abdominal and lumbo-pelvic stability and muscular activity. Stronger support cannot be given at this point in time primarily due to the limited number of studies and the lack of sound methodology in the published research. However, current research does indicate that there may be applications for this type of intervention in certain clinical populations that are worthy of continued investigation.
PMCID: PMC3666467  PMID: 23738249
pilates; muscles exercises
13.  Pain Perception and Stabilometric Parameters in People With Chronic Low Back Pain After a Pilates Exercise Program 
Medicine  2016;95(2):e2414.
Various exercise interventions, such as Pilates exercises and traditional physical therapy methods, are employed to decrease low back pain (LBP). Nonspecific low back pain (NSLBP) is distinct from LBP, however, as the distribution of pain is restricted to the region between the costal margin and the inferior gluteal. The aim of our randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of a program of Pilates exercises on pain perception and stabilometric parameters in patients with NSLBP.
Thirty-eight participants were randomly allocated, using a 1:1 scheme, to either the experimental group (EG) or control group (CG). The EG completed a 14-week program of Pilates exercises, performed thrice per week under the supervision of an exercise specialist, while the CG was managed with a social program only. Measures of posturography and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for pain perception were obtained at baseline (T0) and after the 14 weeks of intervention (T1).
Posturography measures improved for patients in the EG, with both eyes open and eyes closed (P < 0.05). There were no statistical differences in posturography in the CG. ODI decreased significantly in both groups over the 14 weeks of the study protocol: EG, T0, 13.7 ± 5.0 compared with T1, 6.5 ± 4.0 (P < 0.001); and CG, T0, 10.7 ± 7.8 compared with T1, 8.4 ± 7.8 (P < 0.01). A greater extent of reduction in pain was achieved in the EG.
The Pilates exercise program yielded improvements in pain and posturography outcomes. Our study also confirms the applicability of posturography in evaluating postural instability in patients with NSLBP. Due to our relatively small study group, future studies would be necessary to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4718245  PMID: 26765419
14.  Impact of the clinical Pilates exercises and verbal education on exercise beliefs and psychosocial factors in healthy women 
Journal of Physical Therapy Science  2015;27(11):3437-3443.
[Purpose] Exercise is one of the most important components of a healthy life. The purpose of this study was to analyze exercise beliefs and psychosocial factors in sedentary and active healthy women and observe the changes in these parameters resulting from clinical Pilates exercises and verbal education in healthy women. [Subjects and Methods] Sixty-six healthy women were included in the study. Participants were divided into clinical Pilates (n=21), verbal education (n=25), and control groups (n=20). Prior to and at the end of the study, demographic information, body mass index, waist-hip circumference, exercise beliefs, physical activity index, and psychosocial factors (Rosenberg self-esteem scale, Body Cathexis Index, SF-36 quality of life, Beck Depression Scale, visual analog scale for tiredness) of the subjects were recorded. [Results] Meaningful changes for all the parameters took place in the clinical Pilates and verbal education groups. Our analyses indicated that the changes in the clinical Pilates group were more meaningful than those in the verbal education group. When the data of the study groups were compared with those of the control group, the clinical Pilates group showed meaningful differences. [Conclusion] The result of this study indicate that both clinical Pilates and verbal education are effective in changing exercise beliefs and physical and psychosocial parameters.
PMCID: PMC4681922  PMID: 26696715
Theory of planned behavior; Exercise beliefs; Pilates
15.  Efficacy of the addition of interferential current to Pilates method in patients with low back pain: a protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
Chronic low back pain is one of the four most common diseases in the world with great socioeconomic impact. Supervised exercise therapy is one of the treatments suggested for this condition; however, the recommendation on the best type of exercise is still unclear. The Pilates method of exercise is effective in reducing pain and disability in these patients, as well as the analgesia promoted by interferential current. Currently, the literature lacks information on the efficacy of the association of these two techniques in the short- and medium-term than performing one of the techniques isolated. The objective of this study will be to evaluate the efficacy of adding interferential current to the Pilates method exercises for the treatment of patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain in the short- and medium-term.
This study will be a randomized controlled trial with two arms and blinded evaluator, conducted at an outpatient Physical Therapy Department in Brazil. Patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain and pain equal to or greater than 3 in the Pain Numerical Rating Scale (0/10) will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: Group with active interferential current + Pilates (n = 74) will be submitted to the active interferential current associated to the modified Pilates exercises, and Group with sham interferential current + Pilates (n = 74) will be submitted to the sham interferential current associated with the modified Pilates exercises during 18 sessions. The outcomes pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, general and specific disability, global perceived effect and kinesiophobia will be evaluated by a blinded assessor at baseline, six weeks and six months after randomization.
Because of the study design, blinding of the participants and the therapists involved in the study will not be possible. The results of this study could contribute to the process of clinical decision- making for the improvement of pain and disability in participants with nonspecific chronic low back pain.
Trial registration NCT01919268
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-420) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4295299  PMID: 25492853
Pilates-based exercises; Low back pain; Disability evaluation; Interferential current electrotherapy
16.  Effects of Pilates on muscle strength, postural balance and quality of life of older adults: a randomized, controlled, clinical trial 
[Purpose] The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of Pilates on lower leg strength, postural balance and the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of older adults. [Subjects and Methods] Thirty-two older adults were randomly allocated either to the experimental group (EG, n = 16; mean age, 63.62 ± 1.02 years), which performed two sessions of Pilates per week for 12 weeks, or to the control group (CG, n = 16; mean age, 64.21 ± 0.80), which performed two sessions of static stretching per week for 12 weeks. The following evaluations were performed before and after the interventions: isokinetic torque of knee extensors and flexors at 300°/s, the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, the Berg Balance Scale, and the Health Survey assessment (SF-36). [Results] In the intra-group analysis, the EG demonstrated significant improvement in all variables. In the inter-group analysis, the EG demonstrated significant improvement in most variables. [Conclusion] Pilates exercises led to significant improvement in isokinetic torque of the knee extensors and flexors, postural balance and aspects of the health-related quality of life of older adults.
PMCID: PMC4395733  PMID: 25931749
Exercise; Age; Muscle strength dynamometer
17.  Influence of Pilates Mat and Apparatus Exercises on Pain and Balance of Businesswomen with Chronic Low Back Pain 
[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of mat Pilates and apparatus Pilates on pain and static balance of businesswomen with chronic back pain. [Subjects and Methods] Participants were randomly allocated to Pilates mat exercises (PME) or Pilates apparatus exercise (PAE), and performed the appropriate Pilates exercises 3 days per week for 8 weeks. In order to measure the improvement in the participants’ static balance ability as a result of the exercise, the sway length and sway velocity of the subjects were measured before and after the experiment while the subjects stood on a Balance Performance Monitor (BPM) facing the front wall for 30 seconds with their eyes open. The visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to measure the degree of pain. [Results] The VAS score, sway length, and sway velocity of both groups decreased significantly after the experiment, but the PME group showed a greater decrease than the PAE group. [Conclusion] PME showed greater improvement in pain level and balance compared with PAE in this research. Since the subjects of this study were patients with low back pain, PME is assumed to have been more suitable and effective because it uses body weight to strengthen core muscles rather than heavier apparatuses as in PAE.
PMCID: PMC3996402  PMID: 24764614
Pilates mat exercise; Pilates apparatus exercises; LBP
18.  Effectiveness of mat Pilates or equipment-based Pilates in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain: a protocol of a randomised controlled trial 
Chronic low back pain is an expensive and difficult condition to treat. One of the interventions widely used by physiotherapists in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain is exercise therapy based upon the Pilates principles. Pilates exercises can be performed with or without specific equipment. These two types of Pilates exercises have never been compared on a high-quality randomised controlled trial.
This randomised controlled trial with a blinded assessor will evaluate eighty six patients of both genders with chronic low back pain, aged between 18 and 60 years, from one Brazilian private physiotherapy clinic. The patients will be randomly allocated into two groups: Mat Group will perform the exercises on the ground while the Equipment-based Group will perform the Pilates method exercises on the following equipment: Cadillac, Reformer, Ladder Barrel, and Step Chair. The general and specific disability of the patient, kinesiophobia, pain intensity and global perceived effect will be evaluated by a blinded assessor before randomisation and at six weeks and six months after randomisation. In addition, the expectation of the participants and their confidence with the treatment will be evaluated before randomisation and after the first treatment session, respectively.
This will be the first study aiming to compare the effectiveness of Mat and Equipment-based Pilates exercises in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain. The results may help health-care professionals in clinical decision-making and could potentially reduce the treatment costs of this condition.
Trial registration
Brazilian Registry of Clinical Trials RBR-7tyg5j
PMCID: PMC3544561  PMID: 23298183
Pilates-based exercises; Low back pain; Disability
19.  The efficacy of the addition of the Pilates method over a minimal intervention in the treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain: a study protocol of a randomized controlled trial☆ 
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine  2011;10(4):248-254.
There is little high-quality evidence on the efficacy of the Pilates-based exercises for the treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to present a study protocol to investigate the efficacy of adding Pilates-based exercises to a minimum intervention in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.
This randomized controlled trial will recruit 86 patients of both sexes, aged between 18 and 60 years, with chronic non-specific low back pain. The participants will be randomly allocated into 2 treatment groups: the Booklet Group, which will receive a booklet with postural orientations, and the Pilates Group, which will receive the same booklet in addition to a Pilates-based exercises program. The general and specific functional capacities of the patient, kinesiophobia, pain intensity, and the global perceived effect will be evaluated by a blinded assessor before randomization and at 6 weeks and 6 months after randomization. In addition, the expectations of the participants and their confidence in the treatment will be evaluated before the randomization and after the first treatment session, respectively.
It is hoped that the results of this study will provide high-quality evidence on the usefulness of Pilates-based exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain.
PMCID: PMC3315867  PMID: 22654682
Randomized controlled trial; Exercise movement techniques; Low back pain; Patient education as topic; Disability evaluation
20.  Effect of Pilates exercises on postpartum maternal fatigue 
Singapore Medical Journal  2015;56(3):169-173.
Postpartum fatigue is a pervasive phenomenon and often affects mothers immediately after delivery. The present study aimed to assess the effect Pilates home exercises had on postpartum maternal fatigue.
A total of 80 women participated in our clinical trial study. The women were randomly divided into two groups – the intervention group (n = 40) and the control group (n = 40). In the intervention group, the women performed Pilates exercises five times a week (30 min per session) for eight consecutive weeks. The first session was conducted 72 hours after delivery. The control group did not receive any intervention. Each woman’s level of fatigue was evaluated at hospital discharge (as a baseline), and at four and eight weeks after delivery, using the standard Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) questionnaire and repeated measures analysis.
During the eight weeks of follow-up, we found that the intervention group had lower mean MFI-20 scores than the control group with regard to general fatigue (7.80 ± 2.07 vs. 12.72 ± 1.79; p < 0.001), physical fatigue (7.12 ± 1.41 vs. 10.42 ± 2.02; p < 0.001), reduced activity (6.95 ± 1.35 vs. 11.27 ± 1.70; p < 0.001), reduced motivation (6.20 ± 1.01 vs. 9.80 ± 2.04; p < 0.001) and mental fatigue (6.85 ± 1.45 vs. 10.72 ± 1.98; p < 0.001).
The present study’s findings show that physical exercise can significantly reduce postpartum maternal fatigue in all subscales.
PMCID: PMC4371197  PMID: 25820848
fatigue; Pilates; postpartum period
21.  Pilates, Mindfulness and Somatic Education 
The Pilates Method is a form of somatic education with the potential to cultivate mindfulness – a mental quality associated with overall well-being. However, controlled studies are needed to determine whether changes in mindfulness are specific to the Pilates Method or also result from other forms of exercise. This quasi-experimental study compared Pilates Method mat classes and recreational exercise classes on measures of mindfulness and well-being at the beginning, middle and end of a 15 week semester. Total mindfulness scores increased overall for the Pilates Method group but not for the exercise control group, and these increases were directly related to end of semester ratings of self-regulatory self-efficacy, perceived stress and mood. Findings suggest that the Pilates Method specifically enhances mindfulness, and these increases are associated with other measures of wellness. The changes in mindfulness identified in this study support the role of the Pilates Method in the mental well-being of its practitioners and its potential to support dancers’ overall well-being.
PMCID: PMC4198945  PMID: 25328542
The Pilates Method; somatic education; mindfulness; self-efficacy; stress; mood
22.  Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain 
Medicine  2015;94(4):e383.
The Pilates method has recently become a fast-growing popular way of exercise recommended for healthy individuals and those engaged in rehabilitation. Several published studies have examined the effects of Pilates method in people with chronic low back pain (LBP).
The objective of this study is to describe and provide an extensive overview of the scientific literature comparing the effectiveness of the Pilates method on pain and disability in patients with chronic nonspecific LBP. The study is based on the data from the following sources: MEDLINE-NLM, MEDLINE-EBSCO, Scopus Elsevier, Cochrane, DOAJ, SciELO, and PLOSONE.
Original articles and systematic reviews of adults with chronic nonspecific LBP that evaluated pain and/or disability were included in this study; studies in which the primary treatment was based on Pilates method exercises compared with no treatment, minimal intervention, other types of intervention, or other types of exercises.
The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) were adopted. The literature search included 7 electronic databases and the reference list of relevant systematic reviews and original articles to July 2014. Two independent investigators conducted the literature search and performed the synthesis as follows: Study Design; Sample (n); Disability measure; Intervention; and Main results.
The searches identified a total of 128 articles. From these, 29 were considered eligible and were included in the analysis. The items were stratified as follows: Pilates method versus other kind of exercises (n = 6 trials) and Pilates method versus no treatment group or minimal intervention for short-term pain (n = 9 trials); the therapeutic effect of the Pilates method in randomized cohorts (n = 5); and analysis of reviews (n = 9).
We found that there is a dearth of studies that clearly demonstrates the efficacy of a specific Pilates exercise program over another in the treatment of chronic pain. However, the consensus in the field suggests that Pilates method is more effective than minimal physical exercise intervention in reducing pain. These conclusions need to be supported by other proper investigations.
PMCID: PMC4602949  PMID: 25634166
23.  24-weeks Pilates-aerobic and educative training to improve body fat mass in elderly Serbian women 
The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in anthropometric measurements using an aerobic and Pilates exercise program which lasted 24 weeks.
This was a clinical intervention study of 303 women over the age of 60 living in Novi Sad, Serbia. Changes in body mass index and skinfold thickness were estimated through height, weight, and anthropometric measurements. The program comprised Pilates exercises for upper- and lower-body strength, agility, and aerobic capacity.
Fat mass (FM) improved significantly (pre-test, 32.89%, 8.65; post-test, 28.25%, 6.58; P<0.01). Bone diameters and muscle perimeters showed no significant changes pre- and post-test (P>0.05), but there was a higher correlation between FM (%) and waist–hip ratio (rho, 0.80; P<0.01).
A mixed program of aerobics and Pilates, controls and improves baseline muscle mass and decreases FM values, without causing deterioration during practice and follow-up exercises.
PMCID: PMC3916634  PMID: 24516331
lean body mass; anthropometric measures; educative program
24.  The effects of rehabilitation on the muscles of the trunk following prolonged bed rest 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(5):808-818.
Microgravity and inactivity due to prolonged bed rest have been shown to result in atrophy of spinal extensor muscles such as the multifidus, and either no atrophy or hypertrophy of flexor muscles such as the abdominal group and psoas muscle. These effects are long-lasting after bed rest and the potential effects of rehabilitation are unknown. This two-group intervention study aimed to investigate the effects of two rehabilitation programs on the recovery of lumbo-pelvic musculature following prolonged bed rest. 24 subjects underwent 60 days of head down tilt bed rest as part of the 2nd Berlin BedRest Study (BBR2-2). After bed rest, they underwent one of two exercise programs, trunk flexor and general strength (TFS) training or specific motor control (SMC) training. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbo-pelvic region was conducted at the start and end of bed rest and during the recovery period (14 and 90 days after re-ambulation). Cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the multifidus, psoas, lumbar erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles were measured from L1 to L5. Morphological changes including disc volume, spinal length, lordosis angle and disc height were also measured. Both exercise programs restored the multifidus muscle to pre-bed-rest size, but further increases in psoas muscle size were seen in the TFS group up to 14 days after bed rest. There was no significant difference in the number of low back pain reports for the two rehabilitation groups (p = .59). The TFS program resulted in greater decreases in disc volume and anterior disc height. The SMC training program may be preferable to TFS training after bed rest as it restored the CSA of the multifidus muscle without generating potentially harmful compressive forces through the spine.
PMCID: PMC3082685  PMID: 20593204
Bed rest; Magnetic resonance imaging; Gravity; Multifidus muscle; Psoas muscle; Rehabilitation
25.  Effects of two exercise protocols on postural balance of elderly women: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2015;15:61.
The aging process reduces both sensory capabilities and the capabilities of the motor systems responsible for postural control, resulting in a high number of falls among the elderly. Some therapeutic interventions can directly interrupt this process, including physical exercise. This study compares and examines the effects of two exercise protocols on the balance of elderly women.
Elderly women who participated in a local church project (n = 63) were randomly divided into three groups: the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation group (PNFG), Pilates group (PG), and control group (CG). Of the 63 women, 58 completed the program. A training program involving 50-min sessions was performed in the PNFG and PG three times a week for 4 weeks. The elderly women in the CG received no intervention and continued with their daily activities. Stabilometric parameters, the Berg Balance Scale score, functional reach test, and timed up and go test (TUG test) were assessed before and 1 month after participation.
In the comparison among groups, the women in the PNFG showed a significant reduction in most of the stabilometric parameters evaluated and better Berg Balance Scale score, functional reach test result, and TUG test result than did women in the CG (p < 0.05). Women in the PG showed significantly better performance on the functional reach test and TUG test than did women in the CG (p < 0.05).
Women in the PNFG showed significantly better static and dynamic balance than did women in the CG. Women in the PG also showed better dynamic balance than did women in the CG. However, no significant differences were observed in any of the balance variables assessed between the PNFG and PG.
Trial registration, number NCT02278731
PMCID: PMC4451727  PMID: 26033080
Movement techniques; Exercise therapy; Elderly; Physical activity; Rehabilitation

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