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Clinical Pilates – Understanding Our Role and Boundaries as Pilates Teachers

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Good morning , I recently engaged in an insightful conversation that led me to reflect on the role and scope of Pilates teachers in therapeutic settings. A potential student enquired about clinical Pilates training at our school, which brought to light an important discussion: the use of the term "clinical Pilates" and our professional boundaries.

First and foremost, it's vital to clarify that strictly speaking, "clinical Pilates" should be associated only with practices led by medical professionals like physiotherapists in clinical settings. However, this term has increasingly been adopted in the wider Pilates community, sometimes creating a blur between fitness and therapy. Much like "classical Pilates" has evolved into a marketing term, so too has "clinical Pilates."

As Pilates teachers, understanding various health conditions is integral to our training and practice. Nonetheless, it's equally important to recognise that we are not physiotherapists. This distinction is particularly significant when dealing with clients who may have serious health conditions. In such instances, a Pilates teacher ideally forms part of a multidisciplinary treatment team, inclusive of a physiotherapist and potentially other specialists.

Clients often approach us with high expectations, hoping we can resolve their health issues. While we play a crucial role in their journey back to health, it's essential to practice honesty in teaching. This means being upfront about our expertise and its limitations. Despite our extensive training and experience, our access to medical knowledge and diagnostics is limited compared to medical professionals.

That said, there are rare occasions where clients have seen numerous physiotherapists without getting a definitive diagnosis or effective treatment. While these cases are exceptions, they highlight the unique benefits Pilates can offer in promoting health and well-being.

The key message here is that we, as Pilates teachers, are a vital part of our clients' health journeys. Our role is significant, but it's also defined within certain boundaries. By understanding and respecting these limits, we can foster a more honest, effective, and collaborative approach to health and wellness.

Let's continue to educate ourselves and our clients about the true nature of Pilates in therapeutic settings. This is not just about adhering to professional standards; it's about ensuring the best possible care and guidance for those who entrust their wellbeing to us.

Thank you for reading, and here's to continued learning and growth in our wonderful world of Pilates.


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