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The Art and Science of Correcting by Touch in Pilates: A Multidimensional Approach

Reaching to help
The role of touch as a corrective tool

The power of human touch extends far beyond mere physical interaction. Rooted in ancient wisdom and supported by modern science, touch has been found to release the 'bonding hormone,' oxytocin, enhancing our mood and improving the quality of our relationships. In the context of Pilates, the role of touch as a corrective tool is increasingly being recognised for its multifaceted benefits.


Psychological Aspects: The Importance of Touch in Somatic Psychology


Various approaches within somatic psychology integrate the use of touch with nonverbal communication, emphasising the body's role as equally significant to the mind. These approaches aim to bridge our verbal and nonverbal selves, offering techniques to address both emotional and relational issues.


Key Skills for Pilates Teachers


1. Recognising Subtle Indicators

Discerning subtle cues in a client's sensations, imagery, posture, and gesture can be incredibly beneficial. These cues may indicate imbalances or misalignments that can be corrected through touch.


2. Collaborative Mind-Body Dialogues

Engaging with students helps reconnect them with their inner selves, leading to more effective corrections and a deeper understanding of Pilates principles.


3. Nurturing Environment

Aligned with Pilates' holistic approach, creating a nurturing setting can support key physiological structures like the cranial base, brainstem, and spine.


4. Somatic Timeline Awareness

The ability to interrupt the brain's predictive mechanisms maintains present-time awareness, crucial for effective movement and body alignment.


5. Internal Sensory Systems

Understanding the sensory systems of interoception and neuroception allows for the effective use of touchpoints for the heart, lungs, enteric nervous system, and throat.


6. Social Engagement System

Different approaches explore the psychological interplay between various body parts, adding another layer of richness to the Pilates experience.


7. Attuned Self-Touch

This can be integrated into Pilates practices to equip students with skills for personal well-being beyond the studio.


Sensing Client Boundaries

Of paramount importance is the ability to sense if a client is uncomfortable with touch. Effective communication and keen observation skills are vital to ensuring that the use of touch is both welcomed and beneficial.


Practical Application in Pilates

Integrating these principles can lead to a more nuanced, emotionally attuned, and effective method of instruction. The use of touch becomes not just about physical alignment but also emotional and psychological well-being.


Touch in Pilates is more than just a hands-on adjustment; it's an opportunity to connect, correct, and deeply impact the lives of our students. Various approaches in somatic psychology offer valuable insights into how touch can be more effectively utilised in Pilates instruction.

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