Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that primarily affects the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is often the result of wear and tear on joints, RA is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, particularly the synovial lining of the joints.
How RA manifest itself:
Inflammation and Pain: RA leads to persistent inflammation in the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.
Psychological Impact: Chronic pain and physical limitations from RA can also have psychological effects. This may include feelings of frustration, depression, or anxiety, which can be important to acknowledge.
Supporting Individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a journey filled with unique challenges as RA affects not only the body but also the spirit. Through this guide, we aim to provide tailored strategies and a foundation of understanding. Our goal is to empower individuals with RA to thrive, armed with knowledge and support towards enhanced well-being and a higher quality of life.
In the following paragraphs, we'll explore how reformer Pilates can be a powerful tool in managing RA.
How can physical therapy help:
Physical therapy though a reformer Pilates practice can be highly beneficial for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our goal is to design a customized exercise and treatment plan to address their specific needs and improve overall function. Our focus will be on:
It is crucial to make thoughtful exercise modifications that prioritize comfort and safety. Remember to have a measured approach with your exercise selection. Allowing a gradual progression as the client’s strength and confidence flourish, from exercises that are well tolerated to more challenging movements.
With compromised elbow joint we wish to work with the following modalities:
Focus on lower body work
The limitations on the lower body will be minimal but the benefits will remain. So centre the bulk of the workouts on the lower body which is half of the body and provides extra benefits such as improvements in balance, flexibility, core and breath control
Avoid exercises that use the arms to support the body
With the elbows compromised, the elbows will find it hard to support one’s body weight, exercises such as the following should be removed or modified:
Straight arm planks, Superman, Push-ups
instead use variations just as elbow planks
Prefer kneeling and supine arm work with loops
We still wish to strengthen the muscles around the elbows and will thus need to work our upper bodies. Using the loops for resistance means using a much more manageable workload that can be adjusted to the strength of the client.
Exercises such as:
Kneeling arms series, supine arms series, kneeling torso twists
Adjust the springs to make the exercises more accessible
Get some stretches in
The final piece of the puzzle is to work on increasing the range of motion of the joints. This will naturally occur during some of the exercises mentioned above. We can then specifically focus on this goal by using gentle stretches such as:
This concludes the guide. This is meant to be a short but informative introduction to the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis within the confines of a Reformer Pilates class. We all can play a role in our clients recovery by always learning and personalizing our programs to suit each clients individual needs
Seamless Transitions - Effortless Movement:
When you step onto your reformer at Flowing Body Pilates, from the very first breath, you become part of a harmonious dance between exercises. This is the heart of seamless transitions. Our instructors meticulously structure classes, ensuring each exercise flows seamlessly into the next. It's more than just movement; it's about maintaining a rhythm that keeps you engaged. Flowing through each session, you experience a dynamic workout where every moment counts.
Precision in Movement - Meticulous Attention to Detail:
Precision in movement is another facet of Flow that our instructors instill. It's about the exactness, the controlled grace with which you perform each exercise. They are your mentors, tirelessly emphasizing precise alignment and form. Why? Because this precision safeguards you from injury and unlocks the full potential of every exercise. You're building a foundation of strength and stability, one meticulous brick at a time.
Rhythmic Flow - Graceful and Connected Practice:
Visualize a rhythmic flow, where each exercise effortlessly transitions into the next, much like a beautiful dance. This is where our method truly shines. Our instructors guide you through sequences that create a natural, connected rhythm. As you flow, your coordination and fluidity improve, like a symphony of movement. Beyond the studio, you'll notice a newfound grace in your everyday posture and actions.
Personalized Practice - Tailored to Your Needs:
Lastly, there's the gift of a personalized practice. Flow welcomes every individual's unique journey. Our instructors are your partners in this. They provide modifications and variations that cater to your level of experience and your body's needs. The result? A practice that's not only safe but also challenging, making Pilates an accessible and transformative journey for all.
At Flowing Body Pilates, we warmly invite you to embark on a journey through these facets of Flow. Our instructors are your companions, weaving the magic of Flow into every class, creating a seamless blend of movement, mindfulness, and grace.
The Essence of the Center:
The center, or powerhouse, in Pilates refers to the group of muscles encompassing the abdominals, lower back, hips, and glutes. A corset that cinches your body's midsection, providing stability and support for movement.
The Engine of Movement:
In Pilates, almost every movement radiates from the center outward. Activating the muscles of the powerhouse creates a stable base from which your limbs can move effectively. Whether you're performing a simple leg lift or a complex series of exercises, the center initiates and guides your movement, ensuring precision and fluidity.
Core Strength and Stability:
A robust center doesn't merely result in toned abs; it fosters overall core strength. These deep muscles work in tandem to stabilize the spine, maintaining alignment and preventing excessive strain on the lower back.
Control and Precision:
Control is a hallmark of Pilates, and the center is its control center. Engaging the core muscles enhances your ability to move with control and precision. When you're aware of your center's engagement, each movement becomes intentional, reducing unnecessary strain on joints and muscles.
The center plays a pivotal role in connecting your breath with movement. Activating your core muscles as you breathe not only aids in control but also enhances oxygenation, promoting relaxation and focus during your practice.
The center is where strength, control, and stability converge, allowing you to move with intention and grace. Nurturing your center is about cultivating a powerhouse that empowers every facet of your physicality and enhances your quality of life.
We all know how amazing Pilates is, however, a deeper understanding of its principles can only help us extract more from our practice. Today we discuss the fourth principle: Concentration
When we step onto that reformer, concentration lets us dive deep into the zone. By being fully present with each movement, we create a profound mind-body connection. We feel our muscles engaging, our alignment improving, and a deep sense of control.
Precision is the Name of the Game:
When we focus on the details of each exercise, we become masters of precision. We hit the right muscles, align ourselves perfectly, and that's when the Pilates magic really happens!
It's incredible how our breath can transform our practice. Concentration takes our breath to the next level. We sync our breath with our moves, creating a flow that feels amazing. Deep, controlled breathing brings more oxygen to our muscles, making us feel invigorated and oh-so-calm at the same time!
Life can get crazy, but our Pilates practice is our safe haven. With concentration, we let go of distractions and stress melts away. It's like hitting the reset button for our minds. Plus, we notice our memory getting sharper too.
Supercharge Your Pilates, No Injuries Allowed
Here's a perk that's worth shouting about - injury prevention! With concentration, we keep an eye on our alignment and muscle engagement. That means we work with our bodies' limits, avoiding overdoing things and staying injury-free.
Embrace the High
You know that feeling when you're in the flow, and everything just clicks? Concentration takes us to that place. We become one with our practice, and suddenly, it's not just a workout; it's an experience. The sense of accomplishment we get after a focused session is simply priceless.