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Monthly Archives

April 2018

Return to Life: Joseph Pilates

Joseph pilates

Recurring postural issues and faulty movements can be prevented through functional training. Joseph Pilates, who created the Pilates method, wrote the following in his book “Return to Life Through Contrology”:

“Civilization Impairs Physical Fitness. Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. It is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body as well as a sound mind, fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure”.

It is often said that Joseph Pilates was 50 years ahead of his time. Today, our lifestyles and postures are affecting our health. Physiotherapists report that the majority of clients they see have complaints as a result of postural dysfunction and or faulty movement patterns. Long periods of time spent sitting in front of a computer, combined with age-related changes in the musculoskeletal system, mean that pain and postural problems are often inevitable. Postural dysfunctions, reduced gait cycle, and loss of balance control and stability are among the many well-documented consequences of musculoskeletal changes that occur over a person’s lifespan.

Recurrent musculoskeletal pain has a significant impact on health care costs, employee productivity, and quality of life. Improving aberrant movement patterns is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Everyone has the capability of improving the way they move on a day-to-day basis. Uncontrolled movement can be identified by observation, and corrective retraining of this uncontrolled movement may reduce the recurrence of injury. Prior to treatment, the assessment and analysis of movement patterns are essential for identifying risks.  Through understanding these faults in movements they can be addressed and muscles that once were firing incorrectly can learn to work well and be strengthened.


Spinal Stability

Since Joseph Pilates’ death in 1967, his ideas about spinal stability have been examined from more of a scientific approach, with many benefits identified. Over the last two decades, spinal stability research has been a focus of the physiotherapy world, and from this research, physiotherapists know that the most effective way to manage spinal instability is with specific exercise programmes that are designed and supervised by a physiotherapist. Improving muscular activity of the core is now accepted as being more appropriate than past training regimes that look at improving performance through strengthening periphery muscles. Motor re-learning strategies that look more at muscle and movement efficiency are replacing strength and power regimes.

“The success of the Pilates system in managing pain, inhibiting pathology, and training coordinated movements, is that it gives the physiotherapist a tool to be able to address the motor control specifics of dysfunction and, more importantly, problem solve the reason or pathology behind the situation”. Joseph Pilates

The value of Joseph Pilates’ work to a physiotherapist now extends beyond rehabilitation exercises, which act as an adjunct to treatment, to be a very effective treatment tool in itself that can be employed as an alternative to “hands-on” management.  This assists the clinician in confidently progressing to a more pathology-specific exercise regime, rather than a programme of generic exercises. In their book, “Kinetic Control  – the management of uncontrolled movement”, Comerford and Mottram suggest that exercise therapies such as Pilates are useful therapies for the management of movement dysfunction.


These therapies are great for movement dysfunction because they create multi-joint movements, incorporating:

  • slow movement
  • low force movements
  • large range movements
  • coordination and control of rotation
  • a smooth transition of concentric–eccentric movement
  • awareness of gravity
  • the concept of a ‘core’
  • coordinated breathing
  • awareness of posture
  • an intermittent static hold of position
  • control of the centre of mass of one body segment 
with respect to adjacent segments
  • proximal control for distal movement 
  • positive mental attitude


The Body Refinery provides its clients with the ability to move without restrictions by offering movement assessment and exercise therapies such as Pilates, which improve movement, wellness, and quality of life. Physiotherapists at The Body Refinery utilise the latest evidence in movement to promote healthy movement patterns and improve posture.

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Hip pain – Pilates can help you

hip pain

Hip pain is very common and can result from numerous different causes. Hip pain tends to occur commonly in two distinct age groups: the young (from 0 to 15 years); and the older population (>45 years of age). ‘Hip’ pain is usually located in the groin, upper thigh or buttock, but may also be somatically referred from the lumbar spine.


The most common causes of hip pain in adults are:

  • Osteoarthritis of the hip (>50 years)
  • Lower back problems
  • Fracture of the femoral neck
  • Traumatic muscular strains and bursitis or tendinitis (sport-active adults)
  • Infection – septic arthritis, osteomyelitis
  • Malignancy


In children and adolescents, the common conditions leading to hip pain are:

  • Congenital dislocation of the hip
  • Perthes’ disease: (4-8 years) necrosis (tissue destruction) of the femoral head due to lack of blood supply.
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)


A recent study estimated that nearly 25% of the population will develop symptomatic hip arthritis before the age of 85. Risk factors for the development of arthritis are now well established and include femoral acetabular impingement, labral tearing, developmental dysplasia and slipped capital femoral epiphysis. As our understanding of hip pathology evolves, the focus is shifting to early identification and treatment to prevent or slow the progression of hip conditions.

The challenge for general practitioners and physiotherapists alike is to elucidate whether an individual’s hip symptoms originate from intra-articular disorders or from the surrounding extra-articular soft tissues and to target treatment accordingly. Optimal patient care is best achieved with a multidisciplinary approach involving education on lifestyle factors (diet, activity modification), medications, and physiotherapy.

hip pain

How can we help with your hip pain?

The Body Refinery’s physiotherapists are skilled in the assessment and treatment of hip conditions. We understand that the successful management of hip pathology requires thorough examination of the hip joint, as well as adjacent joints, including the sacroiliac joint and lumbar spine. Additionally, our physiotherapists undertake a thorough biomechanical analysis of the affected lower limb to determine any underlying issues that may be predisposing the individual to their hip problem.

Physiotherapy aimed initially at improving hip pain and flexibility can be expertly progressed to exercise therapy. This with a strong focus on optimising lower limb biomechanics, thereby reducing the risk of re-injury and encouraging a return to work, sport and activities of daily living.

Essentially exercise therapy should be individualized and patient-centred, taking into account factors such as patient age, mobility, co-morbidities and preferences. An assessment of specific impairments such as strength, the range of motion, aerobic fitness and balance are needed to determine the most appropriate exercise regime.


Pilates can help you

At The Body Refinery, once any manual therapy has been carried out to aid hip mobility and/or reduce painful impingements, our physiotherapists use a progressive, individualised treatment program to correct any aberrant movement patterns, instability or poor mechanics that overload the hip or adjacent areas. Clinical Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for hip rehabilitation.  Pilates is a progressive form of exercise that can be individualised and progressed to suit the individual’s rehabilitation needs. Pilates focuses on the alignment and function of the lower limb. As a collection of exercises, it also allows the body to be trained functionally.


The Body Refinery’s physiotherapists are also trained Clinical Pilates instructors, making The Body Refinery Pilates studio the ultimate environment to take clients from acute pain back, through to function, and into performance.

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Book an appointment with a physiotherapist today on 07 3358 3915 or info@thebodyrefinery.com.au

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One sneeze too many?

incontinence The Body Refinery New Farm

Recently, actress Kate Winslet was being interviewed on the Graham Norton show. She was talking about how having babies had affected her and specifically her ability to remain continent when sneezing. “I can’t jump on trampolines anymore, I wet myself,” Winslet, 42, said on the show. “It’s awful, especially if you’re wearing a skirt.”

The mother of three attributes her incontinence to childbirth. “When you’ve had a few children you know, it’s just what happens,” she says. “It’s amazing, two sneezes, I’m fine. Three, it’s game over.”


So, is childbirth responsible?

While many people think that incontinence is a condition that only affects the elderly, it can affect men and women of all ages. Urinary incontinence, and in particular Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), is a significant health problem which can have a considerable impact on an individual’s quality of life.

SUI is defined as the involuntary loss of urine on effort or physical exertion, such as sneezing or coughing. Current evidence indicates that stress incontinence affects 4% to 14% of younger women and 12% to 35% of older women, with a peak incidence in midlife around the time of menopause.

Many women with urinary incontinence do not seek help for their condition. Some women have SUI of a mild nature and do not feel that treatment of the condition is warranted; others are embarrassed to speak with a healthcare provider about their condition or fear that treatment will require surgery.


incontinence The Body Refinery New Farm

What if we told you that simple Physiotherapy can help?

Whilst the cause of SUI is often multifactorial and may involve muscle, nerve or sphincter issues… research provides overwhelming support that pelvic floor physiotherapy is effective at reducing SUI. Furthermore, there is widespread recommendation that pelvic floor muscle training should be included in first-line management programmes for women with stress, urge or mixed urinary incontinence.

So if you, like Kate, experience symptoms from ‘’one sneeze too many”, there is help available! The Body Refinery offers women’s health physiotherapy, which involves assessment by specifically-trained, female Women’s Health Physiotherapists, who can then help with the management of stress urinary incontinence.

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Book an appointment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist today on 07 3358 3915 or at info@thebodyrefinery.com.au

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