Pilates-based training and rehabilitation
Read about how Pilates has changed some of our clients' lives.
I had issues with pressure on the sciatic nerve and this resulted in a lot of discomfort
I started doing Pilates for the first time in my life when I was 23 weeks pregnant. I had heard that the fitter and stronger I was, the more it would help for an easier and quicker birth. Seeing as I had decided to try for a natural birth I realised I needed to start something a.s.a.p.! A friend of mine who attends classes at the Lisa Thomas studio recommended I visit the website and I was very excited to see there were special classes for preggie girls just like me!
I was nervous the first time I went, was I wearing the right gear? Would I feel like a twit if I didn’t know how to do a cat curl, not that I knew what a cat curl was! I felt immediately at ease from the minute I arrived for my first class, I was hooked. Lisa was my instructor and very patiently used to show me how to do any exercise if I remained motionless, as in I had no clue what to do! A second weekly class was introduced when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I attended every single class except 1 due to being away on holiday and stopped classes 5 days before my due date.
I had issues with pressure on the sciatic nerve and this resulted in a lot of discomfort and backache. Initially I battled with exercises on my back even though we hardly did any as we were all pregnant. After a while and with Lisa’s guidance I was able to do some of these exercises and I always felt relief, and so much better after a class.
I would say that without a doubt attending Pilates classes with Lisa and the most amazing group of girls that I met there completed my pregnancy. It enriched my pregnancy journey and I can’t imagine my life without Pilates and the special friends I have made. We resume post natal classes next week and in preparation and with lots of excitement I am building a bonfire and burning my preggie belly Pilates clothing’ and going shopping!!
My surgeon strongly recommended Pilates as the appropriate form of rehab
In 2002 I developed significant lower back pain that was treated relatively successfully by improving core strength.
However, in 2005 I started to witness the old pain again, this time the pain was significantly worse making daily activities incredibly difficult to complete. Having moved to South Africa I sought advice from a recommended Orthopaedic & Spinal Surgeon at Vincent Pallotti Hospital. After various tests and an MRI it was concluded that I had a disc herniation on L5/S1 with an annular tear at L4/5. Given the circumstances the operation - L5/S1 laminotomy and discectomy, with interspinous spaces inserted - was the sensible route forward.
A month of bed rest followed before I could start rehab. My surgeon strongly recommended Pilates as the appropriate form of rehab. In addition to Pilates a greater awareness of my body was required to ensure that I didn’t do any further damage to my weakened back. Thankfully I managed to find Lisa.
After a number of personal sessions, where she educated me on the basic Pilates techniques along with the mechanics of the back, I entered into a small class of similarly able people, as my standard improved I moved into different classes. Lisa’s approach and style is perfect, by spending the time one on one at the start she was able to properly assess and understand my back, armed with that she has guided me through increasingly difficult exercises as well as giving me the mechanical knowledge required to remain strong, healthy and pain free.
Lisa, thank you.
Within a few weeks of starting Pilates, the pain diminished considerably
In 1998 I fractured my right hip and pelvis. The skillful orthopaedic surgeons and physios fortunately put me together again and within 3 months I was mobile and getting around. Within a few months however, I began to experience quite a lot of pain around the affected hip area. X/Rays showed an excellent result and muscle imbalance was diagnosed. I spent a lot of time with physios. They helped to control the pain with lots of treatment and a series of exercises, but the hip kept flaring up. I lives with quite a bit of discomfort - not enough to stop me working, but enough to stop me walking Table Mountain.
My physio probably was getting sick of me and referred me to Lisa. The first consult really impressed me. Lisa was knowledgeable, professional, warm and caring.
Within a few weeks of starting Pilates, the pain diminished considerably, hip function improved dramatically, so much so, that soon I returned to my favorite activity of walking on the mountain.
The repaired hip eventually became quite arthritic and needed to be resurfaced.
Pilates contributed significantly to my rehab (with aqua aerobics) and after 3 months I was pain free and limp free.
Its 18 months since my hip op. The hip gives me few problems, and I put this down to the excellent series of Pilates exercises which keep the muscles surrounding the hips, strong, firm, flexible and in balance. I know I curse doing some of the exercises, and feel even worse when Lisa says this will make me look good in a tanga, but the benefits really outweigh the pain.
I really look forward to the weekly classes. The studio and the hour provide a peaceful space during the hectic week and I believe the session is a good for my mind as it is for my body.
Pilates has done incredible things for my head
In January 2004 I had an unfortunate accident and was caught and crushed in a moving funicular lift. My sternum cracked and the muscles and tendons were torn off my upper spine as my shoulders touched in the front of my body. I had no feeling in both of my arms and very little mobility in the top half of my body. The pain was excruciating, but with the type of injury I sustained, there was nothing the doctors could do to put me in a cast. So for eight months, I basically lived on painkillers, could not drive, lift my arms to shower, wash my hair or even dress myself. As a result of this near-death experience I developed panic attacks. I was not only debilitated but depressed, and my whole life felt like a very dark place.
After spending a fortune on every physiotherapist, doctor, medical and holistic therapist that I could find, I was at the Gardens health shop and told Alan, the owner, about my predicament. He immediately told me about Lisa Thomas and her Pilates studio. At that point, the thought of doing any exercise that involved lying down and moving any part of my body was enough to send me running for the hills, but I was so desperate I phoned Lisa and we set up an appointment to meet. This was about 10 months after the accident and time had healed the initial injury, but I was by this stage virtually rigid and any movement beyond of the basic range of moving my arms forward was agony. Lisa was amazing and felt that Pilates would be able to help me. I joined up for two classes a week. Lisa, Angela and I often joke about how we wished we had taken pictures of me when I started Pilates! Anyway, I have persevered and thanks to the wonderful tutoring of both Lisa and Angela have a body with strength and mobility that I never had before the accident. Aside from healing my physical injury, Pilates has done incredible things for my head. By breathing and staying positive, I have been able to control the panic attacks, never take painkillers and have thrown away the antidepressants!
I can truly say with all sincerity that Lisa, Angela and Pilates have changed my life. If I was asked what I would take to a desert island, it would have to be them! Thank you girls, for being the special people that you are… I adore you both.
Sonia de Beer
All content copyright Lisa Thomas Studio 2019
Landscape photographs copyright Di Lavies 2007