Arthro-Pilates and Lupus




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Getting your body back to health with Pilates


Arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers can benefit from
the strengthening and balancing effects of Pilates

By James S. Fell, CSCS Tue Mar 01 2011


I  once worked for a company that got REALLY UPSET if you didn’t spell out the corporate name in ALL CAPS. Conversely, I think Joseph Pilates (were he still alive) would only be slightly miffed at those who spell Pilates with the first letter lower case.

See, because unlike yoga, which is Hindi for “union,” Pilates is named for the guy who invented it; a guy named Joe, but I already told you that. Enough from me; let’s get some information from people who know this subject far better than I.

I’d heard that Pilates was useful for things like arthritis and fibromyalgia, so I sought out the help of certified mat Pilates instructor Lori Weisbrod (, who is based in Toronto and specializes in using Pilates to treat these conditions.

Weisbrod  has suffered with arthritis since she was 18, but has been able to make her fibromyalgia asymptomatic through Pilates.

“It’s a chronic condition and there are different forms,” she told me. “Fibromyalgia is a syndrome in which people experience long-term pain all throughout their body. There’s no medical treatment for it, except for exercise. It needs to be a low impact exercise that doesn’t put too much stress on joints or muscles. Pilates is perfect for it because it works every muscle, yet it doesn’t overstretch or harm the body. You’re working through movements and not holding postures.”

On that note, she didn’t think yoga was a good choice for people with fibromyalgia because she believes holding poses can be too difficult. Pilates, on the other hand, involves constant slow movement.

"It is a type of resistance training that focuses on the spine, and is very good if you have joint problems " said Lisa Johnson, a certified mat Pilates instructor and owner of Modern Pilates studios in Boston. "It helps to get rid of a lot of people’s aches and pains by stabilizing them."
Weisbrod  asserts Pilates is a safe choice for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia because you are, “using your own body as the resistance so it strengthens the body. You can’t really harm yourself because your body is going to tell you if it’s too much. It improves range of motion of the joints and strengthens muscles around those joints.  It also improves your stamina, which is an issue with fibromyalgia because it can cause chronic fatigue.”

(James S. Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Calgary, AB. Visit or email him at

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