By Michele Gust, PT, Pilates Instructor, CEAS

Pilates-based rehabilitation differs from traditional physical therapy by incorporating Pilates equipment and principles to train the body as a whole. The smooth continuous movements of Pilates-based rehabilitation elongate and strengthen muscles, which in turn improves body and movement awareness, optimizes posture and spinal alignment and enhances movement efficiency. The ultimate result is a strong, lean, flexible body.

South Miami Physical Therapy & Pilates works one-on-one with each patient, emphasizing hands-on manual therapy and Pilates-based rehabilitation. This form of rehabilitation helps people become more in tune with their bodies and change movement patterns in order to minimize the pain and dysfunction that prompted them to seek physical therapy in the first place. 

Pilates rehabilitation has four phases:  

Phase I/Release uses advanced, cutting edge and hands-on techniques to mobilize the body and free up long term restrictions that have formed from years of poor posture, repetitive movements or inactivity. During this mostly passive phase, the patient is lying down and the therapist uses “releasing” techniques that immediately “turn off” pain, much like turning off a light switch.  

Phase II/Retrain is started after physical restrictions have been released, usually within five to seven sessions. During this strengthening and stretching phase of the program, the patient actively uses Pilates equipment to maintain the release from Phase I and retrain the muscles and the entire body to move differently.  

Phase III/Realign incorporates more dynamic and functional exercises and relates them to the patient’s real life activities. Patients will learn how to maintain optimal postural alignment and positioning while doing daily activities such as working, sleeping, driving and playing sports. Patients also will perform various exercises at home to enhance the work done in the center.

Phase IV/Maintenance is a biweekly maintenance program that combines regular “tune-up” sessions with a physical therapist with an appropriate level Pilates class. This maintenance phase helps patients meet their long term rehabilitation goals.

pilates-2Visit South Miami Physical Therapy & Pilates at its new location at 9028 SW 152 St. in Palmetto Bay. For more information, call 305-661-1612 or visit

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