Pilates in Edinburgh

Here at Active Health we endeavour to offer an array of therapies and treatments that complement each other.

Here at Active Health in Edinburgh we endeavor to offer an array of therapies and treatments that complement each other, one of which is Pilates. Pilates is a holistic exercise system designed to lengthen, strengthen and restore the body to balance which is a fantastic adjunct to any body work therapy or as an exercise on its own.

The Pilates method was developed by Joseph Humbertus Pilates who was born in Germany in 1880. Joe initially studied yoga, zen meditation and the strenuous exercise regimes of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He excelled in body building, diving, gymnastics and skiing before moving to England in 1912. When war broke out in 1914, Joe was interned as a prisoner of war and was moved to the Isle of Man. Here he trained as an orderly/nurse in a local hospital and was appalled to see so many ill people lying in bed doing no exercise. He developed a gentle exercise programme and it was soon evident that those patients doing Joe’s exercises were getting better faster than the others. Once the war ended, Joe moved back to Germany and later to America where he opened up an exercise centre in New York. Here Pilates, the man and the exercise, grew in popularity and his legacy is carried on by many instructors who have personally benefitted from his original exercise techniques.

The Pilates method is essentially a mind-body centering technique that emphasises the importance of starting movement from a central core of stability. This area is the lumbo-pelvic region i.e. lower spine and pelvis.

The Pilates method works by increasing the intensity of each exercise by using different limb movements all the while maintain a central core of stability. Joe Pilates believed that by concentrating on precision movement, awareness of breath control and continued flowing movement, the exerciser will be able to correct abnormal movement patterns. These changes will then carry over into every day function.

The Pilates technique is taught in two methods – matwork and machine based work. Here at our Edinburgh clinic we teach the Matwork Pilates exercises and may sometimes use small pieces of equipment. This consists of a combination of the original 34 exercises that was developed by Joe pilates. They consist of strength, mobility and stretching exercises performed on an exercise mat. Some body awareness work may be done in standing but most of the class is performed in various lying positions i.e. on your back, front, side or on your hands and knees. Pilates addresses underlying structural imbalances in the body which can create on-going pain and difficulty with movement. The whole of your body is considered. Lengthened and strengthened muscles improve posture and overall fitness and retrain dysfunctional movement patterns thereby restoring optimum physical function.

If your physiotherapist or remedial massage therapist here at Active Health Edinburgh has recommended Pilates to you, then they will work closely with our Pilates instructor to ensure exercises are appropriate for you. If you have come without seeing any of our therapists, then our Pilates instructor will also be able to assess and work with you to ensure you achieve your goals. Our Pilates instructor is also a physiotherapist at Active Health in Edinburgh, they have also undergone extensive biomechanical training to easily assess and address muscle imbalances through Pilates exercises.

No matter your age, ability, flexibility or fitness level, Pilates is beneficial for everyone. At Active Health in Edinburgh we offer one to one pilates sessions. This allows our instructor to create a comprehensive and individual programme specific for each client and their existing injuries. This ensures your session is most effective in order to obtain your physical and rehabilitation goals.



“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”
– Joseph Pilates