Pain-free with clinical Pilates

Are injuries keeping you on the sidelines? Monique Freer investigates the phenomenon of clinical Pilates and how it can help you get back in action and stay injury-free for good

Are injuries keeping you on the sidelines? Monique Freer investigates the phenomenon of clinical Pilates and how it can help you get back in action and stay injury-free for good

Clinical Pilates is built on the same principles of Pilates that we’ve come to know and love in recent years.

Based on the original work of Joseph Pilates, the increasingly popular form of exercise focuses on strengthening the core and pelvic floor muscles to improve posture and give an overall workout.

But clinical Pilates is slightly different, in that it comes with a teacher. Be it a physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor or accredited Pilates instructor, a clinical Pilates specialist establishes a personalised exercise program to address individual injury or rehabilitation concerns, and closely monitors your progress to ensure you achieve the results you are after.

Physiotherapist and director of clinical Pilates studio Pilates Bayside, Belinda Breust, says that unlike Pilates classes, clinical Pilates is specifically designed to address the individual concerns of the client.

“Clinical Pilates specialists incorporate knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology with the concepts of Pilates exercise to establish an exercise program that addresses injury or rehabilitation concerns,” Breust says.

Clinical Pilates typically involves two pieces of equipment – the trapeze table and the reformer bed, as well as incorporating a variety of small equipment exercises and floor exercises. Both the trapeze table and reformer bed use springs to provide resistance, which can be altered to develop both muscular and core strength that assist in alleviating pain and improving injuries.

The details

If you’re seeking a clinical Pilates specialist for rehabilitation, always ask your treating physician (physio, osteopath or chiropractor) for their recommendations. If you’re picking a specialist from scratch, ensure they are fully qualified (DMA and Stott are two of the most common bodies that specialists are qualified with in Australia), says Bender. Your specialist will be delving into your medical history, so also make sure they’re someone that you like and respect.

As it’s one-on-one, clinical Pilates is not always a cheap exercise. At any studio you will require an initial assessment – usually the most expensive session – before beginning your program. However, because most clinical Pilates studios are operated by physiotherapists, osteopaths or other medical professionals, many sessions can be claimed under extras on private health insurance. Talk to your health fund before starting so you have a good idea of what your out of pocket expense will be.

Benefits galore

By skipping the group Pilates class and opting instead for a clinical program, you will enjoy myriad benefits that come from the individual attention.

Everybody doing clinical Pilates undergoes a thorough assessment by their professional, so there is a good knowledge of how that person is functioning and what particular things will help them in terms of exercise,” says Breust.

No more trial and error with exercise cards or incorrect weights; just like your body, your program is unique. By having it tailored to your individual needs following this in-depth assessment, you will see the results that you actually want much faster.

And the results aren’t simply about toning up, losing weight or gaining strength. Pilates instructor and executive director of Breathe Wellbeing, Raphael Bender, says that by training your body to move correctly, clinical Pilates minimises stress and strain felt by your body when it moves, and maximises the efficiency at which your body works to give you greater strength, speed and flexibility.

Having a baby?

Clinical Pilates has become particularly popular among expecting mums, as one of its numerous benefits is the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles.

“The core muscles that we target in Pilates include the deep abdominal muscle and pelvic floor, and as during pregnancy there are huge stresses placed on these areas clinical Pilates benefits pre and post-natal clients immensely,” says Breust.

Beginning clinical Pilates during pregnancy also helps the abdominal muscles regain their original strength and function after birth, and assists with maintaining balance and posture as a new mother.

Many studios run specific pre- and post-natal Pilates classes or you can have your individual program targeted for, and adapted throughout, your pregnancy

Farewell pain

It’s this principle that makes clinical Pilates a powerful tool for injury rehabilitation. Like the tent poles required to hold up a tent, all your muscles must be taking equal pressure and of equal strength in order for your body to function correctly. If any changes occur – be it small or large – then like a tent collapsing, the particular area of your body becomes destabilised and injuries occur.

Unlike manual therapy such as physio treatment, clinical Pilates targets both the injured area and the weaker, destabilised muscles surrounding it to relieve pain and improve the injured body part.

“An effective rehabilitation program will take the form of gentle, targeted strengthening exercises for the injured body part and the weaker body areas that predisposed the body to the injury in the first place, as well as rebalancing exercises for the other areas of the body as required,” says Bender.

The other major benefit of clinical Pilates for rehab is that the equipment is designed to cater for any injury and the exercises accommodate the various injuries in a manner that will not aggravate them.

The reformer beds and trapeze tables allow exercises to be non-weight bearing, light resistance, heavy resistance or body weight assisted, and to be done in any different position. So if you can’t lie on your back, sit on your knees, flex your elbow or turn your neck there are still plenty of options for you that will be taught by your specialist. There’s no excuse now for not exercising!

Embrace a painless future
Don’t have an injury or any frustrating niggles in your body? Well firstly, congratulations. But more importantly, don’t disregard this article because you too will find clinical Pilates highly beneficial.

Clinical Pilates is about making your body do what it does, but in a better manner. And if your body is working the way it should – strong, flexible and agile – then you reduce your risk of injury in both sport and everyday life.

“Clinical Pilates is about optimising the body’s function and teaching the muscles to work more efficiently, thereby fine-tuning the body’s natural habits and optimising the body’ s performance,” says Breust.

By integrating a clinical Pilates program into your fitness schedule you will improve your performance and ability, as well as reduce your chance of becoming injured.

Exercising to stay injury free? It’s a win-win combination.

Get more exercise tips and kick-start your healthy eating plan today!

The post Pain-free with clinical Pilates appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

10 anti-ageing tips from the pros

We asked some of Australia’s top dermatology pros for their top anti-ageing tips.

Dr Philippa McCaffery, Cosmetic Physician, Clearskincare Clinics
Unfortunately, the majority of anti-ageing products currently on the market do not contain ingredients that can change the appearance of the skin or if they do, the concentration is often too low to make a difference.

When choosing products, make sure you look out for key ingredients – vitamin A is number one, Vitamin C is number two, followed by AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid and copper peptide serums.

The number-one must-have anti-ageing product is vitamin A, either in its cosmetic form (retinol) or in prescription form (tretinoin). I also recommend regular skin peels. Our skin does not exfoliate as efficiently as we age, leading to a dull complexion. A low-strength skin peel is a quick and easy pick-me-up.

The post 10 anti-ageing tips from the pros appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

The Pill: a word of warning about overseas travel

Travel can seriously mess with key mechanisms of oral contraceptives such as The Pill, rendering travellers susceptible to unplanned pregnancy.

The most direct way they fail is through malabsorption due to travel maladies that induce diarrhoea or vomiting. Antimalarial doxycycline and high doses of vitamin C found in some jet lag pills can also inhibit the pill’s efficacy. Less directly, the time zone changes in long-haul travel can throw the cycle out of whack. Missing a dose by just 12 hours can throw the system off.

Advice for overseas travel

The going advice is to continue taking the Pill at ‘home time’ (not local time at your new destination) and gradually adjust to your new time zone. If you do miss a dose, The Travel Doctor TMVC, a specialist travel clinic network, advises applying the seven hormone days rule.

In plain speak, take active pills for the next seven days, during which time you’ll use condoms as backup.

Blood clots

NOTE: Women taking the Pill are more susceptible to blood clot formation, largely due to the oestrogen, and need to be especially aware of the risk ahead of long flights.

Women aged over 35 and smokers are especially susceptible. If you’re staying above 3,700 metres for more than four weeks, ask your GP about alternative contraceptives as the longer you spend in conditions that maximise clot risk, the greater the odds of it materialising.

5 myths about the contraceptive pill>>

The post The Pill: a word of warning about overseas travel appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

Best beauty products for dehydrated eyes

Are you eyes dry, puffy or wrinkled? Here’s our pick of the top beauty products to help keep your eyes fresh and pretty all year round.

Dry eyes
Even eyes aren’t immune to winter’s drying effects. The outer layer of the eye produces oils to curb moisture evaporation from the middle layer. Strong winds and low humidity levels brought on by artificial heating hinder the production of these oils.

To provide temporary relief, consult a physician about using preservative-free artificial tears. Pay heed to the recommended dosage – artificial tears are intended to stimulate the production of natural tears, not replace them entirely!

Dark circles and puffiness

Take care when tending to the thin skin around your eyes. Tiredness and dehydration prompts blood cells to migrate to the surface, creating the appearance of dark circles.

This delicate area also has fewer oil glands, necessitating a need for eye creams to encourage oil production. Opt for formulas that contain vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin A controls the production of melanin, reducing the appearance of dark circles, while vitamins C and K act as antioxidants, fighting puffiness and dehydration.

Dr Lanzer explains another product which is available at Dr Lanzer’s clinic is Eye Tone Lightweight eye cream which aids diminishing appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. By applying a small amount to lower & upper lid, as well as to the above brow will help decrease the signs of this. The main two ingredients here of this cream is squalene and betaglucan.

Best products for eyes

1. Murine Eye Mist, $16.95

2. SK-II Signs Eye Mask, $125

3. Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector, $50

4. Medik8 Dark Circles Concealer, $89

NEXT: Best eye shadows for your eye colour

The post Best beauty products for dehydrated eyes appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

Raw chocolate mousse recipe

This easy and tasty this raw chocolate mousse recipe is definitely one to add to your sweet treat recipe book.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 soft avocados
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


Blend until creamy and serve

Recipe from Phuket Cleanse

Browse more recipes in our healthy eating section.

The post Raw chocolate mousse recipe appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

What’s new in the world of supplements?

Noticed there’s a whole range of new supplements on the market? Nutritionist Amanda Powell found out everything you need to know about Acai berries, Krill Oil, Spriulina and more.


The health benefits of acai berry have made headlines, with astronomical antioxidants attracting health-o-philes. A five gram serving of acai berry powder provides 4,695 ORAC units (antioxidant potential), compared to the 890 to 25,000 ORAC units from fresh fruits or vegetables. The bonus, says Chevalley Hedge, that acai berry “tastes good too”.

Need to know: The powder form of Acai berry makes a great addition to smoothies and juices, and as a salad addition. Seek out an organic freeze dried acai berry powder, which should be 100 per cent natural, with no added sugars or preservatives.


A dietary staple among ancient Mayans, who prized its nutritional kudos, raw cacao comes with the blessing of the heart foundation. The powder is high in polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and may ward off degenerative diseases including certain cancers.

Need to know: You may be shocked by the bitter taste – raw cacao tastes nothing like that 12-serve box of drinking choccie. But it also doesn’t have emulsifiers, saturated fats or sugars and is chockers with antioxidants. Try sweetening a raw cacao hot chocolate with mashed banana for sweetness and stick with it beyond the first mug – adherents say the taste for raw is quickly acquired. Add raw cacao or maca powders to smoothies or use in baking instead of processed cocoa powders.


Often praised for its exterior healing capacity, for burns and other skin complaints, aloe vera can also be of benefit when taken orally. Chief among its merits is aiding digestive health, with its anti-inflammatory properties boosting gut hygiene.

Need to know: “Outstanding for digestive issues and for those who are constipated,” says Chevalley Hedge.


The ‘brain food’ tag is just the beginning for krill oil and fish oil. While their hero nutrient, omega-3 essential fatty acids, are enjoying a moment in the mental and cognitive health sun, they are also strongly linked to joint health, nerves, and cholesterol control.

Need to know: EPA and DHA levels can be wildly different between brands and sub-types. Look for a minimum 400 milligrams of EPA and at least 200 milligrams of DHA.


The heroes of those visibly healthy green shakes everybody seems to be sipping, these verdant powders contain protein, iron, and all manner of useful minerals. The science fraternity is focusing on their potential to minimise inflammation and viral infections, with immunity among the probable perks.

Need to know: Look for a naturally sweet-tasting spirulina supplement and give added sweeteners a wide berth.


Get more health and beauty advice by connecting with us on Twitter and Facebook!

Image credit: Thinkstock

The post What’s new in the world of supplements? appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

3 ways to boost your calcium levels

Find out how to keep bone breakages at bay and improve your overall health

Boost your calcium levels and improve your health

You mightn’t realise its significance now, but your calcium intake is a bit like saving your pennies for a worthy investment in the future (an investment in preventing bone fractures when you’re older, that is).

Here are easy ways to keep bone breakages at bay…

1. Sweat less

We lose around 40mg of calcium a day through sweat, which is equivalent to the calcium content in 100g of grilled eggplant. Exercise-enthusiasts and Bikram-yogis naturally lose a lot more. If you’re unwilling to add extra calcium-containing foods to your diet to compensate for the amount you lose in sweat, try mixing up your routine to include exercises that don’t shed excessive amounts of sweat a few times a week… or you may need to check into the calcium clinic for an assessment of your levels.

2. Soak up some sunlight

With warnings about skin cancer rife, many of us are shielding ourselves from sunlight altogether. This isn’t good news for our levels of vitamin D, though, which is produced by sunlight exposure and essential in the body’s absorption of calcium. According to Cancer Council Australia, a few minutes’ exposure to sunlight on the face, arms and hands before or after the peak UV periods – 10am and 3pm – is sufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D levels during warmer months.

3. Drink less soft drink

Containing large amounts of phosphorous, soft drinks interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium (how dare our one-calorie diet colas be so deceiving!). The company soft drinks keep at meal times (pizza, chips and other salty foods) may also play a part in interfering with calcium absorption as they increase the amount of calcium lost through urine.

Worried about your health? Get expert advice on lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.

The post 3 ways to boost your calcium levels appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

Energy-boosting diet plan

Breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas to boost your energy and help you lose weight.


Breakfast is essential. It reduces the risk of weight gain by elevating your metabolic rate and lowering the tendency to snack inappropriately, and gets some dairy and fibre into your diet.

•    Yoghurt – 150g low fat yoghurt + blueberries + 1/3 cup of rolled oats
•    Omelette – 1-2 eggs + vegies such as capsicum, mushrooms + 1?4 cup skim milk; 2 tablespoons grated reduced fat cheese
•    English muffin – 40g grilled cheese + tomato and mushroom + toasted English muffin

The post Energy-boosting diet plan appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

What It Takes To Become A Professional Dietitian

The job of a dietitian has never been more important in the modern world. Obesity continues to be a major problem in the world today especially among the millennial generation. Dietitians educate and create awareness on how a person can maintain a balanced diet which leads to you having a healthy lifestyle. There are certain skills and practices that must be followed in order to be a professional in this field.  There would also be educational qualifications and various types of certification to obtain to be a recognized professional. Some dietitians make entire programs for institutions such as schools while some prefer to practice the same privately.

Soft Skills Required

Education would teach you to perform all the duties you need to know as a dietitian, however, there are soft skills you need to know in order to be a true profession. First and foremost it is absolutely necessary to have good listening skills as you need to understand the needs and requirements of your client well. You would not identify the core problem of your client’s eating habits if you do not look to listen to them. Another important soft skill to have would be good communication skills. As a dietitian you are expected to give reliable advice to your clients, it is important to clearly and effectively convey your advice on diets to them. Present out the benefits of following the recommended diet you give and what each component of the diet will do for the body.

Educational Requirements

A basic qualification would be a Bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and different types of nutrition for the body. If you look to be a dietitian you need to decide whether you would be a registered dietitian or an unregistered one. A registered Dietitian must earn his or her stripes by undergoing a supervised program with the conclusion being an exam which is mandatory to pass. When you ask yourself the question, how to become a dietitian, it is important to know that a basic qualification won’t do and that you need to be registered and recognized. If you look to serve high-end clients then be rest assured they would trust a registered dietitian. If you look to make a proper living out of being a dietitian it is needless to say that you should get yourself registered. Some countries have their own regulations which demand that you need a professional license to practice as a dietitian as well so be prepared for a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

How To Get Your First Job As A Dietitian

The bottom line is that you get your job after equipping yourself with all the requirements and skills. As an individual, you must be independent, professional at all times and above all possess immaculate knowledge on the subject.  Insufficient knowledge on food types, for example, would not only lessen the confidence your clients have with you but also damage your reputation as a professional.

The post What It Takes To Become A Professional Dietitian appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.

Why Physiotherapy Can Be Very Beneficial

Physiotherapy is a therapy that now helps millions of people around the world to overcome their physical ailments, conditions and illnesses that limit their mobility in some way. A personal physiotherapist can help you return to a state where you can once again function your body to its normal capacity. Physiotherapy not only improved your mobility but it also prevents further damages or injury to the problem area in your body. It is a recommended form of therapy for most people by doctors as it is a safe and effective way to deal with all kinds of physical ailments. Let us take a look at some of the benefits of Physiotherapy and how it can help anyone with limited mobility.

Eliminates Pain

Pain is often a problem for people with such ailments and one of the primary benefits of physiotherapy is that not only does it reduce pain but it also safeguards you in ever experiencing it again. Techniques include tissue mobilization, ultrasound treatments and even simulation through electricity. Technology has come a long in the last decade or so and the technology available now for people who need physical is both effective and cutting edge. These techniques target the problem area and enhance your ability to function with the same in a very systematic process. Physical therapy will not give you instant results and one should not even expect that. As the old saying goes “slow and steady wins the race.”

hands massaging woman

Avoids Surgery

Surgery is a gruelling process for anyone and even traumatic for some people. With the steady use of physiotherapy, thousands of people now avoid going through surgery. Surgery is quite expensive and in countries where healthcare isn’t free, it may be too costly for the middle class and poor families. A more cost-effective solution would be physical therapy. If in the event that surgery is an absolute must for you, physiotherapy can prepare you for a major surgery and help you recover faster post-surgery.

Enhances Mobility

As discussed earlier this is one of the primary benefits of physical therapy and the good news is that this therapy works on you regardless if your age. Strengthening the muscles you need to carry out motor movements can lead to a long-run solution to your limited mobility. Most personal physiotherapists fit you with a crane or crutches depending on your need and this will allow you to do whatever tasks you need to be done. Make sure you find the physiotherapist for yourself. Do your research and get yourself a certified professional with a proven track record. If you are looking for a physio in Ringwood there are quite a few to choose from but take a look at things like experience and skills when choosing the right one for yourself.

Improved Balance

Physiotherapy requires you to do exercises that improve your muscle coordination and these exercises must be done regularly as recommended by the physio. These exercises will target the problem area and give you relief in a systematic process. Not only do these exercises enhance your physical balance but it also provides a sense of relief mentally as you are equipping yourself to face your ailments head on.


The post Why Physiotherapy Can Be Very Beneficial appeared first on Women’s Health and Fitness.