Pilates potential health benefits
January 20 2016

Improve your circulation, balance, coordination and sports performance.
Improve your core stability and strength.
Improve ease of movement.
Reduce the risk of injury.

For low back pain?
Spine (Phila Pa). 2015. Pilates for Low Back Pain: Complete Republication of a Cochrane Review. To determine the effects of the Pilates method for patients with non-specific acute, subacute or chronic low back pain. The Pilates method is one of the most common forms of intervention based on exercise used for treating patients with low back pain. However, its effectiveness is not well established. There is low to moderate quality evidence that Pilates is more effective than minimal intervention with most of the effect sizes being considered medium. However, there is no conclusive evidence that Pilates is superior to other forms of exercise.

Phys Ther. 2014 Jan 16. Effectiveness of Mat Pilates or Equipment-Based Pilates Exercises in Patients With Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Pilates method has been widely used to treat chronic low back pain. Pilates exercises can be performed in two ways: by using specific equipment or without it (also known as mat Pilates), however there are no studies that compared the effectiveness of mat Pilates to equipment-based Pilates. To compare the effectiveness of mat Pilates to equipment-based Pilates in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain. Two-arm randomized controlled trial with a blinded assessor. Private physical therapy clinic in Brazil. Eighty-six patients with chronic non-specific low back pain. The patients were randomly allocated into two groups: mat Pilates group (n=43) and equipment-based group (n=43). The patients of both groups attended 12 Pilates sessions over a period of 6 weeks. The primary outcomes were pain intensity and disability. The secondary outcomes were global perceived effect, patient's specific disability, and kinesiophobia. A blinded assessor evaluated the outcomes at baseline and 6 weeks and 6 months after randomization. After 6 months, there was a statistically significant difference for disability (mean difference = 3.0 points, 95% CI = 0.6 to 5.4), specific disability (mean difference = -1.1 points, 95% CI = -2.0 to -0.1) and kinesiophobia (mean difference = 4.9 points, 95% CI = 1.6 to 8.2) in favor of equipment-based Pilates. No differences were found for the remaining outcomes. Equipment-based Pilates was superior to mat Pilates in the 6 months follow-up for the outcomes disability and kinesiophobia. These benefits were not observed for pain intensity and global perceived effect in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.

Movements in Pilates exercises are controlled sometimes moving the body only inches, but those small motions are making a big difference to some people with Parkinson's disease. No research has been done to prove Pilates' effectiveness in reducing Parkinson's symptoms, but a growing number of patients say they are finding some relief. A number of patients with Parkinson's disease meet twice a week at the Parkinson Center of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The center held a Pilates pilot program earlierin 2006, and after it found improvement in the participants' rigidity and balance it launched a twice-weekly class open to the public. Instructors say the basic principal of Pilates increasing core strength and improving flexibility and balance is extremely helpful in countering the effects of Parkinson's in some people.