- 1 Definition
- 2 Precursor biography
- 3 Pilates method
- 4 Pilates classic exercises
- 5 Pilates in Physical Therapy
- 6 Pilates and Low Back Pain:
- 7 Pilates in Women's Health
The method was designed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates from Germany whose father was a Greek ancestry gymnast and mother was a neuropath. In his childhood Pilates was weak and sickly (suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever). He strongly needed to take care of his physical health and that is why he become very interested in practicing body building, gymnastic, yoga and ‘kung fu’. As a 14 years old he had perfectly developed his musculature and was asked to pose for pictures of anatomical charts.
Before he turned 30 he moved to England where he worked as a boxer, circus - performer and self defense trainer. When Word War I began he was interned to an internment camp where he has been teaching and improving his system of mat exercises he called himself ‘Contrology’.   
After the war Pilates returned to Germany where he collaborated with Rudolf Laban and other important experts of dance and physical exercise.
At the age of 42 he moved to United States where (with his wife Clara) opened his first Studio. Soon his method become popular between well known dancers who wanted to become more aware of usage of mind to control muscles and who needed help with proper training, recovery and rehabilitation.
In his life he published 2 books related to his method:
"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier." - Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965. He died in United States in 1967.
6 Basic principles
When exercising Pilates it is important to remember that every movement should be done slowly and include each of basic principles.
Pay attention to starting position, slow and smooth movements as well as each part of the body. Stay focused and do not let yourself distracted.
Oxygen inhalation refreshes brain and body. Deep breaths clear the lungs, relaxes and gives a better focus. Coordinate breathing with movement to understand body work.
Exercises needs to be done with a full control of muscle work.
All movements starts from centering – engaging core muscles (deep muscles such as diaphragm, lumbar multifidus,transversus abdominis, pelvic floor muscles and their assistants: erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, oblique abdominis, rectus abdominis).Centering helps to improve balance and posture in-other words it is called powerhouse of the body. One of the primary goals of Pilates is to strength powerhouse or core-stabilisation.
Keep attention to each exercise. They need to be done properly to benefit from them.
Flow of movement:
Pilates classic exercises
In 'Return to life' book Pilates described his original 34 matwork exercises. For the first time book was published in 1945.
Today there are plenty of different schools teaching and training modern Pilates. Method is used and can be found in fitness and physiotherapy industries. Exercises have been changed and some new equipment has been added. 
Pilates in Physical Therapy
Pilates and Low Back Pain:
Pilates as a rehabilitation programme is used in treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP) and its results could be compared to exercise programs results  . A cochrane Rewiew shows that there is a low to moderate quality evidence that support effectiveness of Pilates programme on pain and disability in cases of LBP . Most of Pilates programmes for LBP depend on improving or activation to power house.Mainly it consist of isometric contraction of abdominal muscles,plevic floor muscles,gluteus maximus and multifidus.Exercises consisted of 5 min of warm-up (breathing and mobility exercises), 50 min of Pilates exercises (stretching and strengthening exercises for muscles of the trunk and lower and upper limbs) and 5 min of cool down (relaxation exercises and massage with ball). Exercises were performed with concentric and eccentric contraction of trunk, spine, upper and lower limb muscles in all planes of movement. Each exercise was done with a single series, with a 2 min interval between exercises, and the number of repetitions varied from 8 to 12, corresponding to approximately 60% to 70% of one maximum repetition as assessed with the Borg scale.The exercises were performed at three levels of difficulty: basic, intermediate and advanced. The basic exercises were adapted to the conditions of each patient by reducing or increasing resistance (eg, the roll-up exercise using the tower bar on the Cadillac can be performed with the spring in the high position to make the movement easier or in the low position to make the movement more difficult) .
Pilates in Women's Health
Pregnancy is a specific stage in women’s life, a time when they face physiological and biomechanical changes that, without proper monitoring, lead to the emergence of musculoskeletal discomforts. Most of these issues are associated with postural changes, balance, ligament laxity, body weight increase and cardiorespiratory disorders. The Pilates method provides several benefits such as increased respiratory capacity, improved muscle strength and the strengthening of torso-stabilizing muscles, flexibility, spine mobility, postural alignment, coordination, proprioception, balance and motor control. Given the specific condition of pregnant women and the variations derived from such condition, Pilates may positively contribute to these women's health within their physical and psychological limitations. Pregnant women are known for the several physiological changes they go through; thus, Pilates can make important contributions to their health, such as the promotion of quality of life and wellbeing to improve their adaptation to each gestational week. A study conducted to address the importance of Pilates, clinical guidelines and physical activities practiced in the main pregnancy periods (trimesters) through a bibliographical analysis concluded that the knowledge about the physiological and psychological changes affecting pregnant women, in association with the training in Pilate’s techniques, may promote and contribute to a gestational period with no complications and to reduce the risk of low-back pain and osteoarticular discomforts. Stabilization, strengthening and stretching exercises should be performed, but the gestational week and the patient's physical and emotional limitations must be respected. It is possible seeing that the physical activity is beneficial to pregnant women. Thus, such practice should be encouraged by health professionals.