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Noveber 8, 2017

Pilates in the hospitals:  Back where it all began
Scolio-Pilates® works with Dayton Children’s Hospital
By Karena Thek

In the early phases of his work, Joseph Pilates did a lot more than provide fitness instruction and athletic training. He was on the cutting edge of rehabilitation. Physical rehabilitation, up to the early twentieth century, was something that came with rest, not movement. Joseph Pilates was at the forefront of changing that paradigm when he used his movement techniques (Contrology) to rehabilitate wounded soldiers in a hospital where he was an orderly during the First World War. Later, in New York, while his work became known for its effectiveness in rehabilitating dancers, he also demonstrated his rehabilitative genius through his work with professional dancer, Eve Gentry.  He helped her to recover from a radical mastectomy that removed most of her left pectoral muscle. His results gained the attention of Dr. Henry Jordan, Chief of Orthopedics at Lenox Hill Hospital. Dr. Jordan referred many patients to Joseph Pilates, but was unable to secure Pilates a position at Lenox Hill Hospital, possibly due to a lack of credentials.

It’s interesting to see how Pilates is continuing to evolve in the 21st century and that we are, at times, struggling with the same recognition for the work that Joseph Pilates struggled with. One instructor at a time, one patient at a time, we still struggle for acceptance in the medical community, which is why recent events in my own work still leave me shaking my head in bewilderment. If it’s okay, I’d like to share that story with you in the hope it will encourage you to continue to push for the acknowledgement of Pilates in your own community as the rehabilitative powerhouse that it is.
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About nine months ago, I received a phone call from Karen Kleiner, a student who had attended an Introductory Scolio-Pilates® course three months prior. She said that she had been talking to some people at her local children’s hospital about Scolio-Pilates and they had shown quite a bit of interest. Before she talked to anyone else at the hospital, Karen wanted to know if I was interested in bringing Scolio-Pilates to Dayton Children’s Hospital, in Dayton, Ohio.  Her question left me speechless — I said, “Yes. Yes, I would be interested.”
I got off the phone and turned to my father… I was living in that pause between laughing and crying, where everything feels a little numb, a little unreal. I had memories flashing in from six years before when I was also visiting my parents.

I had just written Scolio-Pilates, Exercise for Scoliosis, A Pro-Active Guide and I was being interviewed by two orthopedic surgeons on a nationwide radio show about my new book. One of the doctors asked why I had written the book. I said that in addition to current management of scoliosis (observation, bracing and surgery), I was attempting to add a three-dimensional exercise program for assisting in the management of scoliosis. I wanted to add exercise to the offerings, not detract. I wanted patients to have a resource for feeling their very best while they were, first and foremost, following the advice of their medical team. The doctor leading the show stopped me. He told his listeners that exercise was not a viable option for scoliosis and ended my interview early.

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KarenaThekKarena Thek is a Pilates Instructor with a passion for managing pathologies in the Pilates setting as well as disseminating information for those who are ready to change. Her work has led her to author OsteoPilates, Increase Bone Density, Reduce Fracture Risk, Look and Feel Great! (2003) and Scolio-Pilates, Exercise for Scoliosis, A Pro-Active Guide (2011). In addition to her books, she has numerous webinars and free YouTube videos on the topics that she teaches. Karena is the host of a women’s health talk radio show, Alive & Well Radio on AM1220 KHTS. You can listen live from anywhere on the planet at www.hometownstation.com. She previously hosted Pilates for Healthy Bodies on PBS (2009-2011). And when she’s not teaching, writing or thinking about Pilates? You can find her on Facebook and Twitter posting pics of daily adventures with her partner John and their furry little child, Gus T. Basset Hound. Learn more at osteopilates.com