Discussion #2056

Neurological Disorders

4 min - Discussion


The number of people who are diagnosed with neurological disorders is increasing. Mari Winsor explains how Pilates can benefit people with ALS, MS, Parkinson's, and other similar conditions. She uses her personal experience with a recent diagnosis of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to tell us what she's learned that may slow down the progression of her condition. Mari reminds us how learning to connect or reconnect to your body through Pilates benefits the sense of well being for everyone.

This discussion is based on Mari's experience and is not intended to be medical advice or a prescriptive tutorial. Please consult with your doctor or your client's doctor to learn individual information that will support you in your endeavor.

This brief discussion is available to everyone, including non-members, so please feel free to share it!
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jan 29, 2015
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The numbers seem to be increasing on a daily basis of people being diagnosed with neurological disorders. The number of people seeking help and keeping their bodies moving is also increasing. So you might find that there might be a number and extra number of people coming into your studios that are afflicted with one of these horrible diseases. I myself have been recently diagnosed with als and which is Lou Gehrig's disease and it is a, uh, the nerves, uh, begin to die and your muscles atrophy and you lose motor skills. Uh, mine is, uh, developing slowly, thank God, but I think it is philosophy that has helped me and it has helped to arrest some of the symptoms, um, that I've been facing when before I was diagnosed.

I did have this horrible atrophy in my arms, um, in some other places in my body and I was misdiagnosed, which happens all a lot. My spine surgeon did a surgery on my neck to try to correct, uh, what he thought was a major nerve being blocked and that was supposed to help my arm, uh, get more mobile when in fact it got worse. And he kept saying to me, but you have to work your, um, work at every day. Take weights every chance you get. Put a weight in your hand to do arm exercises, work as hard as you can.

And that's all I heard from everybody. Well, when you have a neurological disorder, that's probably the worst thing that you can do is to go for the area of the body that is weak and try to make it strong. You can't, what you can do is help give your client a little bit better sense of wellbeing and help them move their entire body from the core. That's why Palava [inaudible] is so especially wonderful for people with neurological disorders because we have to learn how to connect and reconnect. So in other words, if, if my arm doesn't work, uh, moving from my shoulder, I might be able to transfer the work down into my back and my arm might move a little bit better moving from my back or the muscles are not atrophied. I'll say it again. It is the wrong thing to do to try to strengthen muscles that are weak when someone has a neurological disease that will make it worse.

[inaudible] is wonderful for people that have als, ms and Parkinson's because, because we do work from our core, we work on our circulation throughout the body. We work to connect the dots. We're not working to, to muscle up. We're working to tone up. Of course, when you get into the more advanced stages of the politest work, but we are not working to muscle up. We're working to connect, be more grateful, be more coordinated, be better balanced. And those are some of the things that seem to disappear when someone has a neurological disorder. If I can move my arm up like this, that's great, but I can't move my other arm up like that. But I will have people do it for me. So I keep the range of motion, the joint, so the drive doesn't freeze because there is a danger of the joints freezing if you stay in mobile. So it's important to do, uh, to help your client if they're immobile in leg or, or an arm to move up for them and to make it equal with the other side.

Um, I'm going to be demonstrating specifically some exercises, um, later on so you can see exactly what it is I would do or what I think would be great for people that have neurological disorders.

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Thankyou Mari for the sharing, very personal and very much appreciated.
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much. I have friends, wife has Parkinson's and husband has MS. I'm anxious to see what you suggest I can help them with
5 people like this.
Hi Mari- danced w you in Mich back in the '80's. Now I'm a bd certified occupational therapist with national neurologic rehab certification & pilates certification. Thank you for stating how detrimental it is to attempt strengthening w als/other specific neuro diagnoses. Function is the goal, on any level. I hope your message is heard. Folks think if they aren't pumping weights or getting "workout sore" they aren't working. Neuromuscular glide/functional movement w balance are all valuable. Yes we can load you up in pilates but only if that is appropriate. Wishing you positive energy on your journey. You're in my thoughts &prayers. You are beautiful!!(tiny dancer &pilates guru to all!!)
Thank you for this. Looking forward to learning more on this topic.
Thank you this is great help. X
Thank you for sharing your story. Your workouts have been a staple in my home for many years.
You are right, I have many friends that have neurological diseases. Any information that you share is greatly appreciated. by many.
1 person likes this.
This is of great interest to me Mari! As Pilates Instructors we can make such a difference in peoples lives, helping them to be more functional ,confident etc. and also just someone who cares. Thank You so much for sharing your journey in this and helping us all be better . Much love xxx
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned.
Thank you for sharing, very interesting area beautifully explained.x
Thank you for sharing, Mari, and I wish you well. I had just listened to an interview with neuroscientist David Linden. When asked what he does to protect his brain, he answered, "exercise".
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