Clinical Pilates Byron Bay! 4

At Evolve Byron Bay we specialise in Clinical Pilates to progress our Physiotherapy clients from Physiotherapy sessions into group conditioning classes.  Not only is Clinical Pilates a proven method for helping a range of injury, pain and movement dysfunction conditions, it allows for a longer term and cost effect management of our clients.

We catch up with Evolve Byron Bay Director and Physiotherapist Scott Thomson to gain some more insight into this Pilates method.

What is Clinical Pilates?

Clinical Pilates is a unique and individually tailored treatment method that is used in conjunction with mainstream physiotherapy techniques and designed to find and fix the root cause of an injury and not just the injury symptoms.   It is therefore extremely effective with addressing chronic issue (pain or problems that have existed for longer than three months) especially where other treatment methods have failed.

In my opinion it is the safest and most effective way to help a client recover from chronic injury and poor postural habits by gaining better movement control/awareness and improved functional stability. 


What are its origins and how does it differ from more classical Pilates methods?

Australian Physiotherapist Craig Phillips created the Clinical Pilates method over 25 years ago based on pre-existing physiotherapy techniques and his early exposure to Pilates through his involvement with ballet and dance.  Since then it has continue to innovate, evolve and produce increase evidence-based studies proving its efficacy. Unlike general Pilates it has been designed by physiotherapists for use by trained clinicians as an assessment and treatment tool to address a patient’s specific pathology (injury).  It is not a prescriptive or homogenous Pilates exercise approach and programs are individually based on patient’s outcome testing.

craig DMA

How long have you been practicing Clinical Pilates and how did this begin?

I first trained with Clinical Pilates pioneer Craig Phillips back in 2005 taking the Dance Medicine Australia (DMA) level 1 and 2 course for Physiotherapist in Sydney. Being an athlete and dancer myself I immediately saw its benefits as an effective treatment and rehabilitation method and over the next decade I utilised it in the clinic obtaining fantastic results and outcomes with my clients.  I furthered my understanding and training in the method when I moved to Melbourne to work at the DMA Clinic in South Yarra and during my 2 year period there gained valuable and deeper insight into the method, even acting as a facilitator/educator for physiotherapist with the same course I took back in 2005.


What types of people benefit from this Pilates method?

Clinical Pilates is ideal for most types of musculoskeletal rehabilitation, preventing injury and for general health and wellbeing. It’s main benefits include:

  • Reducing Chronic Pain Issues 
  • Finding and treating the cause of injury
  • Correcting poor mechanics and posture that underlie injuries
  • Creates a greater resistance to future injury
  • Training your muscle groups to help your body work safely and more efficiently
  • An overall feeling of physical well being, improved postural awareness, balance and motor control.

In what setting is Clinical Pilates taught for the best results? 

The Traditional Pilates approach dictates that we begin with floor work as it will prepare you for the equipment work. Unfortunately the motor control literature cannot support this premise and long term clinical experience has shown us that ‘open chain’ type exercises, such as the floor work and ‘Cross Fit/ Functional Training’ type exercises, do not provide the appropriate peripheral ‘afferent’ input required for the brain to make informed choices about recruitment patterns. This lack of appropriate input is the reason that we see over recruitment of the stability systems in so many cases and poor movement patterns. This becomes apparent on real time ultrasound where patients struggle to disassociate (isolate) recruitment with movement. Clinically patients “get it” much faster when the system is better informed on the Pilates equipment like the Reformer and Cadillac Table.   

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Can i do this as part of a group or does it always need to be one on one with a physiotherapist?

The initial treatment must be set up by one on one appointment with a physiotherapist trained in the method. This can be progressed into a 4:1 class on the reformers that keeps to the individual’s specific program and is closely supervised. Regular one to one ‘check ups’ are advised at the 2,4 and 6 week marks when participating in such a program.

How can people best access this service at The Evolve Wellness Centre Byron Bay?

We offer a number of Clinical Pilates classes at Evolve throughout the week along with general and fitness Reformer classes that still give all the amazing benefits that Pilates has to offer. If you are interested in a Clinical Pilates program, an initial appointment will need to be booked in with myself. You can expect 3-4 one to one session followed by a progression into the 4:1 class environment.

Class Schedule and Online Booking Here
Contact us on 0416 749746 or

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