Meditaiton helps lower back pain: this is a heading that some will find surprising, but to some of us it is absolutely no surprise at all.
Pain management is a complex issue that varies from person to person; no two people experience pain the same way. But a recent study suggests that training the brain to respond differently to pain signals may be an effective pain relief tool.
Researchers examined mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and compared it to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a typical care for back pain. 342 patients in the US trial aged between 20 and 70 were divided into three groups. The scientists from the Group Health Research Institute in Washington found that MBSR led to “meaningful improvements” in patient’s pain.
After six months, 61% of patients who received MBSR and 58% who had CBT showed improvements in their functional limitations, compared to 44% who only had usual care including pysiotherapy. Interestingly, the improvements in the MBSR group persisted a year later.
The study concluded something that we have all known for a long time, and one of the main reasons that I created my system PilatesEVO several years ago; that the mind and body are intimately intertwined, and this includes how we sense and respond to pain.
These findings are totally inline with my experience as a Pilates teacher, and this is why I introduced Mindfulness Meditation into my system, PilatesEVO. I am convinced that teaching mindfulness incorporated with traditional Pilates methods give me results that far exceed the results I got from teaching Pilates in the more traditional way.
A minority of one-dimensional people critisize me for including mindfulness in PilatesEVO, saying that Joseph Pilates did not include meditation in this original system. My answer is that science is moving forwards, and to ignore new evidence is ignorant and does a disservice to our clients, the people we are trying to help. I respect the principles of Pilates (although these were only classified after Joseph’s death) but I will do all I can to give my rehabilitation clients the best possible chance of making a full recovery. It has been my opinion for many years even before I created PilatesEVO that mindfulness meditation sits perfectly within a Pilates environment and new research such as this reinforces my opinion. And I know that my PilatesEVO clients and teachers agree too.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation and PilatesEVO then please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hunt pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.
The next PilatesEVO educations are in:
Sao Paulo, Brazil May 2016
Barcelona, Spain July 2016
Miami, USA September 2016
Brighton, UK October 2016
For more information please email email@example.com
When we create something ourselves, it can be a difficult step to share our creation with the world. What will people think? Will they like it? Will they criticize or praise? Will it be a success? I have always followed the words of Aristotle, who famously said, “there is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”.
When I was young, I suffered from a lot of back pain. I was born with a spine defect and that led to poor posture which made my problem worse. Hours spent playing sports and practising the piano further added to my problems. I tried many things to help, but Pilates was the thing that really changed my life. It enabled me to live a full life, to run marathons, to snowboard, surf, play golf and never think twice about my back before trying something new. From that day forward, I had a passionate belief that Pilates could help many people improve their quality of life.
In the early days, whilst still practising and studying Pilates I was worked in the City of London as an Insurance Manager. I continue to this day working as a Senior Business Consultant so my life has an excellent balance.
I travelled the world teaching Piates and learning (we never stop learning, and anyone who says any different is very sadly mistaken). As well as Pilates, I was interested in kundalini and other methods of functional training. I also developed a deep love of meditation which took me to the Buddhist Temples of Thailand. Whilst there, I also discovered and studied meridians, becoming qualified in Thai Massage. It was not just the body that interested me. I had always been interested in psychology, in what I saw as “total fitness”. I studied Buddhist psychology and other modern concepts such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
As I travelled teaching Pilates, within my subconscious there was a seed that was growing, an idea that I could use all my knowledge to create a different type of Pilates that reflected the ancient and modern. I am classically trained, and it pains me to see some of the new systems that claim to be “Pilates” when they are clearly nothing of the sort. So I took my time to think about how my new system could stay true to the principles of Pilates, to my principles, but how I could add to the experience my own knowledge, character and ideas.
It was important for to me to create a system from my heart, a system where everything has meaning and purpose. In my opinion there are too many systems and teachers who teach not from their heart, but from their bank balance. To quote Einstein, “Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty.”
Music has always been a massive part of my life. I am a classically trained pianist and I play guitar, sing and write songs. I wanted every detail of EVO to maximise the total experience, so it has its own unique uplifting soundtracks mixed in London designed to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a deep and rewarding experience.
As I said in a previous blog, “If you know someone who is suffering from depression, don’t judge or offer them advice. They don’t need that and it doesn’t help. They need your understanding and support. Question is, can you give them only that?”
My father died whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s. “Dementia: I lost my father, don’t lose yours” was the hardest post I have ever written. So it’s with interest that I have been watching the media following the tragic death of Robin Williams.
The increasing number of public figures who are having to apologise for comments they made in the past few days clearly shows the absolute and total ignorance some people have when it comes to depression. There is no excuse, no excuse to make such stupid comments, especially when you are in a position where some misguided people may actually listen to you and take your words for the truth.
Rock star Gene Simmons has apologised about his “spur of the moment” remarks about people who suffer from depression. The Kiss singer and bassist sparked outrage after saying he is “the guy who says ‘Jump'” to those who are suicidal. He is quoted as also saying that his advice was that if you are depressed you should “kill yourself”.
Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda has quit Twitter following the abuse she got from followers. People were telling her that her Dad was selfish and a coward to kill himself. Fox News TV anchor Shepard Smith sparked criticism after also suggesting the actor was a “coward” to kill himself. Meanwhile TalkSport in the UK has apologised after its radio presenter Alan Brazil said he had “no sympathy” for suicide.
All of these people have now apologised of course, no doubt worried about their ratings and future job prospects, but I have little doubt that their first words were the true way they feel about depression. And that worries and scares me in equal measures.
Make no mistake, anyone who thinks that Robin Williams is a coward or that he is selfish, or that suicidal people should “jump”, have a serious problem. These people should go educate themselves about depression and think before they make totally ignorant statements. I am serious. If there is even 10% of your mind that when reading this is thinking “they should pull themselves together” then please read my blog articles above and then go educate yourself because you are misinformed.
In my blog today I want to ask you to share your opinions and experience with clients who suffer from depression. Many distinguished Pilates teachers say that Pilates can help people suffering from depression. Pilates without doubt helps to relax the mind and energise the body, gives body awareness, can improve self-image and has meditative qualities if taught in the correct way. I found meditation after my own personal experience with depression, and this is why I travelled to Bangkok to study meditation in a Buddhist monastery. This is also why in my Pilates system Pilates EVO, I integrated mindfulness meditation. When I am travelling the world to train new Pilates EVO teachers, this is one of my favourite parts of the education because most teachers have little or no experience of meditation, and at first some find the whole concept very difficult to grasp.
Meditation is becoming more and more acceptable and proven in Western medicine as a treatment for depression. There are many books on the market, but one of my favourites is The Mindful Way Through Depression. Click on the picture below to read more.
Thank you Robin Williams for all the joy you bought into this world. You will be missed. I hope that your torment will continue to bring the debate about depression to a wider audience, and I hope that more and more people will gain a greater understanding.
In the U.S.: If you are contemplating attempting suicide, there are people who can help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
In the U.K.: For confidential support call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch
Pilates brings many benefits, most people know that. In my experience most people come to Pilates because they have an existing issue with their body that they want to rehabilitate from, they want to improve performance and quality of life (especially in a sporting sense), or because they want to change their body shape.
Pilates can achieve all these things. But I think it is always vital that clients understand exactly what Pilates is and exactly how it achieves what it does.
I am often asked the question, “will Pilates give me a flat stomach?” To help answer this question, I will use the example of Vanessa Hudgens, as she is a Pilates fan and is regularly complemented for her great figure. She was pictured this week leaving a Pilates studio in LA.
First of all, if you are not familiar with Vanessa, she is a 25-year-old American actress and singer. She rose to prominence playing Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series and has also appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel.
So, back to the question, will Pilates give you a flat stomach? The simple answer is it will help for sure if it is done properly, as the abdominal muscles are trained as part of the holistic exercise system. But, and it is a big but, exercise alone is not enough. I like the saying that flat abs (or even a six-pack) is creates 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. It’s an obvious fact that we all have a six-pack, of course some are genetically blessed with a head-start, but we all have one! The problem is some people’s six-packs are a little shy, they like to hide behind a layer of fat! This is why diet is vital.
I think it is important not to simply equate a stronger core with a flatter stomach. For most people, flatter abs means weight loss as well as exercise. I do not think that Pilates teachers should advertise Pilates simply to get flat abs, as this demeans the whole system. It makes me very angry when I see headlines like “5 Pilates exercises to get a six-pack”. What we should be saying is that Pilates is a holistic system that will make your body stronger, more flexible and healthier. A nice side-effect of this is often a slimmer more toned body and in turn a flatter stomach, something that is also helped by the improvement in posture that Pilates will bring. If most people simply learn and are able to stand up straight in a neutral position, then hey presto their stomach will often flatten.
Also, Pilates is about how to use your body and body awareness. This is what I really stress through NLP and mindfulness when I am teaching my system, Pilates EVO. Pilates can give you swagger!
Something that many gym goers are unaware of is that the abs should also be flexible. It’s a dangerous myth that to be strong and look good muscles should be tight. Nonsense. Every muscle needs flexibility. If we have no flexibility and balance in our bodies then eventually our bodies will break-down, often not in the area of the inflexibility.
As always, if you want more advice on anything Pilates, or about how exercise and diet can help change your figure, then please drop me a line via my website, Facebook or the form below.
Since its birth around 100 years ago, the Pilates method has been modified and arguably made more effective by some distinguished presenters, but diluted and the basic principles largely ignored by less scrupulous teachers.
It has more flow and movement with sequences of moves made up from the sacred numbers 3, 7 and 21, and it uses unique, uplifting soundtracks mixed in London by DJ Shameless to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a far deeper and rewarding experience. Most moves have different levels progressing muscular fitness using repetitions, range of motion, rate and resistance. This creates a system that will remain challenging to a wide range of training goals from elite athletes, people seeking everyday fitness, to clients rehabilitating following accident or injury.
This system increases muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility, and helps prevent injury and improve performance with movements that are applicable to life and sport.