What is the difference between Traditional Pilates and Clinical Pilates?

Written by Kate Maher, DMA Certified Pilates practitioner


Traditional Pilates and Clinical Pilates are both based on the method devised by Joseph Pilates in Germany in the early 1900s, post World War 1.


Pilates moved his method to New York in 1923 and it became popular among dancers for recovering from and preventing recurrence of injuries. Gradually, Pilates gained more exposure and a wider audience was obtained. His method included the use of apparatus, such as the Reformer and using springs for resistance to improve muscle tone. This equipment continues to be used across Traditional and Clinical Pilates methods today.


Traditional Pilates for dancers has been further developed and researched by Physiotherapists and has come to be known as Clinical Pilates. Dance Medicine Australia (DMA) Clinical Pilates & Physiotherapy are the pioneers and world leaders in Clinical Pilates and have trained over 10 000 Clinicians worldwide in Clinical Pilates.

Clinical Pilates is an interpretation of traditional Pilates, developed and used only by Physiotherapists. It is a Movement Based Classification & Treatment protocol which is a very effective Physio treatment tool, used to provide an individualised program, specifically developed to meet the needs of a particular patient. Afterall, we are not a homogenous population, so generic “one size fits all” exercises and exercise classes do not work for everybody.


Clinical Pilates allows a tailored approach - your program is developed following a thorough clinical assessment, according to your needs and to your body’s response to the exercises you are doing. It is not only about improving core strength. Using Clinical Pilates, we can enhance your neural drive by opening up the pathways that the messages travel along, from the brain to the muscles. This results in improved balance and function (often within sessions changes are seen) and also pain reduction in the longer term.



The exercises included in your program will be targeted to you and your injuries & issues and will often be direction specific, depending on where your Physiotherapist determines your body’s “happy place to exercise” is. This is determined by thorough clinical assessment and ongoing monitoring throughout your Clinical Pilates experience.

At NBPC, we have DMA trained and certified Physiotherapists. Please call us on 9859 5585 to book your Clinical Pilates Assessment & commence your journey to a body that moves more smoothly and efficiently, with less pain.

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