Mon | Sep 27, 2021

Fusing pilates with physiotherapy

Published:Monday | November 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM
This move - a teaser requires working your mid-section.
Lopez supports her client, Lisa Azan, while she hangs from the trapeze table.
Summer Lopez assists one of her clients, Kathryn Chin See, with physiotherapy treatment. - Ian Allen/Photographer
Summer Lopez assists one of her clients, Kathryn Chin See, with physiotherapy treatment. - Ian Allen/Photographer
This physiotherapy exercise is called mobilising the thoracic spine on the half barrel. - photos by Ian Allen/Photographer
Summer Lopez, physiotherapy pilates expert.

Sacha Walters, Staff Reporter

Summer Lopez, a trained physiotherapist, is practising a fusion of pilates and physiotherapy which helps to heal injured bodies.

"It's new. It's evolving as pilates-based physiotherapy. It's very non-traditional. This is one-on-one treatment where you are really getting to the source of your problem and then treating from there," said Lopez, the owner of Body Forte, a Kingston-based fitness studio.

Lopez said the individuals are referred to her by medical doctors, for example, an individual who may have hurt a shoulder and requires treatment. However, individuals who have nagging physical issues are also ideal candidates.

"Pilates-based physiotherapy has successfully treated scoliosis, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis," she explained. Other issues include tendonitis, lower back pain, muscular and skeletal injuries and sprains and strains. However, it possesses preventative capabilities as well. "It helps to alleviate the possibilities of injuries," she said.

She discovered this fusion after practising traditional physiotherapy and realising she could not give her patients the amount of personal attention she believed they required. She began examining alternative methods of treating individuals in need of physiotherapy.

She discovered the integration of both disciplines and believes in the benefits.

"When your treatment is done in this way, you should get better a lot faster," she said of the one-on-one treatments which can last between a half of an hour to an hour.

"They take an active part in their recovery," she said, as patients are given an at-home programme to work on outside of class.

But Lopez also offers fitness options for the person who wants to add benefit to their general workout; this includes work on the pilates machines like the reformer and the trapeze table. Individuals like athletes, dancers and performance artistes are ideal for one-on-one pilates classes to help improve their fitness. With the help of her client, Lisa Azan and Kathryn Chin See, Lopez demonstrated some of the exercises which can be performed on the machines. Lopez also has small, group pilates classes in which they utilise the machines and not as much floor work as traditional pilates.

Physical movement

"This works flexibility, resistance, balance and coordination," she said. "We need to connect the mind and the body to bring about that physical movement. You'll sit better in your car, better at your desk, you'll lift your baby up better. Pilates trains your whole body."

The machines allow for the workout to be tailored to suit any fitness level or age. Lopez said the experience can range from easy to challenging.

She is always aware of her clients' movements during sessions. "Because I'm a physiotherapist, I'm definitely looking at it from a safety standpoint," she said.

Contact: Body Forte at 5 Bedford Park Avenue (inside Shakti), Kingston 10, at 382-8444 or email