Joseph Pilates developed Pilates as a way to help rehabilitate people from injury based on his experiences as a sickly child in Germany in the late 1800s. He studied the body and how it moved and developed exercises to address injuries and improve strength and stability. He put his knowledge to use during World War I as a prisoner of war, helping fellow soldiers to recover from their injuries. He later went on to work with dancers in New York City in his own studio.
Pilates is becoming more recognized as a form of rehabilitation by doctors and physical therapists because it offers the benefits of promoting both mobility and stability that are vital for healing from many injuries. The exercises can be modified and adapted to meet the needs of an injured client. It also helps to increase mind-body awareness which can allow the client to become more connected to their healing process. The key to Pilates is that it focuses on the ability of the client to work on mobility in order to increase strength through stability. Exercises can be changed and progressed as the client gets stronger and becomes ready for more challenging exercises.