Joseph H. Pilates created this unique, safe and effective method of exercise that creates long, lean, strong muscles. Joseph Pilates came from Germany in 1926 and landed in New York City. Joseph was a gymnast who had creative and brilliant ideas about physical fitness and rehabilitation. While in England when WWI broke out, he was incarcerated in a German National Prison camp. Influenza broke out and Joseph developed many ways to stay healthy and rehab the sick. Joseph rigged a hospital bed with pulleys and springs so patients could begin their recovery while lying on their backs. This idea evolved into the Cadillac, which later became one of Pilates main pieces of equipment design.
As a child, Joseph Pilates suffered from a number of illnesses resulting in muscular weakness. He was determined to overcome these frailties and started studying Yoga, Martial Arts, Zen Meditation, Greek and Roman exercises.
During the 1930’s and 40’s, famous dance instructors and choreographers, such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine embraced Pilates method. If injured, performers and dancers usually suffered from long recovery periods. Unique to their time, Pilates method allowed and encouraged movement early in the rehabilitation process which helped with healing. It wasn’t long before the dance community adopted Pilates work into their
routines for strengthening and alignment. More than 70 years later, many rehabiltation practitioners were using the Pilates method. Utilizing specialized equipment, the springs and pulleys helped to facilitate injured individuals to complete certain movements successfully. By altering spring tension and creating more gravity challenges, an individual would progress torward acheiving functional movement.