GenHealth Hamilton

Clinical Reformer Therapy (Clinical Pilates) Vs Reformer Pilates


Note: At Gen Health we used to call it Clinical Pilates, but due to a Private Health Insurance Reform in 2019, we updated to titling our sessions as Clinical Reformer Therapy.

The method is widely acceptable, and it seems to be an exercise regime that will cater for everyone, elite athletes, pre & postnatal women, the elderly aiming to maintain their mobility and balance, young children, footballers or even tradies. The only problem is, which type of Pilates do you try? There are multiple methods of Pilates on offer out there. So what is the difference?

Pilates itself is based around the principles of:

  • Centering – Bringing focus, control and stabilisation back to the core
  • Concentration – Focusing purely on what you are doing and the movements involved
  • Control – Completing exercises slowly and smoothly
  • Precision – Technique is everything!
  • Breathing – Incorporating an even breathing pattern into the exercises
  • Flow – Moving smoothly between exercises.

Pilates is based around the original concepts of Joseph Pilates, an originally unwell and weak child growing up in the peak of WW1, Joseph worked to develop a way of holistically strengthening his body for the better. His ideas were largely influenced by arts such as ballet.

Clinical Reformer Therapy (Clinical Pilates) takes these original ideas to the next level, utilising and adapting them to create a safe exercise regime targeted specifically at your individual needs. These needs can range from:

  • low back pain
  • persistent pain
  • knee pain
  • antenatal and postnatal women
  • hypermobility
  • balance deficits
  • surgery rehabilitation
  • fatigue / silent conditions like fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome
  • and many more.

The brilliant thing about Clinical Reformer Therapy [Clinical Pilates] is that it can be modified to cater for everyone from beginning individuals who are starting to exercise their body for the first time or Olympic athletes who are the opposite, and have been training their bodies for a long time and are pushing the boundaries to improve movement patterns, prevent injury or enhance performance and overall body function.

Due to the complexity of each individual’s needs, deficits, or injuries, Clinical Reformer Therapy [Clinical Pilates] can only be instructed by a healthcare professional with prior experience in injury assessment, prevention, and rehabilitation using anatomical and pathophysiological principles; as these concepts are all taken into account when developing a specific exercise regime, therefore there is no ‘one size fits all approach’.

So what is the difference between Clinical Pilates and all of the other styles of Pilates out there?

  • General Mat Work Pilates 
    • Instructed in a class setting by a general instructor (usually at the gym or in a fitness class setting)
    • Modifications in terms of difficulty can be provided, however there is generally a one size fits all approach’ regarding class structure and exercise prescription.
  • Reformer Pilates
  • Use of equipment such as reformer beds 
  • Instructed in a class or one-on-one setting by a general trained instructor
  • Less focus on tailoring to individual needs regarding injuries and body systems.


  • Clinical Reformer Therapy CRT [Clinical Pilates]

A thorough assessment is completed prior to attending a Pilates session in order to fully optimise the potential of the program.

  • At Gen Health, we spend up to 3 sessions working together to thoroughly assess your body and start to develop a tailored program for you prior to starting a class.
  • Clinical Reformer Therapy can only be taught by a healthcare professional (e.g. Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist) with prior knowledge of anatomy and injury rehabilitation.
  • Use of mat work and multiple pieces of equipment to optimise exercise benefit such as reformers or a trapeze table.

Due to the nature, presentation and recovery responses to different injuries or body types, there are exercises that need to be adapted or avoided in order to prevent further harm; this is where the training of a healthcare professional comes into play.

There are many exercises in Pilates that have the potential to do you the world of good, or the world of harm! Failure to understand this concept can result in pain, injury and set-backs.

In summary, although the movements may seem similar between the different styles of Pilates, it is the individual’s needs that vary. Therefore a tailored, specific and well understood program will ultimately result in a better outcome for you!

At Gen Health we are excited to introduce Hamilton and its surrounds to the world of Clinical Reformer Therapy. Our Physiotherapists and Exercises Physiologists are trained in DMA (Dance Medicine Australia) Clinical Pilates.

For further information regarding Clinical Reformer Therapy please contact us on 5571 9923 or via email 

Read more on Clinical Reformer Therapy here


All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.


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