Clinical Pilates

What is Pilates?

Pilates was originally created by a man called Joseph Hubertus Pilates, who was born in Germany in 1880. He was a sickly child but worked hard at overcoming his ailments by studying exercise such as Yoga, and by his teenage years he excelled at sports including gymnastics. He moved to England in 1912 and when World War 1 began he worked as an orderly in hospitals, helping bed-ridden patients recover and rehabilitate with his exercise regimes.

He moved to America with his wife and together they opened the first Pilates studio in New York. The wonder of Pilates gradually spread and today there are many practitioners around the world practicing and evolving Joe’s Pilates method, using it to benefit countless numbers of people. For many years, Physiotherapy treatments have focused on restoring abnormal movement caused by muscle imbalances and stiff joints and the use of Pilates has become an invaluable treatment tool to rehabilitate those with movement dysfunctions, and as a way of preventing the recurrence of pain and injuries.

Pilates is a form of exercise which encompasses both mind and body. The technique, which may be Mat or Equipment based, focuses on activation of the core region of the body, whilst a repertoire of strength, mobility and stretching exercises is performed. Resistance is applied to challenge core stability further by applying movements of the arms and legs or by using equipment. The aims of the method are to address abnormal movement patterns and retrain normal movement and function by strengthening, improving flexibility and alignment, and increasing postural awareness and control.

What makes Clinical Pilates different?

The Traditional Pilates method was initially developed for dancers and so many of the exercises require a high level of flexibility, body awareness and strength. However, we all know too well that this is not the case for many of us, particularly those who have undergone surgery, injury or those that have long standing problems such as lower back pain.

Clinical Pilates was developed in 1999 by the Physiotherapist founders of the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute [APPI] in order to allow for all types of patient populations to enjoy the benefits of the method. The Traditional Pilates exercises have been taken and adapted to better suit those with specific clinical problems. The added knowledge of the Physiotherapist instructors make it a safe way for you to confidently enjoy exercising whilst rehabilitating from your condition.

Clinical Pilates at Enliven Health

We offer both Reformer Pilates classes and one to one Mat or Reformer sessions from our studio in Milton Keynes.

A pre-assessment is sometimes required before you start our Pilates sessions, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions or if you have had surgical procedures. If you have experience in Mat Pilates and are injury/pain-free and do not wish to have a pre-assessment you do not need to have one.

You may wish to attend for one to one training or rehabilitation session (see a full list of prices here). These sessions are useful as they are tailored to suit your individual requirements.

If you would like to attend a class please check the timetable and make your booking via email. In light of Covid-19 we will be running a limited class timetable and have new procedures in place to comply with new government guidelines. Your safety is paramount to us and so strict policies are now in place which must be followed, in order to maintain social distancing and cleanliness.

At present, all Mat Pilates sessions must be taken as one to one sessions. We are not currently offering Mat Pilates classes due to social distancing policies which we have put in place, however we are hoping this will change over the coming months.

Reformer Pilates

What is Reformer Pilates?

The Pilates Reformer is a beautiful and sophisticated piece of Pilates equipment which uses springs, ropes and pulleys to provide the type of resisted exercise which creates the lean muscle tone that Pilates has become famous for.
The machines offer a challenging, functional, all-over-body workout for all levels of ability, and exercises can be modified and adapted to suit a variety of different conditions and ailments.

The use of this type of exercise can be excellent for bone and muscle strengthening, whilst being pelvic floor and joint safe and is well known for improving posture, body awareness and overall body strength and flexibility.

Our beautiful, brand new and top of the range Balanced Body Allegro 2 reformers, offer a smooth and effective reformer experience, with their moveable foot-bar feature allowing for a whole repertoire of exercise that is not achievable through other reformer types.

Is Reformer Pilates for me?

It is useful to have a reasonable level of health and fitness before you start Reformer Pilates. Certain conditions may still be suitable, however it is important that you let your instructor know about these during your induction session. Our Pilates teachers are very knowledgeable and have extensive experience working with a variety of different conditions and patient populations and so it is likely that exercises may be modified accordingly to suit you if necessary.

The Pilates principles that would apply to a Mat class still apply to the Reformer and so previous experience of Pilates exercise is beneficial, but is not essential.

It is usual to find Reformer Pilates challenging, however don’t be intimidated by this, or indeed by how the machines look! Your muscles may ache and shake, however it gets easier with practice and the more you do, the more familiar you’ll feel.

Our Reformer Classes

All of our Reformer classes are currently run from our spacious boutique studio at our clinic on Whitsundoles Farm, Milton Keynes. All classes are led by experienced Pilates practitioners and Physiotherapists, ensuring that you are guaranteed to receive an effective workout delivered by knowledgeable teachers. Classes are kept small, to ensure that individual attention is received during the classes, and that your technique is optimised throughout. Our classes comply with social distancing and Covid regulations in accordance with government guidelines.

These classes are popular and so pre-booking is essential. For class timings please check our timetable frequently as new classes are likely to be added into the schedule on a regular basis.

Your health and safety is at the forefront of our thinking and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic we have had a major studio restructure to do our absolute best to ensure this. We now operate a strict studio policy for all classes and one to one sessions and this will be made clear before you attend our studio for any sessions. Our reformers are positioned to comply with safe social distancing guidance as outlined by the government. For further information regarding our Covid-19 policies please email us directly.


For safety reasons, all new clients will require an induction session before they begin our Reformer classes. This is to ensure that you are familiarised with how to set up and use the Reformers before entering the class setting, making sure you feel confident to join and preventing disruption of the class flow. All Reformer brands are slightly different and so it is important that you’re familiar with the machines and relevant safety information before use. These sessions are 30 minutes long and are arranged at a time to suit you.

This session is really a one to one, and we will take you through some of the Reformer repertoire to ensure you get a good feel for the machine. It also enables us to gauge your level of ability, and if there is anything we need to be aware of before you start regarding specific issues or problems. This is to make sure you get the absolute best out of your Pilates classes.

New-Starters Reformer

Our Reformer New-Starters classes are suitable for beginners to Pilates or the Pilates reformer. Although it is useful to have some degree of Pilates experience before you start, THIS IS NOT ESSENTIAL as everything including the key Pilates principles will be covered within your beginner’s course. This class is also suitable for clients with specific problems that mean they must exercise at lower level.

You can guarantee you will be in safe hands while you get to literally “Learn the ropes” and if you have any specific conditions, exercises can be modified to suit you appropriately.

Although you are entering as a beginner, these initial classes will still be challenging and you will still feel as though you have worked your whole body by the end of your class.

To enter our beginner’s program please contact us.

This class is 60 minutes long.

Mixed Level Reformer

Once you’re familiarised with the machines and feel confident to move on, you may wish to progress yourself further by joining one of these classes. You will feel more of a challenge, as this class uses exercise and strengthening principles to work the body in a more advanced way. Pilates props such as resistance circles and weights may also be used to add to the challenge.

This class is 60 minutes long.

Intermediate/Advanced Reformer

We have applied our extensive strength and conditioning expertise to come up with a challenging class which will really test your Reformer Pilates ability! This class really brings Reformer exercise to a whole new level and is not for beginners or those with active joint problems, painful conditions or balance issues. This class works at sculpting the entire body with a comprehensive resistance workout, also bringing in cardio elements including the Reformer jumpboard to add intensity and HIIT intervals to the session.

To book onto this class, contact us.

This class is 60 minutes long.