Frequently Asked Questions regarding Pilates & Shiatsu

Answers:

What is the Pilates method and whom is it targeted at?

The Pilates method is a complete fitness system, a unique system of stretching and strengthening exercises formed by Joseph Pilates. The aim is to achieve muscle balance by strengthening the weak muscles and lengthening the short ones. This results in an increased control, power and flexibility of the body and creates a harmonic and thinner silhouette.
The method is based on six principles: breathing, concentration, control, precision, centering, and flow.
Breathing is the first and the last physical function in humans. The benefits of good breathing are several: by inhaling and exhaling fully, our whole body is better oxygenated through our blood and more toxins and harmful gases are removed from it. The abdominal massage carried out by the ascending and descending diaphragm helps to supplement the functions of each organ while helping to strengthen the muscles of the same area (abdominal muscles).
In a psychological basis this kind of deep breathing has a relaxing function so that our body would work with more ease, and more energy. Concentration is the key element for the coupling of body and mind. This constant concentration leads to a better control of our bodies in order to direct our every move with the utmost accuracy while avoiding the “mechanical movements”.
All our movements are generated in the center of our body (tummy-waist). Creating strong incentives we move our bodies more easily and with less energy spent. In Pilates there are no static, single moves, because naturally, our body does not work this way. The dynamic energy replaces the fast jerky movements of other techniques and more emphasis is given to smooth continuous motion (flow) rather than speed.
Pilates is a holistic method of exercise and during the workout all muscles are used, from the tips of the fingers to toes.
Pilates appeals to all, and deals each one of us according to the potentials, difficulties and health problems one may face.
Thus, this workout system is suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions, for pregnant women, people with musculoskeletal disorders and other health problems, as well as athletes and dancers.
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How can Pilates improve my health?

Pilates, primarily strengthens all the muscles that support the spine, not just the large muscle groups, but also the muscles in deeper layers. This allows the whole organism to function in a better way. Joseph Pilates has said: “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old.  If it is completely flexible at 60 you are young.”(είναι quote και καλό θα ήταν να μείνει ως έχει, χωρίς να το παραφράσουμε-ανεξάρτητα από το πρωτότυπο κείμενο).
The circulatory system works more properly, while through an integrated breathing all organs and tissues of our body are better oxygenated. Furthermore, the functioning of the nervous system is improved, and through the lengthening of the spine, the intervertebral spaces where nerves exit are opened..
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I have health problems; can I workout?

Pilates is recommended by many physicians for musculoskeletal disorders, recovery after surgery (e.g. mastectomy) for neurological problems and many others. Consult your doctor and give your body the chance to experience the healing benefits of the method.
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Can I do Pilates, while I am pregnant?

Yes, because Pilates works particularly the muscles of the perineal area, which helps, among other things, to have an easier expulsion/delivery of the newborn during labor. Apart from that, the strong muscle tone generated in the pelvic area helps the body to recover faster after the labor.
Pregnant women usually suffer from back pains, yet Pilates, by creating a firm center and strengthening all muscles along the spine, helps to support the body better and gives a sense of strength and wellness.
Of course, any workout is allowed only if the pregnancy is not threatened and with the doctor’s consent.
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Can seniors exercise with the Pilates method?

Yes, because Pilates can be adapted to the needs of any body type, and people of any age.
As the years go by, the human body can acquire various physical problems like osteoporosis, lack of flexibility, rheumatism, etc. Through our specialized Pilates exercises older people can strengthen their body anew, and make it more functional, while gaining a sense of wellbeing and confidence.
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What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu (finger pressure) is a hands-on therapy originating in Japan. Its aim is to ensure overall well-being, while influencing the spirit, the body and mind, and activating the inherent healing powers in every human organism. Any discomfort, symptom or disease is an indicator of imbalance in the vital energy of the individual. By applying pressure, stretching and other techniques in the meridians or channels where the energy flows throughout the body, shiatsu restores the energy flow and relieves aches and pains, promoting a sense of physical and mental well-being associated with health. A single session or more could be sufficient, depending on the nature of the problem. 
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How could shiatsu be beneficial for me?

Shiatsu works on a psychosomatic level and is particularly effective for the body leading to a deep relaxation. Everyone can benefit from shiatsu gaining a positive effect on energy levels, preventing and treating health problems regardless their age or physical condition.
More specifically, shiatsu:
- Relieves tension and stress
- Effectively treats insomnia, fatigue and lack of energy
- Improves the functioning of the digestive system (spastic colitis, heartburn, bloating, constipation)
- Regulates the abnormalities of the female cycle (unstable cycle, premenstrual syndrome)
- Reduces headaches, pains in joints, back, waist and neck
- Strengthens the immune system, especially during convalescence after illness or accident
- Relieves discomfort during pregnancy (heaviness, pain in waist and legs, indigestion, psychological swings, insomnia)
- Provides support in difficult emotional / psychological conditions such as depression, bereavement, major life changes, etc
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Is shiatsu painful?

Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience. A slight, alleviative pain at certain points during the pressure is an indication of some imbalance in the system. An experienced therapist detects these points and applies the appropriate pressure. Gradually, the pain is reduced or transformed. The tension is released, the flow of energy is improved and the self-healing process is generated.
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How will I feel after the session?

A shiatsu session usually evokes a feeling of relaxation, rest and contact with ourselves and our body. It may trigger a need for action and vitality or instead a need for rest and relaxation, depending on the condition of each person. Rarely, the activation of the body can lead to a temporary intensification of symptoms ('healing reaction') which may include headaches, muscle pains or a change in the bowel function. These symptoms are normal, subsiding within 2 to 3 days, and it is an indication that the body responds positively to the treatment stimulus.
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What to expect in a Shiatsu session?

A shiatsu session lasts 50 minutes and takes place on a mattress on the floor. It is conducted over the clothes on the whole body without the use of oil. Pressure with the palms, fingers, thumbs, elbows, knees and feet is applied as well as stretching and other techniques, which are adapted to the body and the condition of each person.
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What do I need (to do) before and after the session?

- It is good to have eaten something light at least an hour earlier. After a heavy meal you should wait 2-3 hours before the session, avoiding alcohol, too.
- Wear or bring with you comfortable clothing (e.g. track suits) and a pair of clean socks.
- After the session it is good to relax and keep off any activity that is particularly demanding physically or psychologically.
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How did Acupuncture started?

To be translated!
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How does Acupuncture work?

To be translated!
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In which medical situations can acupuncture help?

To be translated!
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