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JOSEPH PILATES 1883 - 1967

The inventor of the pilates method, originally called 'Contrology' was Joseph Pilates born in Germany in 1883. He suffered from a number of childhood illnesses including asthma, rickets and rheumatoid arthritis and doctors told his parents to expect a short life expectancy. But Joseph proved them all wrong. Through experimenting in many different health and fitness approaches  he eventually combined yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, skiing self-defence, dance, circus training and weight training and created his own unique method that he named 'Contrology' later re-named Pilates where he re-built his own body strength and fine physique.

Joseph lived through the war years and often taught his unique fitness method whilst being held in confinement and claimed it was the entire reason his fellow internes did not die from the influenza epidemic that killed thousands in 1918.

In 1926 he emigrated to the USA and met his future wife Clara on the boat to get there. He continued to teach his method in a New York studio with his wife Clara. Due to their close proximity to the New York Ballet many dancers sought out Joseph when they were injured, they then went on to become his assistants and greatly influenced the way in which his method evolved.

His belief in the value of self discipline and the importance he placed on pilates fundamentals such as core strength would be clinically recognised in research studies carried out more than 20 years after his death. Joseph Pilates was a pioneer of his time.

Suffering from Rickets as a child Joseph was keen to express the importance of spending enough time outside and in the sunshine. "Whenever and wherever possible wear 'shorts' outdoors and let the life giving ultra violet rays reach and penetrate into every skin pore in your body."

Conceding the importance of skin cancer prevention, we now have science to support the suggestion by Joseph which he wrote in 1945. We know that vitamin D largely acquired by mammals through sunlight is responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc, directly impacting the mineralization of our bones.

" I must be right. Never an asprin, never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier."

Joseph Pilates

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