What is a Pilates Physical Therapist? Pilates for PTs with Stephen Dunn

pilates physical therapist

Hey guys, what's up? It's Stephen Dunn with CORE Therapy and Pilates, I'm the founder of Pilates for PTs and one of the most common questions that I get is...

What is a Pilates Physical Therapist?

I just want to explain that real quick. I'm a manual therapist first. I worked as a manual therapist for three years before I even heard the word Pilates. I'm basically a manual therapist that uses manual therapy and then I teach Pilates, mindfulness, breathing using the Pilates equipment.

It doesn't take away from anything I've learned prior to my Pilates experience so I combined the two. I’ll use manual therapy. I'm trained in Maitland so I do adjustments. I do mobilizations. I do all the nerve tension stuff. I’ve also studied with John Barnes and I do a lot of myofascial release and those are the two types of manual therapy that I use with my patients.

As a Pilates PT, I teach people on the Pilates equipment and I introduced them to the Pilates world. The way my business is set up being cash based for PT allows me to clients over to work with my Pilates trainers as soon as they don’t need me in the mix for manual therapy.

Another option is I start shortening my sessions to where I see them for 30 minutes of manual therapy and then move them right over to work with a Pilates trainer for an hour right after that.

At the beginning of the plan of care, I might see then the whole hour for four to six sessions and in that hour spend 30 or 40 minutes doing manual therapy and 20 or 30 minutes doing Pilates based exercises.

Initially I teach them stuff that they can do at home and then I start progressing them to things on my equipment that they can't do at home.

I just want to go over that because people say oh you're a Pilates PT…

What does that mean?

What does that look like?

Does that mean you can only work in certain places with Pilates equipment?


Well, I prefer to have Pilates equipment but I can work anywhere and work with any equipment because I use my hands first and foremost and then Pilates is just the type of exercise that basically keeps people around for a long time.

I love Pilates because it helped me change my posture and improve my strength so much but the reality is that when I move people over from PT to working with my Pilates trainers they stick around for a long time in our studio. They stick around seeing us for sometimes years.

We've been open 15 years and I have a 15 year client. She came in within the first few months of us opening and she still comes in to this day and does two Pilates classes a week and sees me for PT as needed... so I just want to share that.

I'm a manual therapist.

I'm a Pilates instructor.

I combine those two things.

If someone wanted to just do Pilates with me, I could do that certainly. But I can have them work with one of my Pilates trainers and save them some money because of the way our structure is set up. I'll charge my PT rate for whatever I'm doing, if I'm teaching Pilates or if I'm doing PT or however you want to discern it...

That's a question that I’ve been getting is... What does Pilates Physical Therapy look like? What does that even mean? Do I have to have be a Pilates equipment person or can I be Pilates mat person? You can do any of that stuff and you can learn mat work and start teaching it to your patients immediately without having expensive, fancy equipment.


The equipment is more expensive for the training, you have to buy the fancy equipment... but guess what? You can also charge more for that as well,

That's my message today guys. If you have any questions, put them below in the comments, I'd be happy be the answer them and y'all take care and have a fantastic day…

Are you looking for help with your Physical Therapy business? Looking to add a new revenue source to your existing clinic? Are you Ready to take a step with Pilates in your practice?

Email me at sdunn@therapyandpilates.com to start the conversation.

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