Pilates and exercise

pilates

I’m feeling much better! Thanks to my brother-in-law, Mark Moss, Pilates and Be-Activated treatment from Anthony Coyne,( http://www.be-transformed.co.uk)

2 years ago my mobility was fine, walking was easy, I could stand for long periods and foot drop only reared its ugly (and inconvenient) head when I’d over done it.

Looking back it was a combination of factors that led to everything going “Pete Tong” I got a job working from home at the exact same time as falling pregnant with my second child and spent my pregnancy and maternity leave basically sitting down. I also gave up my gym membership due to being too busy and things started to deteriorate from there. I remember going to a meeting at HMP Lewes and stumbling up the steep slope that led to the meeting room. Another meeting involved being shown round premises by Brighton Housing Trust and practically crawling up the stairs, heavily pregnant, in front of the chair of the Board of Trustees! It’s very easy, when you have MS, to give up and give in to the disease and its effects, particularly when the stress of normal life leaves you feeling exhausted most of the time and the temptation to hide away is appealing.

Since being made redundant recently I’ve found I’ve had less stress and more time on my hands so have been going to MS Pilates at the Sussex MS Treatment centre. The sessions are gentle but very effective. In the 2 months or so that I’ve been going weekly I can definitely feel an improvement, even on my “MSy” days! I feel stronger and more able and inclined to hold myself upright!

My brother-in-law, Mark Moss, is passionate about fitness and is soon to be opening his own gym (details to follow) and he suggested recently that we work on my “core strength” together. One evening, after a few shandies, we had a heated debate about how effective his mentoring could be. I accused him of not fully understanding MS which may be true but what he does understand is the human body and what it can do! He also understands how, with praise and encouragement, anyone can improve core strength with simple and gentle exercise. The beauty of his method is that I only have to do 20 minutes a day while sitting on the sofa! Bonus!

In 2 weeks I can feel an improvement and he has noticed how much better I can do the exercises. I can stand from sitting without clinging onto the furniture, for example, and there have been many occasions recently that I’ve been able to move around my house without my stick or clinging to the wall! He promises me that within 18 months I’ll be standing unaided for 20 minutes! We will see and I’ll keep you updated with any progress but I’m greatly encouraged by the results so far!

He also introduced me to his friend, Anthony Coyne, who practices the “Be-Activated” (http://www.be-transformed.co.uk) treatment and I had a go this week. The technique involves deep massage of various muscles to re-awaken them and is used on high performance athletes to improve function. He hadn’t worked on anyone with a condition such as MS so it was an interesting process for both of us. He had to help me out of the car and into the treatment room as balance and vertigo conspired against me but it was helpful for him to see it first-hand! He also had to treat me on the floor as there was no way I could get up onto his treatment table but he made me feel at ease and comfortable.

We began with deep breathing, relaxation techniques which lulled me into a blissful state of security and masked the intense pain that was to come! Anthony then deeply massaged muscles in my body whilst explaining exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. He explained that certain muscles were not working properly and needed reawakening and that the less defined the muscles the more the treatment would hurt! And it did hurt but they say “no pain no gain” and it was nothing to giving birth to 2 children! After the treatment I was very surprised to get up easily from the floor and make it to my car with only my stick for assistance! I was very tired when I got home so the results weren’t immediate but today I definitely feel stronger and am able to lift my legs higher than usual. It will be interesting to see how I get on with stairs so will keep readers posted on this when I come across them in the days to come!

The unknown quantity in all the above techniques is the damage caused by MS and whether this will affect improvement. I was certainly convinced of this while debating the subject with my brother-in-law but the results have since made me cautiously and optimistically change my mind! Let’s see how much improvement I can achieve!

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