What is GYROTONIC®?
The GYROTONIC® Expansion System is one effective set of exercise methods which I employ in my practice. It is a movement regimen designed and developed by Juliu Horvath, former principal dancer with the Timisoara State Opera House Ballet Company during Communist rule in Romania.
After defecting to the United States in 1970, finally liberated from an outdated and state-mandated approach to health and the human body, Mr. Horvath spent the next ten years developing his own unique rehabilitative movement system, which incorporated the principles of yoga, dance, swimming and martial arts.
The GYROTONIC® apparatus is designed to work in three axes, employing rotational resistance, and respecting the natural design of human joint function. The exercises employed are designed to expand rather than constrict (as in, e.g. weightlifting), articulate and release injury-induced stiffness in the joints, while fortifying the function of the joint’s critical soft tissues (cartilage, tendons, and ligaments).
The GYROTONIC® approach addresses the body as a whole, with the spine as the central support structure. The process works to restore the movement and flexibility of each vertebra, while strengthening the abdominal muscles to maintain newly acquired openness. Exercise movements originate in the spine, and direct energy outward through the extremities in circular, spiral and flowing sequences.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is another important movement method which I employ in my practice. It is an exercise system named for the German fitness trainer Joseph M. Pilates, who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1920’s.
Utilizing both floor exercises and equipment of Pilates’ patented design, the system is a unique regimen which combines strengthening and stretching, while activating the deep abdominal muscles, (also referred to as “Core” control), to achieve a stabilized torso and pelvis while performing a variety of movements in numerous positions.
Pilates focuses on coordination of the entire body, connecting the upper and lower musculature with the body’s center, while addressing muscle imbalances and proper biomechanics. As a fitness program, Pilates is renowned for reducing strain and improper muscle patterns, producing a long, lean body, with slender thighs, a strong back, and flat abdomen. When applied correctly, it is particularly effective in restoring and maintaining the following:
Posture- align and stabilize spine, increasing ease and confidence
Strength- engage core abdominal muscles
Flexibility- keep limbs active and joints mobile
Endurance- efficiency and ease of daily functions and sports
Balance- spatial awareness and agility
The Benefits of Pilates & GYROTONIC®
Employed together, and in a specific customized program, they can provide a particularly powerful and effective movement therapy for a wide variety of ailments and physical objectives.
Both disciplines address all of the goals of a healthy and fit body: alignment, injury prevention, rehabilitation, correct breathing, and that elusive harmony between body and mind. Both systems can be performed in either non- and weight-bearing situations, depending on the needs of the individual. They can dramatically improve strength, flexibility, coordination and posture.
They are both gentle enough for pregnant women, seniors, and a wide variety of rehab situations, including ailments associated with breast cancer recovery, joint surgeries, congenital defects, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, etc.
In spinal and disc pathologies, they are effectively employed in aligning, strengthening, decompressing and recovering injured vertebrae.
Use of the Pilates & GYROTONIC® is widespread in the sports and fitness world. Top athletes from golf to surfing, track to football, regularly employ a movement discipline to prepare for, and inoculate their bodies from, the rigors of sport.
Consistently and perhaps most notably, they are also remarkably effective in the treatment and preventative therapy of an aging, physically active population.