Original Editor - Sehriban Ozmen

Top Contributors - Sehriban Ozmen, Kim Jackson and Lucinda hampton

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Neuropilates is the practice of pilates in people with neurological conditions.[1]

It combines the traditional principles of the Pilates exercise method (such as centring, concentration and control, breath awareness and flow) with neurological rehabilitation principles such as neuroplasticity and motor learning. [2]

It modifies the exercises based on each patient's needs. For example, it may use more functional positions, may increase repetitions (in line with repetitive task training of post-stroke [3]), and may use visualisation cues and motor imagery often [4]. [2]

Effects[edit | edit source]

Neuropilates is theorised to improve the following in people with neurological conditions through retraining low threshold activity of local muscles and decreasing over-active global muscles by The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI®): [5]

Use in Rehabilitation[edit | edit source]

Most of the research into neuropilates centres around populations with Multiple Sclerosis. More recently it has been applied to stroke, and Parkinson's populations. Its use can be undertaken in rehabilitation facilities, community groups, gyms and as part of a home exercise program.

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)[edit | edit source]

Recent systematic reviews that investigated Pilates effects on the MS population concluded that Pilates can provide improvement of balance [6] gait, physical-functional capacities, and cognitive functions, [7] and also might reduce self-perceived fatigue [8]. However, findings are fairly limited for fatigue, quality of life, and psychiatric conditions such as depression or anxiety. [7] The superiority of Pilates compared to other interventions still needs further research. [8][6]

Stroke[edit | edit source]

According to a recent systematic review study[9], when prescribed for stroke survivors, Pilates:

  • improves static and dynamic balance (moderate evidence),
  • improves cardio-pulmonary parameters such as resting heart rate, VO2 max and VO2 max per kg (limited evidence),
  • may increase gait speed when compared with conventional physiotherapy (limited evidence).

Parkinson's Disease (PD)[edit | edit source]

A systematic review and meta-analysis study concluded that Pilates has beneficial effects on fitness, balance and functional autonomy for PD and can be safely prescribed for people with mild-to-moderate PD. Also, the meta-analysis of the four randomized control studies indicated that Pilates was more effective than traditional training programmes in improving lower limb function, though future randomized studies with greater samples are needed to confirm these observations. [10]

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cronin E, Roberts D, Monaghan K. Neuropilates to improve motor function in stroke: past, present, and future. Ortho Res Online J. 2020 Feb 21;7(1):000651.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cronin E, Monaghan K. Online neuropilates classes in chronic stroke patients: Protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2023 Apr 1;32:101068.
  3. French B, Thomas LH, Coupe J, McMahon NE, Connell L, Harrison J, Sutton CJ, Tishkovskaya S, Watkins CL. Repetitive task training for improving functional ability after stroke. Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2016(11).
  4. Guerra ZF, Lucchetti AL, Lucchetti G. Motor imagery training after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy. 2017 Oct 1;41(4):205-14.
  5. Withers G. Modified pilates rehabilitation programme (manual) pilates and neurology.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Arik MI, Kiloatar H, Saracoglu I. Do Pilates exercises improve balance in patients with multiple sclerosis? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 2022 Jan 1;57:103410.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rodriguez-Fuentes G, Silveira-Pereira L, Ferradans-Rodriguez P, Campo-Prieto P. Therapeutic effects of the pilates method in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. Journal of clinical medicine. 2022 Jan 28;11(3):683.  
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sánchez-Lastra MA, Martínez-Aldao D, Molina AJ, Ayán C. Pilates for people with multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Multiple sclerosis and related disorders. 2019 Feb 1;28:199-212.
  9. Cronin E, Broderick P, Clark H, Monaghan K. What are the effects of pilates in the post stroke population? A systematic literature review & meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2023 Jan 1;33:223-32.
  10. Suárez-Iglesias D, Miller KJ, Seijo-Martínez M, Ayán C. Benefits of Pilates in Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicina. 2019 Aug 13;55(8):476.
  11. Cronin E, Monaghan K. Online neuropilates classes in chronic stroke patients: Protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2023 Apr 1;32:101068.
  12. The Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Neuro Pilates: Hip twist. Available from:
  13. The Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Neuro Pilates: Mermaid stretch. Available from:
  14. The Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Neuro Pilates: One leg stretch in standing. Available from:
  15. Parkinson's UK. Parkinson's UK| Seated Pilates for Posture - Jo Pritchard. Available from: