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How this Toronto Physiotherapist Combines Pilates and Physical Therapy for Lasting Rehab Results

Benefits of Pilates and Physical Therapy

Kathryn Zbarsky, a physiotherapist, STOTT PILATES® Rehab Instructor, and co-owner of Kinective Health & Performance in Toronto, Canada, has always centered her treatment around movement re-training and active rehabilitation, something she believes more physiotherapists should do.

Her background in sports rehab and performance, oncology, neurofunctional acupuncture, manual therapy and Pilates has made her multi-disciplinary Toronto clinic a destination for professional athletes, including NHL players.

When she works with professional athletes, she combines Pilates Matwork with stability and mobility-based exercises on the Merrithew® V2 Max Plus Reformer and Stability Chair.

Pilates and Pilates-based physiotherapy exercises are absolutely key for the successful rehabilitation of my patients.

A physical therapist guides a client through Pilates-based physical therapy exercises with a Foam Roller

“This helps my patients improve their performance and recover from injury or intense training. Playing excessive volume, high intensity, asymmetrical, contact sports leaves many with a long list of injuries, mobility restrictions and less than favorable neuro-motor activation patterns (which muscles they use for what). As their career continues, and the injuries develop or worsen, many find themselves in need of supplementing their training and manual therapy with movement re-education, stability and mobility work,” she says.

Kathryn’s interest in fitness, wellness and Pilates began at a very young age. From participating in a variety of sports as a child to working at a health club as a teenager, Kathryn knew she wanted to pursue a career in human movement. While enrolled in her undergraduate degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology at Concordia University in Montreal, she started taking Pilates classes.

It was evident to me that Pilates was the magic ingredient to any fitness program and the foundational exercises for any rehabilitation program.

To complement her Masters of Physiotherapy, and many additional courses in manual therapy, acupuncture, strength and conditioning training, and yoga, she decided to enroll in the STOTT PILATES Rehab Program, achieving her goal of becoming a certified Pilates instructor.

“I was fortunate to learn from Merrithew Master Instructor Trainer and physiotherapist Wayne Seeto, who shared many clinical pearls of wisdom,” she says. “I highly recommend the STOTT PILATES Rehab courses for all health care practitioners. In particular, the content of the STOTT PILATES Matwork program is, in my opinion, essential for simple and effective exercise prescription to patients.

“The Pilates and movement therapy course work I’ve done has been instrumental in making me the clinician I am today,” Kathryn says.

Launching a multi-disciplinary Pilates and movement-based physiotherapy clinic

In December 2020, Kathryn and her business partner Natalie Gelman, a chiropractor, opened Kinective Health & Performance in Midtown Toronto. They now have an interdisciplinary team of 10 health care professionals, including registered massage therapists, a naturopathic doctor, osteopath and a registered nutritionist. With such a diverse team, Kinective has clinicians who specialize in treating patients with chronic pain, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, concussions, TMJ disorders, fractures/sprains/strains, among other conditions.

They recently hired Leigh Anne Bush, a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor and fitness trainer to provide even greater continuity of care to patients as they transition out of rehab and back to regular fitness.

Leigh Anne offers innovative and efficient workouts of varying intensity on the clinic’s Pilates equipment from Merrithew, including the V2 Max Plus Reformer and Stability Chair, and a variety of fitness accessories.

A physical therapist works with a client through Pilates-based physical therapy exercises on the Stability Chair
A physical therapist works with a client through Pilates-based physical therapy exercises on the Stability Chair

“Our patients and clients enjoy coming to our stunning space to use the equipment and accessories – especially during times where gyms and fitness studios have often been closed,” Kathryn says.

“We treat clients who are very invested in their health and fitness and are excited to use their benefits, or pay privately, to see us regularly for these movement sessions. These sessions are at a lesser cost than the physiotherapy-based Pilates sessions and are intended to be used for more fitness-related vs. rehab-related goals. We hope to extend the hours for this service further in the coming months.”

Despite opening its doors during the pandemic, Kinective Health & Performance has experienced financial growth and business success by establishing itself as a holistic clinic with empathetic and experienced practitioners, high-quality programming and Pilates equipment exclusively from Merrithew.

“By combining patient education, evidence-based manual therapies, Pilates-based rehabilitation, and elite performance training, we assist our clients in achieving their health and fitness goals, giving them the tools they need to create lasting and sustainable results,” Kathryn says.

Find out how to get Merrithew's rehab equipment working for you

Find out more about the STOTT PILATES® Rehab Program

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