Vanessa Pearce and Dr. Andrew Martin, DC
Vanessa Pearce knew what she wanted to do. But life had something a little different in mind. As she was preparing for university to study to become a physiotherapist, she realized that juggling a three-year, full-time school schedule just wasn’t going to work with raising her two small children. Instead, she decided to study fitness and become an exercise professional, a choice that fit in well with school holidays. But what at the time seemed like a different path would eventually lead her back to her original intention. Vanessa now works closely with physiotherapists and chiropractors as the owner of London Pilates Studio, a successful Pilates studio that plays a key role in the health professional community.
While she was studying fitness, Vanessa was approached by two eminent UK National Health Service doctors, Dr. Dinan and Dr. Skelton, who offered to teach her their clinically-based programme for teaching exercise to frail older adults. The programme sparked Vanessa’s interest in finding an exercise program that would work for all ages and abilities.
But Vanessa’s progress was interrupted when she unexpectedly herniated a disc, requiring immediate surgery. She had to give up her plans to run the London Marathon and the Three Peak Challenge. “I was devastated,” she says. It wasn’t until the same thing happened the next year that she realized that the exercises she thought were helping her, were damaging her spine. “I turned to Pilates to help repair my body,” she says. She became a devotee of STOTT PILATES®, and soon entered instructor training. One of the draws, she says, is that STOTT PILATES is highly recognized by physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors worldwide.
“The aim of the practitioner, whether it be a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor, and Pilates Instructor collaboration is to get people fit through treatment, postural re-education and exercise,” she says. “The reason this connection makes such a great fit is because treatment alone will not always prevent the injury from recurring and the patient needs to strengthen or stretch certain muscles themselves with the correct exercises.” Two health professionals working together, she says, are better than one. “Both have the client’s interest at heart,” says Vanessa.
Vanessa thrived, and went on to train in Mat Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels and Injuries & Special Populations, as well as the STOTT PILATES Instructor Foundation Course. The courses she took gave her the skills to confidently assess the needs of her individual clients, and to discuss their history with clinical practitioners. Soon, she opened the doors of her own business, London Pilates Studio in Chiswick, West London. The studio was in a private complex that was also home to a physiotherapist, chiropractor and osteopath. She initially began working with the physiotherapist, but soon all the members of the complex were so busy they had to move to create more space, and Vanessa took over the entire complex for her studio. She currently has five teachers, one of whom is a physiotherapist. She also works closely with Dr. Andrew Martin, DC and chiropractor, and owner of Active Backs. “If I’m teaching Pilates to a client and I notice an underlying issue, I always recommend they go to Andrew. He recommends all his patients to me if he feels they need Pilates to complement his treatment,” she says. “He has treated all my clients with excellent results.”
Many of her clients are referrals and Pilates is an integral part of their therapeutic and rehabilitation programs, she says. Referrals come from Dr. Martin, DC and other healthcare professionals such as physicians, GPs, osteopaths, chiropractors and podiatrists. “Clients bring their X-rays, CT and MRI scans with them and I need Dr. Martin, DC to see these for me and explain the injury so I can tailor exercises to their needs.”
This attention to detail and integrated, client-centered approach is the key to offering the best possible care, says Vanessa.
“I learned early on that listening to my clients was the way to be successful.”