Physios on Pilates reform – Jennifer Guest


Jennifer Guest, APAM
APA SA Branch Council Member
Ex-president: Pilates Alliance of Australiasia  

South Australian-based physiotherapist and former president of the Pilates Alliance of Australasia, Jennifer Guest, says she is fighting for the physio brand. Jennifer says she is well prepared for the changes to PHI rules – after 18 years’ involvement in Pilates.

'We've always treated Pilates as a physiotherapy tool as opposed to a fitness program.'

How do you use Pilates in your clinic?

We have an exercise space as the centerpiece of our clinic. Our clinic is physios, chiropractors, massage therapists, sports doctors and musculoskeletal doctors. The actual physical setup of our clinic is rooms around a centre exercise area, which has Pilates equipment in it as well as strength and conditioning equipment.

How will your practice be affected by the changes?

I've been involved with the Pilates industry and teacher training in Australia for about the last 18 years. I've always wondered about its longevity under clinical rebates. I personally tend to call it dynamic core stability as opposed to Pilates, as it's more a descriptor of the treatment goals rather than the trademarked name of it founder. 

I have very purposely done things like not include the term Pilates in our clinic name or branding, just in case private health insurers’ attitudes to Pilates changed.

What are you doing to prepare for the changes?

Pilates name
We have removed the term Pilates from any literature, our website and any timetabling.

Clinical notes and monitoring
I was one of the very early physios in Australia using Pilates. I got audited in the early ’90s and that was good because it made me make sure that absolutely everything has been put into our policy and procedure manual.  At my clinic, everyone has an initial assessment. Everyone has a follow up at the four or six week mark depending on how long they've been coming. At my clinic, absolutely every bit of Pilates is documented because we've always treated Pilates as a physiotherapy tool as opposed to a fitness program.

Session names 
We now run physiotherapy exercise sessions.

Running of sessions 
We’re phasing out mat classes because in my opinion they are more fitness based as opposed to clinical rehabilitation.

Billing codes
We will be still using the same codes for individual and small group supervised exercise.

Patient communication
I started this conversation with my clients a good six months ago. I've been communicating with them verbally and personally. [I’ve told them] we have no ability to change this but try not to be scared because it's not going to affect the way we treat you.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Pilates is one of my specific treatment tools. It is one of my basis of treatment plans. I'm fighting for the physio brand and do not wish for our profession to be considered weakened by utilising Pilates-based exercises for biomechanical change, acquisition of movement and prevention of injury.
Read more about how the PHI natural therapies reform and how they will affect your practice here.