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Pilates and Scar Tissue Release bring renewed mobility

Photos by Christine Lowell Photography

“I want to stay as active as long as I can as I age,” says Jennifer Kinnard, certified Pilates instructor and owner of Dominion Pilates at 996 N. Broad Street.

As a child, Jennifer participated in dance – pointe ballet. As a teenager, cheer and pom. She was barely 50 when she noticed herself favoring one leg and “putting way too much thought” into basic movement, careful not to land on a weak knee. 

“I can accept this, or I can choose to do something about it,” she said to herself.

Jennifer chose to strengthen her body and get back her mobility. She chose to get back to Pilates, a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength and flexibility of body and mind. Jennifer first did Pilates in her 40s. She loved the equipment and the individualized activity.

“More fun than I thought it would be,” Jennifer says. “I like that it’s progressive. You can keep growing in your practice.”

For a while, she waited for someone to open up a Pilates studio in Globe. When they didn’t, she opened one of her own.

Brief History of Pilates

“They look like torture devices but when you know the story about how they took apart hospital cots, it makes sense,” says Jennifer Kinnard, certified Pilates instructor.

Though it’s trendy now, Pilates is no exercise fad. It has been around for 100 years and is currently practiced by over 12 million people worldwide. The method was developed by physical trainer Joseph Pilates (1883-1967). He was born in Germany to a gymnast father and a naturopath mother. During World War I, Pilates was interned by the British and worked as a nurse. Over four years he developed a system of exercises to strengthen the mind and body, building his exercise apparatus from the hospital cots. His work is based on the principles of breath, concentration, centering, control, precision and flow. During his lifetime, his system of mat exercises and minimal equipment was called Contrology.

In 1926, Joseph and his wife, Clara, opened their first studio in New York City. Many dancers, including Martha Graham and George Balanchine, practiced there. Initially, a majority of their clients were men. Nearly 100 years later, in March 2023, Jennifer opened Dominion Pilates in downtown Globe.

“My practice will alway be very small,” says Jennifer. “I only have so much space and time for so many people.”

Classes are by appointment only. Maximum of three students at a time. Precision is needed with the equipment – the Reformer, the Pilates Chair and the Pilates Barrel.

“They look like torture devices,” laughs Jennifer, “but when you know how they were made out of hospital cots, it makes sense.” 

Improving Everything Else

“Whatever your physical activity is – biking, running, dancing – you’re going to see improvement with Pilates,” says Jennifer.

The exercises strengthen the small muscle groups that support the larger muscles. There is an emphasis on the core, strengthening both the front and the back muscles to come into proper alignment and improve balance. 

The appeal of Pilates, Jennifer believes, is the personal challenge and the personal growth.

“When you can’t do something, then after three sessions, you can,” she explains.

Clients range from people who have lost mobility to the extreme athlete looking for an edge. The most common problem is neuropathy. Many need to increase strength. 

One client’s goal was to be able to squat down and reach into those back cabinets in the kitchen. Another tripped over her dog and couldn’t get up, for lack of core strength. 

Michelle Montgomery has always been active. She saw the Dominion Pilates sign when she went to get her hair done in the same building.

“I always wanted to try it, and here was my opportunity in Globe,” Michelle says.

 She now takes classes at Dominion Pilates three days a week. She feels stronger and more flexible, and asserts the Pilates practice, combined with scar tissue massage (see below), has healed some lower back issues she was having. She credits her instructor for her commitment.

“You can do Pilates anywhere, but it’s Jennifer who makes it great,” says Michelle. “She makes you feel extremely comfortable. You may be stressed going in, but when you walk out of there, you feel refreshed – body, mind and soul.”

Jennifer recently retired as Chief Financial Officer for the San Carlos School District and continues to work there part-time under ESI. Her career includes many years with the Globe School District with positions ranging from Director of Special Projects and Finance Director to junior high language arts and science teacher. 

“I love the anatomy part – how the body works.”

She’s happy to report that after returning to Pilates, her own body is better. 

“It’s awesome,” Jennifer says. “I no longer worry about which knee leads.” 

Scar Tissue Release

Cyndi George works with a patient to see where scar tissue might be causing mobility issues. “I love watching people live their best life,” says Cyndi, who uses a variety of modalities to increase mobility in her clients and reduce pain.

When Jennifer decided to resume Pilates and kickstart her certification, she sought out Cyndi George, owner of Cynshine Pilates and Integrated Movement. Cyndi has been recognized as Gilbert’s best Pilates instructor for several years running. 

“I’m so grateful because she has gone beyond Pilates,” says Jennifer. “It’s about being a movement specialist, helping them move their bodies better.”

In addition to certifications in yoga, Reiki, and Pilates, with a neurological specialty, Cyndi is a McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release (MSTR) practitioner. Scars can negatively impact the quality of life of patients from pain or functional limitations. When there is injury, the body lays down collagen fibers to heal the wound. This creates a scar, which can impede connections within the body.

“Think of the scar tissue as a dreadlock that you can’t get a comb through,” explains Cyndi. “This technique opens up the tissue below the surface and increases blood flow and lymph flow that lets the body do what it does best – heal itself.”

The technique involves massaging the scar tissue and is non-invasive. It can be done on top of clothing, but Cyndi prefers to touch the skin. Prior to the massage, she does muscle testing with her clients to reveal the blocked connections.

“The pain is what gets your attention,” says Cyndi, “but I have found that it is not where the problem begins.”

Cyndi learned about the McLoughlin technique while seeking relief for a client who came to her studio in extreme distress. She’d had 32 surgeries. Any type of movement was painful. They met once a week, and according to Cyndi, the changes over three months were remarkable. She could stand up without throwing up. Her range of motion changed. Her x-rays changed. Her demeanor changed because she wasn’t in pain constantly.

Some clients are “one and done.” A Montessori instructor couldn’t get up from the ground. After 15 minutes of knee scar massage, she stood up. Clients come with C-section and shoulder surgery scars. 

“Every scar is trauma to the body,” Cyndi says, “it doesn’t matter how old.”

Sometimes the massage produces an emotional release, and sometimes the scar lightens or gets smaller. Often, the treatment positively affects mobility, and reduces pain. Some scars are more difficult to work with than others, Cyndi acknowledges, but there’s always some positive effect.

“Every single time,” says Cyndi.

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