Neuro-Pilates Workshop with Sarah Sessa & Karen Pearce

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Statistics show that with our increasing aging population, we are also seeing an increase in the number of diagnoses of neurological conditions.  As Physiotherapists and Pilates teachers, it is important for us to know that we are offering the very best level of expertise for our clients.

Neurological conditions are frightening and often our clients struggle to come to terms with their diagnosis.  We can make a difference by offering hope, not only through working towards maintaining existing strength and movement, but also by creating a safe and happy community. 

Pilates makes a difference:


 "I had a stroke in 2008 whilst living in Denmark where the level of rehabilitation care was excellent. Since then I've lived in a number of different countries where I was receiving occasional physiotherapy. It wasn't until I moved to Wells in 2017 that I decided to attend Pilates on a weekly basis, first group classes and for the last 6 months private classes.

 Since having my stroke, I have struggled with balance, motor control, going up and down stairs, walking longer distances, constant pain and discomfort due to tightening of muscles, getting up off the floor, standing up for long periods, transferring of weight, lack of confidence and independence. Pilates has helped me enormously with all of these issues and although my mobility will never be the same as before the stroke, I now have more confidence to trust and push my body. I have recently moved to a house with 3 floors and surprisingly, can tackle the stairs quite easily. I find getting down and up off the floor a lot easier, and because of the stretching I do during the Pilates session I suffer less with muscle discomfort and pain. I feel stronger mentally as well as physically. 

 When I attended group classes, there was always a mix of abilities, I never felt the odd one out for not being able to do a particular exercise so well. Corali is great at adapting exercises for me and I really feel she understands my particular needs and physical discomforts.

I would highly recommend Pilates for anyone who has suffered with similar medical issues and I hope to continue benefiting from it for a long time." 

Is this workshop for me?             

This course is for Physiotherapists and Pilates Teachers                                               

What will I gain from attending this one-day workshop?              

Perhaps you already have clients who are living with neurological conditions and you would like to further your training to gain the tools you need to be a more effective teacher.                           

Maybe you have been considering expanding the services you offer as an individual teacher or the services you offer at your studio    .              

This is a one-day course which is theory and practical-based. It will increase your knowledge of Stroke, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. You will become familiar with the relevant pathology and subsequent impairments that arise and have the confidence to adapt your approach effectively when working with these clients.

The workshop will include:

·         Theory to cover basic neuro-anatomy and the 3 main conditions that you may encounter: Stroke, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis

·         Theory of Pilates and how it can help neurological conditions

·         A useful toolbox of matwork and machine exercises

·         Use of small props

·         Case Studies

·         Comprehensive booklets and certificates provided

Do I need to bring anything?     

You may like to bring paper and pen although you can make notes on your workbooks.

Tea, coffee, snacks, water and a delicious healthy lunch are all provided.

Our presenters:

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Karen Pearce

After training at The Royal Ballet School Karen went on to have a career as a professional ballet dancer. In the late 1990‘s, after moving to Somerset and having three children, she trained and qualified as a Pilates Instructor with Alan Herdman in London. She went on to become a teacher trainer herself providing a fully comprehensive teacher training programme in affiliation with Alan.

She is now the Founder and Director of The Pilates Studios (SW) Limited, runs a fully equipped studio in Taunton and is co-founder of The Physiotherapy and Pilates Rehabilitation Centre in Clevedon North Somerset.                            

In her 20 years of teaching Pilates Karen has built a reputation with local physiotherapists, osteopaths and surgeons who regularly refer patients to her studios, together with teaching dancers, athletes and professional sports people such as members of Somerset County Cricket Club.

Sarah Sessa MSc                              

Sarah qualified as a physiotherapist (BSc Hons) from University College London (UCL) in 1995. She went on to work at The Middlesex and UCL hospitals until 2002, specialising in oncology, HIV neurological rehabilitation. During that period, she also spent time at the National Hospital for Neurological Diseases, Queen Square. After 2002 Sarah worked as a senior physiotherapist on the stroke unit and oncology wards at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals and at St Margaret’s Hospice in Taunton providing rehabilitation within palliative care. She has also completed a Masters in Inter-Professional Development at UWE where much of the focus was on neuroscience and the use of Pilates in neurological conditions, particularly Parkinson's.                              

Sarah qualified as a Pilates Instructor in affiliation with Alan Herdman at the Pilates Studio in Taunton in 2009. She then set up her own business, Sarah Sessa Physiotherapy, offering rehabilitation physiotherapy combined with Pilates for the management of a variety of conditions including Parkinson’s. Sarah is a co-founder of the Physiotherapy and Pilates Rehabilitation Centre in Clevedon. 


Karen and Sarah now run a fully comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Programme from their studio in Clevedon. The course is affiliated to Alan Herdman and incorporates the Active IQ Pilates Matwork Diploma. They also run a variety of short courses for physiotherapists and Pilates instructors.                        

In 2016 Karen and Sarah published their book “Pilates and Parkinson’s” through Muswell Hill Press. This book is designed both for people with Parkinson’s, and for Pilates Instructors as a method of promoting exercise and health intervention.