SINGAPORE (Nov 5): In the first half of the 20th century, a German named Joseph Pilates developed an exercise regime to strengthen the mind and body. He called it contrology, as it centred on controlled movements, but the regime is better known today as Pilates.

Acupuncture is a far older practice, believed to have originated around 100 BC in China. It is most often used for pain relief, but is also a popular form of therapy for various physical ailments.

While the two systems — Pilates and acupuncture — may seem a world apart, they share some similarities. Both place attention on stimulating and cleansing the organs, for instance, and emphasise physical and mental well-being.

It should not be too surprising, therefore, that Pilates Body Pilot has teamed up with Eu Yan Sang to offer a traditional Chinese medicine clinic combining an acupuncture session and a 55-minute Pilates session. Founded by banker-turned-fitness and wellness expert Christopher Chua, Pilates Body Pilot has been conducting Pilates classes since 2002 — first at Chip Bee Gardens and now at Biopolis. With the addition of acupuncture, Chua now hopes to broaden the studio’s offerings and provide an even more holistic experience.

Options was recently given the opportunity to test that experience out. I arrived at the studio with some trepidation, as I had never undergone acupuncture before. The acupuncturist seemed to sense my nervousness and assured me the session would be relatively painless. After a brief consultation, in which she took my pulse and looked at my tongue, she surprised me by asking whether I had digestive issues — I did.

After lying still for about half an hour with needles in my tummy — and some in my legs to alleviate inflammation in my feet — I am not entirely sure whether my digestive issues have been eliminated. But I do feel more relaxed and ready for Pilates. Now, it is Chua’s turn to do his diagnosis. He has me walk up and down the studio, squat and even do a front split before pronouncing that I need to work on building strength in my left side and also in my lower core.

We proceed to do some exercises, which I find very difficult even though I think of myself as being pretty fit. Chua makes me do a forward plank on my knees, but wants me to square my shoulders and hold my pelvis in a neutral position. After 40 seconds, my body is quivering as I try to stay in position. I also have to do heel raises without moving my torso forward as I come up on my toes, and squeeze a ball between my ankles without budging toes or knees.

The 55-minute session is no high-intensity interval training programme. It does not leave me breathless or unable to raise my arms above my head. But there is no doubt that it has been a good workout. My before and after photos show straighter shoulders and knees, and I feel like I am walking taller too.


Before and after photos show straighter shoulders and knees, and I feel like I am walking taller too.

Pilates body pilot
11 Biopolis Way, Helios #01-04/05
Tel: 6478 9747 
Email: [email protected]
The Eu Yan Sang TCM Sessional Clinic is open on Thursdays from 10am to 7pm