What clients are saying
As a Pilates teacher I have been privileged to work with Kirk over recent months and to undertake his “Grounded Reach” series of matwork and equipment workshops.
Through both his direct links back to Joseph Pilates and his detailed knowledge of anatomy, he has achieved a profound understanding of Pilates which he is generous in sharing. It has been a revelation and inspiration to be taught by someone of his calibre and experience.
His enthusiasm, focus and attention to detail in analysing and executing exercises have significantly developed my understanding and practice of Pilates. My clients are now in turn benefitting from his instruction as I use my improved expertise to help them gain as much as they can from their sessions.
Gerry Button, Pilates Instructor
Malton, North Yorkshire
I have been a full-time wheelchair user for 20 years due to a motorbike accident. I am paralysed from the waist down. I use a manual wheelchair and cannot stand or walk at all. This means I use my upper body for everything. As you can imagine, after 20 years hard labour, my shoulders are suffering from wear and tear! I have been doing one-to-one Pilates at York Pilates Studio to maintain my mobility and strength. It has really helped, but last year I developed some serious problems with my shoulder and elbow joints. Tina Skidmore, my Pilates tutor, suggested I try some MAT (Muscle Activation Techniques) with Kirk Smith.
My first session with Kirk was in February 2013. He did a detailed assessment of my problem areas. This was hands on and very specific. He identified which muscles had become weakened (there are many!), and we began a programme to tackle these. The results have been immediate and amazing!
Our sessions begin with feedback from me about any particular issues I’ve noticed. Kirk will then do some diagnostic exercises to identify which muscles we need to work on. He begins with some quite intense massage focusing on a particular muscle. He then guides me through some isometric exercises to activate that area and he repeats the diagnostics to test the outcome. He usually gives me some follow-up exercises to do at home to consolidate the work done in the session.
There is always an immediate and ongoing improvement with MAT. I find this totally amazing and exciting. Over the years I have tried many treatments and exercise regimes but nothing compares to this. I had begun to fear that I would never get my strength and would have to rely more and more on others. I am well on my way to regaining my independence and my pain levels are dramatically reduced. I can honestly say it has given me a new lease on life.
Thank you, Kirk and MAT. Try it — you’ll be amazed too!
Lynn Moore, York
Working with Kirk has been very beneficial to me. It has not only given me hope, but has achieved physical rectification and created a lasting feeling of well-being. Kirk’s professional approach and singular knowledge demonstrate his dedication to MAT.
Pam Drysdale, York
I’ve been to chiropractors, sports therapists and physios; had personal trainers; done a variety of martial arts (though stuck with one in particular throughout); worked out using both weights and bodyweight with partners experienced and otherwise, and not once in that time did anyone notice I was using my shoulder joint all wrong.
Kirk noticed in 10 minutes.
Al that time I thought I knew my body; that I understood how it worked and how power is generated and released. How structure is essential. But I found I was never able to consistently generate the force I knew I should be capable of.
Kirk found that my shoulders are ‘hypermobile’, which you’d think is a good thing. And according to Kirk, it can be, but only if that mobility can be controlled. If we take the bench press as an example, because I didn’t keep my shoulder stable, I never felt it in my chest. With Kirk’s help, I have a better understanding of how my shoulder joint should work, and have experienced a steady and very pleasing increase in consistent power.
That was my first session. My second session was a further revelation!
Dec Osborne, Manchester
Earlier this year I had a sudden onset of leg pain and stiffness, especially in my hamstrings and lower legs. I also had a strange tingling and buzzing sensation in some areas of my lower limbs suggestive of nerve damage. I had had a successful hip replacement the previous year but did not feel this was linked. My mobility worsened rapidly. I developed a strange gait, and after all blood tests were negative, my GP referred me to a vascular surgeon, then a neurologist, who thought it might be spinal stenosis, but MRI scans did not reveal anything of significance. I then saw a haematologist and finally and orthopaedic surgeon who said is was not related to my hip surgery, but that I did have stiffness down one side of my body.
I had been attending the York Pilates Centre for some years and recently I had heard clients talking favourably about Kirk Smith and this Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT). I looked up MAT on the internet, and it seemed to be practiced in the USA. I made and appointment with Kirk, although my mobility was so bad at the time I did not think he could help me. However, after the first visit I felt good, and he gave me exercises to do at home to help with getting out of a chair. As the sessions have continued, I understand more about MAT and how it works. I am more aware of the areas of my body where the main weakness is. I feel stronger after each session, and my mobility has improved so much I no longer use the crutch. I also continue to do some exercises and stretches at home. My family are so impressed with the improvement that they have encouraged me to continue working with Kirk. I am very grateful to Kirk for his help, patience, and understanding.
Brenda Waller, W. Yorks
After doing my first half marathon, my body didn’t recover as I expected! I had a pain in my hip, which came and went throughout the day. I stopped running but it didn’t seem to heal, and it began to have and impact on my work in the hospital, even sitting and walking would become uncomfortable and painful.
After various doctor and physio visits over several months, I had come to the conclusion that it was just permanent damage, or all in my imagination. I heard about Kirk and Muscle Activation Techniques from my Pilates teacher and thought it would be worth a try. After the first session, Kirk sent me some personalized exercises which I did daily. Even after a week of the exercises, I could really notice the difference! After my second visit, I was back to running for the first time in over a year and a half, and back to usual duties at work. I would really recommend the Muscle Activation Techniques, it truly mad such a difference to me.
Karen Heaslip, Occupational Therapist
I visited Kirk after having injured both my hip and my shoulder whilst weightlifting in my teenage years. Previous physiotherapy had proven unsuccessful. After just my first session with Kirk my hip and shoulder pain had noticeably decreased, and after my second session, the chronic injuries that had troubled me for over a year have almost completely healed. As a Sport Science undergraduate, I was relieved to have someone of Kirk’s expertise and knowledge of anatomy treat me, and his professional and considerate demeanor mean I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending Kirk Smith and Muscle Activation Techniques.
Jules Wallis, Sports Science Student, Salford University