Plymouth resident Sarah Eigenmann had always been fit and active, so much so that she describes herself as a workout junkie. All her life, she’d done all kinds of physical activities, including spin classes, aerobics and bike riding. One day in 2012, her right arm became weak. Eventually her right arm went completely numb when she did certain movements.
“I went to the doctor and was referred to physical therapy, but it didn’t help, so finally I had an MRI and it showed a tumor in my thoracic spine,” says Eigenmann. In August of 2012, Eigenmann underwent surgery to remove the tumor.
"I was on Valium for two years, says Eigenmann. "I could function, but there was no sense that I was ever going to get better. “
During those two years, she saw various doctors and physical therapists until finally, the eighth neurologist she saw recommended a specialized neurological physical therapist. “She was the eighth physical therapist I had seen, and the first one to actually put her hands on me,” says Eigenmann. “She told me that I was using my body all wrong. My ribcage didn’t move when I breathed. I was stuck.” The physical therapist recommended Pilates to Eigenmann—specifically the reformer machine—because she thought it would help with elongation of the spine. She decided to give Pilates MN in Wayzata a try.
A year later, Eigenmann says, she could not believe how much better she felt. Her work in the Pilates studio moved her toward recovery in a way physical therapy never had. Soon she was off Valium altogether.
“Pilates taught me how to use each part of my body the way it was meant to be used,” says Eigenmann. And even when the tumor returned and she needed surgery again in 2018, she was able to return to her regular Pilates practice and rehabilitate successfully within 3 months.
Pilates MN, where Eigenmann continues her practice, is owned by husband-and-wife team Pamela and Alex Hasselbring, who are 27-year Plymouth residents. “Sarah is a wonderful client at Pilates MN and we are simply glad we have helped her [on her] journey. We pride ourselves on helping others and love hearing success stories like these,” says Pamela.
Eigenmann says she really feels like the folks at Pilates MN saved her. And she wants you to know that anyone, at any stage of life, can benefit from Pilates.
“I just want to give a shout-out to Pilates. Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do this—realize that it’s never too late,” she says. “You don’t really know how good you can feel!”