Research Projects

Eimear Cronin

Current Research Masters Student

The effects of pilates training on gait and functional outcomes in chronic stroke patients

Recognised Research Group: CHANCE

Research Cluster: Neuroplasticity Research Group

Eimear Cronin graduated with a BSc in Physiotherapy from Trinity College She received the Dublin School of Physiotherapy Prize and the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists’ Prize for presenting with the best overall final year literature review and project in 2008. Since then she has been working as a physiotherapist in community and hospital settings throughout Ireland. She also has a keen interest in pilates and became a qualified pilates instructor with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute in 2013. Since 2016 she has been a senior physiotherapist in the rehabilitation unit in St. John’s Hospital, Sligo where she specialises in stroke rehabilitation. She is currently undertaking a research MSc with IT Sligo investigating the effects of neuropilates in chronic stroke.

Research Project Summary:

Eimear’s research project is primarily focussed on neuropilates (the practise of modified clinical pilates for those with neurological conditions) and its effects on post stroke patients. In particular, Eimear’s research is focussed on the effects of neuropilates on gait, function, quality of life, balance and posture in those six months post onset of acute stroke. Neuropilates is theorised by the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute to have beneficial effects on strength, postural control, alignment, stability, balance, proprioception, coordination and gait in those with deficits due to a neurological condition, through retraining low threshold activity of local muscles and decreasing over-active global muscles. To date, Eimear has published a mini review in the field and is currently in the process of publishing a systematic literature review with meta-analysis. This systematic review showed moderate level evidence for improvements in static and dynamic balance in post stroke individuals with pilates interventions. There was also limited evidence found of improvements in quality of life, gait parameters and cardio-pulmonary function in post stroke individuals with pilates interventions. Initial evidence pointed to the safety and usefulness of pilates as a rehabilitation tool in this patient group when compared to no treatment or conventional physiotherapy, but the review highlighted the need for further evidence to establish the entirety of the effects of this exercise method, particularly when compared to general exercise. With this in mind, Eimear aims to conduct a randomised controlled pilot feasibility study in the coming months. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of a 6 week “neuropilates” exercise class compared to a generalised exercise class on gait and functional outcome in chronic stroke patients.

Potential Impact of your research?

To add significantly to the research base regarding neuropilates in the post stroke population, in particular to identify the effectiveness of this mind-body modified exercise programme in comparison to general exercise.

To provide research-based guidelines on conducting pilates classes safely and effectively in the post stroke population




  • Presented a poster at the 1st Annual CUA Conference Sligo, Ireland (January 2020): “To examine the effects of a 6-week neuropilates exercise class on gait and functional outcome in chronic stroke patients”
  • Presented poster of mini-review at IT Sligo “Healthy Lifestyles” conference (Feb 2020): “Neuropilates to Improve Motor Function in Stroke: Past, present, and Future”
  • Presented a poster of systematic literature review at the 21st International Multidisciplinary Research Conference at Sligo University Hospital: “What are the effects of Pilates in the post stroke population? A Systematic Literature Review & Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials”