Do you have muscle pain and don’t like taking pills?

If you are experiencing any problems with pain in your back, shoulder, knees, neck, or hips, The Pilates Center recommends starting with a muscle evaluation to assess imbalances before beginning your exercise program.

Muscle Activation Techniques, M.A.T is a dynamic muscular assessment system that analyzes and corrects muscular imbalances. It has been successful in the reduction and elimination of pain and fatigue, as well as enhancing muscle recovery in athletes and non-athletes alike. This unique method was developed by Greg Roskoph, a biomechanics expert who has worked as a consultant for the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz.

In many cases, the area of the body experiencing pain is not the actual source of the pain. Instead, the pain is a symptom stemming from a neuromuscular imbalance somewhere else in the body. For example, knee problems may occur as a result of neurological weakness in the hip and/or ankle area. The body is complex and cannot be treated in separate parts because it doesn't work that way. It takes a minimum of three sessions to assess what are the causes of the pain symptoms. Before working on the neck or shoulders the spine muscles need got be assessed because the neck and shoulders attach to the spine via bone and muscle. It takes about an hour just to test and activate most of the spine muscles. The shoulder can take another 30-60 minute or more depending on the muscular issues, and then the neck may take an additional 30- 55 minutes. If there are lower body issues such as hip or knee pain, it can take two seasons to get to many (not all ) of those muscles but then the spine muscles must also be addressed and even perhaps the feet. It is a complicated process that varies with each person.

After activating the muscles, M.A.T. Specialist Mary-Jane Amrein will provide a very specific pilates exercise program tailored to strengthen the weak muscles and not overwork the strong muscles. Through muscle testing we can determine how many exercise repetitions will actually strengthen a muscle (and conversely not weaken that muscle). Using this scientific approach produces great results with our clients, keeping the body pain free and achieving optimum results from their pilates program. Mary-Jane Amrein has completed four years of study and training to become a Certified M.A.T. Specialist and has been performing her “magic” since 2003. To read more about Muscle Activation Techniques, click

Real Life MAT Results from Our Clients

"As a 50+ mile a week runner, I had been utilizing Pilates as a great way to strengthen my core. When relocating to Williamsburg it was a priority for me to find a Pilates studio. I call The Pilates Center "my oasis". Mary-Jane really encouraged me to take my workouts to a higher level which has been a tremendous help. While Mary-Jane is a real wonder, the Pilates Center, from its other instructors to all the clients I have met, have been kind and welcoming - it has really been a blessing to me.

After seeing me repeatedly come to class with K-Tape on from running injuries, Mary-Jane suggested I try to solve my problem with Muscle Activation. It wasn't until a recurring injury forced me to stop running that I called Mary-Jane in desperation. I was a true believer in the benefits and cure after my first session! After a couple of additional sessions I was back to running.

Recently, my husband had another round of bad back pain that was affecting his quality of life and his golf game. Wanting to avoid surgery, he tried Muscle Activation with Mary-Jane and is now taking Pilates. As an eternal skeptic, his endorsement means a lot and he can't believe the benefits! When Mary-Jane asked him what took him so long to come to The Pilates Center, he simply said 'I may be late to the party but at least I'm here!'"
—Marcia M.

"I had chronic back and neck pain developed due to degenerative disc disease. I'm now relatively pain free and when I do experience pain I recover in 1-2 days instead of a week or more."
—Kristen S.

"I've had severe muscle issues caused by scoliosis. M.A.T. has enabled me to pre-empt painful recurrences and my Pilates workouts help to keep me strong and functional."
—Diane L.

"Muscle Activation has worked wonderfully for me. At my annual physical my doctor couldn't believe the range of motion in my hips especially with my past three back surgeries. She and I believe it is due to Muscle Activation and Pilates."
—Pat C.

"Having Rheumatoid Arthritis is mentally and physically challenging and can affect every part of your body. Muscle Activation for me has been nothing short of amazing for immediate relief from weakness and pain. My legs, feet, neck, arms, and back all respond instantly, and my pain is much less. I feel a new sense of hope and happiness because I can receive help and feel good—instantly. I am very appreciative and thankful."
—Cindy H.

"My problem stems from a pinched nerve in my lower back as a result of a fall causing a compression fracture. MAT has enabled me to gain significant improvement in muscle strength and a decrease in fatigue. Nothing else has achieved these results!"
—Tom B.


  • Single 55 minute session $130-$140 (Discounts for active pilates clients: $115-$125)
  • Package of 3 sessions $360-$390 (Discounts for active pilates clients: $325-$345)