Total Body Development


About Total Body Development

Total Body Development provides comprehensive physical therapy services. Its name reflects the assimilation of 25+ years of experience in the healing and movement arts. The Total Body Development motto is ‘Movement is Life’. My mission is to illuminate clients in the latest thoughts and techniques to improve their conditions, motivate clients to positive change by helping them regain control of their bodies and lives, and to alleviate pain and suffering through understanding and management of injuries and conditions.

About Dr. Suzanne Martin

I started as a dancer, performer and choreographer, earning a baccalaureate and masters degree in modern dance. Since dancers often have multiple jobs, I juggled performing with some arts administration (helping to start the Julia Morgan Center in Berkeley) and teaching dance and fitness. After I sustained back spasms and subsequent hip injuries due to falling on my pelvis during a performance, I sought the help of the newly formed Dance Medicine division at the Center for the Performing Arts. I was invited to join the staff and became certified in Pilates Rehabilitation in 1987. Noticing Joseph Pilates’ plight of not being welcomed in the medical world, I prepared for physical therapy school, ultimately earning a doctorate.

Thinking that I would likely leave the dance world after PT school, I was pulled deeper into dance by publishing a pilot study on elite female ballet dancers. I was asked to become the in-house PT for Smuin Ballet, to teach Issues in Dance Medicine at SF State, to teach kinesiology for the St. Mary’s LEAP program as well as nutrition for the School of the San Francisco Ballet. Simultaneously I began to grow my private practice in PT and Pilates. In order to round out my PT clinical manual skills, I studied the more ‘soft’ osteopathic techniques such as myofascial release and visceral manipulation, as a result of influences from Bay Area osteopath Muriel Chapman and osteopath Roger Hobden in the Montreal area. I have found this type of manual therapy excels in the treatment of hypermobile people, including dancers and those with scoliosis.

To date I have authored three books for DK Publishing, a division of Penguin Group, as well as 6 DVDs and continuing education courses through Pilates Therapeutics LLC. I have written for Dance Magazine and presently write a column, A Better You, for Dance Studio Life. My work life is generally divided into my private clinical practice, my periodic teaching in conferences and courses, and my work in dance.

Certifications | Qualifications

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy, 2004
  • Masters of Physical Therapy, 1997
  • Gold-Certification: Pilates Method Alliance, Master Pilates Trainer, 2005–present
  • American College of Sports Medicine, Specialist in Exercise for Cancer; Fitness Trainer, 1988–present
  • St. Francis Memorial Hospital; Pilates Rehabilitation Trainer, 1988
  • American Council on Exercise; Group Fitness/ Trainer, 1988–present
  • Moms on the Move, Pre-& Post-natal Exercise, 1988
  • State of California Teaching Credentials: College-level Dance; Physical Fitness Older Adults, 1980

Current Awards

  • 12.2007: Aegis Video Award Finalist: The Scoliosis Series, Part 1
  • 12.2007: Aegis Video Award Finalist: The Scoliosis Series, Part 2
  • 12.2007: Accolade Video Competition Honorable Mention: Scoliosis Management, Part 1
  • 12.2007: Accolade Video Competition Honorable Mention: Step-Wise Approach to Post-Natal Restoration
  • 12.2006: Quick and Simple Award for Stretching: 52 Ways to keep Fit and Supple; Hearst Corporation, publisher of ‘Quick and Simple’ magazine
  • 9.1998: California Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, for "Publication of Measuring" Functional Range of Motion in Elite Female Ballet Dancers’ Hips" in Journal of Dance Medicine and Science

Suzanne Martin’s Résumé

Click Here to see Dr. Suzanne Martin’s professional résumé.

History of Pilates

The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the early 1900’s in Europe. It was post World War I when the first ‘rehabilitation aides’ helped the soldiers to regain their strength and mobility through the use of bed springs. Pilates developed his own equipment and exercise regimen from this idea of using springs that could be either resistive or assistive, thus accommodating the weakest to the burliest patient.

After Joseph  and his wife Clara migrated to New York, their gym was discovered and frequented by many of the entertainment industry in an effort to strengthen for their athletic roles and rehabilitate from the many  injuries associated with professional entertainment work. As Joseph Pilates aged, many of the staff he  trained moved to other areas of the country and started their own independent gyms.

In the mid-80’s, the Pilates Method was revived and promoted nationally and internationally, largely through the efforts of Elizabeth Larkham, formerly of the Center for Sports Medicine in San Francisco, and their equipment manufacturer, Balanced Body, Inc. Today, the Pilates Method is considered the ground work for all serious athletes and dancers, as well as an excellent entry for those embarking on a new commitment to a full fitness lifestyle.

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