The Power of Pilates – Helping Women with Breast Cancer!
October Is Breast Cancer Month!
October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on Breast Cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.
Breast cancer is currently the most widely diagnosed cancer in women world wide.
This sobering fact impacts us all, not just as Therapists and Pilates Instructors, but also is likely to hit close to home.
Breast cancer for women is a double insult. Not only is it a life and death issue, it can threaten gender identity. The intimate environment of Pilates can bring a person into full healing so that a survivor can truly go on to thrive in life.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 2.4 million women had been treated for Breast cancer. Fortunately, thanks to early detection and advancements in treatment, many more women will survive breast cancer and go on to live out their natural life expectancy. Despite this good news, cancer treatments take an enormous toll: in just a year of treatment, the body can age a decade. Between the inherent weight gain, muscle atrophy and premature bone loss, women are left weak and physically challenged even by normal day-to-day activities.
Pilates is a gentle restorative exercise regimen perfectly suited for women as they recover and work to rebuild their bodies. (The benefits also extend to the very small minority of cancer patients who are men.) Pilates excels in the postural re-education and muscle-balancing necessary to recover from other side effects of Breast cancer treatment. It can help alleviate pain from operative procedures, restore joint mobility and tissue integrity, as well as provide a safe progression to regain lost strength. Most importantly, goals should involve returning to activities of daily living that make life meaningful.
The key to the success in a Pilates program is to proceed slowly and use consistent communication between Instructors and clients to check in to see how they feeling whilst moving. Developing a continual dialogue will ensure that clients are not taking on more than they can handle. Since there is very specific work to be done in each case, it is important to stick to the program. As instructors we take a step back and build a program that supports the client without exacerbating their condition. It is a very rewarding experience playing a role in their recovery, we are both emotional moved and inspired by our Breast Cancer survivors and their fight to rehabilitate their mind and body. This is the power of Pilates, clients have the ability to consciously strengthens their body-mind connection, which is essential through the recovery phase.
Pilates Benefits for Breast Cancer Survivors
- Improves lymphatic drainage with proper breathing techniques
- Improves shoulder girdle mechanics, specifically scapula-humeral rhythm, to aid in the breakdown of scar tissue and frozen shoulder
- Restores overall range of motion, flexibility, strength and endurance
- Restores upright postural alignment and balance
- Increases strength of local and global stabilizing muscles
- Enhances core strength and endurance
- Improves overall kinesthetic awareness
- Re-establishes proper muscular firing patterns
- Reduces both physiological and emotional stress
- Improves appearance
- Increases self-confidence and overall well-being
At Ajillity Pilates we excel our clients with simple, effective exercises, we provide them with the tools they need to become self-reliant, to enjoy a higher quality of life and to be more functional in everyday activities. Whether it means picking up groceries, doing laundry, taking a walk, catching a plane or dancing at a daughter or son’s wedding—we all want our clients to live their lives to the fullest.
This blog is dedicated to some of our valued clients who have been diagnosed over the years with breast cancer and/or any other type of cancer, and to those who have been in remission for some time. Our hearts are with you.
Take the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.