BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, and Pilates instructors can play a great role in helping to restore both mind and body for the 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. Surgery, radiation and systemic treatments wreak havoc on the body after a breast cancer diagnosis. Some of the issues breast cancer survivors face include pain, limited range of motion in the shoulder and chest area, scars, lymphedema, fatigue, weight gain, osteoporosis and peripheral neuropathy.
Breast Cancer Recovery Photo Gallery
Pilates is an excellent modality to help survivors regain mobility, strength and endurance, facilitate whole-body integration and improve self-image. There are several ways in which Pilates can help with restoration. For one, the deep breathing involved promotes the return of lymphatic fluid to the thoracic duct, thereby decreasing the lymphedema risk. Of course, the method also helps to build strength in the core, as well as the middle trapezius, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and rotator cuff to foster better posture.
Scapula stability and the stretching of the tight pectoralis major are also big benefits for survivors. Last but not least, a Pilates program serves as a gentle introduction or reintroduction to exercise, which can gradually increase endurance due to fatigue— the number-one complaint after treatment. The following sequence uses a regular chair, which is not only accessible, it’s also wonderful if you can’t get down on the floor or suffer from fatigue. Pull up a chair, and let Pilates make you feel empowered!
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