Posts In: Pilates

Breast cancer survivors may be surprised to learn that after their last treatment, there are still physical challenges to overcome.

You may feel pain, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder, arm and chest from several treatments, including:

  • Breast biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Lymph node removal
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiation
  • Breast reconstruction

Physiotherapy, Pilates and massage therapy each offer their own benefits to breast cancer survivors who have undergone any of these procedures. Learn how each can reduce your pain and help you move forward.

Physiotherapy for Cancer Recovery

Physiotherapy can help you recover from breast cancer by reducing swelling, increase range of motion, and reducing pain. Physiotherapy can get you back to your regular activities faster, like brushing your hair, driving a car, and simply taking a deep breath. When you still have stitches or drains from your procedures, your movements may be more restricted but there are still physio exercises you can do to promote a full range of motion. Strength exercises can be added once your stitches and drainage devices have been removed.

Keep in mind that even when performing simple range of motion exercises, it is easy to hurt yourself when you’re recovering from breast cancer. You need professional supervision to move in the right ways at the right times.

Further, specific physio exercises can target common side effects of breast cancer. Specific movements can reduce lymphedema, a type of swelling where your body holds onto your interstitial fluid for too long. Other movements target lymphatic cording, also called axillary web syndrome. Stretching can painlessly break these cords so you can regain your arm’s full range of motion.

Pilates for Cancer Recovery

After chemotherapy and radiation, survivors often experience fatigue and weakness, on top of a weakened immune system, usually for four to six weeks afterwards. Exercise can help restore your normal energy levels and rebuild muscles.

Pilates is a particularly great exercise regimen for this task, focusing on core strength to increase your balance. It also doesn’t require you to perform heavy cardio, something few breast cancer survivors are ready for, especially when your ability to take deep breaths is likely impacted by your treatment.

Exercise has benefits beyond your muscles and energy levels. Research suggests that exercise helps your immune system strengthen after chemotherapy and radiation treatments. One of the very best things you can do for yourself is to keep on the path to health with exercise.

Massage for Cancer Recovery

After the stress you’ve been through, a massage is probably a very appealing thought. So, feel free to treat yourself and know that your massage will further your recovery efforts. Massage relaxes you and promotes a positive frame of mind. It also helps to reduce swelling. Though you may not want your chest or shoulders massaged right now, particularly as your incisions heal, it will be more comfortable to be massaged near your sore spots, and you may find that it helps subdue painful swelling.

Besides, massage is more helpful than it seems. Research has found that massage can even help with immune function and helps to combat fatigue.

Join us as Absolute Pilates for any, or all, of these three healing practices. Feel free to contact us anytime about our programs. We wish you the best of health and comfort on your breast cancer recovery journey.

At Absolute Pilates, we offer both Pilates and yoga classes, so we often get asked about the difference between the two. While it’s true that they are quite similar, these workouts are different enough that most people have a strong preference for one over the other.

Here we’ll take a look at the key differences so that you can decide which type might be best for you.

The Core Differences

Pilates and yoga are both full-body workouts that focus on improving strength, flexibility, balance and breathing. However, Pilates focuses on the strength aspect, while yoga usually focuses more on flexibility and breathing. Most of the time when you’re in a Pilates class, you’ll be on the ground. In a yoga class, you’re more likely to be switching from standing to ground work, depending on the style.

Another key difference is that many people choose to practice yoga as part their spirituality. Even if you don’t choose to do that, you will still find most yoga classes are meditative and help you focus your mental energy on your goals. Not as many people consider adding their spiritual practices to Pilates, which tends to be more intense. Plus, Pilates involves counting reps and keeping track of sets, which doesn’t leave as much room to think.

You can learn even more about the differences between Pilates and yoga by reading about the specific kinds of classes we offer.

Pilates Classes

We offer several different Pilates classes which all offer something a little different: 

  • Osteo-Pilates: If you’re looking to add a little of that yoga flexibility and balance into your Pilates class, this might be right for you. While the class is designed to decrease the risk of fractures for those with Osteoporosis, anyone can participate and reap the benefits of better balance and bone health.
  • Stretch and Lengthen: This class also focuses on stretching more than your average Pilates class but has fewer bone health benefits than the Osteo-Pilates class.
  • Matwork Challenge: If instead you want to lean into the benefits of Pilates and improve your strength and endurance, this class will challenge you and even boost coordination.
  • Mom and Babies: After you give birth, you might be drawn to Pilates because of its focus on the core muscles, which need to recover and strengthen after your pregnancy. This class allows you to bring your little one and is a bonus bonding experience for both mom and baby!

Yoga Classes

Our yoga classes focus on those benefits that yoga does best, including breathing, focus and flexibility.

  • Hatha yoga: When most people think of yoga, they imagine Hatha yoga. It teaches beginner poses and focuses on breathing and calming to reduce cortisol and improve your focus.
  • Restorative yoga: This class is designed to align your body and mind with slow, purposeful movements that activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The benefits include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, lessening chronic pain and anxiety, and increasing oxygen levels in the blood.

There’s much to be said for the benefits of practicing both Pilates and yoga as you need both strength and flexibility to be healthy. If you’re ready to sign up for a class, feel free to register here.

Exercise Tips

Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but that doesn’t mean that you can (or should) neglect your exercise regime. Besides, if you are bringing the kids along then you might need to take a quick vacation from your vacation, and what better way to relax than with a quick workout, or yoga session!
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STOTT Pilates

As a PTA and Trained STOTT Pilates® Instructor, Kaitlin Chastney sees a lot of Physiotherapy clients who are nearing the end of the manual therapy component of their treatment and starting the progression to an exercise program such as Pilates. (more…)

Pilates

Pilates for sport conditioning is a growing trend – but not a new one. Sport conditioning played a central role in the early evolution of Pilates. Today it is used by amateur and professional athletes alike for its physical and mental benefits.
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Pilates

​Pilates helps increase flexibility, balance, mobility, and coordination. It can build strength, decrease back pain, strengthen your core, prevent injury, decrease body fat, and increase cardiovascular health. (more…)

Fitness

As a mother of a 4 & 2 year old I know firsthand how difficult it is to take time to exercise, eat healthy, and find time for extra sleep. I struggle to find a balance just as much as everyone else, but finding that balance can make a world of difference. (more…)

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