Posts In: breast cancer recovery

Pink Pilates

October 31, 2021

For ten years now, the team at ABsolute Pilates has been inspired by the cancer survivors that we support. We’re determined to keep giving back and continuing to support cancer research and screening, to better serve our communities and lend support to those who need it. Despite global events preventing us from holding our typical Pink Pilates fundraiser again this year, the team here at ABsolute Pilates is still dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

How Pilates Supports Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors

Both breast cancer patients, and survivors, will find that Pilates is a worthwhile pursuit to help them physically and mentally while they undergo treatment or recover. Specifically, Pilates helps to: 

  • Drain lymph nodes: Shoulder exercises explored in Pilates can help drain the lymph nodes under the arm and support general health.   
  • Break down scar tissue: Those same localized shoulder motions can help breakdown scar tissues from surgery and other treatments.  
  • Regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion: Cancer treatments can limit a person’s physical ability, and not having the energy to exercise anymore can do the same. Pilates can help to regain essential physical skills to move better.   
  • Increase energy levels: Exercise will help patients to accomplish more in the day, even when struggling with fatigue.  
  • Improve sleep: Similarly, exercise will help to tire the body, so sleep comes more easily at night.  
  • Reduce muscle tension and fatigue: Whether it’s sitting in a chair to get chemo or using exhausted muscles to just bring in groceries, those with cancer often develop muscle tension and fatigue. Pilates can help by strengthening and engaging all muscles of the body.  
  • Minimize weight gain: Pilates is a good way to counteract lower activity levels in a patient’s lifestyle, and to build strength without necessarily gaining much weight.  
  • Increase confidence: Body confidence, strength, and movement will increase through engaging with Pilates.  

We find that participating in Pilates is a core part of many cancer patients’ and cancer survivors’ mental recovery as well as their physical recovery. No matter how treatments or recovery are going, Pilates can help promote inner strength, resilience, and peace. You can’t control cancer, but you can control how you respond and live in the face of it. 

How Our Fundraiser Helps  

To date, we have raised over 30 thousand dollars for the Juravinski Breast Assessment Centre, which is one of the most advanced breast screening and assessment centres of its kind in Canada. The Centre has multiple specialists on-site, and gives patients a better experience, where they wait less for results and feel less anxiety about the process. Screening and follow-up are available for men and women who are suspected of having breast cancer. Genetic testing and high-risk screening is also available for women. The government does not fund the cutting-edge equipment available at the Centre, but you can through our fundraiser.  

Contact us to donate now to help support cancer patients and survivors in your community.  

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.

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