CHRISTUS HWC ‘REFORM’, a Pilates-Based Postoperative Breast Cancer Program

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Exercise may be the last thing on your mind after breast cancer surgery. The accompanying fatigue, pain, and soreness and joint stiffness in your arms, shoulders and upper body plus possible adjuvant treatments may make you want to curl up and not move. However, exercise is critical to wellness during and after the breast cancer journey and has been shown to decrease fatigue, increase quality of life, assist with weight control and reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Reformer Pilates encourages mind-body connection through its principles such as breathing, concentration, body alignment, precision, control, rhythm and endurance.

CHRISTUS HWC Pink Ribbon Program Strong Survivor

return to a sense of normALCY

In days gone by, rest was all that was prescribed for those with breast cancer. We know now, however, that early movement and moderate exercise affect recovery and long-term health for survivors! Because of this knowledge, we developed REFORM, a Pilates-Based Postoperative Breast Cancer program using reformer Pilates.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Breast Health showed Pilates increased the quality of life, improved upper extremity functions and reduced lymphedema (swelling in the limbs). The researchers also found Pilates is more effective than standard exercises for relieving lymphedema symptoms.

REFORM training, with physician clearance, can begin early in the recovery phase, or even several years later. Stretching and strengthening exercises for shoulders, chest, back and abdomen focus on restoration and maintenance of the joint range of motion in the affected area. When possible, we add exercise for endurance and maintenance of healthy body weight. Sometimes you may feel fatigued and stressed; however, one of the best things about Pilates is that it can be relaxing and energizing all at the same time. Being able to increase energy levels and to reduce stress are super important during this time as well as they are for most of us anytime.

Best of all, perhaps, is the positive energy that comes from returning to normal as you are proactive about your health. Our exercise environment is supportive and encouraging.

Mani Ponnuru, will assess your needs, design and implement your exercise either individually or with others. Membership to CHRISTUS HWC is not included nor required.

This program is designed for 10, half-hour sessions which are planned with Mani at times that fit your schedule.

the reform program helps to:

  • Improve self-confidence, movement, circulation, and range of motion

  • Restore strength and mobility in affected shoulder and arm

  • Enhance energy levels and mood to control weight and improve sleep

  • Enhance physical and mental well-being

  • Decrease the risk of recurrence through exercise, weight management and life style changes


“I empathize with the myriad of difficulties of dealing with breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. I see first-hand the positive influences of Pilates exercise, which in turn, strengthens my ability to instruct, motivate and support.

Interested in learning more about the REFORM Program at CHRISTUS HWC? Message mani below

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