The Pink Ribbon Program is designed to facilitate recovery from breast cancer surgery. These surgeries include lumpectomy, mastectomy, and breast cancer reconstructive surgeries; including TRAM flap, LAT flap, DIEP Flap, GAP Flap and Implant Reconstruction. This program also helps to reduce the risk of lymphedema.
The Pink Ribbon Recovery Program has been embraced by hospitals, physiotherapists, educational institutions, rehabilitation clinics, and by survivors managing their own physical recovery.
Everyone is different and heals at his/her own pace. Talk to your doctor or healthcare team member before starting this or any exercise program. The Pink Ribbon Program works in conjunction with your surgeon’s recommendations for an exercise program. You may also use this program in conjunction with, or as a follow-up to any prescribed physical therapy.
There are four phases to The Pink Ribbon Program. Each phase should be maintained for two weeks. The progression from one phase to the next will depend on how you are feeling. You can participate in these exercises two to three times per week. Once you have completed this program, you are now ready to join in many types of mainstream activities. Please be aware of any ongoing limitation you may have due to your surgeries.
PHASE 1 can begin as soon as possible following surgery. This is done in order to prevent tightness and/or swelling. Movement promotes blood flow which will increase oxygen supply. This helps to aid in the healing process. The exercises in Phase 1 focus on range of motion of the shoulder, chest expansion and scapula (shoulder blade) stabilization. Research supports starting mobility exercises 2-4 weeks post operatively. Please be sure to check with your medical professional before beginning this program.
PHASE 2 focuses on improving trunk rotation and lateral flexion (side bending movement). Spine and core stability exercises are added in this phase and we continue with shoulder range of motion exercises.
PHASE 3 adds more strengthening exercises for the core and we begin to incorporate lower body strength and stability exercises.
PHASE 4 introduces the use of resistance to the workout. A Resistance Band is used to strengthen the muscles of the back, shoulder, and trunk.
The Bridge classes were designed as a way of progressing people who have not been active for a while from the gentle mobilization classes offered in Phases 1 to 4 of the Pink Ribbon Program to the more general level classes offered on the site (and in studios everywhere). Taking into account ongoing limitation that might be present following breast cancer treatments, these classes combine gentle stretches and mobility exercises with more challenging Pilates exercises and variation that will eventually prepare one for classes at a general fitness level.
The different classes were designed to address slightly different needs but everyone can benefit from and enjoy all classes. Nothing in the classes is contra-indicated at this stage, but if anything feels uncomfortable please avoid it. We suggest that you take your time and repeat the classes a number of times until they feel easy enough to move on. We have hundreds of Pilates classes waiting for you when you feel ready for it :) There is no rush!