Adapted Pilates moves can help breast cancer survivors recover from treatment, according to the September/October 2005 issue of, Betsy Mollenkamp reports.

The mastectomy or lumpectomy can create scar tissue that restricts range of motion, particularly in the arms, shoulders and abdomn. A lymph node dissection can cause lymphedema, a painful side effect that results in dangerous and restrictive swelling.

Women who choose reconstructive surgery can also have limitations. Doctors use muscles from another area of the body to create a breast. Without rehabilitation, such as Pilates, the scarred donor site remain tight and weak and the body can feel imbalanced.

Unlike floor-pounding aerobics or strenuous weightlifting, Pilates is gentle, soft conditioning that often appeals to weary breast cnacer survivors.

Breast cancer survivors also report that Pilates helps them recover a sense of femininity, which can be dashed after losing a breast.

"This cancer affects how you feel as a women," says exercise physiologist Doreen Jones, who founded the Pink Ribbion Program, then discovered she had breast cnacer two years later. "Pilates makes you feel long and lean. When you are done, you are energized and ou carry yourself well. The fast you get back to feeling confident, the faster your psychological recovery will be."