SPRINGFIELD -- Learning you have cancer alters your life forever. Going through cancer treatment is taxing on the mind and body. Thankfully, we live in a time and place where advances in both the medical and health industries provide options for cancer patients.
Breast cancer patients are invited to participate in the Circle of Friends: Breast Cancer Wellness Series at the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St. Led by Patty Zubini-Weiss, CLMA, SMT, RYT, RN, this program integrates the Brigham & Women's Breast Cancer Survivor Program with Yoga and Somatic Movement Therapy. It is designed to support those in any stage of breast cancer. This program will be assisted by Elizabeth Lenart, JCC Fitness Director, and by Susan Goddeau, JCC Personal Trainer.
The goal of Circle of Friends is to help breast cancer patients rebuild their cardiovascular endurance, and enhance strength, posture, flexibility, safe shoulder care and balance. Additionally, the participants learn to make connections between the body, mind and spirit to help their recovery.
Circle of Friends: Breast Cancer Wellness Series is designed on the Brigham and Women's Breast Cancer Survivor program, but additionally integrates yoga, movement therapy and dance to support health and wellness.
Studies have shown that exercise facilitates reducing breast cancer recurrence by 40 percent and improves survival rates, according to the Breast Cancer Survivor's Fitness Plan Instructor Training and 12 Week Getting Started Program. Dr. Carolyn Kaelin, M.D., MPh, FACS, developed the Brigham & Women's Breast Cancer Survivor Program with master trainers Josie Gardiner and Joy Prouty. Dr. Kaelin is the Director of Comprehensive Breast Care Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
By integrating yoga in Circle of Friends, participants can learn breathing techniques to promote relaxation and stress reduction, as well as to assist in pain management. Studies have shown that yoga can help lower blood pressure, heart and breathing rates and promote healing through the use of breath.
"The yoga I've integrated into this program will be a gentle form of yoga, whereby one can tune inwards and pay attention to what is happening inside," said Zubini-Weiss. "Practicing breathing and meditation promotes physiological changes in the body, by producing oxygenated blood throughout the body, which in turn supports healing in the body."
Zubini-Weiss' motto is "Reclaiming our lives, one breath, one step, at a time." The program can support clients by focusing on what works for them. Participants will build energy, strength, flexibility and range of motion, while simultaneously carving out time to care and nurture themselves.
Zubini-Weiss' clients have experienced the benefits of her techniques. Pat Spare, a former client of hers, said, "When I first met Patty, I could not lift my right arm higher than my waist. After two surgeries, medication and radiation, I was tired and felt as if I resided in someone else's body. Six months later, my arm was over my head, I was living gladly within my own body and my spirit had brought me back to myself.
"Patty accepts all, without judgment, and creates a safe, supportive environment in which to rediscover yourself," she continued.
The Circle of Friends: Breast Cancer Wellness Series begins Jan. 19. Participants will meet at the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St., Mondays and Thursdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for 12 non-consecutive weeks (a full schedule will be available at registration). The cost is $14 per session. In order to best prepare for the unique and delicate needs of each individual, pre-registration is required, as well as current medical clearance from a physician prior to participation.
There will be a registration session on Jan. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. To register, please contact Elizabeth Lenart, JCC Fitness Director, at 739-4715.
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