"I learned a lot in writing that book," said Leonard-Bruno, "I worked with doctors, exercise physiologists, nurse oncologists, occupational and physical therapists, and others to develop the specific exercise protocols."
The HeartFlex Exercise Device
Leonard-Bruno likes to keep experimenting with better ways to improve upon her recovery methods. Recently, she added the HeartFlex as an invaluable tool for a multitude of exercises.
HeartFlex is an extremely versatile tool that weighs less than a pound, but provides proper amount of muscle-building resistance through scientifically formulated internal beads. The opposing resistance is commiserate with the pressure applied by the user, so a weak cancer patient can start off slowly and build up her strength gradually.
Since the beads can rotate in any 360º direction, there are limitless possible movements one can perform. Additionally because it is so light and flexible, it is an amazing stretching device.
"At first it appears so simple, but then you understand conceptually what it can do, especially for women recovering from breast cancer who have very little range of motion or strength in their arms and shoulders. The HeartFlex actually stimulates the pectoralis minor which is the closest thing to a pump for the lymphatic system and thus help prevent lymphedema, " said Leonard-Bruno.
A Special Video for Breast Cancer Survivors
There are so many movements with the HeartFlex that are ideal for breast cancer survivors that Leonard-Bruno filmed a comprehensive video. Patients can purchase the video and HeartFlex and perform the rehabilitative exercises at home in front of a TV.
In filming, Leonard-Bruno was sensitive to the fact that many cancer patients perhaps never exercised a day in their life. So, it explains the process thoroughly and methodically. "We begin the video with how to take their measurements and look for swelling. It offers very clear guidance along the way, since a lot of people don't understand exercise ¯ many have never exercised a day in their life. We don't want to create any additional problems for them along the way."
View More Info on the Video
High End Workshops for Fitness Instructors
Even though Andrea Leonard-Bruno conducts private lessons for cancer patients, she realizes that the best way for her to help a lot of people is to train other instructors in the proper exercise protocols for cancer patients.
He qualifications are impressive, she's certified by ACE, ACSM, NASM, NFPA and Cooper Institute and is an adjunct faculty member for both ACE and NASM. But probably the best qualification is that Andrea Leonard-Bruno herself is a cancer survivor. After having her cancerous thyroid removed when she was 18, she struggled with her own weight and self-image which caused her to shift careers and enter the fitness realm.
She's setup a 2-day workshop called "The Cancer Exercise Specialist Advanced Qualification" to certify instructors in the proper methods. Workshops are held all over the U.S. on a frequency of twice per month.
Not limited to just breast cancer, the workshop addresses different types of cancers, because there are differing repercussions with each of them. The course delves into the specific implications for each surgery and treatment which varied from one to anther.
"We focus on all 24 types of cancer, their surgery, their treatment, breast reconstruction, cancer pain, cancer fatigue and so one, explains Leonard-Bruno, "and we teach an in-depth assessment protocol to determine range of motion, and postural deviations that can be corrected through the proper exercise".
View more info on the workshop
What's in Store for 2006?
Leonard-Bruno refreshes her book every year to keep it current with the latest research. She'll continue with both her private practice and teaching national workshops. "I'm working on another book, like Essential Exercises, but it will be directed toward all different types of cancers".
She is also talking to a mid-West college about developing a fully accredited course on cancer rehabilitative exercise protocols.
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