The Pink Pilates Programme was pioneered and developed by New Zealander Lou James, an experienced physiotherapist, Pilates clinician, former NZ triathlon representative and trustee of the Pink Pilates Trust.
It was started in response to the need Lou identified to help women recovering from breast cancer surgery and treatments. Lou spent four years researching and developing the Pink Pilates Programme, which was piloted in her own physiotherapy practice in Auckland. She saw first hand the physical and emotional toll that cancer had on the lives of the women affected and the people close to them. The programme was initially developed to help women with breast cancer and has now evolved to help women recover from all cancers.
Due to recent medical advances, more women are surviving a cancer diagnosis. The Pink Pilates programme is dedicated to helping these women regain their physical strength, improve their body confidence, and incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.
Lou James made it a goal to buck the trend of healthcare being centralised and take the Pink Pilates programme to the regions where women diagnosed with cancer reside. It is the one of the only medically based rehabilitation programmes that women can access in their own region without having to travel. It is affordable, convenient and highly restorative for those who participate. So often cancer surgery, particularly breast cancer, treatment and follow-up services are located in the main centres in New Zealand and Australia, if at all. Lou believes this regional focus has contributed to the enormous success and growth of the programme.
In 2008, Lou and breast physician Dr Sonja Freese designed and delivered a Pink Pilates training and certification course for physiotherapists throughout NZ and Australia. The course was designed to teach physiotherapists how to maximise recovery and improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer.
Together, Lou and Sonja hope that the Pink Pilates programme will help to raise the awareness of the importance of prescribed rehabilitation for every person undergoing surgery or treatment for cancer.
"We want to inspire those affected by cancer to commit to a moderate exercise schedule that will allow them to feel more a part of the real world, less like cancer patients, and stronger in the heart, soul, body, and mind."