How does it feel when you realize someone dear to you has cancer? I have gone through that pain and I respect people who work for Cancer recovery and Rehabilitation. Here’s an interview from Samara Mahindra Founder & CEO of Carer Program.
Your experience in American Academy of personal training
I have always had an obsessive interest in health, fitness and nutrition. The drawback was that I had no formal academic qualification on the subject. The American Academy of Personal Training in New York City was my real practical and academic insight into movement and fitness training. Over here we learnt about anatomy, physiology and biomechanics and eventually was certified as a personal trainer. I was also exposed to training for “Special Populations” which dealt with disabilities and chronic ailments. This is when my interest into cancer rehabilitation began.
What made you create Cancer Recovery and Rehabilitation Program?
Once I trained as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery Trainer, I was exposed to the significant physical improvements a patient can have through physical rehab. I also realised that movement and exercise was one aspect of healing and there were other elements that are involved, diet and nutrition and mind-body that provides holistic and integrative recovery for cancer patients. The fact that no company or hospital was seriously engaged in integrative cancer recovery and rehabilitation in India, led me to create and launch the same.
What complementary therapies can Cancer patients adopt?
First it’s important to understand what complementary therapies are, as there are many misconceptions about it. Complementary therapies are not alternative therapies and work in conjunction with the conventional treatment protocol (hence complementary to treatment). They are based on scientific research and proven to have significant improvements in health and wellbeing of a patient.
These complementary therapies fall under three broad categories mainly:
1. Diet and nutrition
– Foods that focus on building immunity
– Functional training
– Dance therapy
– Yoga therapy
– Tai Chi
– Lymphedema exercises
– Music therapy
– Art therapy
– Massage therapy
– Acupuncture (for pain management)
What did you learn being a Breast Cancer recovery trainer in The Cancer Exercise training institute in Portland?
One of the major things that I learnt was the physically debilitating side effects that surgery can have on breast cancer patients and the good news was that, most of it could be dealt with successfully. There were particular movement patterns and exercises that could eradicate major postural deviations and restricted range of motions of limbs, which commonly happens after a mastectomy or double mastectomy. Also, lymphedema is a side effect of surgery and radiation that not many breast cancer patients know about.
This is extreme swelling of limbs and if not dealt with, can be irreversible. There are lymphatic drainage exercises that all breast cancer patients (who have had their lymph nodes removed or irradiated) should incorporate into their daily routines.
Do you believe your life has become meaningful through your work to help cancer patients?
Although health and fitness was always apart of my interests, my head turned towards cancer specifically because of losing my mother to cancer. We suffered for many years through her diagnoses and eventually the treatment took her life. Her body and mind couldn’t keep up. I first hand experienced what it feels to be helpless and clueless in situations like these and that crippled us a family to a great extent.
When I discovered integrative healing for cancer (which is nothing but using various therapies that heal the person as a whole) I was dumbfounded by the astonishing results it had on healing patients.
We are not helpless and we are not clueless. I wanted to do the same for people in India and around the world. Help them heal is the prerogative and every time we experience a cancer patient healing through our program, it heals a part of my loss. Although we are set out to create a successful global business and reach millions of patients around the world, we will do everything in our power to preserve the soul of the CARER Program.
Appreciate your work to heal cancer patients Samara