About The Lebed Method
“The Lebed Method, of Movement and Dance is a therapeutic exercise and movement programme originally established for those with breast cancer to help regain and maintain range of motion, balance, both physically and emotionally, and improve “frozen shoulder”. It was developed by Sherry Lebed Davis, a Movement Specialist, and by Dr. Marc Lebed and Dr. Joel Lebed in 1980 at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was one of the first Hospital based programmes of its kind and one of the first published studies based on Physical Therapy and Dance in the surgical management of breast cancer.
Over time they found that many individuals who had undergone treatment for breast cancer and those who developed Lymphedema were interested in a fitness programme but did not know where to begin. There were concerns about how to get started, what type of exercises to do, and the fear of injury. Therefore, in 1998 the three founders and developers of “The Lebed Method” introduced exercises to their programme that would help open the lymphatic system, helping to reduce the risk of Lymphedema and swelling caused by lymphoedema.Since that introduction the programme has benefited not only those with breast cancer but many types of chronic illness including upper and lower extremity Lymphedema.
In March of 2005 the results were released from a study conducted at the University of Connecticut Medical School using “The Lebed Method” in the treatment of breast cancer survivors. The study states: “a dance movement programme that addressed the physical and emotional needs of women following treatment for breast cancer substantially improved a breast cancer-specific quality-of-life measure. Larger studies are justified to determine the acceptability of this therapy as part of the continuum of care for breast cancer survivors.” Another study is underway to work with “The Lebed Method” and those with lymphoedema.
Today the Lebed Method is used across the United Kingdom in hospitals and hospices as well as cancer centres, fitness and community centres. It is taught in 550 hospitals and centres in the USA, Canada, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Bahamas. The programme is used for breast cancer, lymphoedema, MS, Parkinson’s, chronic fatigue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses, as well as exercise classes for elders. It is designed for both women, men and children, and can be done sitting or standing. It is gentle; anyone can participate at their own fitness level, and its fun! “The Lebed Method helps to regain function and improve the quality of life for those recovering from cancer or living with chronic illness”.
Healthy Steps – A Lebed Method Class
A class is usually 1 hour in length, always commencing with the 10 upper body movements which create the opening lymphatic sequence. This can be followed by lower lymphatic leg exercises which are done seated. There are 2 water breaks followed by a series of different routines developing through the course which will run over 6 -8 weeks.
Breathing is often taught using soap bubbles as a prop. All exercises can be completed standing or seated, and a chair is always present by each participant, to use for routines as well as rest and balance. There is a portfolio of movements which are always practiced in the same way but rhythm of music and props can vary. Upper body moves are slow and smooth with slight resistance ,but leg movements are termed “out of the box” and can be changed or can pick a faster tempo if appropriate, they can always be done seated, even in a wheel chair. All Lebed movements are approved by a medical team, prior to being included in the programme which is continually reviewed.