by Nancy Btruning for Moving For Life Blog on April 1st, 2014

Now that the weather is turning warm again, our thoughts turn to the welcome warmth of sunshine. Perhaps we should also think about the health benefits of the appropriate amount of sunshine and one of its more profound effects on the body—the production of vitamin D.
You have probably heard that if we don’t get enough vitamin D, our bones will suffer, no matter how much calcium we get.
But have you heard about the accumulating evidence linking adequate amounts of vitamin D and reduced risk of breast cancer as well as improved survival rate?
Most recently, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reported that breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive the disease as women with low levels of the nutrient. This was published in March in the journal Anticancer Research. 
The lead researcher, Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, had shown in previous studies that low vitamin D levels were linked to a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer.
His interest piqued, Garland and his colleagues performed a statistical analysis of five studies of a combined 4,443 breast cancer patients. They looked at a metabolite of Vitamin D called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which was obtained at the time of patient diagnosis and during follow-up. Patients were studied for an average of nine years.
Women in the high serum group had an average level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood. The low group averaged 17 ng/ml.
Combine this information with the results of a 2011 meta-analysis by Garland and colleagues. That study estimated that a serum level of 50 ng/ml is associated with 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer.
So, it sounds like we should get our doctor to measure our vitamin D levels to see if they are lower than 50 ng/ml. Chances are, they will be: The average level in patients with breast cancer in the United States is 17 ng/ml.
According to Medline Plus, lower-than-normal levels can be due to a vitamin D deficiency, which can result from:
•          Lack of exposure to sunlight
•          Lack of enough vitamin D in the diet
•          Liver and kidney diseases
•          Poor food absorption
•          Use of certain medicines, including phenytoin, phenobarbital, and rifampin
Sunlight will contribute some Vitamin D, but not enough for many people, and certainly not in the north during winter weather. So, it may feel good to be in the sun, and this may have health benefits, but most of us will need to take supplements to have the optimal amount in the study.
Garland recommends that physicians consider adding vitamin D into a breast cancer patient’s standard care now.  “There is no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens since a safe dose of vitamin D needed to achieve high serum levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter has already been established,” said Garland. However, it is possible to have too much vitamin D, so you should be monitored.  
While absorption rates vary somewhat from person to person, it takes about 4,000 International Units (IU) per day of vitamin D from food or a supplement to reach a serum level of 50 ng/ml.  Compare that with the current recommended daily allowance for vitamin D: a apltry 600 IU for adults and 800 IU for people over 70 years old.
- See more at:

by Moving For Life Blog on February 22nd, 2014

Moving For Life's co-founder and designer - Exercise Physiologist. Somatic Movement Therapist and Dance Educator is featured in Dance Teacher Magazine.  Learn all about our history and how inspired our teachers are around the country.   Thank you Caitlin Sims for writing a thorough and sensitive account of Moving For Life!  She includes quotes from our Bay Area MFL Certified Instructor (MFLCI) Melinda Teustchel and highlights the poignant story of one of our most active New York area MFLCI - Catherine Gross. 

by Moving For Life Blog on February 13th, 2014

Somatic Movement Therapist Ellen Barlow writes about the importance of moving and sitting with awareness in the Washington Post.   This information is crucial to your health! 

by Moving For Life Blog on January 28th, 2014

Moving For Life's program has been studied by the New York University Langone Medical Center under the advisement of breast surgeons Dr. Freya Schnabel and Dr. Deborah Axelrod.  We are delighted to announce that they found statistically significant changes in weight management in just 8 weeks practicing Moving For Life twice a week.  On average women reduced their weight by 8 - 10 pounds!  Let us know if you'd like the full poster of the study - it was presented at ASCO.

Meanwhile here is a study about the effects of yoga.  Please share other studies that you find significant with us! 

by Moving For Life Blog on December 9th, 2013

Read Moving For Life's December News:
Where Humanity and Movement Thrive - 2013 Year End Goals
We invite you to Join our Moving For Life Community! 
Please note the invitation for the free workshop at Beth Israel is for Tuesday January 14th, 2014!

by Moving For Life Blog on December 1st, 2013

Vitamin D Lowers Breast Cancer Risk for Women
A new  study adds evidence to the suggestion that  vitamin D is important for preventing breast cancer. The  study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that  women with low blood levels of  vitamin D are at increased risk of breast cancer.  Since sunlight helps our bodies produce vitamin D,  the next time you think about exercise, why not take it outdoors? 

Women who had blood vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/mL (defined as "vitamin D deficient" by the Institute of Medicine) were at 6.1 times  higher risk for invasive breast cancer than women with normal levels (20+ ng/mL).
Women who were in the "insufficient" vitamin D range were at 4.0 times higher risk for invasive breast cancer. 

The study was done in in Saudi Arabia and people in Saudi Arabia have the opportunity to get a lot of sunshine for their bodies to use in producing  vitamin D, but Saudi women are often indoors and when out are fully covered, making it difficult to absorb sufficient vitamin D. (Sound familiar?) 
It's been estimated that 70 percent of children and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. 
Ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine your vitamin D level. It's called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test.  It can tell you how deficient you might be in vitamin D. 
You might be interested in vitamin D for additional reasons... for example, did you know that Vitamin D can strengthen bones and lift moods? Since vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium,  it can stave off osteoporosis And, if you are susceptible to seasonal affective disorder it can help prevent you from becoming depressed.
Did you knw that Vitamin D could also help you manage chronic pain? It's common for people who live with chronic pain to have a vitamin D deficiency, so if you have pain, talk to your doctor about including vitamin D supplements as part of your treatment plan.

by Moving For Life Blog on November 10th, 2013

Todd Essig, psychologist and  writer for the Managing Mental Wealth column of Forbes Magazine, sees Moving For Life (MFL)  AS THE DANCE for recovery worth investing in.  He writes:
“Dance Exercise for Cancer Recovery” is the motto for a volunteer organization, “Moving For Life,” that is using the power of dance to heal and support cancer recovery.   I hope you’ll agree—if not now, soon—that MFL classes should be an option everywhere women are recovering from breast cancer. They just need local leaders. If you have some leadership capital just sitting around, MFL would be a good place to invest it…
...The stakes are high. No matter how one dances into breast cancer surgery, there will probably be significant post-surgical challenges, especially if chemo is needed: fatigue, joint pain and weakness, balance problems, peripheral neuropathy (aka, “fire feet”). MFL can help. A recent study at NYU Medical Center of women who participated in a MFL exercise program just twice a week for 8 weeks found it resulted in “statistically significant average weight loss, as well as a greater enjoyment of exercise and decrease in treatment—related pain.”
READ ON and Keep Dancing! 

by Moving For Life Blog on November 7th, 2013

We love this story: Deborah Cohan, an Ob/Gyn and mom of two, was scheduled for a double mastectomy Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco. A dance lover, she held a dance party with her medical team in the operating room just before her surgery! Wait, there's more-- she asked her friends and family  to make videos of themselves dancing too so that she could watch them during her recovery. “I have visions of a healing video montage,” she wrote. “Nothing brings me greater joy than catalyzing others to dance, move, be in their bodies. Are you with me people?”

We certainly are with her. We believe that dancing is the best form of movement during recovery, and here's our "Moving for Life" DVD to prove it:

Why can't all OR's feel like this?
Here's the Huffington Post article  that brought her to our attention. Be sure to click through to see the video and learn some healing new moves, not to mention attitude!

by Moving For Life Blog on October 9th, 2013

Marghe Mills-Thysen and Martha Eddy invite you to join in celebrating Moving For Life.  

The DanceArt, Sculpture, Paintings
& Fine Prints 
of 20th Century Artist  
Chelsea Studios - 151 West 26th Street #502

Works from the private collection of Agnes Mills, W.P.A. Artist & Rehearsal Artist for Nikolais, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, Murray Louis &   Jacobs Pillow Dance Companies.  Ms Mills worked with Siqueiros, Hayter, Hoffman, Van Der Roe, Calder, Holte, Soyer, Nikolaides & Reddy.  Learn more at

by Moving For Life Blog on October 1st, 2013

Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor's Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer (Cedar Fort Inc./September 10, 2013/ $16.99/)
Navigate your breast cancer journey with this all inclusive guide filled with helpful survivors’ tips and expert advice from medical, nutrition and wellness professionals including Dr. Martha Eddy as exercise expert, and the benefits of
Moving For Life. 
Complete with checklists for streamlining your new life, this book helps you ask the right questions, make informed decisions, eliminate stress, boost your spirits, eat and exercise for your health and look and feel your best during and after treatment. Don’t let cancer confine or define you; keep your sense of humor; treat yourself well and ease the transition with this helpful book.

About Melanie:
Business woman, marketing maven, world traveler and writer Melanie Young is a woman in motion, and she did not let a breast cancer diagnosis slow her down…just refocus. She used her cancer experience to retool her diet, ramp up her exercise regimen, rid her life from toxic stress and regain a sense of purpose through writing to empower other women facing the journey. Her blog Getting Things Off My Chest inspires women to face life’s challenges with grit, grace and guts.  
Follow Melanie: @mightymelanie

by Moving For Life Blog on September 17th, 2013

A seven minute talk by two of our three Moving For Life founders. Annie Rosen (Dr. Alison Rosen) and Dr. Martha Eddy speak about the new DVD produced by Jan Albert: Dance to Recovery   National Public Radio show

by Moving For Life Blog on June 26th, 2013

Last Month we talked about how important movement is for ChemoBrain.  Thinking on our feet, learning new patterns and sequences, doing puzzles with your body by learning new moves are all helpful  This article  in Scientific American also verifies what could seem obvious - exercise circulates blood (especially if you break a sweat), and that brings blood to the brain too.  It also talks about stimulating the hippocampus  - "the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise."  Join us for classes July 9 - 31 from the JCC of Manhattan and special lectures

by Moving For Life Blog on June 2nd, 2013

by Moving For Life Blog on June 2nd, 2013

Getting sun for 10 minutes a day is helpful but often not enough to do the good we need to avoid cancer.  Of course too much sun in the height of the day is not OK.  So get outside in the morning and late afternoon and EAT well.  For a good summary of how foods can help you get more vitamin D into your body:

by Dr. Martha Eddy, CMA RSMT on May 8th, 2013

Is it okay to duck out of work to go to Moving For Life (MFL) class?  
You may ask - What will my boss think?  Do I have the time?  What do I do if I get sweaty?

Of course its essential to negotiate all work arrangements. And it is important to know  that if you work for a company with more than 15 employees you are protected by the American Disabilitites Act to receive reasonable accommodations during the work day.  You can learn more about this through Livestrong.
Experts on Cancer and Careers  provide lots more facts and  tips. They also sponsor an annual conference on Work and Cancer.  The conference is meeting in NYC this June 14th.   Wouldn't it be great if employers understood the importance of providing accommodation for life-enhancing exercise during the workday?

MFL is open to people with various stages of cancer. Reasons for getting back into moving and coming to classes are personal.  Choosing to exercise during the workday could be worth advocating for.   Let us know how we can help.