breast cancer rehab

Marian Barnick

Movement Therapy for Breast Cancer

Reach Your Best Potential

Movement Therapy because Movement is Power

Over the past 25+ years, I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity.  I’ve been able to  meet thousands of people, from all walks of life, and evaluate human movement, provide rehabilitation therapy, ensure a safe return to work, and make a difference with something I love to do.   Movement is Power.  I truly believe this. 

After graduating from University of Waterloo I began working with patients – both evaluating movement and treating injuries.  I discovered the thrill of working with cancer patients in 2005.  I became completely engrossed in the research on exercise and cancer and was so passionate about helping cancer patients that I developed my own Cancer Movement Therapy Program and presented this to the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital, in Toronto, ON. 

The  Odette Cancer Centre met with me and we took due diligence in reviewing my science, my research, and my Cancer Movement Therapy Program as well as all the benefits my program offers cancer patients.  My hard work and perseverance paid off as The Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital approved my protocols and I began working with their cancer patients in 2006.

I became a Registered Kinesiologist because I love learning and understanding how how the body moves and how this information is vital in helping people reach their best potential in activities and in life.

I love that I’ve been able to combine my education, my skills, and my passion.  I get to evaluate movement, provide treatment that makes a difference, and support patients in a community  where I feel I can make a difference.

Why Breast Cancer?

If you haven’t seen my passion for movement, and my need to help others who aren’t away of  how amazing they can feel when they Move Well, you might ask this question.  So let me explain why I took on this most amazing challenge that’s changed my perspective and fueled by passion.


I ha the opportunity to meet this amazing breast cancer survivor when her insurance company asked me to evaluate her ability to return to work.   We met, chatted, and I asked about her treatment.  I then asked about her rehab program.  She told me “I had breast cancer.  I didn’t break anything.”


But this woman could barely move her shoulder, couldn’t reach into her cupboards, and had daily pain in her chest, her arm, and her back.  And she believed this was just part of her life now, as a survivor.  This was her ‘new normal’.  And no one told her any differently, so it was accepted that this quality of life was just what happens when you survive breast cancer.


I said, “No Way!”


I knew I could help her.  I knew there was a way for me to take the strategies of movement therapy I’d used for years with my patients and used for my own recovery from many diagnoses and surgeries, and create a safe and effective Cancer Movement Therapy.  And I knew these side effects, these problems with mobility and tightness and pain after breast cancer treatment could be solved.


So that was my mission.


That was the moment I started my journey in developing specific movement therapy to support breast cancer patients.

breast cancer rehabilitation

Cancer Rehabilitation (The Gap!)

Patients who receive back surgery, knee surgery, shoulder surgery are referred for rehabilitation after surgery.  A progressive program of movement that helps patients through recovery and back to ‘their old self’.


Breast cancer patients have surgery.  But there’s no rehab.  There may be a pamphlet provided at discharge with a few pictures.  And there may be a mention to get back to exercise.  But who’s providing the strategy?  Who is telling breast cancer patient how to get from the recovery room to the ski hills, the tennis court, and the golf course?


That’s The Gap.


Because patients aren’t getting the information they need to reach their Best Potential.

And that’s why I developed a Cancer Movement Therapy program to fill that gap. To provide the rehabilitation for breast cancer patients that’s missing and leaving patients with pain, tightness, mobility issues, and decreased quality of life.

Foundations First Framework

I’m a passionate person who believes fully in my role as a Registered Kinesiologist and Movement Therapist.  I  love to support and encourage with just the right amount of ‘push’ so patients can move step-by-step through each level. This progression helps develop a better sense of self and a feeling of empowerment to take on even more challenges.



I utilize the Foundations First Framework (3F) for all my programs.  The Foundations First Framework breaks down your overall goals so you have a specific movement strategy starting with exactly what your body needs.  Completion of an Initial Kinesio-Test sets the proper movement strategy based on abilities and deficits that allows you to reach your best potential and to do it safely.



Right from the start, my patients start gaining control, overcoming fears, and building confidence as pain decreases, movement improves, and patients see and feel the benefits.  Fatigue starts to diminish and the activities that seemed impossible become achievable.


The positive feedback from seeing and feeling the physical benefits from cancer movement therapy isn’t just physical.  When you’re able to take charge and work to improve your body you feel empowered; and ready to take on the next step.  You develop more control in your life, and the overwhelm and anxiety begins to lessen.  



I truly believe that Movement is Power and the starting point for better Quality of Life and reaching your Best Potential after breast cancer surgery.

Just the Facts

Registered Kinesiologist with over 25 years experience
Developer of WELLFIT Cancer Program,2005

Cancer Exercise Program approved by Sunnybrook Hospital and Odette Cancer Centre, 2006

Developer of Your Next Move Post Surgery Breast Cancer Program

Registered Member of the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario
Professional Member of the Ontario Kinesiology Association
Member of the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance

FMS Certified Levels 1 and 2
Kinesio Taping 1 and 2

Certified Work Capacity Evaluator: Roy Matheson and Associates
Certified Ergonomic Evaluation Specialist Candidate: Roy Matheson and Associates

Conference Speaker, Cancer Exercise Protocols: Canadian Personal Trainers Network, 2017

Contributor as Movement Expert:

Recent Work

I’m excited that I was asked to collaborate, as an expert in Movement,  on a recently published article for

Here’s the link if you’re interested in learning how to do a Plank the RIGHT way!


Personal Stuff

I’m a mom, a wanna be athlete, a forever student, and someone who believes that touching a life in a positive way can make all the difference.  I love figuring out exactly what’s needed to help each of my patients.  It’s like looking at all the pieces of the puzzle and seeing how they work together.

Just like puzzle pieces that get worn around the edges, muscles and joints and necks and shoulders can get damaged as well.  This can be through disease, age, surgeries, and many other reasons.  Discovering what needs help is through the skill of evaluating movement.

The excitement for me comes with the planning of how to help my patients.  I develop a personal, step-by-step program of corrective exercises and movement strategies to work on the issues I discover during the evaluation.

Although individual pieces may need help, the true test of a great program is when all the pieces move well together.  So when we walk, and bend, and reach, and lift, there’s a flow, a symmetry, and an ease in our movement.  That’s always my goal.

It’s important to me that I make a difference.  My son learns from me every day and I love that he sees how much joy that work can bring and that helping others isn’t a challenge but a gift.

If you’d like to talk and see how I can help you,

 click the button below or send me an email.