The healing power of movement – for the back, heart disease and cancer

We all wish for a miracle cure that can heal our major ailments like back pain, heart disease or even cancer. Maybe it already exists and is more commonplace than we think. It costs nothing, is free of artificial additives: Exercise. It is becoming apparent that we are on the verge of a turning point in medical research. concerns accompanies three people with different diseases for six months who dare to experiment: can exercise help in the fight against their suffering, or even have a healing effect?   

Brigitte Weishaupt has been suffering from back pain for seven years. The 56-year-old has been through a real odyssey – every doctor gave a different diagnosis. Nothing helps. Now she is travelling to Sigmaringen. There, a team of experts awaits her with an unusual approach: perhaps it is not the spine that is to blame for Brigitte’s permanent pain, but the connective tissue, her fasciae. And can targeted movement therapy help her then? The doctors are convinced of that. For Brigitte, who actually lives in Holland, Sigmaringen is the last hope. If they can’t help her here, she has promised her husband at home, she will have the operation. Will her hopes be fulfilled and can she avoid a back operation after all through targeted exercise?   

Halide Krasniqi is in her mid-forties and a mother of two. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is being treated at the National Tumour Centre in Heidelberg. She has six months of chemotherapy ahead of her, and only then will the remaining tumour be operated on. Halide has registered for a special exercise study offered by sports physicians in Heidelberg:  Exercise is not only supposed to help defeat the side effects of the dreaded chemo: “If we could show with our research that exercise had a direct effect on curing cancer, that would be a sensation,” says exercise researcher Karen Steindorf.  Halide is determined to exercise regularly despite the chemo. She hopes that exercise will help her beat cancer.   

Siegfried Rheinwald has a life-threatening heart disease. He has already had a total of six stents. His last heart attack was only two years ago. Today he has an appointment at a Munich practice for heart patients to have a test to see how resilient he is. “Exercise can be prescribed like medicine,” says cardiologist Allessandra Boscheri and recommends special endurance and interval training for the 74-year-old. Not so easy for Siegfried Rheinwald – because he is actually a sports muffin. But because he really wants to take part in a mountain hike especially for heart patients in the summer, he takes it upon himself to train every day.  

In this long-term observation, we accompany three people with different diseases. With them we want to find out: Can regular exercise alleviate their suffering, or can exercise even help them heal?

Broadcast date:1. Juli 2020 um 20.15 Uhr im SWR
Length:45 Minuten
Written and directed by:Kirsten Esch
Camera:Oliver Biebl, Thomas Bresinsky, Johannes Straub
Editor:Robert Vakily
Editorial advisor:Martina Treuter (SWR)
Production:Alexander Busch, Christin Gumpert
Line producer:Ulrike Schwerdtner
Executive producer:Jasmin Gravenhorst
Producer:Anna Grün