Breast health is an important consideration when looking at overall body wellness.
The breast tissues have very specific needs, needs that are often overlooked and neglected in our day-to-day life. Breast tissue can be compromised with many musculoskeletal complaints, breast specific procedures (excision, reduction, implants, post cancer treatment), hormonal changes, posture, as well as the simple consideration of wearing a bra.
Our breasts receive optimal tissue movement from the rebounding action of the tissues when we walk, jump, or when actively manipulated/massaged. Garments we choose to wear for support of our breast tissue actually hold the breast and it’s important lymphatic drainage system tight and compacted against our bodies, which as a result compromise the natural drainage system creating congestion, pain, discomfort and possibly contributing to further breast conditions down the road. Breasts are specialized glands that are comprised of specific lobes and ducts, as well as soft tissues and a rich lymphatic supply.
One of the most important considerations on breast health is the breasts drainage ability, which is dependent on the tissue health and overall movement of breast tissue. Tight fitting clothes and bras impede are bodies naturally ability to allow this drainage to occur in an optimal manner.
Breast massage, either self-treatment or administered by an experienced therapist, can assist in optimizing the drainage patterns and contribute to the complete health of our breasts. In many bodies the borders of the breast tissue run from the lower edge of the collar bone (clavicle), the breastbone (Sternal) midline, into the lateral axillary region (including tissues running into the armpit), and it extends to an area approximately 1 inch below the visible breast contour (Debra Curties, Breast Massage). These borders are important to consider in thinking about manipulation of the tissue, muscles that can contribute to breast pain, as well as the impact of bras (underwire, tight fitting, incomplete coverage). Breast massage can assist with; removing drainage obstruction, increasing overall relaxation, decreasing restrictions from breathing disturbances, it can also be a healthy way of monitoring your breasts for changes or concerns that may arise.
The hormonal adaptations that a woman’s breasts go through in menstruation, pregnancy, and through menopause can create intense deep pain and congestion through the various ducts in the breast tissue, breast massage can greatly decrease the pain intensity and can also prevent future problems. With the increasing incidence of breast cancer, as well as benign breast conditions, there is also an increasing need to respect the needs of our breasts as we would any other tissue or concern in our bodies. Often there is a large amount of discomfort in communication around breast tissue, either due to emotional factors, societal views, or the fear of disease.
Getting to know your breasts more can help to decrease that fear, and perhaps encourage a healthier relationship, both physically and emotionally, with our bodies as a whole. Breasts are part of a woman’s body that need to be honored and cared for, learning more about breast massage can be a way to start this process.
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