Breast Health

Gently massaging the breasts is an important ritual for women, because it aids in the circulation of blood and lymph fluid, which is responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue. Regular breast massage can help prevent the buildup of lymph fluid, which may cause discomfort and lead to other more serious problems. It can also be incorporated into your regular breast selfexam. Breast massage is also a way to love and admire our own bodies. Our society gives women the message not to touch ourselves or experience our own beauty, so we often end up feeling alienated from our bodies. On the other hand, our breasts are sexualized, objectified and given a central place in the standard, media-driven image of feminine beauty. Many women end up feeling unattractive or inadequate because their breasts diverge from this artificial standard. By treating our breasts to a gentle massage we not only reap the physical benefits, but can also urge ourselves toward greater appreciation of the bodies we are born with. Massaging the breasts can also be very helpful for alleviating premenstrual problems. Breast massage is simultaneously relaxing and invigorating. As an extra incentive to incorporate breast massage into your body care routine, remember that it will make your breasts more healthy and vibrant. When massaging your breasts, be very gentle, since the breast tissue is fragile and easily damaged.Breast Massage

Sage Blue from Wolf Howl Herbals, in Vermont, who has been a massage therapist for over two decades, has agreed to share with us her excellent technique for breast massage. You will find her favorite breast balm recipe to use while doing these strokes, as well as her ideas on breast health.

“Breast Cancer is increasing at an alarming rate. We can do something about it! We can take responsibility for our own breast health, learning about our breasts, recognizing normal breast changes that occur during our cycle and getting comfortable with the natural lumpiness of breasts. We can do this in a natural, most loving way with breast massage.

“Bras, particularly tight sports bras, constrict movement of fluids in the breasts and may cause the surrounding lymph-drainage system to fill with toxins, which then feel lumpy. Regular (once a week or once a month) breast massage helps the lymph system surrounding the breast tissue to drain toxins from the tissues into the bloodstream, where they are cleansed from the body.”

Sage Blue’s Breast Massage Techniques Find a comfortable, private place where you can sit, recline or lie down; for instance, you can do the massage while soaking in the bathtub. Apply just enough oil or balm to help your hands glide over your breasts without sticking, but still maintaining enough resistance to allow deep strokes. Try all or any combination of the following massage strokes:

Sternum Stroke. With fingers together and hands slightly cupped, place your hands over your breasts at the heart level, letting your fingers touch at the center of the breastbone (sternum). Using moderate pressure, draw your fingers toward your palms. When your fingers touch your palms, move your hands up about a 1/2 inch and repeat the stroke, and so on all the way up to the collarbone. Repeat.

Nipple Stroke. Place the fingers of both hands on either side of one nipple and stroke from the nipple to the underarm with one hand and to the breastbone with the other. Move your hands around the nipple, stroking outward in all directions, like the spokes of a wheel.

Underarm Stroke. Reach across to one underarm with fingers together and hand cupped and stroke with moderate pressure toward your breast. Move your fingers down (away from the underarm) about an inch and repeat the stroke. Continue until your hand is underneath the breast. Now, go back up to the underarm and make circles all around this lymph-rich area with the flat of your hand. Massage the other side in the same manner. Repeat several times.

Merry-Go-Round Stroke. Cup your breast in your hands and slowly and gently move it in circles in all directions.

Heart Stroke. With fingers together and hands cupped, place your hands over your breasts at heart level, letting your fingers touch at the breastbone. Slide your hands up over your breasts and around the sides until they meet together underneath (make a heart). Repeat.

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