Time to talk breast care. I'm about to ask you to sit and think about your breasts for a minute... so maybe get comfy, grab some tea and a piece of paper and pencil because I have some questions for you.
First, when you hear the word breasts, what comes up for you? What is your relationship with them? How well do you know your own breasts? Do you currently care for your breasts in a specific way, why or why not? Do you think of them outside of nursing children? Are they a source of pleasure for you? Do elements of body image come up for you?
There are a number of practices that you can use to begin and maintain a postive relationship with your breasts, as well as helping to keep them healthy and vibrant.
Here is a short list of things you can do in addition to doing a regular monthly self breast exam (which is so important to help with early cancer detection).
Write a thank you note, a love note to your breasts. Promise to love and care for them. Dote on them. Paint them and make art.
Lose the bra as often as you can- especially ones with underwires, as they largely prohibt the lymph flow in and around your breasts
Drinking plenty of water- water keeps us hydrated and our body functioning properly, as well helping to remove toxins from the body.
Enjoying a healthy diet- making sure your body is getting a good supply of nutrient-rich food. There are so many schools of thought on what this means, that finding one that works for you is a whole seperate personal quest, but the main key is a balanced diet full of fresh veggies and fruits, fatty oils, and minimal sugar intake.
Exercise- one of the many reasons regular exercise is important, movement is the one major way that our lymph circulates through our bodies, so keep moving to help it along.
And last but ceratinly not least...
Regular breast massage (RBM)
-A daily or at the very least weekly practice can help to firm breast and surrounding area tissues
-We have one of the larger clusters of lymph nodes concentrated in our armpits and around and through our breasts. RBM helps moves the stagnant lymph flushing toxins out of our system.
-Breast massage helps to improve circulation, and by doing so promoting fresher, nutrient-rich blood flowing to the tissue.
-RBM can help stimulate the production and release of hormones in the body.
-It can also help you feel more comfortability with touch. Breasts are so much more then just a way to feed our young. From body image to intimacy and everything in between, breast can have an invisable barrier around them in regards to our level of comfort with both self touch and/or that of a partner. Regular breast massage can be a wonderful tool to help change or even deepen our relationship with touch on such an intrensically feminine and sacred part of the female body.
-Knowing your own body can be a way to empower yourself. Providing you the opportunity to understand your preferred touch, and can be potenially diagnostic by having a deeper "picture" of your mammary terrain- any bumps, lumps, tenderness and sensitive areas (and as a bonus massaging your breasts can reduce tenderness), better equiping you to notice any changes as soon as possible.
-Energetically women tend to be more emotive then men (not always), but in general we communicate through our hearts which are located in our chests. This makes our breasts susceptible to energy getting stuck and needing to be released- this is where a gentle sweeping motion with intentional imagery and/or plant limpias (among other practices) can be the perfect tool to cleanse and release.
First let me stress there is really no wrong way to massage your breasts. Here are some suggestions to get you started...
-Select a oil, cream, or massage medium that helps to provide glide over your skin. Preferably a nourishing, organic oil with no synthetic additives. We recommend our own herbal breast oil, Nourish, however a calendula infused oil or a light oil such as apricot kernal oil we think are fantastic as well.
-Next bare those beautiful breasts and prepare to apply your oil or the like.
-Our main thoracic duct is essentially in the middle of our chest and is the main site when working to flush out stagnant lymph, so working from the outside aspect of your body to the mid-line (armpit moving inward to the space between your breasts)
-I suggests using a gentle, rhythmic kneading motion. One way to accomplish this is by creating a "U" shape with your fingers and thumb and using this knead the space. This is particularly effective around your armpit area.
-Using your fingers to make gentle circles going all the way around and ending at your nipple.
-Light sweeping motions across the different sections of your breasts
-Delicate finger taps
*Essentially, listen to your body and allow your inuition to guide you. You can't do it wrong.
We are living in a time where women are actively taking back their power, as part of that let's take back our boobs. Let's love ourselves and our breasts unabashedly. Caring for them, nourishing them, and honoring them. And while we are at it, lets teach our daughters, nieces, granddaughters- the rising generation, this loving act as part of basic body care.