Breast Massage and Breast Health

Gentle therapeutic breast massage and lymphatic breast care are ideal for maintaining healthy breasts, reducing pain, swelling and other breast problems. Regular massage can help prevent and detect breast cancer, some believe. (5)

We are all aware of the staggering statistics of breast cancer in this country. This year alone, over 40,000 women in the US will die from breast cancer (that’s one every 12 minutes), and another 200,000 will be diagnosed. (3) Most conventional approaches only treat the cancer once it is already detected, but the truth is there are many successful, non-invasive preventative care choices and proven health knowledge to prevent and protect against breast cancer for both women and men.

Research indicates that our lifestyle choices create and support our breast health as they do overall health and wellness. (3) Food and supplements, exercise, eliminating exposure to toxins, eliminating smoking, wearing well fitted non-underwire bras, reducing stress and balancing hormones are a great start. What isn’t discussed in prevention and general health is breast massage and maintaining healthy breast lymph.

The lymphatic system is part your immune system.

The lymph (blood plasma and white blood cells) circulates through the body tissues transporting debris and toxins from tissue to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes then enable the body to rid itself of these toxins. (2) According to Susun S. Weed, author of "Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way," breast massage helps to prevent breast cancer by improving the immune system and moving lymph fluids through lymph nodes under the arms.

Since breast tissue is well-supplied with lymphatics but lack sources of external compression (such as muscles or strong overlying fascia) to promote the natural lymphatic drainage found in most other body tissues, fluid has a tendency to accumulate in the breast. The light-touch specific approach of Lymph Drainage Therapy provides an ideal solution to fluid stagnation. (1)

Lymph Drainage Therapy is an appropriate and practical gentle, light-touch, non-invasive breast massage technique that can be used by a trained therapist for specific conditions and indications relating to breast care.


Applications for Lymphatic Breast Care include: (1)

Related to Mentrual Cycles:

  • Breast pain (mastodynia, mastalgia or mammalgia)
  • Swollen breasts


Related with Breast Feeding or Pregnancy:

  • Engorgement
  • Sore nipples (transient or chronic)
  • Inflammation or infection: mastedeneitis, mastitis, yeast infection, infected Montgomery gland, etc
  • Milk stasis: plugged duct, filled duct, plugged nipple pore
  • Bruise, wound (nipples aereola, breast), fissures, ulceration, hemorrhages
  • Dermatitis: eczema, psoriasis
  • Stretch marks


Fibrocycstic Breast/ Non-malignant Lump:

Many nonmalignant lumps may resolve quickly with Lymph Drainage Therapy


Pre/Post Surgical Interventions and Cosmetic Applications

  • Breast implant problems, post mastectomy, post lumpectomy, post tram flap, post lat flap, post breast reduction
  • Improvement in local venolymphatic circulation, removal of toxins, tissue reoxygenation, regeneration of skin tissue, skin tonification, and mastoptosis (breast sagging)
  • Scars (acute and chronic)


Other Applications Related to Breast Health:

  • Decrease hot flashes
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Early breast cancer detection
  • Self care drainage techniques given by your therapist (self massage, dry body brushing, change in type of bra worn)
  • Thermography has detected metabolic changes within the breast tissue or lymphatic congestion


What to Expect from Breast Massage:

Your Lymphworks therapists have accurate knowledge of the specific anatomy, physiology and related hand techniques involved so the practitioner can attune to the precise rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymph flow. Heavy pressure will NOT be applied to breast tissue. Deep pressure may not only hurt (the client) but may destroy the few suspensory ligaments (Cooper’s ligament) and elastic fibers which prevent sagging (mastoptosis). (1)

Our therapists respect and honor your trust at all times. Proper draping is always provided for our client’s comfort and security during breast massage. In fact, unless there are scars on the breast that require work, the Lymphatic breast care will always be conducted through a cotton sheet.

Clients are required to sign a release form given our therapists permission to conduct breast work.

Clients may always stop a massage for any reason at any time during the treatment process and this request will be honored with no questions asked.

Whatever lymph territory the therapist is working on, the lymph will be sent to the group of lymph nodes responsible for draining of that area.1 In the case of the breast, most of the lymphatics (over 90%) drain to the armpit lymph nodes. Lymphatics will usually always be softly stimulated in the neck, armpits (axillas), abdomen, breast mammary tissue, retromammary space (behind the breast), groin, and ribcage when receiving a breast massage session.

It is also important to note that our therapists will not work on active-cancer patients IF the tumor has not been removed OR is not under medical control. Physician’s permission is always required with active cancer. (1)

Think you may be experiencing something that requires physician intervention?


Signs Suggestive of Breast Cancer (1) (Seek Physician’s advice):

  • Painless lumps (only 5-7% of cancerous lumps are painful)
  • Hard lumps fixed to the surrounding tissue, rapidly increasing in size, no change to hormonal cycles
  • Alterations in the skin. Orange-peel appearance, eczema of the nipple, unexplained lesions, unexplained skin breakdown, skin ulceration
  • Changes in breast contour, breast thickening
  • Nipple discharge, especially bloody or dark brown (about 5% of these are malignant in origin)
  • Nipple retraction
  • Inflammatory signs- redness of the skin, pain, swelling
  • Breast varicosities- enlarged superficial veins


Please contact Carol or Rachel to ask if gentle Breast Massage is right for your health needs.

To schedule your Fort Collins Massage click here.



RESOURCES:
(1) ”Lymph Drainage Therapy, An Effective Complement to Breast Care”. Massage & BodyWork Magazine, June/July 2001. Dr. Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O.
(2) http://www.hps-online.com/breast-cancer.htm, “You can’t exchange your body.”
(3) http://www.saveyourbreasts.com, “Save Your Breasts breast health education & treatment.” Dr. Amber Wolf.”
(4) http://www.womens-journals.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=G5XZ9xWUQh0%3D&tabid=658. “Lymphatic Drainage Therapy, optimizing the health of your breast.” Dr. Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O. August/September 2009. St. Louis Women’s Journal.
(5) http://www.ehow.com/about_6383868_prevention-massage-breast-cancer.html. “Prevention Massage for Breast Cancer.” Yvette Davis.




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