|Articles below give quite an exhaustive list of protocols and strokes for breast massage. I think maybe I can simplify. The direction I give is this – move fluid through tissue. I should mention the book, “Dressed To Kill” about the research done on bras and breast cancer. (Finding — more hours per day of wearing a bra equals more chance of breast cancer.) Since bras tend to slow or stop movement of fluid through breast tissue, then take off the bra
and massage the breast in a way that gets fluid to move! Women can practice this on their own breasts while in the shower and all soaped up and slippery. It should:
– not hurt – feel pleasant – stay off the nipple
Massage Deserves Attention
Breasts are body tissues with their own health needs. At some point in time, most women will experience breast congestion, breast pain, discomforts of diagnostic or surgical procedures, and anxieties about lumps or other changes in their breast tissues.Pregnancy and breastfeeding have their set of associated breast tissue needs. Unfortunately, many women experience physical and psychological trauma related to their breasts. And then there is breast cancer – impacting directly on the lives of many women, and indirectly on all of us.
|Conditions and occurrences affecting breasts lead women to seek medical help and to self-medicate. Statistics indicate many women complain of breast pain to their doctors.
At the same time, most sources reporting these stats believe women underreport breast problems, presumably for similar reasons to those whic h lead us to be uncomfortable about breast massage.The fact that breasts are strongly associated with sexual touching and attractiveness does not mean they cannot or should not receive health care. In fact, this symbolism adds a set of psycho-emotional concerns many women need help with in order to feel more at ease about doing routine self-examination and seeking the therapies they need in a matter-of-fact way.
|We cannot ascribe to the thinking that by examining or treating a breast (with consent), a trained health care practitioner is by definition doing something sexual. A therapist with sexual or abusive intent can convey this in the way he or she touches any body part, and with all manner of other verbal and non-verbal cues.
The well-intentioned therapist will be especially conscious of avoiding any such possible interpretations when treating body parts known to be more emotionally charged. We assume doctors, nurses, lab technicians and others can appropriately handle the necessities of working with breast tissues. Are massage therapists so different?
Massage therapy is an effective “wellness” treatment for breasts, as breasts particularly need good circulation and tissue mobilization for optimum health. Poor circulation can produce various uncomfortable symptoms. Breast scarring (surgically and traumatically induced), which is more common than we often realize, can cause painful syndromes and obstruct blood and lymph flow.
Some believe there may be a correlation between chronic poor breast drainage and susceptibility to malignancy. Massage techniques and hydrotherapy may in fact turn out to be some of the most effective modalities for addressing such problems and promoting breast health.
Many women need more help becoming comfortable with breast self-examination than they receive in their doctors’ offices. Some have traumatic histories and need assistance achieving a sense of normalcy about their breasts and the types of touch involved in seeing to their care. As well, a skilled palpator may be more successful in picking up early-stage breast tissue changes needing medical follow-up than a client would herself. Given the time spent, the regular treatment intervals, the privacy of the circumstances, and the trained empathy and physical skill of the practitioner, massage therapists really have something to offer.
There are some very important safety concerns, both for the client and the practitioner. Some people have histories which can make it difficult for them to distinguish present realities from past experiences, and some people find it especially tough to talk clearly about what they accept and cannot accept as treatment – referring to both clients and health care workers. Our personal stories are often the same. There are no magic answers about how to identify the situations to avoid.
Most of the confirmed disciplinary cases I am aware of have arisen from circumstances where the massage therapist did not communicate clearly, did not properly obtain consent, and/or did not maintain professional boundaries. However, there are some definite risks – there are high-risk clients and there are high-risk circumstances. It is important to keep in mind these circumstances are not exclusive to breast massage.
Can we justify letting our concerns about risks cause us to completely overlook the legitimate treatment needs of breasts? Is it right that breast health care is not getting the attention from our profession that it should? Should women have to suffer from pain and other symptoms which could be ameliorated if we were comfortable addressing them in the way we would be for other body tissues? Is there any way massage therapists can help in the fight against breast cancer?
|The left side demonstrates the vascular system of arteries and veins. The right side shows the lymph nodes and direction of lymphatic flow away from the breast||Self Care for Your Breasts
|While one in eight women will find themselves in the grasp of breast cancer during their lifetime, you don’t necessarily have to be one of them. The information provided in this brochure will give you some insight into how your breasts work and what you can do to keep them functioning properly.The goal of this brochure is to help in the prevention of breast cancer. It doesn’t make sense to leave your health to chance. Even the Self Breast Exam is designed to help you after you get a tumour or breast cancer. This is not to say that you shouldn’t regularly check yourself for lumps. Early detection does greatly increase your odds of surviving cancer. However, waiting for cancer rather than actively participating in its avoidance can be detrimental too your health.
Your breasts are essentially structures made up of fat and gland, mounted to the female’s chest wall with a delicate system of ligaments. The circulation in the breast is much the same as the rest of the body consisting of arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels. In short, the arteries bring fresh blood too the cells carrying along with it the nutrition that the breast and its tissues need for proper health. The veins bring the blood back from the cells along with cellular waste and toxins. The lymphatics are designed to return the toxin and other waste materials that lie in the intercellular fluid between the cells.
Toxins are believed by many to be the local beginnings of cancerous tissue. It is imperative that these toxins be continually removed through the body’s veins and lymphatic vessels. When these toxins are unable to exit the body properly, the possibility of cancer increases.
A recent study of 4,700 women found that women who wore brassieres had an increased chance of acquiring breast cancer. It is very possible that the constant pressure that the bra puts on the breast is limiting the flow of toxins that need to be released, resulting in the increased cancer rate. Any more than a gentle amount of pressure can flatten the lymphatic vessel and stop the toxic flow from the breast.
The Study found the highest rate of breast cancer in those who wore bras 24 hours a day, and the lowest rate in those who never wore bras. The study suggested that women should wear their bra less than 12 hours a day.
Now that you have a better understanding of your breasts, it is important that you apply this knowledge to your health. The four-step procedure shown on this page will give you a simple massage technique that can be done, by yourself, in the privacy of your own home. Although almost any gentle massage technique will be of benefit, these four techniques should be a part of your personal regimen.
The purpose of these techniques is to flush fluids from the breast, (both venous and intercellular), bring nutrition to the tissues and specifically remove the toxins via the lymphatic system. Also, these techniques will enhance the health and elasticity of the support ligaments, which will in turn provide you with better breast support.
More specifically, step One is a gentle draining motion designed to drain the breasts lymphatic system and is possibly the most important of the four steps. Steps number Two and Four are to assist in the movement of venous fluids. Feel free to experiment with these to movements and find what is comfortable for you. Step Three is simply to help keep your support ligaments in good health and assist in the fight against gravity.
This procedure should be done at least twice a week. It can be done on bare skin, but you may find that using some vegetable oil may be more comfortable. Stay away from mineral-based or scented oils.
Step One: Use your fingers to gently smooth away from the nipple. These movements travel from the nipple and directly away using no more pressure than what you would apply to your eyelid. Any more pressure would flatten the lymphatic vessel and stop the flow of toxins and fluids. Also, make this stroke slow, not fast, for it to be effective.
Step Two: Gently massage the breast with a kneading-like motion, using lifting and pressing movements.
Step Three: Slowly and carefully use your hands to twist the breast in a clock-wise and anticlockwise direction, being careful not to put too much tension on the breast.
Step Four: Use both hands as shown to apply several, moderate pressure, compressions to move out more pressure fluids.