Many of us here in Michigan do get massage for the body now, but we don’t think about the breasts. Maybe we do our monthly exam….if we remember. But in other states, like California, breast massage is legal and performed regularly.
If you have a family history of cancer in your family, particularly breast cancer, here is a self care technique that you should be practicing at least a few times a week:
Breast Self Care- breast massageThere are several theories about the epidemic of breast cancer in the United States.
Breast massage can also stimulate the breast and activate the lymph system. However, it is illegal for a massage therapist to massage your breasts in the United States. This is not the case in Canada, Europe, Asia, and many other countries.
For Americans in general, viewing breasts in a nonsexual way is difficult. The fact remains that breast tissue is like any other tissue- it needs to be touched (oxygenated).
What does breast massage do?
The lymphatic system is part your immune system. The lymph (blood plasma and white blood cells) circulate through the body tissues transporting debris and toxins from tissue to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes enable the body to rid itself of these toxins. Massage can partially act as a suction, stimulating lymph action. Stroking the breast opens and closes tiny capillaries that pull off unwanted material from the cells and deposits it into the lymph nodes.
How to massage your breasts
Following are four steps to self-breast massage created by Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) therapist Dana Wyrick based on research by Drs Casley and Smiths in Australia. Dana Wyrick is the director of Wyrick Institute a MLD school in San Diego. Wyrick is currently working with authors of How to Prevent Breast Cancer on producing a video to be released this summer.
This method can be done by you or your partner, in a lying or sitting position. Use gentle but deliberate stroking motions, similar to the pressure you would use when petting a cat firmly. Before you begin breast massage, it is important to activate and prepare the lymph nodes and tiny lymphatic vessels that will be receiving and purifying the lymph.
Beginning under the ears and using both hands, stroke down the neck and throat into the hollow above the collarbone between the base of the neck and the shoulder. Do this stroke 15 times.
Cross your arms over your chest. Press your index and middle fingers into the hollow above the collarbone between the base of the neck and the shoulder. Move your fingers in circles, the right hand moving clockwise and the left counterclockwise. Do this 15 times.
Raise one arm and stimulate the underarm lymph nodes by massaging the armpit with a flat hand in circles going upward 15 times. Repeat the stimulation on the other side. Now you are ready for the actual breast massage.
Place the fingers of each hand, one above the other, flat on the breastbone between the breasts. Using a firm stroking motion, move the top hand across the top of one breast toward the armpit. Simultaneously, move the bottom hand across the bottom of the same breast, ending all stokes at the armpit. Intermittently massage the armpit in circles a few times as in step 3 above. Be sure the entire breast gets massaged. Pay special attention to the upper outer quadrant of the breast, where 50 percent of all breast cancers develop. Do this for a minute or more. Repeat with the other breast. Place the heal of the hand on the sternum pushing into the armpit covering the whole breast. Do this for a minute or more. Repeat with the other breast.