1. Breast Massage for Better Health
Bras and breast cancer – Do bras restrict lymph flow and therefore increase the risk of breast cancer?
A recent study of over 4700 women (2056 previously diagnosed with breast cancer, 2674 never diagnosed with breast cancer) indicated that there was a positive correlation between breast cancer and the length of time that women wore bras per day:
* Those who wore a bra all day-long (defined in the study as any period more than 12 hours) had statistically 21 times greater risk of breast cancer than those who only wore a bra for only part of the day (defined in the study as any period up to 12 hours).
* Women who wore their bras all day and night (essentially 24 hours per day) had a 5 times greater chance of developing breast cancer than those who wore it all day-long.
The study conjectured that wearing a bra may constrict the flow of lymph fluid in the breast, which then causes the higher risk of breast cancer. Lymph fluid is the natural watery fluid which surrounds and bathes cells in body tissues. Lymph fluid carries disease-fighting cells and helps remove accumulated toxins, some of which may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
The impaired flow of lymph fluid is thought to allow toxins to build up, thus causing breast tissue cells to be exposed to higher concentrations of cancer-causing toxins for longer periods of time. The study suggested that women wear their bras for fewer hours, thus giving their breasts time to “recover” and also not wearing bras that feel constrictive or tight.
For more details on the study, conducted by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, see their book Dressed to Kill, (Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1995). ISBN 0-89529-664-0.Available from The Naturist Society, P.O. Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Tel. 414-426-5009.
Breast massage for better health by improving lymph fluid flow. The author of this Web page hypothesizes that methods of increasing lymph fluid flow may be a preventative measure to reduce the incidence of breast cancer. In muscles, lymph fluid flow can be stimulated by exercise or by massage. For soft non-muscular tissues like breast tissue, massage is a principal method of increasing lymph fluid flow. Massage also stimulates blood flow, which might also be helpful.
The following frequently-asked-questions list describes the methodology, which the author feels is deserving of further investigation.
Considering that breast cancer is a very major health risk for women and considering that women in this society wear bras which may tend to decrease lymph flow, this is potentially worthy of your consideration.
How does one do this type of breast massage?
The breasts are soft tissue which can be effectively self-massaged or massaged by someone else.
Gentle-to-moderate kneading, rubbing, and squeezing strokes with the hands are sufficient to induce increased lymph and blood flow to the breast. The breast can be kneaded and squeezed by contracting the palm and fingers of the hand (somewhat like a handshake) or the breast can be rubbed and stroked using the palm and fingers of the hand using gentle-to-moderate pressure. It is not necessary to use hard pressure or other techniques which cause pain. A lotion or massaging oil adds considerably to the pleasure of the experience and helps prevent “rug burn” sensitivity.
The receiver may find that certain types of strokes are more pleasurable. The receiver may also prefer certain speeds of movement and pressure. Accommodating these preferences makes the breast massage feel much better and helps to encourage the regular practice of breast massage.
To drain the lymph fluid from the breast, one useful massage stroke is a gentle radial outward stroke from the nipple to the outer edge of the breast. This is done by applying light pressure starting from the center of the breast and making several strokes from the nipple towards each part of the perimeter of the breast.
The direction of the strokes are like following spokes in a wheel from the center to the edge. This stroke can be incorporated as part of the massage but should be combined with the other strokes above which help to stimulate lymph and blood circulation. Think of the radial outward stroke as a specific draining stroke and the other strokes as methods of increasing the fluid flow rate, just as exercising a muscle will increase the flow of blood through the muscle.
Increased blood flow to massaged areas is indicated by a feeling of warmth in the massaged area. The warmth generally can be felt by both the receiver and the massage giver. This is a good indicator that the massage is also improving lymph flow.
Women’s breasts vary considerably in texture and sensitivity to pressure. Hence, gentle strokes for those who are sensitive or have softer breasts. Moderate pressure may be more effective for those with firmer-textured breasts.
As a part of a pleasurable, sensual massage, the kneading strokes may be combined with softer caressing strokes over the front chest and abdominal region. This helps relax and give pleasure to the receiver. Stroking and gently pinching the nipples can also be a pleasurable part of a breast massage. These strokes should be used in combination with the gentle kneading and rubbing strokes above which constitute the principal method of increasing lymph and blood flow. A breast massage may be combined with a massage of the shoulders and side chest muscles for a more relaxing, revitalizing, and pleasurable experience.
Health Note: As far as possible cancer detection, if during self-massage or giving a massage, any lumps are felt, these lumps should always be investigated thoroughly by informing and visiting a qualified physician. The practice of breast massage should be in conjunction with (and not a substitute for) regular self-breast exams and exams/tests during visits to a physician. If any lump is ever found, that area should NOT be massaged until a physician is consulted. Repeat: do not massage if any lump is found.
What other benefits may be possible?
Women whose breasts become somewhat enlarged or firmer as a result of the pre-menstrual cycle may experience some breast discomfort. Such women may find that breast massage makes them feel more comfortable and is a pleasurable experience.
Women who are pregnant or nursing may find that the substantial changes in the quality and sensitivity of their breasts are causing some discomfort. Such women may be pleasantly surprised to find that a breast massage also improves their comfort and gives pleasure, and makes them feel better about their breasts. (The massaging of breasts is already undertaken by many nursing mothers as a part of the nursing process.)
Will I become aroused by receiving a breast massage?
Many women find the stroking of their breasts to be very pleasurable and relaxing. The positive feelings associated with breast massage help to encourage regular practice. Some women find touching of the breasts during the massage to be sexually arousing or causing some emotional feelings. All these feelings are very natural physiological and emotional responses and should not be any cause for concern or embarrassment. Massage in general is a pleasurable, sensual experience in addition to being healthful.
A good breast massage should be gentle and nurturing. The gentle stimulation of the breasts and chest area may release some emotional feelings. During massage, many people experience joy, peace, or sometimes a release of previously-repressed emotions from past events (positive or negative, including possibly crying) followed by a more deep relaxation. This emotional release is also a very normal, human part of the massage experience. For most women, the enjoyment of breast massage is a natural, sensual pleasure and very relaxing.
For those who may not wish their breast massage to be as pleasurable or arousing, the type, speed, and pressure of the strokes can be regulated if necessary to control this sensation of pleasure and arousal. Again, individual preferences and sensitivities vary; for example, some may find firm strokes to be arousing while others may find light caressing to be overly erotic.
How often should my breasts be massaged and for how long?
The previous study involving bras provides some evidence that improved lymph fluid flow may be good for your health.
It is hypothesized that toxins tend to accumulate due to reduced lymph fluid flow during the use of a bra during the day. Hence, one good time for having a breast massage is after taking off a bra at the end of a day or during a break in the day. At such times, a breast massage may be very helpful in stimulating the flow of lymph fluid and blood to remove the accumulated toxins. Some women find bras to be somewhat constricting to their breasts and surrounding musculature or tiresome on the shoulders, which is another reason why a gentle, pleasurable massage after taking off a bra is revitalizing.
This should not be taken to discount the value of having breast massages at other times or less frequently than daily. The build-up of toxins may be a gradual long-term effect from wearing a bra for too many hours per day. A breast massage once every few days may be valuable in helping to avoid excess build-up of toxins and is a relaxing, pleasurable experience.