Breast Massage: The Essentials
"Either of the pair of mammae* occurring on the chest in humans and having a discrete areola around the nipple"
*Mammae is found in both males and females; breasts are not exclusive to any gender. All people can benefit from natural care for breast tissue.
There is real need to normalize dialogue and action around our bodies, not only during times designated as appropriate. As we continue to establish breasts as much more than a sexual device, we learn as a culture to respect them as we should respect any human being and our right to health. I've found that the regular practice of breast massage and the use of essential oils has benefitted my health, and has also granted insight into my body that had previously been overlooked.
Though breast massage can reduce visual lumpiness and support shape, the greatest benefits are the proven preventative measures towards cancer and health complications. Breast massage flushes out toxins from the body's lymphs, which are highly concentrated in the breasts and underarms. Because buildup of toxins effects the circulation of lymph drainage in breast tissue, there is an increased chance over time for cancer to develop. Think of it like a blackhead - if it's caught early on, it can be easily cleared out, keeping the skin and pores fresh and healthy. However, if left for too long, the blackhead could harden and cause a major blockage of sebum beneath the skins surface. In this way, breast massage allows breasts to drain toxins, which eliminates harmful waste and allows nutrient-rich blood to flow.
If you're someone who tends towards breast tenderness, particularly during ovulation or hormonal fluctuations, breast massage could serve as an effective pain reliever. Because much of the sensitivity has to do with tissue swelling and water retention, massage can reduce soreness and pain by draining excessive fluid, and relaxes the resulting tissue tightness.
To be effective, only 100% pure therapeutic grade quality essential oils must be used.
Essential oils are derived from natural sources, such as flowers, fruits, nuts, roots, and other plants. Unlike mineral oils (which are manufactured from petrolatum compound ingredients), essential oils blend into the skin, and do not block out air or moisture. Breast tissue require a balance of both to remain healthy. Essential oils are often very strong and can even burn the skin. They should be blended with a carrier oil in order to use topically.
I recommend using Jojoba oil as your carrier, since it is the closest natural oil to our own human sebum. It's highly emollient and anti-inflammatory, actually unclogging the skin. Great for sensitive skin and rich in Vitamin E, jojoba also stimulates blood circulation, and benefits skin elasticity. Another huge benefit of jojoba is that unlike sweet almond or grapeseed oil, it does not oxidize or become rancid.
Jasmine, chamomile, thyme and cinnamon have been known to be potent against cancer cell lines. In a 2015 study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, chamomile was found to destroy up to 93% of cancer cells, and thyme oil destroyed up to 97% of them.
When these essential oils are applied to the skin, they are absorbed into the bloodstream. They're also wonderful to use in baths (around 8-15 drops of undiluted essential oil per tub), or in a diffuser. If you don't have one, you can also boil water on your stovetop and add a few drops, inhaling the steam.
If you have scar tissue or stretch marks, use cocoa or shea butter mixed with vitamin E oil, which have epidermal healing properties. This mixture can be used directly onto effected areas, though not as a replacement for massage oil.
HOW - TO
To use these oils, I recommend mixing about a cup of jojoba oil with up to 35 drops of your most favored essential oils. Store this mixture in a cool place, ideally in an airtight bottle or glass jar. I like to keep mine in the bathroom so that it's easily accessible while I shower, which is when I like to use it.
LMT and founder of Earth + Sky Healing Arts, Katinka Locascio describes how to perform personal breast massage:
"Start by cupping one hand just above your opposite breast so that your fingertips go into your armpit and your thumb is on the front of your chest. You’re basically cupping your pectoral muscle with your whole hand. Gently squeeze this area in a rhythmic pumping motion. Make sure to start here, so you’re clearing the lymph from your armpit first.
Then, gradually move your hand down onto the top part of your breast. Using this same pumping motion, work around the outside, under, and then inner part of your breast, around the nipple, and back toward the armpit. Your direction of pressure is to push fluid from your breasts toward your armpits.
You can alternate the squeezing or pumping with some gentle fingertip circles, again with the intention of moving fluid toward your armpit—kind of like giving yourself a breast self-exam, except with a nice rhythm. You can also experiment with a faster or slower pace and firmer or softer grip.
The point is, it should feel nice. This isn’t just a robotic activity to move fluid—it’s a way of connecting with your body.”
In my personal regime, I also tend to begin at the heart, and with a rolling push, move outwards towards my armpits. I do this from the top, moving up and around, on the sides, and the bottom as well.
If you're PMSing or currently on your cycle, I recommend starting this practice once you've ended, when tenderness isn't at its peak. See what works for you, and keep in mind that there could be some initial discomfort. All bodies are different! However, within a short period of time, this practice could easily become a welcomed part of your regular routine.