Boobs. Breasts. Titties. Whatever you want to call them, they play an integral role in your reproductive and overall health.
Taking charge of your health means getting to know your body, how it works and feels, and how to care for it.
With breast cancer affecting about one in eight women in the U.S., it’s understandable why the term breast massage brings up a lot of emotions; from anxiety, to fear, to grief. These feelings are totally normal, whether or not breast cancer has touched you personally.
Not only is massaging your breasts an important tool for getting to know your body, but it can also be vital for your health in catching early signs of breast cancer.
Here we’re going to break down the why’s and how’s of breast massage, and the beauty of integrating this practice as part of your self-care routine.
The breasts are incredible organs that are made up of fat, connective tissue, and gland tissue divided into lobes, that spread out towards the milk ducts as they move towards the nipple.
When getting to know your breasts, it’s important to hang out with them at different times in your cycle, as they can change depending on how close you are to menstruation. Some people find their breasts feel lumpy before their period. This can cause alarm if you don’t know what your normal is.
Your lymphatic system is essentially the sewage system for your body. It consists of a hardworking network of tissues and organs that filter toxins and remove waste from the system.
Also moving through this network is white blood cell filled lymph fluid, which helps to fight infections.
Breast tissue extends up towards your collarbone and into your armpits, which are hot spots for lymph movement. If cancerous cells were to spread from a tumor in the breast, they would be carried to the nearest lymph nodes.
When learning about your breasts, make sure to examine these areas as well, to get a full picture.
Take note that if you examine yourself while you’re sick or have an infection, you may have swollen lymph nodes that could feel lumpy.
Breast massage that isn’t focused on exams is a powerful tool for moving around the lymph in your body and keeping that drainage system from clogging. About five minutes per breast, a few times a week will move stagnation, and allow for fresh blood flow.
Not that you needed an excuse to, but there are plenty of other perks to giving your breasts a rubdown.
Usually, when we think of our breasts it’s in the context of nursing, cancer, and possibly sex. With that comes all sorts of emotions from insecurities, to trauma, to shame. Spending more one on two time with your boobs gives you time to get in touch with whatever feelings come up, and make space to heal them.
Your chest is an essential part of your core, and the muscles that hold you upright. Whether it’s from sitting at a computer or getting your workout on, these muscles can get sore! Breast massage helps to break up this tension and provide relief from sore shoulders and neck cramps.
When it comes to lactation, breast massage with a warm compress can help improve milk supply and flow, and prevent mastitis – a painful infection of the milk ducts.
How to Massage Your Breasts
This is your body, and you get to decide how to navigate it. Which means there’s no right way to massage your breasts. If it feels good, you’re doing it right.
Having said that, there are certain recommended techniques and things to look out for when getting to know them.
- What is their shape, size, and color?
- Do you have any swelling?
- What do your nipples look like at different times?
- Take a look at them with your arms down, as well as with them raised.
For massage time, try cupping your breasts with your fingers on the bottom, and thumbs resting on the top of them. Begin with slightly firm squeezes, then begin to gently massage with thumb and fingers, moving around the tissue.
After a few minutes, move outwards and upwards, getting to the sides of your breasts, your armpits, chest, and collarbones. Don’t forget your nipples – they deserve attention too!
Continue to breathe deeply, and feel the sensations.
Sweet Self Care
Taking care of your health is self-care, period. While breast massages are important for the health of your breasts, it can also be looked at as a way to relax, to experience pleasure, and to show your body some much-deserved love.
Just like taking yourself on a date, you can turn this into a sensual experience by setting the scene with candles and oils, and allowing yourself to explore the rest of your body.
Bringing in elements of wellness helps alleviate any anxiety you may experience around breast massage. Knowing your body, how it changes and fluctuates at different times means taking your health into your own hands.
So let this be your invitation to show your breast friends some love and attention. Massage time!
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at age fourteen, when she was present for the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birth doula, has given her hands on insight into the magical realm of birth, pregnancy, and all things in between. Her role as a birth worker, is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as a key educational tool for creating change in how we view reproductive health as a whole.