Did you know that FemCentral has her very own massage therapist? While it’s difficult to give you massages virtually, feel free to ask questions from Fred for his monthly column. Simply reply to this post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject “Ask Fred.”
What are they? They are your breasts. They deserve your attention and may also deserve the attention of your massage therapist.
“What? I’m not going to let my massage therapist touch my girls!”
Now before you go running off screaming let me try to make the case why breast massage, even if it is performed by yourself, deserves your attention. And, massage therapy can be a very effective “wellness” treatment for breasts, as breasts need good circulation and what is called “tissue mobilization” for optimum health.
Let me start off by stating that there may be laws in local jurisdictions and in your state that prohibit or regulate breast massage by massage therapists. At a minimum, the standards of practice for the American Massage Therapy Association and for the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals state that breast massage may only be performed with informed, written consent of the client, namely you.
Having gotten the legal stuff out of the way, and hopefully you’ve moved past the giggling and any shock, I would also tell you that in much of the rest of the world, attitudes about breast massage (and abdominal massage too) are much more open and accepting than here in the United States. In Canada for example, breast massage is a regular option for women, as long as it is indicated in the normal course of treatment and as long as informed consent is obtained. Breast work is a component of lymphatic drainage massage, and breast massage is also part of the tradition within Ayurvedic massage and Lomi Lomi massage.
In the United States our attitudes towards breasts are definitely different than elsewhere. But, that doesn’t mean that you should not consider breast massage as part of your breast wellness plan. Despite the fact that the female breast is associated with sexuality and physical attractiveness does not mean that they should not receive physical care.
Gentle breast massage can reduce breast soreness due to hormonal fluctuations and stimulates lymph flow. Breast massage helps to relieve toxin buildup and encourages blood circulation for a healthy lymphatic system.
Breast massage is VERY GENTLE work, and often incorporates the techniques associated with lymphatic drainage massage, which consists of very gentle and light pressure. The following video demonstrates the type of lymphatic drainage techniques that I am talking about. As you can see, this is very gentle work.
I encourage my clients to do regular breast self- massage 2-3 times a week. It only takes 5 minutes or so. The pressure is very light, about the weight of a piece of paper, and touch is applied with the full palm or underside of your fingers. Remember to be gentle as it takes very little pressure to move lymph fluid through your breasts.
I recommend that my clients find a regular time to perform breast self-massage. A logical time might be right after you shower, but it can be at any time of the day. For many of my clients, breast massage is a logical extension of an exercise I have taught them called “Love your body, love your belly.” You don’t have to make this complicated. You use simple massage strokes such as lifting and light kneading, small circular strokes and light compression.
Here’s a simple breast self-massage routine for you. I encourage you to experiment. This activity will help you to get to know your breasts and become more comfortable touching them.
- Start by using the hand opposite the breast you massage (right hand, left breast, left hand, right breast). Begin with light to moderate pressure using circular strokes working out from the nipple and into the underarm and then back into the middle of your chest (breast bone)
- Using a circular motion, just move your fingers around the breast.
- Gently massage and knead each breast. You can gently lift each breast and gently apply pressure. Use only light to moderate pressure as this will help move fluids out of the breast.
- Using both hands, gently twist each breast in a kind of wringing motion
- Again, with the opposite hand, use the flat part of your fingers to gently lift the tissue beginning at the underarm toward the nipple.
- Place your fingers on your breastbone until you find the valleys in between your ribs. Using your fingers, gently follow the grooves of your ribs and move all the way up from your breastbone to collar bone. Then move your fingers back to your breastbone and gently follow the grooves of your ribs all the way to the bottom of your rib cage.
That’s it. That’s all there is too it. If you perform breast self-massage regularly, you will begin to notice the subtle changes that may occur in them throughout the month. You have just embarked on a path to better breast health. In the process, you’ll get to know your breasts better. And, you’ll be doing something that puts you in charge of your health and wellness.
More about Fred:
I’m a nationally certified massage therapist, Reiki Master / Teacher and Intrinsic Coach© focusing on women’s wellness. I’m a graduate of the AKS School of Massage in Herndon, Virginia. I received my coaching certification in Intrinsic Coaching through Totally Coached, Inc. I have studied advanced body work and have completed additional training in Thai Yoga Massage, Lomi Lomi, Tui-Na, Tibetan Massage, Qi-Gong, and lymphatic drainage massage. Additionally, I’ve received a Master’s degree in Education from Chapman University and a BA from University of Maryland. I am an active member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).