There are probably only a handful of times that I have had my breasts worked on since I have become a massage therapist, and most of those times were during pregnancies. Even for me, who has pretty much had every part of me worked on, there is a level of self-consciousness when it comes to someone seeing my breasts. But, being able to move past the collective consciousness particularly here in the repressed United States where breasts are represented as sexual marketing “tools” and primarily objectified as sexual, is extremely important for women’s health.
Recently, I completed my second level of lymph drainage therapy though the Chikly Health Institute I was blown away by the knowledge I gained about the lymphatic system and how to manually move lymph though out the entire body, particularly breast tissue. Lymph Drainage Therapy has a major focus on working with lymphedema, which is a condition where lymph nodes are either removed or not functioning and fluid pools in one area of the body and causes major swelling. This condition is often secondary to breast cancer surgeries like mastectomies or lumpectomies. I not only learned how to work with this condition, I learned how to potentially prevent disease in breast tissue (and everywhere else in the body, but lets stick to breasts).
Before I talk about what it is that I do with breast tissue, I want to tell you the indications for this work in case you get bored and don’t want to read on:
24 hours or less before a mammogram and/or thermography, surgery – this work will help clear out excess fluid
Engorgement – when breasts get overly full with milk and becomes painful, this will help reduce pain and increase milk blow to aid in emptying breasts
Inflammation/infection like mastitis – I helps clear the blockage and clear out the infection
Fibrocystic Breasts – alleviates pain associated with fibrocystic tissue and get rid of the hard lumpy tissue
Scarring (acute or chronic) – Whether it’s associated with breast reduction surgery, implant surgery (this surgery forces lymph to go in a different direction because the foreign object in the body is compressing all of the complex workings of the breast tissue), or lumpectomy, mastectomy, it is critical to have scars worked on, ideally right after surgery (acute) or even years later (chronic) as it can cause fascial dysfunction and pain pattern not only locally, but in other areas of the body
Menstrual breast pain or Mastodynia – great for getting rid of the pain and swelling
Please refer to The Chikly Health Institute for more on Lymph Drainage Therapy because this is where I learned all of this valuable information.
During class we only had time to practice on one breast. The work was extremely gentle, non-sexual of course, and relaxing. I have fibrocystic breasts and it was amazing how the treated breast felt and looked different than the untreated breast. In fact, the next day when I got dressed there was more then plenty of room in my bra on the treated side and when I put my shirt on, I was really wishing we had done both because the difference was plain to see in my shirt. It sloped down on the treated side.
I wanted to share this knowledge with you because I would love to be able to help people prevent cancer and/or prevent recurrence of cancer. I also know that this is a taboo subject and it takes a significant amount of trust for this to happen, especially as prevention. I have found that people who have already gone through cancer treatments are open to the work because they have already been poked and prodded. Cancer survivors respond well to this work because it is so gentle and nurturing.
There is also the possibility that the work can stir up past memories. About two days after I received the work, I experienced some of this. I have done a lot of self-care, so I was able to just observe the memory, but it is something to consider. If you have a history of physical or sexual trauma, it may be a good idea to be working with a therapist when you decide to embark on this treatment. I am also trained to deal with emotional releases during your treatments, so please do not let this discourage you. I can work with your therapist if you sign a form.
I will not perform the Lymphatic Breast Care without consent. There is a form specifically for this work that you will sign before treatment. You can look at the form here.