With the theme of breastfeeding awareness upon us, it seems that there is no better time to talk about breast health. When talking about caring for ourselves (or "self-care") the importance of breast health is paramount in this discussion. Becoming familiar with this part of your body is a massively important aspect of your overall health. From early detection of irregularities to simply encouraging lymphatic flow through massage- our hands are our greatest tool.
The last few months for me, have personally been a testimony to this significance.
It wasn't until my own experience breastfeeding (or chestfeeding) that I became more intimately aware of how amazing breasts are. What started off as a feature that showed up awkwardly in puberty turned into a source of life for my growing child! It is a mind-blowing experience that brought on a relationship with my body unlike anything I expected. I fully recognize that this is not every woman’s path. Fed is absolutely best when it comes to child rearing- however, no one will dispute the miracle food that is breast milk. It's a wonder of nature, and there is a reason we call it liquid gold.
Once I breastfed, I started to understand how much is going on inside our breasts. The flow (or chi) becomes very apparent. Regardless of whether or not you are feeding a child, I do think it is important to understand that your breasts are a literal sponge, soaking up a lot of data from the word around us. There is a reason that so many toxins are found in breast milk. There is information flowing in and out of this part of your body. It is not a coincidence that breasts are the most common place that tumors are found- followed by the lungs. We understand that the lungs serve as a filter for toxins, but this perception is not as common about the breast. We tend to think of breasts as lumps of fat, like buttocks- but this couldn't be further from the truth. While not classically defined as an organ, the breast serves many of the same functions as organs and work as filters for hormones, stress, toxins, emotions... you name it!
When you understand that the breast is alive in this very unique way, you start to see the importance of breast health. Not only can the chemicals you put on your body cause harm, there are also things that you can proactively do for good. Breast health isn't simply a one way street of keeping the bad stuff out. When you think proactively about breast health- and using oils and herbs to heal- you can then realize that there is a lot that we can do to detox our breasts and keep them healthy. When you think about it this way, it can be very empowering!
So how do we keep our breasts healthy? (I am currently in the process of learning this myself).
As more information is being shared and understood about breast vitality- there is more that we can do to empower ourselves. When we start to understand the breast as a window to understanding our overall health, we start to learn so much. Boobs aren't just blobs to be glossed over with random lotions or creams, and our pits aren't just about sweat! This whole area is a part of our body that deserves some serious TLC- and to be treated with products that nurture.
Here is a window into my personal program. Take what you will from it.
1) Start with detoxifying the arm pits. Many of you know that deodorant is a major chemical offender. If you've been into natural skincare products for a while, you have probably stopped using traditional antiperspirants. People tend to freak out about the idea of sweat, but I promise, once you start to clean things up- your sweat won't be the same. Fortunately, now is a great time to get into natural deodorants, because there are so many out there that are good!
The lymphatic system that starts in the arm pit is a source for drainage. You want the lymph system to move toxins out, not directly expose them to more. This whole axillary lymph channel drains directly into your breast. It is so important not to use toxic deodorant!
2) Massage neck, chest, and arm pits in order to properly drain your upper lymphatic system. I am not an expert in lymphatic draining, and there is a lot a great information online- but my basic advice is to not overthink it. The basic motions are light massage to the neck, chest and arm pit area. This can easily be done when applying your favorite product - like The Oil or The Balm. The key here is to move this area around. Too many people sit stiffly in tight fitting bras, and nothing is draining properly. Move it all around!
3) Go bra light. Everyone is different in this area, but we've all experienced the feeling of taking a bra off at the end of the day and how good this feels. You don't want that feeling! Your bra should not be a source of restriction, and discomfort. If can avoid wearing underwire bras- do! And if you are working from home, and can avoid wearing one altogether, do that too. Contrary to popular belief, braless boobs don't sag.
4) Avoid endocrine disruptors as much as possible- BPA, dioxins, phthalates, PFAs - the list goes on. These chemicals are found in many beauty products. While it's impossible to avoid any exposure, it's important to reduce exposure. Start with cleaning up your skincare routine!
5) Actively use products that detoxify your breast. The Oil is a great start, because it contains castor oil, grapefruit seed oil and frankincense - which are all known to help detoxify and drain the lymph. Not only does it feel luxurious it nourishes on a very deep level.
Breast health is a reflection of our overall health and well-being. It is an opportunity to connect with your body in an intimate way. Don't be afraid of what you will find! So many women are afraid to touch themselves in this area out of fear. All knowledge is power. Take that power into your own hands!