Breasts. In our culture, they are loved and loathed, adored and envied. We hide them, put them on display, exploit them, sell things with them, surgically alter them to suit current ideals of beauty, oh!….and some even forget that their main purpose is to feed our children.
Some statistics: 100% of female humans have or will develop breasts. So we need to pay attention to the fact that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women making up 25% of female cancers.
The lifetime risk for breast cancer in women is one in eight. Yes, you read that correctly. Since it is thought that only 5-10% of cancers are due to genetics1, we need to do what we need to, to minimize environmental and lifestyle risk factors that cause the other 90-95%. Avoiding chemicals, artificial fragrances, pesticides, plastics, and processed foods are critical, so it is important to read labels, do your research and not allow yourself to be ignorant of what carcinogens you and your family are exposed to.
Aside from that, there are some other simple and gentle ways to #CareForYourBreasts.
Set them free.
I’m not talking about bra burning. Breast tissue is abundant in lymph vessels and lymph nodes that help carry away toxins, maintain healthy fluid balance and store lymphocytes (white blood cells that help fight cancer, viruses, and other disease). Anyone who has worn a bra knows how binding and constricting they are. This constriction prevents the normal flow of blood and lymph that keeps breast tissue healthy. Going braless when possible can allow for this normal physiological exchange. Now, it’s not socially acceptable in many instances to go braless, but there are a few hacks:
Unhook your bra while driving in the car or sitting at your desk alone.
I do this throughout the day to relieve the pressure of the straps or underwire digging into the skin. Remember to refasten your bra when you need to. If you see me walking around with four bumps instead of two, you’ll know I forgot. Don’t make this awkward mistake.
Remove the metal wire from your underwire bras.
There are some who hypothesize that the metal wires in underwire bras can act like an antenna, increasing your breasts exposure to electromagnetic radiation. I can’t confirm if this is true, but I like to err on the side of safety. Don’t you? Plus I can confirm that they are not at all comfortable. If your bra is uncomfortable, remember that discomfort is a signal. Listen to your body. It’s easy to remove the metal wires. Simply make a small cut on the outer edge of the inside of each cup, and pull them out. When you see what they look like, you’ll realize how barbaric the practice of binding our breasts with wire seems.
Removing Metal Underwires for Safer, More Comfortable Bra
Breast massage can help increase circulation and lymphatic flow. Above we discussed why this is essential to healthy metabolism and physiology. Make certain to use a natural and nontoxic oil or massage cream. Breast massage and lymphatic breast massage are a bit different. Both are good for you. Breast tissue is sensitive to perfumes and fragrances which often act as hormone disruptors and so I avoid anything scented. Cold pressed olive or coconut oil work as great, natural solutions.
Store your cell phone elsewhere
I cringe when I see women carry their cell phone in their bra. Cell phones are basically microwave radios, and EMRs can cause cellular changes and perhaps cancer.2 Here’s a clip from Doctor Dr. Lisa Bailey, M.D., a breast surgeon and former President of the American Cancer Society, CA on why keeping your cell phone in your bra is a bad idea.
Love them as they are
We all grew up comparing them to our Barbie dolls and airbrushed images we saw in magazines. Today Photoshop, filters, electronic media and bras that resemble prosthetics more than they do underwear have altered our perception of what healthy natural breasts look like. If you want to know what normal, healthy breasts are supposed to look like, take off your bra and look in the mirror. Changes that may have occurred after weight loss, aging, or bearing and feeding your babies are natural, normal changes. #YouAreBeautiful.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.