The breasts are comprised of mainly adipose tissue (fat), milk ducts, and TONS of lymphatic vessels. To maintain breast health it is very important to maintain the lymphatic flow through the breasts.
Lymphatic vessels circulate lymphatic fluid which is the main conduit of our immune system. The lymphatic system collects dust, dyes, viruses, and bacteria from our bodies and also circulates are immune cells, primarily white blood cells (lymphocytes).
A healthy lymphatic flow through the breast tissue can help relieve breast pain, decrease lumps and cysts from fibrocystic breasts, bring blood & oxygen to the breast tissue, and can reduce breast tenderness during pregnancy and breast feeding.
6 ways you can maintain a healthy lymphatic flow to your breasts includes:
1. Exercise! Any time we move our body we are helping our lymphatic flow. Choose an exercise that increases your heart rate like a cardio activity. Dance classes can be a great way to move your body and increase circulation. Bellyfit is my favourite way to get a good workout because the classes are designed to activate key muscles in the woman's body (pelvic floor and core) and shoulder shimmies which are the BEST for getting circulation throught the breasts. Even a brisk 20 minute walk 3 times a week can make a big difference. For more about Bellyfit and find a class in your area go to: www.bellyfit.com/
2. Self Massage your breasts. Cheryl Chapman is a breast care advocate and has created this wonderful guide on the benefits of self massage for your breasts. www.cherylchapman.com/pdf/phluff.pdf
3. Breast massage by a registered practitioner. Did you know registered massage therapists are trained in breast massage? If you are comfortable with your practitioner you may consider asking for a breast massage. Manual lymph drainage (MLD) is another technique Registered Massage Therapist can use to increase lymphatic flow in your body.
4. Dry brushing. Dry brushing is a great way to stimulate lymphatic flow and mobilize lymphatic fluid in your breasts. For more info check out this great video www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGgDE0buvJU
5. Staying hydrated: making sure you are getting lots of water is very important for maintaining a healthy lymphatic flow. The lymphatic fluid is comprised of up to 96% water so making sure we are staying hydrated is key. If you are working out or sweating heavily make sure you are also maintaining your electrolytes as well as water intake. Electrolytes are key to maintaining fluid balance in and out of the cells in our bodies.
6. Give your breasts a break! Tight bras, especially ones with underwire, can restrict the lymphatic flow of your breasts. Avoid sleeping in bras and try and avoid bras with underwire or ones that are very tight whenever possible. Your breasts will be happier :)
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Rattray, Fiona S., Linda Ludwig, and Gail Beglin. Clinical Massage Therapy: Understanding, Assessing and Treating over 70 Conditions. Toronto: Talus, 2000. Print.
Tortora, Gerard J., and Bryan Derrickson. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009. Print.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material provided on this blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.