Lather. Rinse. Touch tatas. Repeat. With your own two hands you can upgrade your self-care routine with a breast massage (you too, dudes).
Giving your chesticles a rubdown is best known for finding breast cancer, but there are a number of ways breast massage can benefit your health. So go ahead, start feelin’ yourself.
Breast massage can benefit anyone with a chest at any stage of life. It can be particularly beneficial for lactating women and folks with a family history of breast cancer (including men).
Breast massage is also a major part of the Indian Ayurvedic system of natural medicine, which has been around for more than 2,000 years.
A warm oil massage called Abhyanga can involve massaging the breast tissue to release toxins. While there isn’t much research around this style of breast massage, a 2011 study found that Abhyanga decreased subjective stress levels and lowered heart rate.
1. Breast cancer detection
Being familiar with your own rack allows you to know exactly when a change occurs.
As you glide your fingers along the breast tissue, an unexpected bump serves as an important sign that something dangerous may be lurking under the surface. Breast self-exams are an important part of detecting breast cancer.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 71 percent of breast cancer in women under 50 is found via self-detection. Utilizing breast massage as a regular part of your routine allows you to detect any potential irregularities in breast tissue.
Early detection is extremely important when it comes to cancer survival rates. As of 2016, the SEER Cancer Statistic Review found the 5-year survival rate is about 90 percent, compared to 75 percent in 1975. These better outcomes are possible thanks to early and self-detection.
2. Lactation and breastfeeding
There’s plenty of discomfort that comes along with pushing a baby out (it’s a war zone down there, people). But, breast pain and discomfort doesn’t have to be part of a new mom’s postpartum problems.
Breast massage can help promote more breast milk production and prevent clogged milk ducts. A 2016 study found mamas who massaged their breasts 10 minutes prior to self-expressing milk found improved lactation and reduction in pain.
Babies might get in on the benefits, too. Research is limited, but a 2004 Japanese study found that breast massage improved the amount of solids, lipids, and casein concentration in breast milk. Translation: Breast-massaged milk could do a baby’s body some good.
3. Lymphatic system stimulation
Breast massage may aid in making sure toxins in your lymphatic system are exiting the building rather than overstaying their welcome.
Although your armpits don’t get the same amount of adoration, breast tissue does extend to your lymph nodes in your pit region.
Lymph nodes make up your lymphatic system, which contains a fluid responsible for flushing out toxins. Your lymph nodes often indicate an infection by swelling up (near your throat and groin, too).
If there’s a buildup of waste fluid that causes a blockage in the lymph nodes, you can develop a lymphedema. This incurable condition typically causes swelling in the arms or legs.
People who undergo radiation therapy or surgery for cancer are at higher risk of developing lymphedema.
A 2015 study found that compression and breast massage improved the swelling associated with lymphedema. Additionally, a 2017 study had similar findings and had MRI scans that proved excess lymph fluid was being moved.
Even if you don’t have lymphedema, breast massage may help keep things moving in your lymphatic system.
4. Ease sore muscles
Massaging the twins can help ease chest, shoulder, and back pain. You don’t have to do physical fitness test’s worth of pull-ups to overexert your chest muscles.
Tension gathering in your back can also strain your chest muscles. Massaging the pectoral muscles can help reduce tension in these areas and soothe the soreness.
A chest massage can also be more relaxing in the long run than just a back massage. A back massage won’t release all the tension in your chest, which can make the back tense up again.
5. Breast aesthetics
Looking to perk up your chest but don’t want to end up on an episode of “Botched”? Breast massage may help boob aesthetics.
Though scientific study is minimal, some use breast massage as a way to minimize stretch marks and reduce breast sagging. A 2012 study found that a 15-minute breast massage with almond oil reduced the appearance of stretch marks.
Beauty is in the eye of the breast-holder. The more familiar you become with your body, the more you can appreciate it. Breast massage can be a way to get in touch with your body.
A 2017 study of nudists found they had positive body image from constant exposure to their own bodies (as well as others). While we aren’t saying getting nekked is the answer, breast massage might allow you to see your breasts and learn to appreciate them more over time.
Whether lying down or standing up, a breast massage can be performed based on individual comfort. It may be easiest to incorporate knocker kneading into your shower routine.
When massaging your melons, you only need about 4 to 10 minutes per breast to reap the benefits. Although you can do it daily, three to four times a week will do the trick.
When it comes to how to perform a breast massage, that really depends on the desired benefit. The breast massage for muscle tension is not the same as a breast massage for lactation.
Here’s a breakdown of different breast massage methods.
Breast cancer self-exam massage
- A breast self-examination is done best in front of a mirror when you can feel and see your breasts. Start with your arms at your side then place your hands on your hips and finish by raising your arms above your head. Observe any differences in shape, color, and size.
- Next, place three fingers on your breast with the other hand behind your head. In a circular motion, use your three fingers to apply pressure to the breast tissue in light, medium, and heavy variations.
- Keep in mind that breast tissue extends under the armpit and continue to massage upward. A full breast exam covers from collarbone to abdomen and across armpit to armpit.
- Switch which hand is behind your head and massage along the other breast in small circular motions.
- Finally, squeeze the nipple to check for any discharge or discomfort. If either of these occur, you’ll want to consult your doctor.
- Breast massage for lactation works best if your hands are warm. Start with four fingers on the top of your breast and four fingers on the bottom. With both hands, massage in a circular motion.
- In a circular pattern, shift your hands to the sides of the breast, gently kneading the tissue. You can also try incorporating finger taps.
- If you want to use hand expression to remove breast milk, you can do that by putting your index finger behind the base of the nipple. Gently and rhythmically apply pressure to your breast. Push the milk toward the nipple.
- To improve lactation, you can perform hand expression before or after breastfeeding.
Lymphatic drainage massage
- Unlike a breast self-exam, a lymphatic drainage massage starts at the breast tissue located under the armpit. This location is important because this is the area where you can feel your lymph nodes through the skin.
- Stretch your arm across your chest so that your palm sits on your breast and your fingertips rest in your armpit.
- With your hand over your breast, squeeze in a pumping motion around your breast toward the nipple.
- If you have recently had surgery, it may be best to consult with a professional first.
Muscle tension massage
Breast massages for relieving muscle tension focus more on the pectorals than the nipple area. Start massaging at your collarbone, where the pectoral muscles attach.
Although it’s not standard in a full body massage, a professional massage therapist may be best equipped to perform a breast massage for muscle relief.
If a massage therapist plans to incorporate a chest massage, they should ask consent to make sure you’re comfortable.
In most cases, you don’t need to go anywhere to achieve the best in breast massages. DIY is the simplest way to keep your melons massaged on the regular, especially if you want to go the route of three to four times a week.
Googling a location for a breast massage may be heavy on the sleaze and light on the professionalism.
Your best bet in seeking a professional breast massage is to look for a practitioner of Ayurvedic breast massage or a licensed massage therapist who offers lymphatic and pectoral focused massages.
Ayurvedic massage also incorporates lymphatic drainage to relieve muscle tension.
There are few risks associated with breast massage, though breast cancer survivors, or those who have had breast surgery, may have tender spots in the form of lumps or scars.
In this case, a doctor may recommend a breast massage from a licensed massage therapist. If you notice anything unusual during a breast massage, chat with your doc.
- Breast massage is safe to do on your own, and in the comfort of your home.
- The benefits of breast self-massage are numerous including muscle tension relief, breast cancer detection, and stimulation of the lymphatic system.
- In addition to health benefits, getting comfortable being your own personal breast masseuse could boost self-love.
- Performing a breast massage depends on the desired benefit, but most techniques involve finger placement and circular motions (wax on, wax off).
- Breast tissue extends beyond the tatas so don’t forget the armpits!