Breastology 101: Be Your Own Breast Expert
Did you know that there is one organ in the body that does not have a medical speciality studying it?
Yes, there are dermatologists, urologists, gynecologists, neurologists, and on, but there is no specific discipline devoted to breasts.
Breastology - the study of the care of healthy breasts in all ages and stages of a woman’s life - is still a new frontier. It’s time for women to take our breast health into our own hands and be our own breast experts.
In Florence William’s book “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History”, she quotes Peter Hartmann, PhD, internationally-renowned lactation researcher saying, “It’s amazing how few people are interested in this incredible organ. The breast is the only organ without a medical speciality. It represents 30 percent of a women’s energy output [when she is lactating], and it’s not represented by a specialty!”
This amazing organ, through which it’s miracle milk has created the foundation for humanity to thrive and survive for millennia, and is revered for it’s beauty like no other human body part, is still quite a mystery to modern medicine.
Human breasts are unique from every other mammal on Earth, for other primates only have breasts when they are lactating, yet human women have noticeable breast tissue throughout our entire post-pubescent lives.
Every other human organ is fully developed at birth, but the breasts are different in that they develop later on in life responding to cues from the environment, puberty, and pregnancy. Breasts change dramatically during stages of life, as well as having monthly changes during each menstrual cycle. Breasts also vary widely in size and shape from woman to woman.
Our breasts are also very sensitive to triggers from the environment including xenoestrogens from plastics, hormone disruptors from chemicals in our body care & household products, birth control, hormone replacement therapies, industrial pollution, and even the clothes we wear.
Despite this astounding uniqueness and importance, breasts have been considered not worthy of being studied much until recently. Florence Williams writes in her book “Breasts” how “Breasts are often overlooked, at least for non-cancer scientific research. The Human Microbiome Project, for example, is decoding the microbial genes of every major human gland, liquid, and orifice, from the mouth to the skin to the ears to the genitals. It neglected to include breast milk, the life-giving, life-saving, older-than-mammals-themselves elixir. Oops.”
There are fragmented disciplines focused on breasts, each with their own specialized focus, such as breast cancer treatment, plastic surgery, genetic science, or breastfeeding. Yet there is no health profession dedicated to the whole health and wellbeing of breasts throughout a women’s whole life.
There is great complexity to studying breasts due to variety, sensitivity, sexualization, and ethics that all together results in an incomplete understanding in our culture of how to really support women’s optimal breast health in every stage of life. We need to support young girls, teens, and women of all ages to appreciate their breasts and care for them every day.
While the medical and scientific communities are still standing around ogling at women’s breasts, it’s time for us women to get serious about breast vitality, health, and longevity for all.
Ladies, it’s time to BYOB: Be Your Own Breastologist.
I think it’s vital for every woman to learn basic information about self breast care and preventative measures for caring for your breast health.
Get to know your breasts by regularly touching them, massaging them, and looking at them in the mirror. Be loving and honoring of your body, appreciate your breasts as you examine them.
Here are 5 Steps to Be Your Own Breastologist:
- Look: Yup, check them out in the mirror. Look at your breasts each day and notice what they look like. After taking off your clothes, look at your breasts and see if there are any red lines from ill-fitting bras or tight clothing. These are indications that your breast circulation may be impaired and you'll want to find clothing that is comfortable and does not leave marks on your body. Appreciate your breasts when you see them, stand up tall, shoulders back, breath deep and say “Hi girls! You are beautiful!” Check out my article on "Why The Best Thing About a Bra is Taking it Off" to learn more about the potential health risks of your bra and tight clothing.
- Touch: Feel them, massage them, lift them up and jiggle them around. Notice how they feel at different times in your cycle. Massage and movement helps to stimulate the circulation of the breasts. Getting to know how your breasts feel regularly helps you to know if they feel normal, and notice if something feels different. There are several modalities of massage and bodywork that are beneficial for breast self-care, you can look into circulatory massage, lymphatic drainage massage, acupressure, energy healing, dry brushing, and more. The more you touch your breasts, the more you know what they are supposed to feel like.
- Move: Each day when you are looking at and touching your breasts, take a minute to gently bounce your breasts to further enhance the lymphatic and circulatory flow through the breast tissues. Bouncing on a mini-trampoline or rebounder is a healthy exercise that vibrates every cell in the body and supports lymphatic health. Vibrating and jiggling the body and breasts, even gently without a trampoline, enhances lymphatic health and overall energy. Movements and exercise that involve open and lifting arm movements, such as many kinds of dance, also open and tone the deep muscles of the ribcage and shoulder sockets, which support the health of the breasts. So bounce your boobies and wave your hands in the air! Watch my video on "Viva la Boobies! The Movement" to learn more about gentle bouncing for breast health.
- Nourish: Eat a clean organic diet high in dark leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. Organic foods will lower your pesticide and chemical exposure and fresh produce will increase your fiber, which is needed in the body to flush out extra hormones and support overall digestion. If you include animal foods, choose nutrient-dense pastured, grass-fed, or wild animal foods such as raw grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, and wild salmon, as high-quality fats are needed for the body to create healthy hormonal balance. Eat fermented foods daily, such as sauerkraut, kim chee, kombucha, yogurt, or kefir, for the living probiotics to support your gut health. A healthy digestive system can process and eliminate more efficiently thus supporting your natural nourishment and detoxification. Drink high-quality purified water or spring water. For optimal breast health eliminate alcohol, sugar, trans-fats, GMO’s, artificial colors and flavors, pasteurized and homogenized dairy, and most grains (unless fermented or sprouted). Chlorella is a natural supplement known to support the body’s chelation of heavy metals and toxins, which otherwise may end up collecting in the fatty breast tissue or in a mother’s breast milk.
- Breath: Deep natural breathing that creates movement of the thoracic cage under the breasts helps to improve the vitality of the breast tissues. Deep breathing alleviates stress, congestion, and tension within the chest area, brings movement and stimulation to the lymphatic circulation, and awareness to that area of the body. With relaxed deep breathing, the belly is relaxed, the inhalation expands the abdomen and the thoracic cage, resulting in movement of the breasts. Breathing opens the chest and brings enhanced relaxation and natural movement to revitalize the breasts. Deep breathing coupled with awareness will also allow you to tune into how your breasts are feeling, and what you feel intuitively guided to do to support your natural breast vitality. Breathe deep for healthy breasts!
Each day pay attention to your breasts, love them, appreciate them, and keep learning more to keep your breasts healthy and vibrant your whole life. Your breasts are unique and different from anyone else.
Be your own breast friend. When you become your own breast expert you take charge of creating a healthy life and future for you and your breasts together!
Kara Maria Ananda