Breast massage is a sensitive subject. Current massage regulation in California requires that a Health Care Practitioner refer for the massage and that the client sign a written consent.
But why bother getting your breasts massaged?
“Massage of the anterior chest wall supports easy breathing. This is the most effective way I know to facilitate truly relaxed breathing. Relaxing the breath immensely contributes to reduction of tension not only in the chest, but in the full body. Tension in the throat is often very much reduced with full chest massage giving both physical and emotional benefits.
Massage and mobilization of the soft breast tissue supports circulation, which supports the overall health of the chest and breast. With no muscles of their own, breasts depend on movement to support circulation. However, many women wear bras (i.e. most of us) which both inhibits movement of our breasts and actively constrict lymph flows. The chest can therefore greatly benefit from the lymph flow which is encouraged with this massage.
Massage of the anterior chest wall is effective treatment for injuries to the chest, shoulders and neck. Full chest massage with pressure applied to the muscles deep to the breast tissue with consistent firm flow over the ribcage helps both tone and relax the chest muscles as needed, just as happens when we massage the muscles on the posterior ribcage, or other parts of the body. The effect is to enliven the ribcage so that it gives better support to the shoulders and neck, which relieves tension and discomfort in these areas and assists in treating neck and shoulder injuries.
Massage of the anterior chest wall and breasts facilitates experiencing one’s breasts as a normal and natural part of our bodies.
This has been my personal experience: When receiving full chest massage done with professional, neutral, totally non sexual touch I have the most amazing experience of my chest as an integrated part of my body. I’ve received this special touch from both male and female massage therapists. In receiving full chest massage I experience a break from the many societal expectations I’ve lived with for the past almost 50 years since I was a teenager, and still live with. These social expectations suggest that our breasts are too big, too small, not firm enough, or otherwise problematic. I may been seen as prudish if I cover up too much and whorish if I show too much.
For me, the experience when receiving full chest/breast massage done skillfully to treat my entire chest as just another part of my body is the experience of being good enough just the way I am. I feel my “inner light”, my sense of my own goodness. It’s totally amazing! I feel my inner and outer beauty, just the way I am. It’s powerful and precious to me.
I do not get the same powerful experience of feeling my own goodness when a massage therapist carefully works origins and insertions of muscles while carefully avoiding the “off limits” parts of my breasts. That said, I do experience some orthopedic benefits for my chest, shoulders and neck from partial chest massage.
OTHER BENEFITS OF CHEST & BREAST MASSAGE
Receiving breast massage can provide women an opportunity to develop a sense of normalcy, confidence and control related to touch for their breasts. This can be especially powerful for women with traumatic history.
Receiving breast massage helps maintain good posture by reducing tension in the chest and thereby leading to more open chest position.
Receiving breast massage can relieve PMS and cyclical related pain and tenderness in the breasts. This can be a welcome relief for many women.
Helping women become more comfortable touching our own breasts is an important benefit of massaging breast tissue as a normal part of the body within a wellness massage. Receiving professionally given massage of our breasts can help us women become more comfortable doing our own breasts exams.
Massage can support women who are pregnant, nursing or breastfeeding in many ways:
improve skin tone
increased breast milk production
relieve the discomfort of engorgement
unblock plugged milk glands
increase drainage during breast feeding
decrease appearance of scars and stretch marks
Reducing our chances of developing breast cancer by supporting healthy circulation is thought to be a benefit of breast massage. Many people believe there is is a correlation between chronic poor breast drainage and susceptibility to malignancy.
Massage therapists experienced in massaging breasts may help women pick up breast tissue changes which may need medical follow-up. We may have the opportunity to provide life saving recommendations for our clients to follow up with doctors.
Massaging the breasts can help women prepare for breast surgery. Within a full body massage I once massaged the breasts of a woman who was scheduled to have a lumpectomy the following day which was eventually followed by radiation treatment. She later told me that the breast massage she received from me greatly helped her stay centered and calm during the course of receiving medical treatment for breast massage.
Receiving breast massage can help women recover from bruising, scarring, nerve irritation and movement restriction which occur as a result of injury or surgeries. Massage can help with healing from surgeries such as biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies, breast reductions and breast augmentations. Massage of the breast and chest tissue can often relieve pain and irritation and help the client receiver regain movement.
Lymphatic drainage breast massage is used to treat and manage swelling, including that caused by lymphedema.”
Myofascial Release, Touch of Jade Lymphatic Therapy, Lomilomi, and Swedish are modalities I do that can be used in breast massage. Reasons clients have received breast massage include, surgery recovery from cancer and radiation burn, breast reduction scaring pain relief, preparation for surgery, cysts, and fibroids. The massage can also be part of a post natal massage conditioning.
Massage brings relief from many conditions. It is noninvasive and non medicinal. For these reasons alone it is worth giving massage a try. It is an excellent addition to standard medical treatment which can be coordinated with your treating physician.