…Try that mantra on for size.
I have to admit, as much media attention feminine cleavage gets, personally I hardly think about mine. When I was a teenager I used to self-deprecatingly wish I had a bigger boobs (they ain’t called “assets” for no reason), but except for a few rounds of using Shatavari ghee as a chest moisturizer, I neglect this part of my body. Its funny, because I spent lots of time tending to my eyebrows, polishing my complexion, and taming my weed-thick hair, but I, like so many of us, do not care for these areas which often take center stage in defining the female form. I think many women do; and I think its because we are a little shy to spend time tending to our busts because we think of them as our private areas (whisper).
But because Breast Cancer Awareness Month is happening in three days, I started thinking about how breast care is not a matter of up-keeping our sexy bits, but really a matter of health. And, I also think that paying more attention to taking care of our breasts, not only help to maintain their healthiness, but also promotes self-nurturing and self-love. The French word for self love “amour-propre”, and isn’t it just that? Proper love? So, perhaps we should stop being so sheepish and pay more attention to our breasts.
One way of the best ways to care for our breasts according to Ayurveda is through breast massage. The increase in circulation helps detoxify and promote healthy breast tissue growth. Lymphatic drainage also occurs when gently stimulating the bust and surrounding areas (many lymph nodes are located in the underarm), and this fluid drainage helps prevent cyst and fibroid build up. Movement and massage in this area is especially important because many of us wear bras impeding blood flow to our bust area, contributing to accumulation, lymphatic congestion, lumps and bumps. Breast massage is so beneficial for beauty reasons (they say it can increase breast size) as well as for wellness. Now, any of you who are Pure + Simple customers understand why we have a facial which includes breast and body massage which we call “The Lymphomaniac”.
Breast massage is also excellent for mothers who have recently stopped breast feeding. Certain motions help cleanse the milk ducts and prevent crystallization and cysts from their hardening. For this, I use a movement that we at Pure + Simple call “flower petal”. This uses a very gentle kneading motion with my thumbs from the base of the nipple (not on the nipple) pushing out to the base of the breast. I do this around the entire breast making a formation like a flower – with the nipping being its center and the massage movement being the petals.
Another move that you can used at home is called a “figure eight”, where I take one hand hand do a figure eight around both breasts. I go as far out as the underarm area to access the lymphatic network in this area. Massage techniques like these actually feel very relaxing. Because many of us do not receive massage in these areas often, and that we cut of the free flow of circulation when we wear under-wire bras, a lot of tension and stagnation gathers here and feels great being released. Some clients feel tenderness even with the lightest pressure, but as they come more often and their bust area is drained of excess lymphatic fluid and pressure, this is alleviated. It is also good for breast soreness around our menstrual cycles.
Whether we do this ourselves or have a professional esthetician or RMT work on us, breast care and massage is a good way to also keep them checked. With habitual attention, we can better spot irregularities and changes. Checking for lumps is why Fergie calling them “lovely lady lumps” always sounded weird to me. But hey, she goes on to sing “What you gon’ do wit all that breast? All that breast inside that shirt? I’ma make, make, make, make you work…(Oh) Spendin’ all your money on me and spendin’ time on me.”
I think we may have a difference in opinion about “amour-propre”.