“Doc, every morning in the shower, I look down at these things. They look like soggy, empty mittens lying flat on my chest,” says Barb as she sits down for her appointment. Barb is talking about her breasts and she doesn’t sound happy about her tatas. This is something I hear about all the time so I’m not surprised.
Barb has been a patient at the clinic for almost a year and has done amazing work to get on a path to wellness. She, like many women, feels like her breasts aren’t happy and thinks the only option is to get breast implants or just deal with it. That is not the case. There are 3 essentials every woman needs to make her tatas happier and healthier.
Who Has Unhappy Tatas?
Barb is looking and feeling great while following a comprehensive wellness regimen but now after weight loss she notices her breasts more. It’s sad that something like breasts would keep her from fully enjoying her health. After 3 children and breastfeeding, she feels like her breasts have been beaten. She wonders what her husband thinks of them.
She’s not alone. It’s something I hear all the time, mostly from married women in their 30’s, and above, who have families. Even when a woman has a healthy pregnancy and healthy body, the effects of breastfeeding and pregnancy just tears the body up.
Time and children aren’t kind to women’s breasts, making them self-conscious of their bodies- sometimes to a destructive nature. I also see the impacts breast implants have on women as many women come to the clinic when their breast implants are making them sick.
Breast Implants in the U.S.
Breast implants are the most common in a growing list of cosmetic surgeries. Nearly 300,000 women had breast augmentation surgery in 2016. That’s a 37% increase from 2000. (1)
Almost 300,000 women every year are risking their health, their lives and their happiness to have better breasts. They are putting a foreign object in their body so then the body mounts an attack on itself. The breasts aren’t even guaranteed to be perfect. They might be lopsided, have scarring, wrinkling or other imperfections. They aren’t even lifetime devices- they only last, at the most, 10 years and then you have to go through surgery again to remove or replace them.
There are lots of reasons to hate on breast implants. Besides the polarizing stigma, the FDA themselves actually lists dozens. (2) The list includes:
• chest pain
• changes in nipple or breast sensation
• rupture of the breast implant
• necrosis (uh, that’s dead tissue)
• breast tissue atrophy
• and more
Is that enough for you, or do we have to keep going?
Breast Implants Are Harmful
A study looked at the association of silicone implants in both antibodies and autoimmune diseases. It studied patients who had silicone implants compared to those who did not. It showed immune systems were much more active in patients who had silicone implants versus patients who did not have silicone implants. (3) An active immune system is not a good thing. It means the body is on the attack.
The body is attacking the foreign body and essentially your own body. Massive inflammatory reactions to the breast implants trigger autoimmune disease. Is it worth it?
I have seen it all when it comes to breast implants and questions. The worst memory I have is a woman who was a plastic surgeon and gave her daughter breast implants for her high school graduation. Her daughter developed autoimmune disease. Her body was fighting this foreign object! Think about it, by giving her this “gift,” she actually made her daughter sick at a very young age.
Now, would you want to make your daughter sick? No! Of course not! If you wouldn’t do it for your daughter why would you do it to yourself? So, on the other hand, many women might not get the implants. They would just be unhappy with their breasts.
Neither is an ideal solution.
3 Essentials for Happy (and Healthy) Breasts
The ideal solution is happy tatas and I have 3 essentials for healthy breasts that are going to get you there. The essentials are massage & exercise, eating good foods and having balanced hormones. If your tatas are happy, you will be happy and if you have one your husband will be happy, especially since he can help with one of these essentials. Can you guess which?
One of the simplest ways to keep the breasts in good condition is to massage the breasts properly. Done on a regular basis it can have great benefits. What does regular basis mean? Daily. It only takes 5 minutes. You can do it.
It has long been recognized that massage feels great and improves blood circulation. A study from 2014 validated this by measuring muscle soreness and blood circulation in participants. There were 3 participant groups in the study. One group exercised and received massage, one just exercised and another just received massage. Even the group that just received massage had benefits of increased blood circulation. (4)
Breast tissue must be highly vascular to allow for oxygen to get deep into the tissues. Once oxygen levels deplete, the collagen starts to disintegrate. That’s when the sagging and changes happen. Massage can help get oxygen to your breasts. Once you get oxygen to the breasts regularly it keeps them very taut.
If you’re not allergic, use coconut oil. It has great fatty acids, assists hormonal reactions, increases sensitivity and gets blood flow to the breasts. Using coconut oil by itself is great. We also have a recipe for a coconut oil body butter you can make at home.
The Massage Steps
A great way to start is to warm up the body and breasts. You can do this with a heated blanket, in a warm shower or in an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas have many health benefits. My favorite sauna is Sunlighten. I have one at home which allows for a little more privacy for massage. You find what works best for you and fits into your day.
Next do a nice chest-opening stretch. Your choice. If you are a yoga fan you may have a favorite. If you don’t have a favorite there are lots of great options. You can intertwine your fingers behind your back, press your knuckles and shoulder blades towards the floor while drawing your hands up from your tail bone.
Now that your body is warmed up, rub the palms of your hands together to heat them up. Then take your right hand and cup your left breast. Starting at the top of your nipple start massaging your breast in a tiny circular motion moving clockwise (towards the center of your chest) around the nipple. Keep going around the breast until you have massaged the full breast then as your final loop towards your armpit take both hands and move them towards your armpit and the lymph nodes located there.
Then take your left hand and cup your right breast. Starting at the top of your nipple start massaging your breast in a tiny circular motion moving counter clockwise (towards the center of your chest) around the nipple. Keep going around the breast until you have massaged the full breast then as your final loop towards your armpit take both hands and move them towards your armpit and the lymph nodes located there.
Repeat on each side 5-10 times. Don’t worry you can’t massage them too much. At the end of each loop make sure you are massaging up and into the armpit where many of your lymph nodes are located.
What Are Lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. They are small, bean shaped masses that act as a filter catch toxins and bacteria in the blood stream so it can be removed from your body. A big group of these are located in your armpit. Wearing a bra can inhibit their functionality and a bonus of the massage will be to help improve the blood flow out that way.
Do not stress if you don’t get all the steps down right away. Just get used to incorporating it in your day and it will come more naturally. Something to remember is there is no wrong way to massage, as long as it feels good. There is no need to use excessive pressure. All breasts are different so use the appropriate pressure for your set.
There are many benefits to massaging your breasts and a great way to treat yourself. More benefits and less risks than getting breast implants. While breast implants can reduce your sensitivity, this massage technique can improve your sensitivity while making them look and feel better.
2) Eat Good Foods
Eating healthy foods is the cornerstone of a healthy body including healthy breasts. Along with a healthy diet, there are foods you can eat to help build collagen. Collagen is fantastic for keeping tissues tight and improving the skin’s elasticity.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and the glue that holds everything together. a clinical placebo controlled study of 60 randomized women confirmed that collagen and vitamin supplementation improves elasticity, wrinkles, moisture and pore size compared to the control group. (5)
There are foods that you can include in your diet that add collagen and aid your body in building and absorbing this important protein. It’s great that incorporating bone broth and protein powder are becoming so popular because they are adding collagen which is fantastic for the breasts.
In the article “5 Foods to Naturally Build Collagen for Glowing, Youthful Skin,” they identify bone broth and health protein sources and other foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants like leafy green vegetables, berries and garlic. (6)
Stay away from inflammatory foods like sugars and grains. Inflammatory foods will cause stretching of skin and reduce elasticity. Luckily, those healthy foods that build collagen are also on the list of foods for an anti-inflammatory diet. You can also get tested by a practitioner who can tell you if inflammatory foods are impacting your health.
So, ladies, remember what you eat can cause systemic inflammation which can lead to wrinkles and sagging. Or what you eat can build a healthy, beautiful body. If you are ingesting foods that support collagen you are going to be much happier with what your body gives you. Eat healthy. Keep your breasts tight.
3) Healthy Hormones
Hormones ladies, it always comes back to those hormones. Am I right? Hormones have the power to make you happy or, if they are out of whack, make you feel like you are going crazy. Hormones control many of your body’s functions including your skin and breasts.
Estrogen is what keeps breast tissue strong. According to the Women in Balance Institute’s “Hormones 101,” estrogen stimulates the production of breast tissue along with other tissues and ensures their function. Among its many roles, it also preserves the elasticity and moisture content of the skin. (7)
There are many things that can cause our hormones to get out of whack. It can be the foods, toxins, exercise, and stress all impact our overall hormonal balance. (8) We know a lot of moms take care of their families first often neglecting themselves in the process. That could mean no time for exercise or eating well. Don’t do that to yourselves. Taking good care of your overall health while avoiding toxins, which can disrupt your hormones, is critical to hormonal balance.
Did I just say toxins can disrupt your hormones and impact your hormonal balance? Yes, I did. You probably knew it already and didn’t want to give up your favorite face cream or convenience foods. If you take a close look at what researchers know, you will ditch that face cream and those easy foods that add toxins to your bloodstream.
Researchers have learned how those toxins, or endocrine disruptors, can influence or change our hormones work. They can mimic hormones like estrogen which can lead to overstimulation. They can also alter how those hormones are made or controlled in the liver. (9) Are you rethinking some of your product choices yet?
Get Your Hormones Tested
To be sure your hormones are balanced, get tested by a doctor who can understand the importance of your individual hormone needs. If your doctor won’t test your hormone levels then find a new one. Check out this short video on estrogen quick tips to learn more.
Now You Know the Essentials- Be Happy
Whether we like it or not, breasts are central to a woman’s physical identity. Don’t let it destroy you by doing something dangerous for your body or by neglecting them because you think you just have to deal with it that way. You now know 3 essentials to healthy breasts that, along with a healthy lifestyle, will keep your tatas happy.
Make time in your day to make these essentials happen. Don’t do it for anyone besides yourself. Make the time for yourself because you deserve happy, healthy tatas.
Written by: Dr. Patrick Flynn