We may have a gut feeling, or heart feeling, that it is time to make a change for our health. Sometimes we also need strong reasons to put that feeling into action. I find it is easier to have the mental body on my side when making a life change. So I turn to Dr. Google to convince myself. But when researching a new topic, it can be confusing. Often there is too much information and it is conflicting. Who do we trust? How do we decipher who has done their homework and has our best interests at heart?
One item that I check is how long has this person been involved in their field of study. I have been studying natural and alternative therapies for over 20 years and specifically studying breast health for 10 years. The sources I site and the teachers I follow typically have a similar longevity.
I also look for personal experience. Some people will say that personal experience is biased and not reliable. I feel the opposite. I want biased opinions, if they are based on direct experience. I particularly appreciate when reporters list their biases. I have had positive changes in my breast health from not wearing a bra, so I am looking for an explanation as to why this happened to me. Therefore, I tend to report on research that supports my hypothesis, as long as it makes logical sense. But I also read the articles against my hypothesis so I am regularly exposed to potential flaws in my thinking.
Another sticking point for me is the money involved. It’s pretty interesting that not wearing a bra, which potentially costs zero dollars, might actually be healthier for you. What do the purporters of this idea have to gain from this? They can’t make money from not selling bras, so possibly they have other more altruistic agendas. At the end of the day, everyone has to make a living, but is the data being fed to you directly tied to you buying more stuff, or less?
Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer have provided a whole book full of reasons that caused me to question my bra wearing habit. In “Dressed to Kill”, we learn about Soma’s experience finding a lump in her breast while she was pregnant. Then we learn that she was able to reduce her lump by not wearing a bra anymore and massaging her breasts. What?!? This seems too simple. It was also perplexing to Syd and Soma. So with true scientific curiosity, they developed a research study to examine the topic of bras and breast health.
After interviewing thousands of women, they discovered a fascinating correlation. Women who had a personal history of breast cancer tended to spend more time in bras (sometimes even sleeping in them). Meanwhile, women who had not been diagnosed with breast cancer tended to spend much less time in their bras (sometimes not wearing one at all). Syd and Soma further studied the bra wearing habits across multiple cultures around the world. Again they found a remarkable correlation that societies with higher rates of breast cancer also had this bra-wearing habit.
Applying my previously listed reliability tests to this body of research, I see that these authors have studied this topic over twenty years. (“Dressed to Kill” was first published in 1995, then a second edition was released in 2017.) Soma also has direct experience with her own breast issue, which is a plus. Finally, there is the question of financial interest. One possibility is that this husband-wife team is publicizing this theory only to sell more books. The amount of public attacks and ridicule this couple has received for their theories is what is actually most convincing of their sincerity. There are much less painful ways to make a buck. And authors make very little money directly from book sales, especially when taking into account the copious amounts of time invested to properly research a non-fiction title.
For me, there are some logical anatomical and physiological reasons that bras could be involved in breast disease. But in the end, it was not until I had completed my own personal experiment of not wearing a bra that I was truly convinced that this theory made sense for my breasts. I am the only person that I need to convince. I then share my experience with others and see what personal data they add to my ongoing research. I have had multiple women report to me that their breasts are happier without their bras. They have less pain and bumpiness, and they can actually breathe better.
So healthy breast practice number four is to try spending less time in your bra and see how you feel. Less time in bras could mean not wearing one to sleep for some, or taking the bra off as soon as returning home. Others may unhook their bras while in the car, during the long commute home. If you are not ready to release the girls and let them hang free, you may simply record the amount of time during the day that you are wearing a bra. This is good data to have.
It’s also important to question repeatedly: do I really need to wear a bra now, or am I doing it out of habit? For instance, I have no need to wear a bra to my favorite restorative yoga class (aka Advanced Napping for Adults). This is not “high impact” activity requiring breast support. On the other hand, I would tend to wear a bra during a bouncy Zumba dance class. We each get to make our own comfort choices.
Please take a moment to share your bra-free time with your friends in the FB group. Thank you so much for being here and I will see you for the next healthy breast practice.