I work in an interesting niche. Sometimes, from the outside, it pigeon-holes me. In our sub-sub-specialist culture, people assume that I’m only a mammarologist. But breasts don’t exist in a bubble, so I always take the whole body and the whole life into consideration when I treat a client.
Frequently, there is a systemic problem in the lymph system, that is causing congestion in the breast. So lymphatic massage is an incredible relief for most breast pain clients. And the great news is that it’s really easy for clients to maintain their lymph flow themselves. I developed my PHAST breast self-massage protocol as a conglomeration of massage techniques I learned from Cheryl Chapman, RN, combined with lymph drainage therapy I study with Bruno Chikly, MD, DO.
After I finish my intake with a client, I show them the protocol on one breast. It takes about 3 minutes. Then, to instill the learning, I ask them to teach me the protocol, treating the opposite breast. I give clients feedback on their technique and they ask me questions. The most consistent feedback I receive from clients is that after this 6 minute exchange, their chest feels more open and their shoulders are more relaxed. Who couldn’t use more of that in their day!
But what’s really remarkable is the follow up visit. The majority of clients have reduced breast pain and congestion from doing this for at least 3 minutes each day. It’s best to do the routine after taking off your bra for the day (if you wear one ;-). Some clients take more time with it and incorporate their breast self-check into the process. (Massage therapists will agree: a breast self-exam is just a boring massage!)
If clients are still having breast pain, there is typically a musculoskeletal component. Rib pain and thoracic outlet syndrome can both present as breast pain. We can also look at bra-wearing habits and see if it is having any effect. Or, going out on the quantum fringe, there may be grief or trauma somaticized in the breasts. Seat belt trauma in particular likes to hide in ribs and breast tissue. (Learn more in class!)
The moral of this story:
- There is a simple reason for much of the breast pain in the world.
- There is an easy technique that you can do to help yourself.
- If you are a health care practitioner who does not specialize in breast treatment, you can easily demonstrate this technique without having the client undress.
If you benefit from the technique, please please give a like on YouTube. Surprise, surprise, most of the internet searches for “breast massage” are males, 18-24 years old. So I’m not getting the right web traffic and it’s knocking me down in the polls. One little click could help me spread the message of breast health in a big way.