- Jenni Young RMT, DOMP
Why Breast Massage is Important
What, you do that?
In my practice I work with a lot of women. Many of them are pregnant, postpartum, peri or post-menopausal. No matter what stage of life, what they all have in common, is that most of them are surprised that we offer breast massage as part of therapeutic treatment. They may complain of pain in the breast, issues with breastfeeding, they may have had surgery to reduce or augment their breasts or have had a lumpectomy or mastectomy, or they may explain that their breast tissue feels heavy and uncomfortable.
Why do you need that?
Women who are pregnant can benefit from breast massage to help with rapid growth that may cause breast pain or tenderness. Postpartum mom’s may experience issues with milk flow, blocked ducts, recurring breast infections, and may find breast massage increases flow and can reduce postpartum issues. Women who experience breast pain and tenderness due to menstruation, peri-menopause or menopause can find that breast massage helps with these symptoms. Women who are about to experience breast surgery can find breast massage helps them prepare emotionally for surgery as well as soften the tissues to potentially make surgery and recovery easier. Women who have already experienced breast surgery, when safe to receive massage, will find relief from post-surgery pain, and aid in the reduction of scar tissue development.
Isn’t that a sensitive area?
The chest and breast areas are very sensitive and your practitioner should take every step required to make sure you are well-informed prior to your consenting to treatment. Your practitioner will go over the indication for treatment, will talk about how the tissues will be assessed as well as what the treatment will include, this is also your opportunity to ask any questions before you begin. Most practitioners will also have you sign a consent form prior to treatment as an opportunity to go over any missed information during your discussion and prior to your assessment and treatment. Know that if any time during the treatment you are feeling uncomfortable you can ask your practitioner to stop!
Do I have to be uncovered?
Depending on how your practitioner chooses to treat, you may not have your breast exposed, or the practitioner may undrape the breast, one at a time during treatment. In my practice, I ask that you wear a loose fitting shirt, or tank top that day, if you’re a nursing mom a breastfeeding top works great. If you are comfortable I ask that you removed your bra and leave on your shirt (I leave the room while you do this), I work with my hands directly on the skin but under the shirt or tank so that the breast is not exposed.
How you may feel?
Many women will report that during the treatments they feel referral sensations into other areas of their bodies, such as the back, the shoulders or the abdomen. Post treatment they often find that the breast tissue feels softer and lighter, as well as surrounding tissues feeling less constricted. After working on one breast I often ask my patients to feel the difference before working on the other side, they are usually amazed at how different both sides feel. If working on scar tissue; post reduction, augmentation, post mastectomy or lumpectomy arm movement may feel less restricted and breathing may feel easier.
Is breast massage for you?
If you are experience breast pain or tenderness, if you are breastfeeding and have low flow or low production, experience blocked ducts, if you have diagnosed, non-cancerous lumps and bumps or fibrocystic breasts, or if you have had breast surgery breast massage may be indicated for you. Please ask your health provider if this may be indicated and if it is something that they do. If this is not part of their practice ask them to refer you to someone who does.