Massaging your breasts is about more than intimacy or a cancer screening. In fact, there are some major health benefits. So if you’re not already practicing a breast massage in your self-care routine, it’s probably time to start.
You might be thinking about a self-exam for breasts, but massage is something different. It promotes the same benefits of improved circulation, relieving pain and reducing swelling that overall body massage offers, but on a localized area. It’s much easier to give the girls a massage than it is to give yourself a full body rub down.
Benefits of Breast Massage
Improved circulation – the breasts are part of the lymphatic system which is the body’s system for moving toxins out of the body. It’s common for lymph drainage to be compromised from lack of movement or wearing a bra all day, so massaging the are gets your body’s detoxification pathway open.
Alleviates stress – one positive side effect of massage is a release in the happy hormone oxytocin. This can help improve your mood and lower your stress level, making you feel more content and balanced.
Help with breastfeeding – regular breast massage can help reduce breast pain and encourage the flow of milk in new mothers. In the first year after having a baby it’s important to treat your breasts well to avoid getting clogged ducts which can be painful.
Soothe sore muscles – if you workout regularly you’ve likely experienced a sore chest post-training. The pectoral muscles are directly underneath the breast tissue which can cause “breast pain” because they’re in the same area. Stress, poor posture or referring pain from the neck can also cause tightness in the pectoral muscles which can be relieved with breast massage.
Here’s How To Do It
To get started, you’ll need oil. Ayurvedic tradition, which promotes regular breast massage and even offers it as part of spa treatments, recommends untoasted sesame oil, but you can use coconut or any other natural body oil you have on hand. Heat the oil either by rubbing your hands together or sitting the bottle in a bowl of hot water before you begin.
Sit somewhere comfortable where you won’t be distracted so that you can let your mind and body relax, the way you would when receiving a massage. Find a position that will work best for your body. Consider back support if that will help your muscles relax.
- To get started, use your fingers to apply gentle pressure close to the nipple and move in a circular motion toward the outside of the breast. Continue moving in circles until you’ve massaged the entire breast.
- Using the hand on the same side as your breast, turn your fingers upward and place them into your armpit. Your palm will be against your breast. Gently push the breast toward the other side of your body.
- Then, place the pads of your fingers at your armpit and use a circular motion to lightly drag the skin a few inches toward the center of your body.
- To finish, lightly stroke your breastbone moving downward.
Repeat the sequence on the other breast.
A note on pressure: unlike a back massage, you aren’t working out any knots, so don’t use too much pressure. If you find a spot that feels tender be gentle and lighten your touch.
If you find the massage painful or are concerned about your breast health, discuss them with your doctor. Overall, breast massage is a relaxing part of self-care that you can practice daily, or at least once per week.