What are breasts and their function?
Breasts are made up of fatty, fibrous and glandular tissue contained within the front of the chest wall. Fatty tissue gives breasts their size and shape. Fibrous tissue provides support and structure to the breast. Glandular tissue is the part of the breast that produces and carries milk. Also known as mammary glands, breasts begin to form while the unborn baby is still growing in the mother's uterus. This is why both men and women have nipples and breasts. The difference is that men's breasts do not have the tissue called lobes that produce milk.
The average female breast weighs between seven and 10 ounces and is mostly made up of 12 to 20 lobes that spread out from the nipple like the spokes in a bicycle wheel. These lobes each have one central duct that opens at the nipple, through which milk exits.
Understanding breasts from the inside out
On the inside, women's breasts are made up of the milk-producing glandular tissue, milk ducts that carry breast milk to the nipples and fatty tissue. In fact, the amount of fat determines the size of the breast. The female breast also contains blood vessels, lymph tissue, lymph nodes, a complex system of nerves and connective tissue and ligaments that provide support to the breast and give it its shape.
Although women's breasts vary a lot in size and shape, they all are made of the same parts. On the outside, breasts are covered by skin, which contains the areola (the pink/brown circle that surrounds the nipple); the nipple; and the Montgomery glands (small, raised bumpy glands on the areola that are usually only noticeable during pregnancy and breastfeeding). Montgomery glands produce a substance that cleans, moisturizes and protects the nipple and areola during breastfeeding.
Breasts and hormones go together
The same hormones that trigger your period — estrogen and progesterone — rise and fall with your menstrual cycle, causing your breasts to change in size, shape and feel throughout the month. They are also responsible for the tender, lumpy, swollen and painful breasts you may experience just before your period. When women reach their late 40s and early 50s and approach menopause, they often experience a change in hormone levels that causes the breasts to appear smaller and less full.
For many women breast health is often an afterthought… that is, until we’re diagnosed with an imbalance.
Breasts are the gatekeepers of our hearts and often reflect our emotional states, holding a very specific and particular type of energy called nurturance. Imbalances show up when this energy is out of balance, asking us to turn our love and attention inwards.
Whether women are dealing with cyclical breast pain, cysts, fibrocystic breasts, fibroadenomas, tumors, or cancer, there are many types of various herbs and rituals that can help support the body in healing.
Breast massage is an invaluable tool for breast health as breasts contain an abundance of lymph vessels that are responsible for draining toxins from the breast tissue. When the lymph system becomes stagnant, toxins are retained, and proper nutrition and oxygenation of the breasts are inhibited. Ill-fitting bras, poor posture, and a tight neck and shoulder muscles can all reduce lymphatic flow and drainage. Breast massage boosts blood circulation, detoxifies toxins and excess estrogen, enhances the elasticity of ligaments, prevents breasts from sagging, reduces breast tenderness, increases breast milk production, helps unblock clogged milk glands, and releases stagnant energy.
Breast masks are a beautiful way to create ceremony around honoring and nurturing yourself. Because breasts are like sponges and soak up not just chemicals and heavy metals, but also emotions, applying a breast mask is a way to detoxify and heal breast tissue, while simultaneously taking a moment to celebrate you.
Breast Cancer Facts and Statistics
About 13% (about 1 in 8) of U.S. women are going to develop invasive breast cancer in the course of their life.
In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 51,400 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
As of January 2022, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2022, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women are going to be breast cancers.
A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Approximately 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
About 43,250 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2022 from breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in women in the United States, second only to lung cancer.
This information is provided by Breastcancer.org.
Gua Sha for Breast Health
The ancient practice of Gua Sha is low tech, high vibe and gives us all the feels.
Gua Sha facials have transformed our morning routine and now, we are taking that transformation head-to-toe. Gua Sha is perfect for detoxifying breast tissue by promoting lymphatic flow. Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy, called chi, in the body that practitioners believe may be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Holistic breast cancer prevention with Gua Sha and Breast Cancer Boot Camp! Gua Sha is an alternative therapy from Chinese medicine, which promotes healing by scraping the skin and increasing circulation, also relieves pain, stagnation (may reduce fibroids) and is anti-aging. Dramatically reduce risk of breast cancer by getting the facts from 50 years of breast thermography research and Chinese medicine.
Breast massage has a number of benefits including improved breast health, increased circulation, lymphatic drainage, and even increased breast size. For those looking to increase their breast size, a breast massage can be a great way to do so. By stimulating the tissues around the breast, a massage can help to increase circulation and lymphatic flow, leading to an increase in breast size over time. It can also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and reduce sagging, as well as improve the overall condition and appearance of the breasts. In addition, breast massage can help to reduce breast pain, improve range of motion and reduce stress.
Massaging oil with the right herbs for optimal breast health can be the perfect time for a self-exam, get familiar with your breast tissue by practicing this regularly. Powerful herbs can help tone the skin, stimulates collagen production, activates lymphatic flow, detoxify, and boost microcirculation.
How Often Should I Massage My Breasts?
Daily: A daily massage is recommended for optimal breast health, as it helps to reduce the risk of mastitis and other breast pain.
Weekly: Massaging your breasts weekly is a great way to keep them healthy and toned. This can help increase their size, firmness, and shape. (highest recommendation)
Monthly: Monthly massages are recommended to improve the overall health of your breasts. This can help to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as help to boost your body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.