When we go to a spa or go for in-home massage services, we focus on our shoulders, back, arms and legs. We don’t think much of massaging our breasts. Some think that they are too sensitive and others worry if breast massage will affect breastfeeding. Some even think that it’s just a way to identify breast cancer. Turns out, breast massage has many benefits. It’s just that you should know how to massage your breasts correctly.
To help you with it, Health Shots reached out to Dr Akta Bajaj, Senior Consultant and Head-Obstetrics Gynaecology, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, New Delhi.
Breast massage benefits
Some people believe that regular breast massage may help to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, says Dr Bajaj. But there are some possible benefits of breast massage:
1. Breast massage may help to reduce breast tenderness
The expert says that breast massage can help to improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which may help to reduce breast tenderness, pain, and swelling. It can also promote relaxation and stress relief.
2. Breast massage may make breasts appear better
Some women go for breast massage so that their saggy breasts look better. They tend to use olive oil to help to tighten breasts, improve elasticity and skin firmness.
3. Breast massage may be beneficial for breastfeeding moms
Breast massage may be great for women who are breastfeeding, as it can help improve milk flow and relieve breast engorgement.
A 2004 study published by the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition revealed that researchers found that breast massage helped to increase the quality of breast milk when done in the first year after child delivery.
In another study, which appeared in 2011 in the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, a group of new breastfeeding moms were given two breast massages that lasted for 30 minutes. The massages were performed in the 10 days after they gave birth. It was found that compared to the other group who didn’t get the breast massage, these mothers experienced less breast pain while feeding their babies.
Science seems to back this. However, Dr Bajaj says that breastfeeding mothers should be cautious of applying too much pressure to the breasts.
Steps to massage breasts correctly
Now that you know that breast massage may be beneficial to you, let’s check out how to do it correctly:
• Start by warming up your breast with light and circular motions.
• Use your palms to apply gentle pressure to your breast, working your way from the outside toward the center.
• Use your fingers to make small and circular motions around your breast, including the areola and nipple.
• Use a firmer touch to massage the breast tissue, but be careful not to apply too much pressure.
• Use a gentle squeezing motion to move any fluid or lumps toward your nipple and out of the breast tissue.
You can repeat these steps to massage on the other breast.
Who should avoid breast massage
If one thing is good for a person, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work wonders for you too. The same goes for breast massage, so some women should avoid it.
Dr Bajaj says that women who have recovered from breast cancer should talk to their doctor before trying breast massage, as it may not be safe for them. Women with certain breast conditions, such as fibrocystic breasts or breast implants, should also avoid breast massage or talk to their doctor before trying it. Women who are pregnant or have a history of breast cancer should also be cautious and talk to their doctor before trying breast massage. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or unusual changes in your breasts during or after a massage, stop immediately and consult your doctor.