Breast massage is a beautiful self-care ritual that is increasingly recommended by maternal health workers as a preventative and restorative practice to be performed daily by women in all stages of life. Customary in Japanese midwifery and Ayurvedic healing, massaging the breast tissue—which extends into the chest, upper arms, back, and shoulders—is a wonderful way to familiarize ourselves with an area that is rarely touched with intention.
Massage in general flushes toxins through the lymphatic system: breast massage in particular moves and stimulates the lymph nodes, the vital filtering function of the immune system. It can be effective in relieving swelling caused by excess fluids in the body and clearing up congestion, both common developments in pregnancy. Stimulating the breasts also raises oxytocin, which stimulates the flow of breast milk for breastfeeding mothers and has a calming effect. Breast massage is also healthy in involution, during the weaning process or in menopause, as the breasts undergo intense cellular and tissue restructuring.
So get in there! Use a coconut, jojoba, or sesame oil with a few drops of an essential oil that inspires you, rub your palms together and inhale. Use both hands and massage into the breast tissue to your arm pits, then circulate from the outside in, in an eight formation. This can take two minutes under a warm shower every day. Take special care to notice the condition of your breasts as they fluctuate through your monthly cycle, and when you’re tender, watch that too: if your breasts are not comfortable to the touch, let them be. Be aware of what your body has to say.