Our breasts represent so much—from love, fertility, sex, and pleasure, to our primal need for motherly love, support, security, care, and nourishment.¹ For many women, they represent beauty and our identity as a woman.
Because they are so much more than just organs for nourishment to newborns, they hold a huge energetic role as well. It is my experience, and the experience of many other practitioners, that imbalances in this part of the body correlates in astonishing ways with what may be going on in a woman’s heart and mind.² I have seen breakouts on the chest during periods of intense anger, lumps come and go with periods of grief, or subtle pain without any diagnosable cause with periods of emotional pain.
Lucky for us, Ayurveda does not write-off these findings as just coincidence. We look deeper into the woman’s being, beyond the physical layer (annamaya kosha) into subtler layers, like that of the vital energy or breath (pranamaya kosha) or the mind (manomaya kosha).
The physical layer of the breasts is made up of two main tissue layers in Ayurveda—fatty tissue layer (meda dhatu) and plasma or lymph (rasa dhatu). There are many channels for the flow of lymph (and hence, there are many lymph nodes particularly around the armpit and along the collar bone) and milk, which are surrounded by fatty tissue. The tone of the breast comes from connective tissue and ligaments.
The key to breast health, then, is
1) to keep the channels moving without stagnation (avoid too much kapha that would create blockage from tissue mass or too much vata that would dry these channels and create blockages); and,
2) keep the level of toxins (ama) at a low.
I want to emphasize that if you find any changes in your breast, particularly changes that stay for more than one cycle, please consult a qualified health care provider immediately!
To that end, incorporate these ideas into your life for healthy breasts and for a healthy heart center!
1) Massage your breasts daily.
This is the most important thing you can do! It keeps lymph moving and channels open.3456 It also helps the tone of tissue, which is great for healthy-looking breasts! Follow the heart-centered ritual in the attachment below. You will find yourself more connected to your deeper self and heart chakra, while also benefiting your breasts with such a ritual.
The beautifully scented Breast Care Balm is specially formulated with herbs that are nourishing, yet cleansing and moving.
2) Cleanse seasonally.
Over and over again we are seeing research studies with findings that unhealthy breasts have significant toxin loads (such as pesticides and other toxins).7 These toxins love to hang out in fat (which is why the breasts is such a popular location). The process of doing a regular Ayurvedic cleanse, which has a huge emphasis on oil, helps pull many of these fat-loving toxins out of the body.8910
3) Eat organic and pesticide-free.
For the same reasons discussed above, avoid the accumulation of toxins by avoiding the toxins in the first place!
Hydration is key to keeping the fluids of the body (including lymph) moving and fluid. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces (if you weight 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water). If you tend to the kapha type, I highly recommend ginger tea or taking a Ginger Liquid Extract 2–3 times a week.
Sweating is one of the body’s natural ways to detox. Regularly exercise, sit in a sweatbox, and consider eliminating antiperspirants.
1 “Breast,” Dreams Nest, last modified July 8, 2012, accessed November 18, 2014, http://dreamsnest.com/breast/.
2 Christiane Northrup. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
3 Carolina Fernández-Lao et al., “Attitudes towards Massage Modify Effects of Manual Therapy in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomised Clinical Trial with Crossover Design,” European Journal of Cancer Care 21, no. 2 (March 2012): 233–41.
4 Ian S. Dayes et al., “Randomized Trial of Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy for the Treatment of Lymphedema in Women with Breast Cancer,” Journal of Clinical Oncology 31, no. 30 (October 2013): 3758–63.
5 Sukhee Ahn, Jinhee Kim, and Jungsuk Cho, “Effects of Breast Massage on Breast Pain, Breast-Milk Sodium, and Newborn Suckling in Early Postpartum Mothers,” Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 41, no. 4 (August 2011): 451–59.
6 Edith Kernerman and Eileen Park, “Severe Breast Pain Resolved with Pectoral Muscle Massage,” Journal of Human Lactation 30, no. 3 (May 2014): 287–91.
7 Corinne Charlier et al., “Breast Cancer and Organochlorine Residues,” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 60, no. 5 (May 2003): 348–51.
8 Mark Toomey, “The Ayurvedic Approach to Breast Health,” Maharishi Ayurveda, accessed November 18, 2014, http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/pregnancy-motherhood-and-fertility/ayurvedic-approach-to-breast-care.html.
9 Stefan M. Waliszewski et al., “Breast Milk Excretion Kinetic of b-HCH, pp’DDE and pp’DDT,” Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 83, no. 6 (July 2009): 869–73.
10 Frank Falck Jr. et al., “Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyl Residues in Human Breast Lipids and Their Relation to Breast Cancer,” Archives of Environmental Health 47, no. 2 (March/April 1992): 143–46.
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