Research has shown that up to 90% of cancers including breast cancer are from lifestyle and environmental factors, which leaves 10% relating to genetic predisposition. Your genetics do not determine your destiny! Even if you have a genetic predisposition or carry a gene that gives you a higher risk for certain cancers or disease, YOU HAVE THE POWER to change your lifestyle habits and environment so those genes are not expressed. One way to implement this lifestyle habit is through detoxification practices. Most people have heard of detoxing the colon, liver, kidneys, or even a whole-body detox, but rarely do you hear about detoxing the breasts. Below are five tips that focus on lymphatic movement to help with breast detoxification.
Breast Tissue and Lymphatic System
Breast tissue is comprised of many intricate parts including adipose tissue, lymph nodes and lymph. The lymph is a colorless fluid that’s present just under the skin’s surface and it flows through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system, has many functions. Protecting the body from illness-causing invaders; removing cellular waste; filtering and carrying away bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and other toxic substances, just to name a few. The breasts are filled with lymphatic pathways that are dependent on healthy circulation. When lymph gets “clogged” the breast tissue becomes congested and the lymph flow can become stagnate. This is one way toxic substances like chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and xenoestrogens can store up in the breast tissue, creating toxicity and potential future concerns. In addition, breast tissue that is not properly detoxified can eventually form cysts known as fibrocystic breasts and can cause premalignant and malignant cells to develop. Because the lymphatic system does not have a pump like our cardiovascular system, it depends on our movement to keep it circulating and flowing properly.
Five Tips for Breast Detoxification
- Rebounding. Jumping on a mini trampoline is one of the best ways to circulate healthy lymph flow and help promote detoxification. Try rebounding 5-10 minutes twice daily for optimal results. Light bouncing is best. If you do not have a rebounder, take a walk outside for 15-20 minutes or more. Make sure to move your arms as you walk to facilitate upper body lymphatic flow.
- Ditch your antiperspirants. It’s so important for breast health! The use of antiperspirants prevents sweating. However, sweating is a very important way to release some of the toxins that we are exposed to daily from our personal care products. Preventing the sweating process prevents the breast tissue from draining properly into the axillary nodes and can create a toxic buildup. Using a healthy, all natural, aluminum free deodorant is a great start to encourage proper lymph flow. Just like your food label, the deodorant you choose should have a short list of ingredients. Look for brands with baking soda or charcoal. These ingredients will neutralize the bacteria that causes body odor but still allows the sweating process that is necessary for detoxification.
- Castor oil packs. You may have heard of castor oil packs for liver detoxification, but this method can also aid in the detoxification of breast tissue. Castor oil is traditionally used to support the lymphatic, circulatory and immune systems. It has unique immune enhancing effects because of its ability to improve lymphatic flow. Castor oil packs are also great for sore, tender breasts and clogged lymph. This detoxification method can be done 1-2 times a month or as often as you feel is necessary. (Consult with your physician if you’re currently dealing with a breast challenge for how often this should be performed relating to your circumstance). When choosing a castor oil, it’s best to purchase one that is organic, cold pressed, hexane free and stored in glass.
- Dry skin brushing. The skin is the largest organ and it’s responsible for a quarter of the body’s detoxification, so its ability to remove toxins via the lymph system is very important. Dry skin brushing also improves skin appearance due to the shedding of dead skin cells. What does this have to do with breast health? When lymphatic fluid begins to slow down or become stagnant, estrogens from the breast area cannot be removed and inflammation results. This can cause breast tenderness, lumps in the breast or under the arms. Dry brushing is best done in the morning before showering. Always choose a natural bristle brush, apply light pressure when brushing, and focus on areas where lymph nodes are concentrated such as the upper outer portion of the breasts and the armpits.
- Go wireless. Stop wearing underwire bras and bras that are constricting. Underwire bras are very constricting to breast tissue and clog the lymph in this area. If your breasts are tender, red, or your shoulders have indentations when you take your bra off, this is a sure sign that your bra is too restrictive, and the lymph is not circulating properly. In addition, electromagnetic devices in your environment such as your cell phone are attracted to metal. So, if you’re wearing an underwire bra, your breasts are acting like magnets to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies). Some research suggests that constant exposure to EMF’s can cause molecular changes within the cells, possibly leading to cancer formation. I suggest keeping a bra off as much as possible to let the breasts be free. Research has shown that women that wear bras all day/night or most of the day have the highest instances of breast cancer. Breasts were made to move around and bounce, that is how the lymph moves. Constricting bras shut down this flow. I understand going braless may not be your cup of tea so when choosing a bra makes sure it’s wireless and it is fitted for you. I recommend Ruby Ribbon for my thermography clients. This company offers an alternative to traditional underwire bras that are supportive without the constriction, and you have your own personal stylist to help fit you properly.
The addition of these simple self-care, detoxification methods can be a valuable step in keeping your breasts healthy for a lifetime. My mission as a medical thermographer is to empower women to take a proactive approach with their breast health. I have seen many women over the years simply implement a dry skin brushing routine or change the type of bra they’re wearing, and they’ve felt a significant difference with their breasts. The one thing I love is that they can also see these positive breast improvements on their next thermogram.
April Beaman, RDH, CTT is a Medical Thermographer, certified by the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology and a professional member of Breast Thermography International. Beaman has worked in the wellness industry for over 15 years and provides thermography screenings and wellness support for both men and women of all ages. She is the owner of CT Thermography located in Farmington & Glastonbury.
Connect at 860.415.1150 or CTThermography.com.