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Natural Breast Health with Manual Therapy to Promote Lymphatic Drainage and Nutritional Wellness

October 6, 2015

Breast Health

Breast health is an important component of a woman’s health. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, regardless of race or ethnicity. The key to reducing this statistic is prevention.

Manual Therapy as an Alternative Approach to Breast Health

There are many alternative approaches to promote breast health. One such method is manual therapy. Manual therapy is a gentle form of bodywork that can support drainage of the lymphatic system. The lymph is a vital part of our immune system that facilitates our cardiovascular system by helping to drain toxins from the body. Our breasts contain lymph ducts that drain toxins from the breast tissue. When the lymph fluid is stagnant, it can create inflammation of the breast, which can lead to illness. By supporting drainage of this lymph fluid from the breast, we can create healthier, less toxic breast tissue.

Our Lymphatic System

Lymph vessels are lined with involuntary muscles that help pump lymph from an area. These small muscles can be in spasm, which can lead to a stagnant or sluggish lymph system. Manual therapy for breast lymph drainage is a relaxing treatment that helps to stimulate the smooth muscles around the lymph vessels. This helps to promote a normal flow of lymph from the breast tissue, thus improving the health of the breast tissue and preventing inflammation in the region that can lead to illness.

Women that have poor lymph flow in the breast may feel tightness or soreness in their breast tissue. They may also experience symptoms in their shoulders and upper back or neck. Equally, for some women, they may not experience any symptoms specific to that body area.

Manual Therapy for Lymphatic Drainage

Manual therapy can help create more movement and less pain in an area by reducing tension in the tissues. This gentle approach has been found to reduce chronic joint pain as well as painful tissue in a body region. Regular treatment by a manual therapist has been shown to promote greater health and more movement in the body. Holistic physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, and body workers typically practice manual therapy.

Nutritional Wellness for Breast Health: Avoid Inflammatory Foods

In addition to hands-on therapy, such as manual therapy, there are other supportive efforts we can utilize to create greater breast health; one such effort is nutritional wellness. Breast dysfunction is commonly associated with breast tissue inflammation. The standard American diet is considered to be very inflammatory. When we already have dysfunction in our body, particularly in the breast tissue, we induce greater inflammation in the breasts by consuming primarily inflammatory foods.

What are inflammatory foods? The typical American diet is largely comprised of grain-based foods such as breads and pastas. In addition, we tend to consume a lot of refined sugars that can be very damaging to the body and contribute to more inflammation in the breasts. By avoiding these types of foods, we can reduce inflammation in the body.

“Clean Eating”

What is the best way to eat in order to promote greater health in the body and reduced inflammation of the breast tissue? Ideally, we would adopt a “clean eating” program. This means eating primarily fresh foods such as natural protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats like coconut, avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. If we choose to eat grain, it should never be the focal point of our meal but rather, an accessory. For example, if we break down a dinner plate into proportions, ¼ of the dish should be reserved for natural protein. If we eat meat, it should ideally be grass-fed beef, natural poultry, or wild fish. Half of the dish should be comprised of diverse vegetables (a combination of raw and cooked is fine). The remaining ¼ of the plate can be starches like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. If we choose to have grain, it should be whole grain. This is clean eating in a nutshell! By adopting a clean way of eating, we are creating greater health throughout the body and support for our breast tissue by reducing inflammation.

Making Good Choices

Perfection is not the goal, it is impossible. Striving for perfection can create stress in our lives, and of course, guilt when we don’t achieve it. But by generating the effort to make better choices most of the time, we can improve our health by leaps and bounds! It’s helpful to consider that inflammation is the underlying cause of most diseases and illnesses today. When we avoid inflammatory foods and adopt a clean eating lifestyle, we can prevent illness and promote greater health and longevity in our whole body.

Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C is the President and Owner of Integrative Wellness and Physical Therapy in Bloomfield, CT, a wellness center specializing in holistic Physical Therapy, Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), and nutritional wellness. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo is a Physical Therapist and Certified Integrative Manual Therapist. She has been practicing for over 15 years. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy from The University of Hartford in Connecticut. She received her Doctoral Degree from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio, focusing in neuropediatrics, with a concentration in autism. 



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