I recently watched a short film made by a young, small busted woman telling us wearing bras were bad for us - causing lymph problems and even breast cancer and it made me furious! As an older, fuller busted woman (32DD) this celebrity blogger is clearly not the person to preach to all women. She is however grabbing the younger audiences, promoting misinformation and the sort of behaviours that can years down the line cause issues, especially if you wear a c+ cup.
The breasts are a mass of tissue and tubes but NO muscle. There are muscles above and under. Strong muscles in the shoulders, arms and upper back as well as the abdominals all serve to hold or hoist up the breasts. The breasts are kept firm by exercises and by wearing good quality bras. My personal favourites are Freya. With bras you really do get what you pay for. Just think about the one thing in your life you would NOT go cheap for and your bra should be up there!
In the sternum almost between the breasts lies the Thoracic duct which is the reservoir for lymph fluid. Our lymph system is the bodies waste disposal system and it is all over the body. When we get sick it helps to flush out toxins. When it is under pressure the lymph points like behind the ear lobes, at the throat, under the arm pits and at the groins can swell and become sore. This indicates that our bodies are fighting hard to keep us well. We can assist the lymph system by exercising and keeping our bodies fit and healthy. Using some of the exercises and massage techniques below:
Breast examinations are crucial and its up to you to do this. Its also a lovely time to get your favourite massage oil and perform this massage technique. I use warm organic avocado oil. It’s a bit more expensive but only the best for my breasts! I also only use this oil on my face and décolletage. First I take a warm cloth and place on the skin, I then follow the lymphatic self massage routine. I complete by placing a warm cloth back over the oiled skin. I finish off with a bracing cold cloth and allow to dry naturally. I am 58 and have very few lines, I NEVER use creams of any description.
Years ago I was told that because women use hairdryers and hold the arms above the head for a period of time this aids lymph drainage. As a yoga teacher I am inclined to agree. Below is a short practice that I advocate along with activities like swimming, running, stair climbing (not lifts or escalators) walking, gardening, cycling and anything else that gets you moving your body.
It may be that if a woman chooses to never wear a bra from day one her body accepts that as the norm and adjusts to support the breasts but there are no muscles in the breasts so this would involve correct posture, strengthening the arm, abdominal, chest and back muscles.
In tribal cultures that don't use bras i.e. Kalahari, Amazonian societies these women generally have similar breast shapes and sizes to bra wearing societies however these women would have very active lives involving hard work, carrying weights, digging for food, grinding, climbing and walking great distances. Their postures appear much more upright unlike the more sedentary modern western one of slouching on chairs and stooping over desks. We are however getting fitter than ever!
It makes perfect sense for women with a small cup size to go without a bra if thats their preference, although I wouldn't encourage this for sports like running and riding. For the most part a huge percentage of women do wear bras generally because they need support. In fact in 2001 Playtex executive John Dixey agreed. ‘' We have no medical evidence that wearing a bra could prevent sagging, because the breast itself is not muscle so keeping it toned up is an impossibility. What it can do, particularly for larger-breasted women, is provide comfort and support.'' I don't believe that wearing bras is the cause of breast cancer or lymph issues. There can be so many contributing factors to this, genetic, dietary, environmental and lifestyle. Keeping a check on ones family medical history, as Angeline Jolie did and taking the appropriated action if necessary. Eating well, regularly exercising, using self massage and self examination techniques combined with rest and paying for well fitting bras should keep all issues at bay.
Imagery & design by LINGERIE LA FEMME