Maintaining Breast Health Through Regular Self-massage

These simple techniques can make a difference!
by Honora Lee Wolfe, author of Better Breast Health Naturally with Chinese Medicine

While many Americans are taught early in life the value of regular exercise and proper diet, few are taught simple preventive health practices such as yoga, qi gong, or self-massage. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, however, such self-help and preventive techniques are considered an integral part of personal health maintenance and they can make a great difference in the long term quality of life.

One of these regimens is the practice of self-massage for breast health. This form of massage is not widely known or used here in the United States, nor is there any research about its long term effects. However, in Chinese medicine, it is believed that massage over any area of the body will improve the flow of blood and body fluids in the local area as well as relax and rectify the flow of qi. Since many diseases, including diseases of the breast, are at least partially due to inadequate, stagnated, or improper flow of qi, blood, and/or body fluids, it makes sense that any practice which helps maintain the proper flow of these substances will help maintain the health of the tissues or areas being massaged. Furthermore, for a woman to practice this or any sort of self-massage requires her to stop, relax, and take a few minutes of time for herself. This “down time” is a rare commodity for many busy women and that alone can make a positive difference in anyone’s health.

Below is described one self-massage protocol that any woman can do in 10-15 minutes. It is a group of six simple movements that can be learned by anyone and can make a difference in anyone’s health.

  • Gently massaging any lumps within the breasts for 10 minutes. Then press and knead the center of the breastbone between the nipples. This is acupuncture point Shan Zhong (Conception Vessel 17). It regulates all the qi in the body and especially chest and breast qi. It also calms the spirit. Do this 100-200 times.
  • Knead the underarms with the tips of the fingers, first one underarm and then the other. Do this 100 times on each side. Three important acupuncture channels or meridians flow through this area under the arm and it is also an important area for lymphatic drainage. Then push the breasts with both palms simultaneously. Push lightly from every side of the breasts towards the nipples for two or three minutes on each side.
  • Rub the breasts lightly in circles. First rub the circles from the outside to the inside. Then reverse directions and rub from inside to outside. Do this until the breasts feel warm.
  • Rub the sides of the chest from the armpits downward to the center of the upper abdomen Do this until these areas feel warm.Finally, rub the abdomen in a circle in a clockwise direction around the navel for approximately five minutes.

The key to success with Chinese self-massage therapy is perseverance. Although a single massage may provide some symptomatic relief on that very day, it is repeated self-massage day after day which can make stable and lasting changes.

If you would like more information about self-massage, see Chinese Self- massage: The Easy Way to Health by Dr. Fan Ya-li, published by Blue Poppy Press, a Prevention Book Club Selection. If you would like more information about breast health, see Better Breast Health Naturally with Chinese Medicine by Honora Lee Wolfe, also published by Blue Poppy Press.