Maybe it was the first time a boy twanged your (new) bra strap in math class . . . maybe your mother bought you a bra too early or too late, and gym class was mortifying . . . maybe you have always thought your breasts were too small or too big . . . no matter what the reason, over 70% of women do not love their breasts according to the International Journal of Sexual Health. And that’s a shame. Here are six ways you can start loving your breasts to lead to a healthier, more holistic, more confident you.
Get a bra fitting
Stop Sweating a Little Difference
Get a Therapeutic Breast Massage
Your breasts and armpits both have lymph nodes in them which are designed to circulate blood and help you remove toxins. These nodes can get compressed from wearing too-small bras (see #1, above, ladies!), from surgery, or from injury.
Therapeutic breast massage involves applying light pressure to the chest and armpit area in order to release fluid build-up in the breast. The majority of the lymph drainage will take place in the armpit nodes; some will also be stimulated from your neck, abdomen, and of course your breasts. Lots of naturopathic clinics have trained Lymphatic Drainage therapists available. You can expect gentle, non-invasive, relaxing treatment. It’s also possible to do it at home. Here’s a short video showing you the exact steps required.
Breast massage can also help with cyclical breast pain, engorgement or inflammation during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and can help non-malignant lumps resolve.
Women in Asia have been doing lymphatic breast massage for centuries. Don’t let puritan North American embarrassment affect your breast massage: instead, use it as a time to honour and admire all that breasts give to the world, and your massage will turn into a pleasurable, nurturing time instead of a military attack on lymphs.
We Must, We Must, We Must Increase Our Busts!
Fake It Till You Make It
Still having trouble loving the ladies? Try visualizing your breasts as your lover does: something that makes you womanly, gives you the magical superpower to nourish a newborn, and the mysterious seat of pleasure in your body. Instead of approaching your monthly breast exam as a mission to find-and-kill, use it as a time to thank-and-nurture: get some privacy, get some nice massage oil, and get some time to yourself to appreciate your body. When you learn to love your breasts – and yourself – you send a powerful lesson to the women around you.
If you want to look great in a t-shirt, start by establishing your actual bra size once and for all. Most department stores and lingerie stores offer a professional fitting service. Too shy? Here’s how to do it at home: put on a comfortable bra and wrap a measuring tape under your armpits, straight across your back. If the measurement (in inches) is an even number, you’ve found your band size. If it’s an odd number, add an inch to get to an even number.
Next, measure the fullest part of your chest accurately but not too tightly.Here’s the math part: subtract your band measurement from this measurement and then match up the inches to this chart:
1″ difference – A cup
2″ difference – B cup
3″ difference – C cup
4″ difference – D cup
5″ difference – DD cup
Wearing the right size bra means less uncomfortable poking underwires, no boobs-spilling-over-bras to ruin your look, and no bulging back fat!
One boob larger than the other? It’s so common it’s almost more uncommon to have symmetrical ones! Keira Knightly famously posed topless (and unretouched) showing her asymmetry. Take a cue from Keira and other celebrities and love what makes you unique.
Having different-sized breasts is frequently caused by hormonal changes during puberty, with one breast starting to grow before the other. For the most part, this is nothing to worry about (annoying as it may be.) Other causes (much less likely) can be tumors or cysts. But as one doctor said, “Think of them as sisters, not twins.” It’s okay for them to look a little different. Other things that are perfectly normal? Inverted nipples (10-20% of women) and hair on your nipples (as safe to remove there as anywhere else on your body.)
Bottom line: if your breasts have always been different sizes, you probably don’t need to worry. If there is a sudden change in size, though, speak to your doctor.
Okay, we’re not really advocating that you pump your arms vigourously à la Judy Blume . . . but exercise can strengthen the connective tissue under your breasts, making them a little perkier and who doesn’t want that?
Four to try:
Photos courtesy women’s health advocate Tiara Cameron.
Regular exercise helps us stay at our healthiest weight, as well, which is one of the largest predictors of many diseases, both of the breast and of your health overall.
Just as there are vitamins that are great for your bones, your heart or your hair, there are vitamins that will help keep estrogen flowing in your body and help to prevent cyclical breast pain. Look for supplements containing Milk Thistle, a powerful liver detoxifier, and Vitamin D which has been shown to have a significant effect on breast health.
Indole-3 Carbonal, or I3C as it is sometimes known, is the compound found in cruciferous vegetables. If you’re not eating broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts or collard greens as often as the food guide recommends, this is an easy way to show your breasts some love.
Omega 3 is well-known for reducing inflammation in your body. Recently, it has also been shown to reduce the effects of estrogen and estrogen-like compounds. More omega 3s in your body are associated with a lower risk of breast problems, too.