They come in all different sizes. We dress them up, we dress them down. We love them and we hate them… Yes, I’m talking about breasts.
When we think of massage wellness, we often think of a relaxing treatment: closing our eyes and mentally floating away to our favourite places. For others, it’s a session of deep breathing and processing the discomfort. To me, massage wellness incorporates a little of both, set in a harmonic balance.
When a client tells me, “I’d like full-body,” I often need to clarify what “full-body” entails. If time allows, full-body massage covers most muscular concerns the client has, then potentially abdomen and breasts. Clients are often surprised when I bring up breast tissue. For some reason, breasts aren’t associated as part of the full-body treatment. Or, at least, they’re not thought of until there’s a problem.
What is a Chest & Breast Massage (and Why it’s Good for You)
Chest massage is often overlooked and at the bottom of the priority list. Looking at what the breast area actually does for us, it’s an important area for treatment. For example, they consist of an intricate lymphatic system that keeps us healthy throughout our lives. Under the breast tissue, there are further attachments of the muscular system used for movement and breathing. Lastly, the VIP; our fascia. The fascia is the connective tissue that helps to tie the above all together, attaching one structure to another. It’s also a major contributor to discomfort when it becomes dry and restricted—one component of my practice I focus on heavily.
We will discuss with you why the massage can include a chest and/or breast treatment. To clarify, chest massage focuses around breast tissue and breast massage refers to breast tissue specifically. Once the potential to unlock these critical restrictions is discussed, it’s up to the client to determine if they want the chest area around the breast or breast-specific treatment that session.
Clients should always know they are in full control of their bodies. If they are uncomfortable or experience discomfort at any time, the treatment is stopped or altered. Understanding expectations before treatment is key. Speak with your therapist to determine the areas of treatment to be added or subtracted depending upon comfort levels and requests.
How to do a Breast and Chest Massage
When starting a chest massage, after the client has provided written permission with the full understanding of what the treatment involves, an assessment of the breast tissue and structures below it begins. Treating the breast tissue is viewed as one complete unit of the arm; we look at function and movement of the chest with the arm together. Breast massage doesn’t just include the breast itself. Breast tissue covers under the armpit, slightly below the breast, and up to the clavicle.
I first start with the muscular system that covers the thoracic cavity (chest cavity) with shoulder involvement: the intercostals, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and subclavius to name a few. Gentle manipulations of the muscles help to work any trigger points (“knots”) that may be creating restrictions and/or pain. Then I move on to fascial work, assessing any further restrictions that prevent muscle and skin movement.
Breast tissue manipulation soon follows with moving tissues in opposite directions of fascial restrictions. Breast tissue can easily become “locked down” with constant restrictive bra wearing and underwire irritation. Once the tissue has been freed from those restrictions, the tissue moves in a healthier manner and the chest tends to have more of an “open” sensation. These manipulations are especially beneficial for individuals with anxious tendencies, repetitive chest work, and shallow breathing.
Women that have had a mastectomy of one or both breasts typically have major fascial restrictions with their range of motion and the lymphatic system. This can lead to extremity swelling due to a lack of lymphatic drainage. Chest massage helps to improve movement (and increase comfort) by decreasing these restrictions, thus allowing fluid movement and assisting in motion restoration.
Breast augmentations or reductions benefit from massage in terms of progressing the healing time. Incision sites require encouragement for proper repair, tissue elasticity, and vascular nutrition to heal tissue. Massage also assists with fluid reduction. The breasts and surrounding tissue can be swollen and encouraging the fluid to be processed increases the client’s comfort and assists in their recovery. Implants or reductions have manipulated formations of healing. This means, for the tissue to stay healthy with its new neighbours, natural movements need to be encouraged for optimal desired effects.
Whether you’re a pre-mom, nursing mom, postpartum mom, or a woman with a mastectomy and/or breast augmentation, chest massage is for all of us! Regardless of your situation, chest massage is a balanced treatment to keep your body healthy.
You may be surprised by how many other women have or are experiencing a similar situation as you.
We radiate our beauty from within, no matter where our curves come from.