Breast Massage can be very beneficial for women to treat scar tissue, edema in breasts after surgery, and breast enhancement pain and inflammation.
Benefits include increased blood circulation to breast tissue and increased lymph flow. With surgically induced scar tissue, the breast is very uncomfortable and painful. Massage can help to break-up the scar tissue and therefore, reduce pain and inflammation.
A professional practitioner will be very cautious to avoid any interpretation of anything other than medical purposes for this massage. If you are seeking a therapist for this type of work, I would highly recommend asking your physician for a referral before searching for someone on your own.
Because some women may have traumatic histories and may not feel comfortable with this massage, a short consultation of what will happen and why, should take place with the client before the session.
This is a very "high-risk" area to specialize in, however if you or a family member has ever had breast cancer or breast surgery, you know how painful (both physically and emotionally) it can be.
1) Learn from an instructor who teaches this therapy and understands the benefits and risks of providing treatment
2) Get specialized training and certification in this massage before beginning this type of work. This will give you the credibility when advertising your services with physicians.
Display your certification in your massage room.
3) Have your client sign a consent that the treatment is for medical purposes only.
Have a section that encourages her to list her specific problems.
4) Discuss in detail with your client what you will be doing and why you are doing it. Be sure to ask if she has any questions before you start. Encourage her to ask you questions throughout the massage if she has any.
5) Share your story of why you chose to study this technique with your client. That will most certainly ease their fears of massage treatment.
You can also read more about the myths of breast cancer and massage.
Massaging breasts for therapeutic needs such as reducing scar tissue, lymph drainage from breast surgeries or for pain due to breast augmentation, can actually provide tremendous pain relief.
But, how can it be done discreetly and professionally?
Deep tissue massage on tissue that has had radiation therapy is not recommended, but, because radiation changes the amount of blood flow to the area, light massage to increase the blood flow of radiated tissue is often helpful.
For Lymph Drainage
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is a gentle technique that often provides relief and reduces swelling from lymphedema. Many massage therapists are choosing to study LDT in order to work with breast cancer patients.
LDT helps offer relief from soreness, inflammation and painful surgical procedure sites. You may be interested in reading more about lymph drainage, and how it affects the body.
Techniques usually include long, one-direction, strokes to encourage the lymph flow and proper drainage.
For Breast Augmentation
Breast massage for breast augmentation helps to prevent capsular contracture, which is scar tissue that forms around a foreign object in the body. Massage and stretching of the scar tissue not only keeps the area soft, but it also allows the space for the implant to move.
Techniques of breast massage are usually started within 3-4 days after the surgery, and are performed at least 3-5 times per week for the first 3 months.
They will include movement of the implant with light massage and compression. Physicians will often provide written instructions to take home after the procedure, but many patients also choose to seek a professional massage practitioner's help with more advanced techniques to address severe scar tissue and swelling.
Some massage therapists use a technique called cupping for breast health issues.
Massage breast cupping, when done correctly by a certified massage cupping provider, creates a light lifting of the scar tissue, decreasing pain receptors and allowing release of adhesions with very little pain to the patient.
The lift of the suction in cupping also increases lymphatic flow, reduces swelling, and calms and relaxes the patient.When used in conjunction with LDT, cupping can encourage drainage.
Always seek out a massage practitioner who has experience in LDT and massage cupping with breast cancer and/or breast augmentation patients. Ask lots of questions and make sure they are certified to do this type of massage cupping work.
If you are experiencing breast pain associated with breastfeeding here is a website which gives some other simple tips for relieving engorgement and mastitis such as instructional videos for correct latching and postural habits to make breastfeeding the enjoyable experience it should be.
This DVD, Therapeutic Breast Massage teaches how to massage the breasts to relieve the pain of surgery, mastitis, augmentation, or edema, with easy to follow steps, as well as tips on marketing the services to physicians and other healthcare providers.
From my own Personal Experience
I watched my mother suffer from very painful breast removal, chemotherapy, lymph drainage issues with her arm (because of removal of lymph nodes) and finally reconstruction. She was bruised and emotionally battered from it all, but stayed strong and lived for 28 years after her cancer.
I suppose this is why this type of massage is not uncomfortable for me.
Helping women (or men) with scar tissue pain and lymph edema is a true blessing-for the patient and the therapist!
Don't let your fears of breast massage prevent you from helping women with these painful problems!