Our task as women is to learn, minute by minute, to respect ourselves and our bodies. Whether our breasts are small or large, perky or droopy, whether we have implants or lumps, or have had a mastectomy, all of “the girls” are wonderful. Our breasts are a source of nourishment and pleasure for both ourselves and others, and should be seen as such! You can improve your breast health almost immediately with these self-care practices:
- When you touch your breasts, do so with respect and caring. Be grateful they are part of your body. That means if you do a monthly breast self-exam, do NOT do it with a search-and-destroy mentality. This isn’t a military exercise whose purpose is finding and killing an enemy! Instead thank your breasts, chest, and heart area for being a part of your body as you lovingly touch these parts of yourself. Pay special attention to the area up under the armpit where all the lymph nodes are. Massaging this area will assist in ridding your body of toxins, while increasing blood flow and life energy!
- Open yourself to receiving help, nourishment, and compassion from self and others. When you experience events that cause you sorrow, resentment, or pain, allow yourself to quite literally get these feelings off your chest by experiencing your emotions fully, grieving, and then letting go. “Make a clean breast of it.”
- Minimize the time you wear your bra every day. Don’t wear a bra to bed. The lymph channels around your breasts and in your armpits need to flow freely. Tight bras shut off this lymph flow, making it much harder for your body to detoxify breast tissue.
- Sweat it out. Regular exercise is medicine for your breasts. It helps detoxify your body and also helps decrease the amount of estrogen that affects your breasts. Women who exercise regularly have a 30 percent decreased risk for breast cancer.
- Eat a low-glycemic diet. High blood sugar, which occurs when you eat a high-glycemic diet instead, results in high insulin levels. A high-glycemic diet is a well-documented risk factor for breast disease.
- Many holistically oriented healthcare practitioners utilize hormone profiles (which can be done by Genova Diagnostics) that measure how well you are metabolizing estrogen—and into what kind of end products. Some metabolites of estrogen are harmful to breast tissue and some aren’t.
- Supplement! Take a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement that is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, E, B-complex, D, beta-carotene is a must. (This means at least four pills per day.) Antioxidants help the cells in your breasts fight cellular inflammation, which can be a precursor to breast cancer. Get plenty of vitamin D. Studies show that women with optimal levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of breast cancer. Your vitamin D level should be at least 40 ng/ml. If it’s not, talk with your doctor and come up with the best strategy for raising your levels of this important nutrient. Be prepared to take up to 50,000 IUs per week until your levels are high enough and then 1,000–5,000 IUs per day after that.
Finally, give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Imagine that your Higher Power, or spiritual self, is standing right in front of you. And she is the very embodiment of love and compassion. She reaches out, touches your head, and says, “I now forgive you for all the times you ate too much ice cream, got angry with your children, or didn’t clean up. I forgive you for not keeping a promise to yourself or someone else. I forgive you for being human and for not being able to make everyone happy. I forgive you for ever doubting your worth. I forgive you for having needs and for needing other people to love you. I forgive you for trying to hide your pain behind a brave and stoic face.” This forgiveness extends to what you have or haven’t done for your health in the past. If you wish you had done things differently, that’s OK! Every day is a new day, and the perfect day to start practicing prevention.