massage and bodywork professionals

a community of practitioners

Dear Therapists,

One of my regular clients, who is a generally healthy 50+ yr old, opened up during our last session to share that she has had life-long breast health issues: cysts, reoccurring mastitis, and recently a lump - which biopsy found to be benign - and then it disappeared on its own. (She also was never able to conceive, despite many years of trying - so clearly, hormones are seriously at play here)

It seemed to me, that she would benefit from breast massage and I suggested it as an option for our next session. She responded positively, though also expressed some concern that in her case, because of her many years of breast-health issues and the impression that her breast tissue is "filled with grits" - it might be contraindicated. I promised I would so more research, so here I am!

Your feedback and insight is requested.

Thanks, Olga

(By the way, I chose to post to this group as it is the one which comes up when searching "breast" on this community site - but if anyone recommends posting my question elsewhere I'd be grateful for direction).


Tags: breast, cyst, massage, mastitis

Views: 472

Replies to This Discussion

I think her issues are the exact reason why her breasts need improved circulation and lymph flow. The only thing I would caution you about (depending on the laws in your area) is getting her to sign a release that states you have her permission to work on the breasts.
I will try to keep this short. The answer is, that it is not contraindicated. Matter of fact, she needs it desperately. I recommend to women with this problem, that they go with out a bra for a couple of weeks if they can. There was one study done, where they told women to go without a bra for 30 days. The study was stopped at about 26 days if I recall, as 95% of all the ANDI problems had all disappeared. ANDI means "Aberrations of Normal Development and Involution", formally known as "Fibrocystic Breast Disease". It is not a disease, but a condition that normally occurs as women get past 40 (ruffly). Light to mild palpatory techniques with small circles, with emphasis to palpating superficial to deep while moving lymph on the surface away from the areola into the lymph nodes at the outside area of the breast. That is as simple as I can make it without teaching a class on this. When I teach other massage practitioners what I have learned over the years, it usually requires about 6 hours or more. The doctor who originally explained this to me said, "Bill, you know the anatomy of the body (and of course the breast). What do you think would need to be done? I said that the breast are not muscles, they are glands, so no deep pressure (plus other stuff). So I say to you the same thing to you. Think of what you want to accomplish and then how would you achieve that goal.
Getting back to the Breast and why it is recommended. The breast become toxic from lack of movement, as the lymph fluid can not drain on it's own. About 85% or less of the Lymph vessels in the breast have no one way valves in the lymph vessels. This is why going without a bra and palpatory techniques helps so much. Obviously going without a bra can not be done all the time, so alternatives like sports bra's where appropriate, as well as a bra called "Bearly There" are a good choice when needed. Light exculpatory techniques are key here. Request feed back constantly. I always say, "If I do anything that feels uncomfortable or hurts in any way, let me know and I will stop what I am doing". I will then reassess what I am doing with feed back from the client. I make sure that she realizes that she is in control here, and I will not do anything without her permission.
See my other comments on this section of the site, and take a close look at my web site: WWW.BillCurryMassage.com. I have several links that are good for all sorts of issues. Like for example, not everyone will want someone else to massage their breast, so I have several self help methods listed. Look at What to expect during a massage, then click on the "Healthy Breast Massage" option. After that, you can find your way around.
I hope this is helpful.
Thank you both for your "green lights" and even "hit the gas!" in this case.

Carol, luckily I am in Europe so issues of potential liability/legal clarity are really not at play.

Bill, thanks for the _fantastic_ list of resources on your website and for the scientific info above. That's a great study to back up the urgent need for this work (and to pull those bras off!). Is the source to that study among your links, I'd love to read more about it (like who, when, where).

By the way, I have taken breast massage classes and regularly offer them to my clients; so I am confident with my technique - just wanted to check in whether any "new findings" have emerged (or might have been missed) since my training. Besides, I promised I'd do more research, to give this client who is understandably worried about her breast health, a greater peace of mind - so I have to keep my word, right!

Love and light,
O.
great website Bill!
and very valuable info!

Bill Curry said:
PS: The link for my video has changed, since the other web site has been redone recently.
I have not reset the link yet.
The source of the study I mentioned is from the book, "Breast Massage" by Debra Curties. She was a past president of the National AMTA. She lives in Canada, and has a school there.
Here is one link to her book: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Breast-Massage/9780968525616-it...

Olga Chwascinska said:
Thank you both for your "green lights" and even "hit the gas!" in this case.
Carol, luckily I am in Europe so issues of potential liability/legal clarity are really not at play. Bill, thanks for the _fantastic_ list of resources on your website and for the scientific info above. That's a great study to back up the urgent need for this work (and to pull those bras off!). Is the source to that study among your links, I'd love to read more about it (like who, when, where).

By the way, I have taken breast massage classes and regularly offer them to my clients; so I am confident with my technique - just wanted to check in whether any "new findings" have emerged (or might have been missed) since my training. Besides, I promised I'd do more research, to give this client who is understandably worried about her breast health, a greater peace of mind - so I have to keep my word, right!

Love and light,
O.
I am adding a link here to Debra Curties web ssite. She wrote the book "Breast Massage". The price she list is in Canadian dolars. That is about $37 US dollars.
http://www.curties-overzet.com/breast.htm

Bill Curry said:
Thank you! I have also fixed the video link on the site. The technique I was mentioning in my other comment section is mine, and I have only seen one other person using it, a nurse practitioner from Lancaster, PA. The techniques on my web site are for the person that wants to do self breast massage.
Eeris Kallil CMT said:
great website Bill!
and very valuable info! Bill Curry said:
PS: The link for my video has changed, since the other web site has been redone recently.
I have not reset the link yet.
Thanks so much for all the additional info, Bill; I didn't get the emails that these were posted for some reason...

Well, I popped in on the forum, today, because I could use some urgent advice:
24 hrs after the above mentioned breast massage (1st post), the client's left breast became swollen and very warm. Now, 48+ hrs, she is still in similar discomfort, didn't sleep the night because of the pain in breast, underarm and upper arm, and was running a low fever all day. The right breast is fine. She specified today that the left breast has several cysts, including one that is 50mm diameter (~2 in.) and she _feels_ as if all the smaller ones dumped into the large one and that's what the swelling is about. She took some anti-inflammatory meds but is allergic to them and reacted with a rash. While she is aware that she fully agreed to the massage, she now believes to have made a mistake, in _her_ particular case. When we talked, she agreed she would increase fluid intake, though because she really dislikes water, she will drink chamomile tea and wait it out a few more days and then see her breast doctor if nothing changes. She also agreed that this might be part of a healing process rather than the indication of something gone very wrong...but she is quite upset about all of this.

This is the first time I've come across such a reaction! Though I am not so surprised it comes from the client with the most anxiety about her breast health...

Any words?

Thanks,
O.
Hi Olga
Sorry about the delay. We have been on death watch for the past several days, and Sunday my girl friends mom past away at 88. We stayed by her bed the last couple of days knowing she was going to go any moment. We all feel this was for the best, but it is still an emotional roller coaster.
OK, down to business. In your case I would recommend moist warm heat to the area. You probably didn’t do any harm, as long as you were gentle. I have seen some massage practitioners work the breast as if they were massaging a muscle. Very little pressure is used. This is not a groping but a palpation of the gland. If it is done this way, she cannot say you did anything to harm her since the pressure was not that hard. When I find a benign lump of fluid or tissue, I palpate several times, go away and let it process, and come back and work it some more. When you do a draining technique, you need to give it some time to process. Draining does not happen in 2 minutes. You are in fact stimulating the draining process, and even after you leave the draining should continue for about 24 hours. Do not try to get the cyst to disappear in one session. Sometimes this takes several session or just a few hours after the treatment.
The palpation I use is very slow with intervals of about 10 seconds between each, going superficial to deep (and I do not mean pressure). Done in this way, it is no more harmful than moving her arms when she walks or lifts something. Every time she moves her arms it is stimulating lymphatic flow. That being said, another technique is to move her arm from lying on her side to holding it up mid air, to lying it down over her head, then back. This stimulates the Lymph nodes in the arm pit (auxiliary area).
For her to have the reaction she did is unusual, but it is real to her. Her anxiety must be met head on. Tell her to guide you through the process, telling you too ease up where she feels it could be a problem or uncomfortable. Experience comes in handy hear, which you are getting by doing.
Hope you make out OK and this will be a learning experience one way or another.
Good luck!


Olga Chwascinska said:
Thanks so much for all the additional info, Bill; I didn't get the emails that these were posted for some reason...

Well, I popped in on the forum, today, because I could use some urgent advice:
24 hrs after the above mentioned breast massage (1st post), the client's left breast became swollen and very warm. Now, 48+ hrs, she is still in similar discomfort, didn't sleep the night because of the pain in breast, underarm and upper arm, and was running a low fever all day. The right breast is fine. She specified today that the left breast has several cysts, including one that is 50mm diameter (~2 in.) and she _feels_ as if all the smaller ones dumped into the large one and that's what the swelling is about. She took some anti-inflammatory meds but is allergic to them and reacted with a rash. While she is aware that she fully agreed to the massage, she now believes to have made a mistake, in _her_ particular case. When we talked, she agreed she would increase fluid intake, though because she really dislikes water, she will drink chamomile tea and wait it out a few more days and then see her breast doctor if nothing changes. She also agreed that this might be part of a healing process rather than the indication of something gone very wrong...but she is quite upset about all of this.

This is the first time I've come across such a reaction! Though I am not so surprised it comes from the client with the most anxiety about her breast health...

Any words?

Thanks,
O.
Olga

Wow- this reaction is very unexpected, and yet again due to her emotional issues around her breasts, maybe not...
I would suggest for her to see her doctor if it persists.
If its mastitis my inclination is to keep massaging very lightly to help declog the ducts. But it might be good to find out what's going on first.
Keep us posted!

Bill- sorry to hear about the death in your family!
Eeris
Thank you all for your replies! (this time, I wandered off into "busyland" :-)

Bill, I also would like to extend my belated condolences to you and your girlfriend.

My client (though I have a feeling I might not be seeing her again anytime soon) :-( told me the swelling has "gone down" and she is set to see her doctor early next week. I asked her to keep me posted, though, again, I have this feeling from our conversation that she might not. I've called her 3 times since the incident, always inviting her to keep communicating with me, and don't want to push it anymore.

As Bill suggests, I did have her guide me and dialogue about pressure and sensation throughout the breast massage, I certainly did not try to "pop" or "drain" anything beyond what palpation and small circular strokes naturally cause... I also preceded with the arm movements, along with a very light axillary work...so. So be it. One more learning experience... and I have certainly not let this stop me from advocating and offering breast massage to my other female clients, who just love it!

Peace,
O.
Good for you for not taking this experience too personal. You did what everyone of us would have done Olga!

Olga Chwascinska said:
Thank you all for your replies! (this time, I wandered off into "busyland" :-)

Bill, I also would like to extend my belated condolences to you and your girlfriend.

My client (though I have a feeling I might not be seeing her again anytime soon) :-( told me the swelling has "gone down" and she is set to see her doctor early next week. I asked her to keep me posted, though, again, I have this feeling from our conversation that she might not. I've called her 3 times since the incident, always inviting her to keep communicating with me, and don't want to push it anymore.

As Bill suggests, I did have her guide me and dialogue about pressure and sensation throughout the breast massage, I certainly did not try to "pop" or "drain" anything beyond what palpation and small circular strokes naturally cause... I also preceded with the arm movements, along with a very light axillary work...so. So be it. One more learning experience... and I have certainly not let this stop me from advocating and offering breast massage to my other female clients, who just love it!

Peace,
O.
Hi Olga. I welcome your post . . attitudes to breast massage will surely change. For your client, there seems to be a persistent link to a rotated C7, affecting the left brachial plexus; and an oblique pelvis affecting breast lymphatics in a different way, on the other side. Maybe a multi disciplinary approach to these factors is indicated. A referenced view will be presented in a paper at a major congress this year, followed by papers on other developments in fascially-related phenomenae. Bill Curry is right on the money with this, and I believe that his views will receive some validated support in the next 18 months. Hope to keep in touch with developments here. In the meantime, reflect on the fact that bras were invented by men who hornswoggled women into believing that they could not be attractive without bras. Be very cross about that! I would welcome the opportunity to show some new related techniques in USA in November given the opportunity. Cheers Peter

RSS

© 2014   Created by Lara Evans Bracciante.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service