The Many Benefits of Breast/Chest Massage
Did you know that breast (or chest) massage is within the scope of practice of a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)? RMT’s who are trained in Ontario receive specific training in breast/chest massage as part of their 2200 hour certification. Advanced training in breast massage can be performed at a graduate level.
There are many health benefits to receiving regular breast/chest massage throughout all stages of life. Whether that is as a general massage to reduce congestion and edema, or a more specific treatment with specialized goals. Regular breast massage performed by a Registered Massage Therapist can help maintain good breast health, and can help clients become familiar with their own breast/chest tissue.
The RMT can work within the client’s comfort level by massaging the breast/chest tissue through the sheets, or undraping, and working on one breast at a time. Massage of the areola and nipple are never included in the treatment. The breast treatment is generally light in pressure as there are no muscles located in the breasts.
The main goals of breast/chest massage are to increase circulation and decrease congestion to the breast tissues. More specific work can be used to treat conditions such as:
- Post-surgical scars
- Painful breast syndromes
- During the pregnancy and postpartum period
- Postural faults
The RMT can use a variety of techniques such as lymphatic drainage, Swedish massage and hydrotherapy to fulfill these goals (Curties, 1999).
An RMT can also teach clients how to massage their own breasts/chests. This can help to further reduce congestion, promote better circulation, and decrease pain. Breast/chest massage performed by an RMT or by the client themselves can facilitate a more positive relationship to one’s body and increase an awareness of breast health (Curties, 1999).
Below is a list of the ways breast/chest massage can help maintain good breast health as a general or specific treatment.
General breast/chest massage can help maintain good breast health by:
- Increasing circulation to the breast tissue and surrounding areas
- Decreasing congestion
- Alleviating tired, sore, achy breast (mastalgia)
- Improving posture
- Decreasing muscle tension in surrounding supportive structures such as:
– Chest wall muscles
– Muscles between the ribs
– Shoulder girdle and rotator cuff
Post-Surgical scar tissue work can help to:
– Reduce pain and stiffness associated with scar tissue formation
– Mobilize the scar so there are fewer restrictions in the breast/chest tissues and surrounding areas
– Increase range of motion of surrounding joints and musculature
– Reduce the feeling of numbness, fluid retention and pain associated with the formation of scar tissue
– Aid in normalizing a new post-surgical body
Breast/chest massage can support perinatal development by:
– Facilitating a connection to a changing body
– Decreasing sore and aching breasts/chests
– Decreasing congestion in breast/chest tissue in all trimesters of pregnancy
– Improving milk formation and milk flow
– Decreasing breast/chest discomforts
– Decreasing engorgement
– Decreasing the occurrence of plugged ducts
– Decreasing musculoskeletal pain associated with breast/chest feeding positions
Curties, D. (1999). Breast Massage. Toronto: Curties-Overzet Publications Inc.
Stager, L. (2010). Nurturing Massage for Pregnancy: A Practical Guide to Bodywork for the Perinatal Cycle. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.