"Brassage" Massaging Bra Keeps Your Best Breast Forward!
ABC News recently reported on the discontinued BrassageTM, a bra that was marketed to support breast health and help prevent breast cancer with sewn-in massaging bumps. This might sound completely crazy, and in part, it is. When it comes down to it, there is no hard evidence that a disease like breast cancer can be prevented with proper clothing, or that improper clothing contributes to poor breast health. Still, there might be some truth to a concept that was perhaps exploited by high-end lingerie designers. Just like any other part of the human body, the breasts are affected by lifestyle choices, and studies do suggest that ill-fitting undergarments inhibit natural breast disease prevention.
To understand how a bra could have anything to do with what's happening inside the breast, it's important to know something about the breast's circulatory system. The arteries that carry blood to the breast also transport a fluid called lymph. Lymph fluid cleanses bodily tissues of toxins, and is filtered by glands called lymph nodes. Alongside the veins that return used blood to the heart, lymphatic channels take the used lymph to be refreshed and recycled. The lymphatic system ultimately promotes the elimination of toxins from the body. Lymphatic channels and glands are plentiful in the area around the breasts, especially in and near the armpit. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump (heart) to circulate lymph. Body movement and stimulation do the work instead. When the lymphatic flow is restricted by pressure, toxin removal may be hindered.
Bras, because of their straps, underwires, and shaping structure, can create pressure on the breasts, armpits, and shoulders. Even if a bra is not uncomfortable to wear, it is probably making reddened impressions on the skin. This means that there is pressure, albeit relatively light. That pressure might be making it difficult for the lymphatic channels and glands to do their job. BrassageTM, the massaging designer bra mentioned earlier, is supposed to assist lymphatic flow by means of small bumps inside the bra. Its web site also states that the bra does not cause restriction with side panels and underwires.
While it is not clear exactly why the Brassage was taken off the market, its high price and lack of scientific evidence are suspect. There is no guarantee that restriction-free bras, or going without a bra altogether, will keep anyone from getting breast cancer. However, women should remember that there is more breast cancer in cultures where women wear shaping underwear, and that bodily restriction is generally unfavorable (think corsets). Since most women are going to continue wearing their bras, and society doesn't look to be championing public bralessness any time soon, here are a few tips for keeping your breasts healthy and comfortable, without breaking the mold:
Wear the correct bra size: This is for health and comfort. If you've never had a proper fitting, consider asking a professional what the best size is for you. Don't forget to find out both your torso measurement and cup size.
Take the bra off whenever you can: If you're with close friends, sitting at home, or sleeping, take the bra off. When the weather is cooler, no one will notice if you're not wearing a bra under heavy sweaters and sweatshirts.
Perform self-examinations and massages: Most women know about this, and hopefully get annual breast exams from their doctors. Still, it's a good idea to check yourself at least once a month. Feel around your breast, nipples, armpits, and neck for anything out of the ordinary. Massages are great for lymphatic flow, and can be especially nice when a partner is involved.
Spread the word: If you have a family history of breast cancer, or know someone who does, make the women around you aware of the possible complications of wearing overly-restrictive underwear.