Shiatsu and Breast Health

A few shiatsu techniques for self and clients to generate good breast health.

1. Daily tune up.
—-Treatment: gently tap across the chest – using either using a loose fist or flat hand for confort – above and around the breasts and across the ribs. Massage your breasts (a good way to check for lumps and other irregularites), giving particular attention to the massaging of each nipple (Stomach [ST] 17 is located in the nipple), as this stimulates ovarian functions and is also good for regulating or improving lactation in breast feeding mothers. Do this exercise daily to help maintain better ovarian health, which will assist hormonal regulation.
—-ST17/nipple stim is also a key tool in releasing oxitonin to help stop uterine bleeding after childbirth. This is one reason why breastfeeding immediately is very important.

2. To ease breast tenderness during monthly menses cycle as well as early months or pregnancy.
—-Treatment : for relief, gently massage your breasts with circular movements and apply gentle pressure to the following points using palms or fingers: ST13, ST16, and K22. Also treat the ST meridian in the legs, releasing yr diaphragm and treat the points: ST25, CV 12, CV 14, LI 4, and BL 21.

3. Breast lumps and breast cancer preventative work.
Breast lumps are any mass, cyst or swelling that can be felt in the breast. It is very important that you perform a monthly self breast exam (SBE), to feel for any changes/irregularites, and check for nipple discharge. [Please see my other blog entitled ‘October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Early Detection and Screening: The Self Breast Exam’ for more info] If you find any lumps or discharge, please do contact your doctor immediatley.
—-Treatment: as a lump or swelling is usually a sign of stagnation, it is recommended you treat the Liver Meridian, in the legs, focusing on L3/13/14. Gently massage your breasts and nipples and treat the points on the ST meridian: ST16/18. To improve circulation, treat the H meridians in the arm.
—-Lumps that are softer, tender, and not painful to touch, can come and go with the menses cycle, and are better after massage are due to Liver Chi stagnation. Lumps that are fixed and painful do not respond or the menses cycle are caused by blood stasis – an obstruction of blood, and requires medical advice.

4. Improving lactation.
Breastfeeding is important for maternal-child bonding, and will help to improve baby’s immune system, reduce the risk of allergies, as well as support the growth and development of yr child. Successful breastfeeding is dependant on yr ablility to produce a steady flow of milk. This treatment will ease yr frustrations and worries you might have and help to reduce the breast muscles.
—-Treatment: Use the following points in combination with a general soothing breast massage [pls see my other blogs on the the breast massage technique and the importance thereof]: SP18, L14, ST 13/16/17, HG 1, SI 11, and CV 17.
—-The realease of milk is stiumulated by the hormone oxytonin, which is in turn stimulated by, u guessed it, breast feeding. Encouraging you baby to suckle will, therefore, increase the ammount of milk you produce. Allow yrself enought time when feeding, as stress of anykind will negativley affect the production of milk. Caffeine is to be avoided, try mint tea instead! Yum!

5. Mastitis.
This occurs when infection enters the breast, usually through a cracked nipple. The breast will become hard, red, and tender. To avoid cracking, apply some calendula or vitamin E oil to your nipples and allow them to dry properly before putting on yr bra on after you have fed the baby. [more to come on nipple moisturisation at a later time]
—-Treatment: In oriental medical theory, this is a ‘hot disease’ and an excess condition. To help bring energy down in the body, massage your breasts and armpits; highlighting these points: ST18/36, GB21, LV3/14, SI 11 and good ol CV17.

****As this is October, Breast (Cancer Awareness) Month, I have only mentioned treatments and conditions for breast health. Pls do ask questions if you need assistance with point mapping or technique.

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