What Restricts Your Lymphatic Circulation?

Did you know that the natural bounce of your breasts is the main method of drainage for your breast tissue?

We live in a culture that trains us at a young age to restrict the movement of our breasts. As adults, many of us wear improperly fitted bras, which leave red marks on our skin and restrict our breathing and lymphatic circulation, contributing to cyclical breast tenderness and eventual breast disease. The anatomy of our breasts is designed for movement. A rich network of vessels comprising our lymphatic system runs through our breasts and facilitates the transport of 75% of the lymph in your whole body!

Unlike blood vessels, the lymphatic vessels in our breasts don’t have muscle pumps to assist the movement of fluid through them. A tight, improperly fitting bra is like a dam impeding the flow of lymphatic fluid, which works with our immune system to help eliminate toxins. If your breasts feel congested or painful, it usually means your lymphatic circulation is restricted. This will allow more toxins, such as pesticides, heavy metals and plastic resideus to accumulate in your breast tissue.

The following factors can impede the natural drainage of your breasts:

1) Musculoskeletal imbalances

Tightness in the pectoral muscles and fascia in the chest can act as an obstacle to the drainage of your breasts. Tight chest muscles affect posture, causing the shoulders to round inwards.

2) Poor posture

Many of us spend countless hours sitting at desks. Lack of exercise and slouching can decrease lymphatic circulation.

3) Tight clothing (including improperly fitted bras and chest binding)

If your bra leaves red marks that last for more than 20 minutes once you have removed it, it’s too tight. If your shoulder straps leave marks on the top of your shoulders or the straps are digging in, your bra isn’t doing it’s job correctly. Underwire bras can put pressure on the tissue beneath, restricting lymphatic circulation. Minimize how many hours a day you wear a bra or other restrictive garment. Find a bra with wider, softer shoulder straps if you are large-breasted, and avoid underwire bras.

4) Radiation, chemotherapy, removal of lymph nodes

Radiation scars and chemotherapy can damage lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, cause loss of muscle strength, and pain on movement. Practice techniques to help drain your tissues such as gentle stretching, yoga and lymphatic massage.

5) Scar tissue (surgical or functional)

Scars in breast tissue from plastic surgery, breast reductions and mastectomies (full or partial) impede drainage of fluid in the breasts. Self-massage, castor oil packs, and stretching of the shoulders, neck and chest can decrease scar tissue. Some massage therapists are trained in therapeutic breast massage.

6) Edema, lymphedema, congestion in the tissue

Localized swelling impedes overall lymphatic circulation. Manual lymphatic drainage from a therapist who is trained in treating lymphedema can help, along with compression garments, stretching, daily exercise, deep breathing, swimming and rebounding.

7) Stress and shallow breathing

Take regular breaks while working at home or at the office, getting up to move, stretch and breathe deeply for 11 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Walk daily for 40 minutes, and practice deep breathing for 5-15 minutes a day until it becomes a habit. Deep breathing improves the circulation of lymphatic fluid.

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