Self-Breast Massage 101

Breast massage is a therapeutic combination of Swedish massage and lymphatic drainage aimed to promote the circulation and drainage of your breast tissue. It can be applied either by yourself or a qualified therapist to treat musculoskeletal dysfunction, reduce scar tissue adhesions, reduce edema, improve drainage and removal of toxins in your body, decrease pain and maintain the overall health of your breast tissue.

Let’s start with some precautions.


1)   Never massage over undiagnosed tumors or lumps. If you do find an abnormality in your tissue, please do not panic. Take note of your observations and consult your doctor. Statistics show that 80% of breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous).

2)   Consult your doctor before massaging over recently radiated sites. The radiated areas are fragile. In these cases I see a registered massage therapist with additional training in manual lymphatic drainage.

3)   If you have had lymph nodes removed in your armpit please massage the tissue towards the side of your chest which still has lymph nodes or massage in the direction moving downwards towards your abdomen. This will help the fluid drain in watersheds that will decrease the edema instead of resulting in further congestion.

4)  If you have mastitis or active cancer, please consult your doctor before receiving massage from a practitioner or incorporating self-breast massage into your routine.

13 reasons to get a breast massage:

  1. To maintain the health of your breasts
  2. To decrease breast pain or tenderness
  3. To relieve symptoms from fibrocystic breast disease and life cycle changes
  4. To relieve constriction in the chest caused by muscle tightness
  5. To improve the mechanics of breathing
  6. To create a feeling of well being and induce relaxation
  7. To enhance your relationship with your body
  8. To ease prenatal and postnatal discomfort or encourage lactation
  9. To soften post-surgical scars
  10. To decrease edema/lymphedema
  11. To relieve premenstrual congestion or swelling of the breast
  12. To get to know the topography of your breasts and how it changes throughout the month and over time
  13. To decrease upper back and shoulder pain

Estimated time:

5-10 minutes

What you will need:

1) Olive, pomegranate or healthy breast oil

2) A small towel to wipe excess oil

How to do it:

1) Massage your upper shoulders and neck to relax the muscles of your shoulders.

2) a) With fingers together and a flat palm, move the skin of your neck back and down towards your collarbone. (5x)

b) Crossing your arms, gently press into the space behind your collarbones with your index and middle fingers and release. (5x)

*repeat a & b up to 5 times

The neck has a very high concentration of lymph nodes. These techniques create negative pressure in the vessels, increasing the flow of your lymphatic system.  

3) With fingers together and a flat palm, gently pump your armpit by pressing into the tissue and releasing. (5 pumps repeat 3x on each side)

4) Using the flat surface of 4 fingers, softly make small 3 semi-circles in an upward direction on the side of your ribs and repeat moving upwards from the base of the breast to your armpit. (1-3 x)

5) Warm a small amount of oil in the palm of your hands. Gently massage from your breastbone moving towards the nipple with flat fingers. For women with larger breasts, I recommend supporting the outer part of your breast with the opposite hand.

6) Gently massage from underneath your breast towards the nipple with long strokes or semicircles.

7) Massage with light pressure from the side of your breasts towards your armpit.

8) Gently pull the breast away from the chest wall while cupping it in your hand. Move the breast up and down and from side to side to release any restrictions in the tissue. This allows lymphatic fluid to drain.

Self-breast massage is very simple with practice and can complement your wellness regimen. In my clinical experience, I’ve observed a softening of edematous and scar tissue and an improvement in local drainage of the lymphatic system. My clients have reported a reduction in pain, a decrease in fear, an improved sense of connection with their bodies and an increase of their general sense of wellbeing when they receive breast massage on a regular basis.

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