A breast massage might seem like a taboo concept but it is essential to early diagnosis of breast cancer. About 70 percent of breast cancer cases were detected in women under 50 through self-examinations, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Breast massage has been a part of ayurvedic therapeutic practices. Abhyanga is a breast massage that has roots in ayurveda. It involves gentle massaging of the breasts in circular motions with herbal oil.

In Western culture this may be frowned upon so it makes more sense to massage your own breasts for the health benefits that it provides. Use gentle pressure with the first four fingers starting from the nipple and then move your hands to the outer part of the breast. Doing this a few times is useful for the following reasons:

Removes Toxins

Lymphedema is the buildup of excess fluid in the network of vessels near the breastbone and collarbone. Breast massage can prevent the accumulation of waste in the chest region and the arms. However, the evidence to prove this is limited. A review done in 2013 said that 10 randomized controlled trials could not prove the positive effect of stimulating the breasts on lymphedema specifically.

Cancer Detection

Cancer is often detected when a hard lump or overgrown tissue is felt with bare human hands manually. The earlier the diagnosis, the more chances of recovering and preventing the disease from spreading to other parts of the body. However, majority of lumps turn out to be benign.

Improves Circulation

Breast massage could remove blockages and toxins due to bras, scars and sedentary lifestyles. "A breast massage can improve circulation and aid in detoxing. The breasts are part of the lymphatic system, which moves toxins and unwanted materials through the body," Torrie Thompson, lead health coach at Modern Holistic Health, said.

Alleviates Stress

Breast massages help release feel-good hormones similar to all massages that leave the recipient feeling good and therefore reducing stress. "Oxytocin is one of our feel-good hormones that is also released from breastfeeding and hugging," Thompson said.

Soothes Sore Muscles

Sore muscles affect the breasts as well after a rigorous workout doing push-ups and pull-ups. Breast massage could reduce strain on the muscles under the breast tissues.

For people who have had surgery and breast cancer recently, they should be extra careful and consult with a doctor before massaging the breasts.

Woman getting massage
Woman getting a massage. Thomas Wanhoff, CC BY-SA 2.0