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Manual Therapy for Breast Health

Manual Therapy for Breast Health

National Women’s Health Week begins on May 10 every year. In honor of this week, there is a significant focus placed on women and various health practices that can aid in optimal health. Breast health is an important component of a woman’s health. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, regardless of race or ethnicity.1 The key to reducing this statistic is prevention.

There are many alternative approaches to promote breast health. One such approach is Manual Therapy, which is a gentle form of body work that can support drainage of the lymphatic system.2 The lymph is a vital part of the immune system and facilitates the cardiovascular system by helping to drain toxins from the body. Breasts contain lymph ducts that drain toxins from the breast tissue. When the lymph fluid is stagnant, it can create inflammation of the breast. This can lead to illness. By supporting drainage of this lymph fluid from the breast, breast tissue is less toxic.

Lymph vessels are lined with involuntary muscle that helps to pump lymph from an area. These small muscles can be in spasm, leading to a stagnant or sluggish lymph system. Manual Therapy for breast lymph drainage is a relaxing treatment that helps to stimulate the smooth muscle around these lymph vessels and help to promote normal flow of the lymph out of the breast tissue. This can prevent inflammation in the region that can lead to illness.

Women who have poor lymph flow in the breast may feel tightness or soreness in the breast tissue. They may also experience symptoms in their shoulders and upper back or neck.

Regular Manual Therapy can also help to create more movement and less pain I joints and tissues of the body. Manual Therapy may be practiced by holistic Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Massage Therapists and Body Workers.

1. U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2011 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2014.
2. Williams, A.f., A. Vadgama, P.j. Franks, and P.s. Mortimer. "A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy in Women with Breast Cancer-related Lymphedema." European Journal of Cancer Care 11.4 (2002): 254-61. Web.

Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, is a Certified Integrative Manual Therapist and Holistic Physical Therapist. She is the owner of Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy. For more information, see


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