Calling All Bodies
Boost Chest Tissue Health With These Ayurvedic Techniques
In my last article, I introduced the concept of getting comfortable with your chest tissue. I’m hoping you’ve been able to find a few minutes to get acquainted with your glorious, miraculous body. It’s challenging work, but some of the most important care you can give yourself.
This is particularly important for male bodies. Our current culture scarcely supports male-bodied individuals in their own health journey beyond fitness and sport goals. Male bodies get breast cancer, too, but it’s not talked about enough. Addressing all humans here—touch and get to know your tissues!
Men can get breast cancer too
Now I want to talk about additional tools you can use to keep strong health and to address imbalances when they arise. I have a couple of tools you’ll want to keep with you daily as well as protocols and remedies if deeper work is needed.
Moving your fingertips over your chest tissue may have provided you with a variety of textures. You may remember that lymph moves as we move and that includes touch or massage. The Ayurvedic term for the lymphatic system is “Rasa”, meaning the river of life. Essentially, it is a river that needs water to flow, function and follow through with removing debris to keep a steady flow happening, so that the water doesn’t become stagnant with toxins, just like a river.
The textures beneath your skin are the variety of cells and channels for blood, adipose, lymph, muscle, and fascia. Ideally all these cells are flexible, plump or lean as is appropriate, and elastic. However, just like a river, there can be dry spots, swollen spots, spots that simply need care.
The key to a healthy immune/lymphatic system is plenty of rest, eating proper foods and drinking healthy liquids. Otherwise, we can get dams in our river (lymphatic obstructions) or a dry riverbed, causing dehydration and exhaustion. We can also experience something like a forest fire that needs a fire engine to come to the rescue, which is when lymph nodes at the neck get inflamed and hurt. Those inflamed lymph nodes are telling us to stop and rest, take a break and pay attention, so the fire doesn't spread out of control.
A healthy Lymphatic/Immunity system is like this:
Lymph nodes: Almond in shape, soft to touch, malleable, not matted to muscle or bone, no surface lumps can be found
Joints: Flexible, unctuous, no cracking or pain
Sinus: No long-term congestion, not getting sick more than 2 times a year
Weight: Smooth skin and proper weight distribution
Emotion: Sleep soundly and are rested upon awakening, good longevity, go with the flow of life - positive attitude, feelings of self love and compassion for others
So, what’s the first physical symptom of imbalance? It’s the inflammatory response. When the immune system takes action on a foreign invader, it creates an immune response, also known as an inflammatory response. The body provides the symptoms of pain, swelling, fever and production of mucus to buffer the inflammation that is occurring and to let us know that it is working hard to solve the issue. It is similar to having a built-in fire alarm that goes off first, and if the fire is still spreading, a fire truck shows up with water (mucus) to put the fire out.
Cancer cells do not accumulate without imbalances being present, when the lymph river of life has issues with water flowing throughout the body. Water is nourishing and cooling.
Cancer is dry, flaring hot fire inflammation, the very opposite of hydrated (wet) and alkaline (cooling).
To bring yourself back to balance in the early stages, pay close attention to your hydration. Let’s get water on that fire. Add unprocessed electrolyte-rich salts to warm water daily. Start with a ¼ tsp and work your way up to a ½ teaspoon twice a day. My favorite salt to use is Atlantic Grey sea salt. Not all sea salt is unprocessed, so take care that you look for a source location on the package and indication that it is raw.
Add cooling foods to your meals. Since our lymphatic system is also our immune system, it makes a lot of sense that a healthy diet would make a healthy body. It isn’t just what not to eat, a lot of it is knowing what you should eat. This is a list of the foods you can eat to keep your lymphatic system healthy.
Proteins - Every meal for energy
- Wild Fish, Quinoa, Seaweed, Lentil Soup, Hummus, Yogurt
Essential Fatty Acids - To maintain tissues of lymph, bones, nerves, and skin
- Raw Seeds, Raw Milk, Raw Pumpkin & Raw Olive Oil
Spices - Enzymes to motivate change
- Rosemary, Ginger, Coriander Seed, Cilantro, Basil, Cumin, Celery Seed
Vegetables - Hydrating and Mineralizing
- Bok Choy, Celery, Jicama, Broccoli/Cauliflower, Beets, Fennel Root
Leafy Greens - Vitamins & Minerals to feed blood
- Dandelion, Kale, Spinach, Collards, Arugula
Anything sticky, heavy, oily or starchy will not serve the lymphatic system in maintaining balance.
Take care to find more time to rest even if it’s just a few minutes to breathe deeply while looking at clouds or birds. And if you can improve your nightly sleep, so much the better.
If you’re past the state of easily bringing your body back in balance with alkaline foods, good hydration, and rest, choose one or two of these self-care tools.
There are several suggestions here, but don’t overload with all of them. Less is more. Introducing too many remedies can be confusing and stressful for an already jeopardized body.
Find something that really calls to you and that feels really good when you try it.
This can be done daily as you shower or a full body scrub treat twice weekly in a bathtub, allowing you to soak in the salt and oil, continuing to do massage in the bath.
Quick clean-up tip: use your scrub while standing in the bathtub or shower, on top of a towel or bath mat.
- Whenever doing any lymphatic massage - work towards the heart
- Scrub vigorously, using circular strokes
- Feet to heart then hands to heart
- Turn skin pink, move on (this allows you to see where your lymph is moving or not) the pinker the skin can turn the more lymph is moving
Chinese Gua Sha
The gua sha is a flat piece of wood or jade that is used to move the lymphatic system, break down scar tissue and tenderize muscles.
- Releases lactic acid in the muscles
- Breaks down scar tissue (use with castor oil)
- Tonifies nerves along the meridian lines
- Supports lymphatic drainage
- Builds circulation and heart flow
The edge of the gua sha is vigorously rubbed along the skin moving feet to heart and hands to heart. The gua sha can be used with water in the shower, steam room or tub. A gua sha is best used with a body oil to drive nutrients into the tissues. The gua sha can be used over clothes also.
Using a gua sha is a lot like using a foam roller on muscles before and after exercise, but it’s a LOT more portable.
This tool can create bruising from the toxins releasing in the tissues. With time, the bruising will stop happening since the toxins will be released.
Note: If you currently have a tumor, do not gua sha or irritate the tumor itself, but work to move the lymph throughout the body and all around the mass.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
The primary soothing essential oil for chest tissue health and cancer support when there is greater imbalance or a tumor is Helichrysum italicum. This oil is anti-inflammatory, nourishing, and fortifying to tissues, and rebuilds and restores during chemotherapy.
Use 2 drops a day ONLY directly on breast/chest, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Nourishing, hydrating, cooling and alkaline are primary care for prevention as well as with the presence of cancer itself. Your starting point is to add nourishing products to cooling products. Trust hydration and anti-inflammatories. Envision the ideas of wet, nourishing, and cooling. If you need deeper support, reach out to a practitioner you trust. I am also available for an Ayurvedic tongue analysis or one-on-one consultation.