Breast health, like all health, is all about wellness, healthy life decisions and maintaining good health. However, improving breast health doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s more of a matter of working towards wellness and perhaps even making a few healthy life changes or alternatives in your daily routine.
When it comes to breast health, many women fear the thought of getting breast cancer, and for good reason. Breast cancer is a significant health threat, especially for women. In fact, about one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and although rare, about one percent of men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year as well.
We hear a lot about breast cancer, but what about ways to improve our overall breast health that could possibly cut the risks of being diagnosed? At Robyn, we have over 150 specialists with services including acupuncture, exercise, lactation, nutrition, physical therapy and many more. These specialists are able to provide women and men the resources and help they may need when getting started on improving their breast health through their specific speciality.
So today, we’re sharing five ways to improve breast health through five of our Robyn providers and their specific services.
Acupuncture for Breast Health
Robyn Provider, Dr. Mary Sabo, has a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and helps individuals and couples with their health and fertility through acupuncture. Dr. Sabo says acupuncture can improve breast health by balancing your reproductive hormones.
Quite often, estrogen will dominate (estrogen too high in relation to progesterone in the luteal phase of a menstrual cycle aka PMS) causing breast pain as the period approaches. This imbalance can be corrected with regular acupuncture treatments, especially when combined with diet modifications, targeted herbs and supplements. Acupuncture and chinese medicine can balance these hormones either by increasing progesterone production in the ovary or helping the liver break down excess estrogen (or both).
Acupuncture can also help improve circulation in the breast, including increasing milk production during lactation and treating blockages that lead to mastitis. Additionally, studies show it is helpful in mitigating side effects and supporting patients undergoing chemo and radiation during breast cancer treatments.
Physical Therapy for Breast Health
When it comes to improving breast health, physical therapy can play a large role, especially for breast cancer rehabilitation. Physical therapy can help ensure you are strong and healthy as you transition from any breast cancer treatment or surgery into rehabilitation.
Even more so, physical therapy can help you improve breast health through everyday life. Robyn Provider, Origin Physical Therapy’s Clinical Educator and Bay Area Clinical Director Liz Miracle, MSPT, WCS, says “Fat acts like a phytoestrogen and can increase the risk for recurrence of breast cancer. It’s important that we exercise throughout our life in order to keep fat off. This is especially important as we enter perimenopause when it is harder to lose fat. Physical therapy can help people stay active throughout their lifespan with a host of benefits as well as to deter these potentially harmful effects.”
Exercise for Breast Health
Engaging in exercise is good for you and your overall health for many reasons, one of them being your breast health. A specific exercise we are touching on today is the practice of yoga.
Robyn Provider, Wendy Obstler, C-IAYT, RYT500, a Certified Yoga Therapist specializing in yoga for fertility, prenatal & postnatal, says “Breast health can be improved by the movements and postures within a yoga practice. This helps to increase circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system, and places pressure on some of our major organs to detoxify and receive oxygen. There are yoga poses that stretch the chest and intercostal muscles between the ribs, shoulders, armpits, and rotate the thoracic (upper) spine, all of which support and improve overall breast health.”
Lactation for Breast Health
Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. While breastfeeding is known to be extremely beneficial for the health of babies, it also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Robyn Provider, Aliza Sternberg, an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), certified lactation counselor (CLC), a certified breastfeeding specialist (CBS) and a Doula, has many reasons as to why breastfeeding can improve your overall breast health.
In fact, the longer a mom breastfeeds the longer the benefit to both mom and baby. Breastfeeding helps to release hormones that can help moms feel happy and stay calm and therefore helping baby’s stay calm and relaxed. When your baby is at the breast it can actually feel good. It’s a feeling that makes you want to continue to breastfeed and have that bond that is so special.
Nutrition for Breast Health
When it comes to improving your breast health, nutrition can play a big role. In general, it’s important to recognize which foods you are putting into your body, and whether they are benefiting your health, or not. Robyn Provider, Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, founder and director of Real Nutrition, a NYC-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness, has a few tips she’s sharing on how nutrition can improve breast health.
“Research shows that eating lots of plants (fruits and veggies!) can help to decrease your risk of breast cancer. In fact, a study conducted on over 90,000 women saw a 15% reduction in risk for women who consumed a diet mostly full of plants! These foods are rich in antioxidants which have been shown to fight free radicals (cancer causing agents) in the body. Some great choices include dark leafy greens, berries, peaches, even some fish and well-sourced meats.
Additionally, eating a diet rich in dietary fiber from whole foods has been shown in some research to promote breast health. This is likely because the fiber helps to capture excess estrogen and remove it from the body. Extra estrogen has been shown to be a risk factor for some cancers. Dietary fiber also helps to release toxins from the body along with waste and limits the damage they can do. Enjoy lots of plants, whole grains, nuts and seeds on a regular basis to meet dietary fiber goals of 28-40 grams of fiber per day!”
If you are feeling lost or unsure of where to begin on improving your diet and nutrition, that’s ok! Robyn offers many experts that specialize in nutrition, like Amy, that can help.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your breast health, the Robyn provider network has many experts in acupuncture, exercise, lactation, nutrition, physical therapy and other specialities that can help you get started. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so use this time to get the word out to help improve breast health.