Breast Tenderness: PMS & Menstrual Irregularities Part 8

Estimated read time... 5 minutes

Dandelion

This post is for you if you experience breast tenderness associated with PMS and the menstrual cycle, varying from mild to severe, and see your doctor regularly for checkups. If, after trying these methods for three cycles, you do not see results on your own, get in touch with me and book an appointment/consultation.  These are what Bob Flaws and Honora Lee Wolfe call “free therapies” in that you do them on your own, at no cost to you.  Herbally, there are many herbs and formulas that can help you; working with an herbalist ensures that you are getting the herbs that most align with your constitution and imbalances, thus I won’t be discussing formulas today.

By now, I hope that you have noticed that between the causes of PMS, and the different types of menstrual cramps, there are recurring patterns of imbalance.  Basically, if you keep returning to the patterns lists, and cross-checking those with your set of symptoms, you will be able to work more effectively with the information presented here.  In short, refer back to the lists (here and here), pick whichever one (or two) patterns most align with your presentation and go from there with the internal recommendations!

Without further ado, here are my top tips for working with recurring breast tenderness associated with PMS, regardless of your pattern of imbalance:

Tip #1: Daily Breast Massage

This may sound odd, but daily breast massage to alleviate breast tenderness can and does help!  If your breasts are very sore, do not force yourself to do this and deal with the pain, wait until the worst of it has past.  You can apply an herbal oil to help soothe the tender and sore breasts, or apply compresses that are cooling and soothing (such as a epsom salt/lavender compress.)

How-to:

  1. When you are in the shower or bath, use the lubrication that your soap/body wash provides to massage your breasts, alternately sans-shower – use an oil for its lubrication and health-benefits.
  2. Use your left hand to massage your right breast, and your right hand to massage your left breast.  Work in a circular motion, from the nipple outward to the underarm and breastbone area.  I recommend 20-30 circles in clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
  3. Stroke your breast up and down like a wave from the breastbone to the underarm area.
  4. Lift the breast from underneath with your opposite hand, and place the other hand on top of the breast.  Gently apply pressure, massage, and knead – you do not need to use more than a moderate amount of pressure as your goal is to move the fluids in the breast.
  5. Then, gently twist each breast.
  6. Do this to each of your breasts – it should take a few minutes.
  7. To maximize the effect, massage the breastbone area in small circles 100-200 times. This point is the Conception Vessel 17 point, it regulates the Qi and Blood of the body especially of the breast and chest.

 

Tip #2: Daily Meditation

Practicing some sort of daily meditation or other form of relaxation helps us to process, let go, and release the stress that is held in the body. I recommend finding a mantra to repeat or listening to a meditation track. Amazon Prime has a lot of meditation albums on their new Prime Music section that are free to listen to if you are a Prime member. I’ve been enjoying Steven Halpern’s work.

 

Tip #3: Daily Exercise

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how important it is to exercise. When you get your heart pumping, your blood gets moving – getting that blood moving is of vital importance for our health and well-being!

For some people, walking at a fast clip will raise your heart rate, and for others jumping jacks or running will accomplish this.  Keep that heart rate up for 20 mins, and do what is best for you that is also engaging – meaning: if you have knee problems, and running aggravates the problem, don’t run! Or, if you find walking on a treadmill to be tortuously boring, listen to music, an audiobook, or find something interesting to watch/read. Get out there, get your blood pumping and moving!

 

Tip #4: Diet Modification

It goes without saying that we are what we eat, especially if you’ve been reading this series from the get-go, and having breast tenderness/PMS can be improved with dietary changes!

Here is my list of foods to eat and foods to avoid for optimal breast health (aka “no more breast tenderness!”)

Avoid:

  • Coffee, black tea, chocolate, colas – these are xanthine containing foods, and exacerbate breast lumps and pain)
  • Alcohol – in small amounts okay, limit your consumption
  • Spicy, hot foods
  • Sour foods (ie orange juice, tomatoes) should also be avoided because they astringe and constrict, thus they hold in and prevents the body’s Qi from flowing properly.
  • Sugar, simple carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, breads, etc), and processed foods – while sugary and carbohydrate laden foods provide quick bursts of energy, and possibly emotional comfort, they ultimately leave us emptier in the end – empty of energy and nutrition, and unfulfilled emotionally
  • Raw salads, iced foods and drinks, fruit juice – all of these foods hinder the digestive fires and create what is called Dampness in the body. (Dampness means that our digestive fire –aka Spleen- is unable to properly digest foods into the useable portion and the waste portion, so when something is Damp it means that there’s waste accumulating instead of being eliminated.)
  • Dairy – also a Damp-forming food, many women find that when they eliminate dairy from their diets, their symptoms resolve.

Now that you know what to avoid, you are probably thinking, “that doesn’t leave me much to eat, you’ve suggested all of the foods that I eat regularly are now to be avoided!” Here’s the list of foods to enjoy:

  • Green tea – a world-renowned beverage, highly prized for its health benefits
  • Beans, lentils – I like to soak beans and lentils for 24-36 hours before cooking, this makes them more digestible and they have the added benefit of cooking faster
  • Whole, unrefined grains – barley (coix, yi yi ren, pearled), quinoa, amaranth, rice, millet, etc.
  • Lightly cooked vegetables – broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, string beans/haricot vert, swiss chard, celery, eggplant, etc.
  • Fruit – berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) are fantastic, to name but one group of fruits
  • Meat/Fish – small amounts of meat and fish (ie 2 oz a few times a week) beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, etc.

 

Tip #5: Herbs!

This would not be a post from an herbalist without discussing the uses and benefits that herbs can bring to your situation now, would it?!

 

Roses

I have been completely addicted to roses lately, and its no wonder, roses are known worldwide as a menstrual regulator. Here’s my recipe for rose petal paste (it is an excellent spread, or stirred into tea) – every year I collect rose petals to infuse in honey which I use throughout the year.  I also have a rosewater spray that I mist into the air whenever I feel particularly tense.

A tea made of rose petals, orange peel and green tea is a great combination both for regulating menses, alleviating lumps (mucus, and vaginal discharge), and for the boost of antioxidants. Steep for 5-10 mins, then drink. You may re-steep until the flavor is greatly reduced.

  • 9g/1TB rose petals
  • 3g/1tsp orange peel (fresh or, preferably, dried)
  • 3g/1tsp green tea
  • Steep for 5-10 mins, drink 2 cups daily.

 

Dandelion tea

Dandelions, the bane of many homeowners who want pristine lawns, is an amazing Liver cleanser (or Liver tonic, depending on which tradition you have been trained in.)  After all, the Liver is in charge of all things cyclical, and if you are experiencing cyclical breast tenderness (and/or other PMS signs) then, your Liver probably needs a bit of help.

  • Take 1tsp of dandelion root
  • Pour over 1c boiling water
  • Cover, let steep for 15 mins
  • Drink!

You can get pre-packaged dandelion root tea – be aware that there is less than 1/4tsp per teabag, and you will need to increase the number of bags to bring the tea from a beverage to a medicinal-strength beverage.

 

What have you found to help with breast tenderness associated with PMS the most?   Share your insights in the comments section!

 

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