Victoria, it is no Secret you’ve brought spice and sensuality to my life.
La Perla, we have a long history where just the thought of slipping into you after a long day tantalized my soul.
Agent Provacateur, you have unleashed my inner vixen time and time again.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for the joy and pleasure you’ve brought to my life. Who knew such small pieces of silk, satin and lace could be so freeing!
But we have to talk. Really talk.
It has come to my attention that there is something not so gratifying happening here. Something that is making women’s lives more difficult than delightful.
Bras (especially ill fitting, super tight ones) are hazardous to a woman’s health. Yikes! I said that out loud.
Before you run me out of town for being so blasphemous toward an iconic institution of womanhood, hear me out.
Here’s why I might not be as intimate with some of my apparel anymore.
1. Bras constrict the lymphatic system
Our bodies are elegant in their design. Every part of us has a purpose. The lymphatic system contains a collection of nodes in several areas of the body that help to get rid of cellular waste and debris, making it integral to our overall immunity and health.
A large number of these nodes are under the armpit and under your collarbone. These drain fluids from your arm, upper chest and breasts.
Tight fitting bra bands and straps can impede the flow of lymph in the body. This prevents cellular toxins from being flushed from our bodies. Any time you have a back up of these toxins, they can lead to degeneration of tissue which causes painful fibrocystic breasts or worse.
In their book Dressed To Kill, Singer and Grosmaijer ran a study that showed women who wore bras for longer hours had a higher incidence of breast cancer than those who didn’t wear one. They found a 125 fold increase in women who wore bras for 24 hours versus those who never wore one at all. (1)
Of course, this is not to say that just wearing a bra causes cancer. However, bras certainly restrict lymphatic flow, which is part of your body’s arsenal (along with exercise and proper nutrition) to prevent you from getting cancer in the first place.
Your body knows how to take care of itself. Give her a hand.
Do yourself a favor and wear your bra for the least amount of time you can. Unhook or remove it once you get home from work. Never wear it to sleep. And, for goodness sakes, take those lingerie stores up on their professional bra fittings—it makes a world of difference not just how your breasts will look when wearing the correct size and style, but also your body’s health and well-being.
If you want to keep your lymphatic system extra happy, dry brush your body before you shower and wear natural deodorants.
2. Bras cause muscle strain and skin problems.
Contrary to the popular notion that we need bras to keep our breasts perky and tight, a French study that found not wearing a bra strengthens muscles and causes less sagging over time.
According to Dr. Roullin (who ran the 15 year study), “The breast doesn’t benefit from being deprived of gravity.” Further more, he found that:
“Women who did not use bras benefited in the long term, developing more muscle tissue to provide natural support. Rouillon also noticed that nipples gained a higher lift, in relation to the shoulders, on women who went braless. When bras are worn, the restrictive material prevents such tissue from growing, which may actually accelerate sagging, the study concluded.” (2)
It is certainly no surprise that an ill-fitting bra causes pain. If you’ve ever had those red strap marks or indentations at the end of the day, your back muscles are working extra hard to compensate for the improper support they are getting from the bra.
Lympomas (which are lesions or lumps on the skin) are another by product of a tight bra. These are usually found where the bra hooks are pushing into the skin. Ouch and yuck.
Hmm… So going braless can make my muscles stronger and keep me pain free? Sign me up! Not that I’d leave the house everyday without one, but maybe one day a week. Plus, there are some really pretty camisoles out there—and really, how liberating.
3. Bras constrict the body’s meridian system.
Perhaps the most convincing reason to have some alone time from the bra is the fact that it blocks several meridian channels (which are based in Traditional Chinese Medicine) in the body.
These meridians keep our internal energy (qi) flowing properly and ensure optimal health and balance. The four channels that are blocked when we wear bras (especially metal underwire ones) are the liver, kidney, stomach and spleen.
Each of these channels function as an intelligent system, with an innate wisdom and depth beyond just the organ itself.
Along with the physical and spiritual, there is a very important emotional component central to each that can become stagnant if the energy is impeded. A stagnant liver channel will give rise to anger. A stagnant kidney channel will have you sinking in fear and a stagnant spleen and stomach channel will cause excess worry and over thinking.
Again, it’s not the bra, per se, that causes the emotional issues, but why not do everything you possibly can to take care of your energetic body as well as the physical one? For me, this means getting regular acupuncture to keep my meridians in optimal flow.
As for the bra, I’m taking out all my metal underwires and limiting how long I wear it. I also do a breast massage a few times a week before I sleep and after a few weeks I can already sense an expansiveness and opening when I breathe.
While I won’t be burning my bras anytime soon, I will be way more mindful of how and when I wear them.
Suffering isn’t sexy, ladies—but your lingerie sure is. Use it wisely.
(1) Grismaijer, Soma; Singer, Sydney (2002). Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. ISCD Press. ISBN 0-89529-664-0.
Author: Sonia Palak
Editor: Emily Bartran
Image: R. Nial Bradshaw/Flickr