Benign Breast Lumps
Breast health is complex, and requires an understanding of the inter-relationships of multiple organ systems that can influence the free flow of Qi and Blood in the chest. It is likely that more than one formula will be required if symptoms have already developed.
Patterns of Imbalance of Breasts in Chinese Medicine
Liver Qi Stagnation
The most common root cause of breast issues are pent-up emotions. When one does not work through emotional pain, Liver congestion can develop. Indications would include breast tenderness, distention, and pain; frustration, anger, or depression; menstrual irregularities, PMS symptoms, and menopausal complications.
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Spleen Qi Deficiency
There are two clear associations with the breasts and the Spleen energetic organ system. First, the Spleen acupuncture channel traverses the breasts, and a smooth flow of Spleen Qi would be necessary for breast health. Second, when the Spleen is compromised, Damp-Phlegm accumulations often develop. Causes of Spleen imbalances include a poor diet with too many fried foods, sweets, and dairy products; worry, overthinking, or mother issues. Symptoms would include breast nodules and fluid filled cysts.
Lung Qi Stagnation
As mentioned, emotions are a key factor in the development of breast diseases. When a woman experiences great loss and grief that she is unable to work through, the Lung Qi can stagnate. The Lungs are part of the Metal Element and are associated with the ability to let go. Because the Lungs are in the vicinity of the chest, the congestion of Qi of the Lungs can cause Qi Stagnation of the breasts.
Toxic-Heat can refer to both a breast infection (mastitis), or it can refer to chronic Internal Heat likely due to Liver Qi Stagnation causing Fire. This can be a serious condition and can have many symptoms of Heat including red rashes and bleeding or yellow discharge from the nipples.
Connecting the Dots!
Breast diseases develop over time, and no one imbalance causes breast lumps and congestion. This would be a common scenario:
- Emotional issues are suppressed and Liver Qi Stagnation develops.
- Spleen Qi Deficiency leads to Internal Damp accumulations in the breasts.
- Liver Qi Stagnation is not resolved and develops into Heat that rises to the chest.
- The Heat congeals Damp accumulations in to thicker lumps.
- Worst Case Scenario: Blood Stagnation combines with phlegm and develops into tumors.
While this is a simplified, scaled down explanation of how traditional Chinese medicine view breast disease, but it does help to demonstrate ways that women can influence their health through preventative health practices. Consider taking up meditation, healthy eating habits, and stress reduction practices.
Good Circulation and Breast Health
It is clear that the circulation of Qi and Blood are key in maintaining breast health. In addition to herbal therapy, women can consider applying pure essential oils with regular self-massage. Simply add 5% essential oils such as rosemary or cypress that will increase circulation to pure olive oil and apply in a circular motion.
The lymphatic system helps to drain toxins away from the breasts; if lymph nodes are not functioning well, are swelling, or feel tender around the arm pits or on the upper chest, this does not bode well for breast health. Again, essential oils such as basil or cedar can be applied (diluted) to lymph node rich areas.