Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here again, and there is the usual talk of early detection and of finding the “cure” around the corner, but no mention of preventing the dreaded epidemic — an absurd and cruel philosophy that fails humanity by focusing on closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
By focusing on disease, we create anxiety and fear, which itself creates disease by causing stress and disarming the immune system. Instead, by focusing on health, women can move from a position of fear to a position of empowerment.
For the benefit of our beloved womenfolk, I now share vital (from the Latin vitalis “of or belonging to life”) information on staying healthy.
Eat organically-grown foods with vital colors – the bright greens of broccoli and avocados, the bright reds of tomatoes and strawberries, the sunny colours of lemons and pomegranates, the purples of grapes and blackberries. These and many other vegetables and fruits are chock-full of antioxidants and proven anti-cancer agents.
The rich colors of spices are similar signals of health-giving nutrients and digestive stimulants. According to Ayurveda, strengthening the digestion with spices helps eliminate toxins and optimises absorption of food nutrients. Turmeric and ginger are known anti-cancer spices.
Rosemary and broccoli are known to promote healthy oestrogen over cancer-causing oestrogen, while resveratrol (found in red grapes and wine) blocks harmful oestrogen.
Don’t believe the anti-fats hype, and balance your fat intake with fish oils, olive and flaxseed oils, and saturated fats like butter, ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil.
Good fats are necessary to nourish the nervous system and our cell membranes, and to prevent inflammations and cancers.
Definitely avoid hydrogenated fats (also called trans-fats) found in many commercial foods – these are artificial fats which wreak havoc with the body’s messaging systems and immune system, and promote uncontrolled cell division in the breasts.
What you apply on your body goes into your body. Would you eat your detergents, lipstick and skin creams? If not, think twice about applying them. Breast tissue has been found to store many cancer-causing substances found in detergents and skincare.
Use products which are as natural as possible – and use the least possible. Allow your skin to breathe – it is a major organ of elimination.
Regularly soak your bare skin in early morning sunshine, just for 15-20 minutes. Research has found that vitamin D can significantly reduce cancer risk – perhaps by over 50%. What is the cheapest and best source of vitamin D? Sunshine! Plus, it reduces stress and improves mood – further strengthening the immune system.
Become more proactive in demanding safer personal care, cosmetics, and household products for our women, children and men.
Relaxation for breast health
Chronic stress is known to disrupt the immune system – the healthy functioning of which is the key to preventing cancer. My dear women, whether you are mothers or career people, you owe it to yourselves and your loved ones to take time out to relax. Relaxation is the body’s most powerful healing mechanism.
Yoga postures and breathing, done with awareness, are among the most effective methods of relaxation known – they have been tried and tested over thousands of years. Adopt a daily personal practice, and you will reap many benefits.
Lymph forms part of the body’s immune and waste-disposal system – and the breasts are surrounded by lymph tissue. Tight bras restrict breathing – and deep breathing is the lymphatic system’s main pump.
Regularly allow the breasts “breathing space” by spending time without a bra. Practice movements like yogic Sun Salutations, emphasising deep in and out breaths. Women with larger breasts can perform more gentle movements.
Another way to move lymph and increase circulation is to get regularly massaged, or perform self-massage as part of your daily routine. When having it done for you, ask for the breast area and underarms to be gently massaged.
Breast self-massage is a much more positive, enjoyable and loving act than anxiety-inducing breast “self-examination”. Use a nourishing oil like warming sesame or cooling coconut – depending on your body type (see Body Types article).
Thermography – the safer testing method
Thermography is a gentle, non-invasive method of detecting early abnormalities which may lead to cancer. It does not expose womens’ breasts to X-rays, which are known to cause cancer – rather it detects changes in the temperature of the breasts.
As cancer is now understood to begin with inflammation, it makes more sense to detect early signs of inflammation, which enables women to proactively take charge of their health with a natural anti-inflammatory regime.
Breast thermography is becoming more available, and there are now a number of centres in New Zealand. Ask Gerald for further information.
Detox and rejuvenate
Breast tissue is fatty, and is a prime target for accumulation of environmental toxins such as pesticides, which can remain for decades. It is advisable that women periodically undergo a detox programme. Research on ayurvedic detox programmes called Panchakarma, have shown that they can significantly clear PCBs and other fat-soluble toxins.
Following detox, Ayurveda considers it essential to support the tissues with diet and herbs that are nourishing, and that offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and anti-cancer actions. This is Ayurveda’s secret for slowing the ageing process and maintaining optimum health.
Recovering our lost treasure
Last year (2008), I asked the foremost female writer and authority on Ayurveda, Swamini Mayatitananda (formerly Maya Tiwari), what she felt was the essence of breast health. Her message, specially for this ezine article, is this:
“ Over thousands of years we have lost touch with nurturing Mother energy and consciousness. This has resulted in wars, pollution and disrespect for our bodies and for each other.
Breast cancer is a product of that disconnection. Women – as well as men – need to reconnect with the archetypal, primal Mother consciousness.
Awareness is the key, self-awareness gained by pausing our obsessive Doing, and practising the state of Being. ”
The breasts are more than private organs to be stowed away for the most part of the day. The human tragedy is that womens’ breasts have been the subject of shame, guilt and conflicted thinking – both for women and men. Conflicted thinking causes disturbed energy, or Prana; finally causing a disturbance and breakdown in cellular organisation – also known as cancer.
Yet, in truth, breasts are profoundly symbolic organs of femininity and nurturing motherhood. They are the energetic guardians of the heart, of the emotions of bonding and family, of feminine sensuality. To men, they create a deep longing, usually interpreted as sexual attraction. But I believe it is a longing for something more primordial – perhaps the longing for the return of nourishing Mother consciousness on Earth.
My beloved women, may you care for yourselves and stay eternally healthy, and may we share in the return of a nurturing consciousness.
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For a comprehensive breast health programme, have a consultation with Gerald. Call on 0800 23 50 23 or book online.
Copyright Gerald Lopez 2009. All Rights Reserved.