If you're like a lot of women, probably the most thought you give to your breasts is when you're putting your bra on (or when you're taking it off), when you're trying to make the soreness stop while you're PMS'ing, when you're trying to get your partner to give them just the right amount of "attention" during sex and/or when it's time to get a mammogram (by the way, they now say that you should be 45 instead of 40 when it comes to getting them on an annual basis).
But the reality is the more attention we give to our girls, the better our mammary glands—ones that are made up of lobules that produce milk, lymphatic vessels that drain unnecessary fluid and breast tissue—will not only feel but look as well.
If you're wondering about what you can do to get your breasts sundress-, swimsuit- and little black dress-ready, these 10 tips will make you—and them—very happy!
Rinse Your Breasts in Cold Water
I don't know one woman on the planet who doesn't want perky breasts. If this is a personal goal of yours, first it's a good idea to keep in mind what causes breast tissue to sag in the first place—mostly it's genetics, cigarette smoking, drastic weight gain or loss, multiple pregnancies and poor posture.
If you have lost some of your breasts' elasticity, something that you can do is apply some hydrotherapy to them. If you soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes (basically if you take a bath), it will increase blood flow to them. Then, if you rinse them in cold water (basically if you rinse off in a cold shower), that is what will stimulate collagen production so that your breasts look and feel firmer.
Massage Your Breasts with Clove Oil and Olive Oil
Speaking of making your breasts firmer, it can never hurt to massage them for about 10 minutes a couple of times a week. If you do it with a blend of clove oil and olive oil, it can help to (slightly) increase their size and "round out" their shape over time. That's because the warmth of the clove oil also stimulates blood circulation while the properties in olive oil moisturizes the tissues of your breasts, making them supple and soft.
Make sure to warm up the oil combo in your microwave for five seconds or so and massage each breast for 10-15 minutes in a circular motion in order to get the best results.
Soothe Your Nipples with Shea Butter
Unless you're currently breastfeeding, you probably don't give your nipples much thought. But you should. They are a part of your breasts and deserve their fair share of TLC. If lately, you've been noticing that your nipples or your areolas (the ring of skin that surrounds your nipples) are itchy, it could be that they are irritated due to a skin condition like eczema or because your laundry detergent is too strong.
Whether your nipples itch or they are slightly cracked, soothe them by rubbing them down with some shea butter. It's moisturizing, it's healing and it contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties too. Also, thanks to the emollient and humectant properties that shea butter contains, it can lock in moisture on your nipples so that they stay hydrated for hours at a time.
Just as a heads up, your best bet would be to get the kind of shea butter that is unrefined. That way, you can get it in its purest form; one that has the most concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals in it.
Keep Your Weight Stabilized
If your breast size is in direct correlation to your breast tissue, losing and gaining weight won't change it very much. So, if you recently lost 25 pounds and you went down a few cups, that usually means your breasts were made up of fat more than anything else. And since maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your chances of having breast cancer post-menopause, this is a good thing to know.
What can happen with a spike in weight gain or loss is it can alter the shape of your breasts and/or cause them to sag. That's because the change in weight directly affects the collagen and elastin in our bodies (breasts included).
Aside from doing your best to keep your weight off of the up and down roller coaster, from a cosmetic standpoint, the non-cosmetic remedy is to invest in bras that have padding in the lower part of the cup so that your breasts will appear plumper and fuller. Something else that can help (although it has a more subtle effect) is to consume foods that are high in collagen. Some of those include garlic, berries, bone broth, quinoa and white tea.
Something else that can perk your breasts up a bit is to apply a collagen mask on them. Combine a kiwi, a peach, three tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt, two teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sweet almond oil. Rub the mixture on your breasts, let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with warm, then cool water. It's one of the most delicious ways to give your breasts an immediate collagen boost!
Eat Some Sweet Potatoes, Salmon and Red Grapes
We are what we eat. There is certainly a lot of truth to that. The next time you head out to the grocery store, do your breasts a favor and pick up a couple of foods that they will totally thank you for.
For instance, if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, it can't hurt to eat foods that are high in carotenoids. They're the kinds of foods that are loaded with carotene. This is great because studies reveal that the more carotenes that are in our system, the lower risk we have of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sweet potatoes are one food that fits the bill.
Something else that our breasts need is omega-3 oils. They are responsible for keeping inflammation in the body low; the more omega-3s, the less disease (cancer included). Salmon has plenty of it.
And finally, red grapes. They're the kind of fruit that contains a natural phenol known as resveratrol. What's so good about that is not only does resveratrol have the ability to lower your blood pressure and protect your brain, it also neutralizes free radicals in your system, keeping cancer cells at bay.
Fun fact: Resveratrol is also found in red wine too (woo-hoo)!
Take a Sulforaphane SupplementGiphy
If you've never heard of sulforaphane, don't feel bad. I'd venture to say that most people haven't. Basically, it's a compound that's found in foods like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and collards that not only reverses the signs of aging, but also decreases the progression of cancer cells in the body too. As a bonus, something else that sulforaphane does is decrease how carcinogens impact our system.
If you don't like to eat a ton of veggies, you can also take sulforaphane in supplement form. Speaking of supplements, if you want to take something that will make your breasts appear fuller (or can help your breastmilk to come in easier if you are a new mommy), fenugreek is pretty awesome too.
Do Breast-Firming ExercisesGiphy
If you can't remember the last time you even attempted to do a push-up, maybe your breasts will motivate you to take another crack at it. Truth is, a lot of us have saggy breast tissue simply because the muscles underneath our breasts could stand to get bigger. The remedy? Do the kind of exercises that will expand the mass of your chest muscles.
Push-ups are just one example. If you want more, click here for a way to get your chest (back) into shape.
Wear a Bra That Actually Fits
Breast tissue needs support; that's why we wear bras. You've probably heard somewhere that a whopping 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size, but what you might secretly wonder is how can you know for sure that your bra fits well. For starters, your bra's band needs to comfortably fit around your torso. The part of your bra that attaches the cups together should lay flat on your body. If you're wearing an underwire bra, the wire should fit right underneath each breast. Also, each of your bra straps should fit comfortably on your shoulders.
If it's been a couple of years since you've been professionally fitted for a bra, I know from personal experience that you should get fitted ASAP. The last time I went (last year), I thought I was a DDD. Nope. Sistah girl is an H. (Chiiiiile.)
Make a DIY Bronzer
If you're planning on wearing something low cut and you want your cleavage to look extra sexy, one of the easiest ways to make that happen is to apply a little bronzer to your breasts. I've done it before and it gives your skin a youthful glow that is, incomparable, really.
You can buy some, but I prefer to make my own. All you need to do is mix a little cocoa powder, ground cinnamon and mica powder if you want a hint of shimmer added in. Use a large make-up brush to dust it onto each breast and, I promise, even you won't get enough of looking at 'em!
Sleep on Your Back
Final one. While sleeping on your back definitely increases the chances of you snoring (more), it's one of the best positions for your breasts. The reason being, whenever you sleep on your side or stomach, it causes your breasts to droop all throughout the night and that can ultimately lead to sagging and wrinkly breast skin.
So, if you wanna know how to improve the appearance of your breasts even while you're asleep, spending more time on your back is the way to do it. Sweet dreams.
Featured image by Getty Images
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Release Stress & Restore Harmony In Your Body With Shaking Meditation
When we reflect on our own path as women in light of the women who came before us, it’s easy to see that the loads we’ve carried haven’t always been the lightest. From everyday stresses to generational trauma with roots that are difficult to trace, one must ask where all that weight goes if we never release it.
The body holds the score for all the anxieties, worries, and unease that we’ve endured over time. Family and society often tell us to quiet our emotions, maintain a brave face, and keep our emotions bottled up within. But as we know, anything with too much pressure will eventually burst.
And while we are steadily discovering self-care methods like meditation to shed this emotional baggage, it may take a little more than sitting still in the quiet of our mind to let go of our deep-rooted tension. Fortunately, mindful movement could be an unexpected way for you to let go of worry and anxiety while building emotional resiliency, and such is the case with shaking meditation.
What Is Shaking Meditation?
Shaking meditation is a form of tension and trauma-releasing exercises or TRE that “assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma.” This series of exercises of muscular shaking and vibrating activates a natural reflex mechanism that releases muscular tension, thus calming down the nervous system and encouraging your body to return back to a state of balance.
“Shaking meditation can be powerful because it moves your body — and in Eastern medicine, we say that moves your chi,” says Jenelle Kim, DACM, L.Ac, a ninth-generation doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and author of Myung Sung: The Korean Art of Living Meditation.
According to Dr. Kim, understanding chi helps us understand our bodies and how we're feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi is known to represent your life force; it is the energy that flows through you and everything, and in many cultures, plays an essential role in our health.
“We have chi that moves in our blood and throughout our entire body; connecting our organ systems, muscles, and joints,” she tells xoNecole. “It allows everything to function and to be nourished. We know blood travels throughout our body through our circulatory system, but chi also travels through our body — much in the same way — through the meridian system. If you picture chi as vital energy, it moves the blood.”
It’s important for our body’s chi to stay in flow. When we go about our daily life with stress, trauma, or even mental injuries, our energy becomes stagnant. But various movement practices like Qigong or shaking meditation encourage your chi to circulate through your body which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which “is in charge of telling our brain and body to calm down, relax, ultimately, let go,” Dr. Kim says.
As Black women, there are times in life when it feels like we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, with few spaces to go when we need to lighten the load. But as Dr. Kim explains, because women are “naturally yin beings,” we take on more because we can handle more. “According to the energies of nature that have been passed down for thousands of years, women are more complex. And what that almost always means is that we can think a lot more.” And while that speaks to the resiliency of our being, it can have a negative effect on our bodies when we store more than we release.
“If we don't have ways of releasing this, it will ultimately affect our lives physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then it passes on to our children, and that's where we get generational trauma,” she says.
Although shaking meditation may be a new and unfamiliar practice, it’s one that could prove to be beneficial to those who have experienced trauma on an individual and communal level. The movements are simple to follow and accessible, and in a matter of minutes, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed, while relieving any anxiety, frustration, and tension inside of you.
So if you’re ready to restore harmony within your body, here are the steps to perform shaking meditation on your own.
How To Incorporate Shaking Meditation Into Your Daily Routine:
Step 1: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can do this while sitting or standing — depending on your comfort level. Make sure all of your joints are soft, so nothing's locked.
Step 2: “Begin raising onto your tiptoes and falling back onto your heels. Not so hard to where you're shocking your spine, but enough to just kind of wake up your body. Repeat three to five times, dropping down onto your heels.”
Step 3: “Next, start with your hands first and shake them. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Shake them and go up to your arms, to your elbows, and then up to your shoulders. Now your whole arms should be moving.”
Step 4: “Then you can start your legs, repeating the same shaking movement. You then move your feet moving, go up through your core, and then shake everything out through your head.”
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Featured image by Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images