I’m an information sponge and I read a lot about health and wellness knowledge that comes from outside the realm of modern medicine. Up until now, I thought that a good bra was necessary for breast health, but I’ve come upon some conflicting information that has me second guessing that belief.
The history of the bra
Many ancient civilizations’ artwork depicts women wearing some type of bra or breast-supporting garment. These cultures include India, Greece, Rome, and China. Ancient Egyptians did not wear bras, preferring to go bare breasted or wear tunic-style garments without undergarments for the chest.
Beginning in the 16th century, women wore corsets, which pushed their breasts upward. It also looked pretty hard to breathe in, in my opinion. In the late 19th century, clothing manufacturers split the corset into pieces – a girdle for the lower torso, and a breast-containing bit, the ancestor of the modern bra. Commercial production of bras began around the 1930s. Only eighty years ago.
There is a lot more to the history of the bra but I want to get to the stuff that tells you that you don’t need to wear one.
The industry of bras
The sale of bras is a multi-billion dollar industry. In my opinion, a lot of this money probably comes from the fact that bras are only “good” for six months before you “need” to replace them. I have a bra from 2009 in my dresser. Whoops.
Bras are marketed to women from the onset of puberty until death. Bras have special features to push your breasts up, make them look bigger, make them look smaller, make them someone’s version of ideal.
Holy crap, they’re breasts. They didn’t need artificial support when we were cave-dwellers or natives and they don’t need artificial support now.
Don’t you need a bra?
Bras support the breasts, right? Wrong. Bras actually cause drooping, sagging breasts. What happens when you have to wear a cast or a sling for several weeks, and you can’t use an arm or a leg? Muscle atrophy. The same thing is happening to breasts when we stuff them into bras for years. The muscle around the breast loses tone, thereby creating a “need” for breast support. Those training bras are training girls’ breasts to require artificial support. Bras don’t make healthy breasts, they make lifetime customers!
There is a study that found a positive correlation between length of time a bra is worn and incidence of breast cancer. “The longer and tighter a woman wore a bra, the higher her chances of developing breast cancer.” Bra-free women have a similar incidence of breast cancer to that of men.
Follow me through this, step by step…it’s not complicated:
- We live in a world that is increasingly polluted; many of these environmental toxins are in our bodies.
- Many of these toxins have estrogenic effects.
- Most of these toxins are stored in our body fat.
- Breasts are primarily made of fat. It surrounds our breast tissue.
- Each of us has a different capacity to clear these toxins out of our fat and our bodies. Studies suggest that some individual women’s bodies can detoxify these substances and get rid of them 500 times more efficiently than others. Quite a range.
- Toxins are carried out of the breasts by the lymphatic system. Breasts are loaded with lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a “pump” like the heart. Movement and massage help move toxins along our lymphatic system.
- Anything that slows down the clearing of these toxins will increase an individual’s risk of developing symptoms and/or disease.
- Bras which restrict movement of the breasts, appear to increase congestion in the breasts, and slow down clearance of toxins from the breasts will increase the rate that women develop breast diseases. Why? Because the toxins remain concentrated in otherwise healthy tissue for much longer.
- I’m convinced that the longer women wear tight restrictive garments, the faster the damage will progress.
So go bra free. Or wear a less restrictive bra. Let your breasts move and jiggle. Let your breasts detoxify themselves more freely.
What will people think?
I recently went on vacation to Florida. While I was there, I didn’t wear a bra. I didn’t care. The people weren’t going to see me ever again. When I got back to Ohio and returned to work, I wanted to continue the experiment. I went without a bra for a week, and no one appeared to notice. No one said anything, at least. There were no leering man creeps eyeing my chest. I wore a bra for four hours to volunteer on the weekend, but then when volunteering the next day I went without. Still, no one said anything.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what people think. If your breasts flop around in your top a little bit, that’s not anyone else’s problem. I get a little self conscious, still, so I tend to wear a camisole under a top just for a little extra layering and comfort. Especially in my polyester volunteer shirt, sheesh.
Other reasons to ditch it
Can you imagine the money savings from not having to buy any more bras? If you never buy a bra in your life, you could save thousands of dollars. Estimating 60 years of bra-wearing, replacing every six months, and spending $30 per bra (this is just assuming you buy one at a time, instead of a white one, a black one, a “nude” one, a strapless one, and a sexy one), that’s over $3,500 on bras in a lifetime. What have I been doing with my life?
You’ll also save space in your dresser or closet used to store bras, you won’t have to hand wash and hang dry bras, and you won’t have to agonize in dressing rooms trying on new bras after getting measured by a stranger to make sure you have the right cup size. You won’t have to deal with twisted straps, pinching clasps, and the red marks left imprinted into your skin after a long day in a tight bra. Ditch it.