Let’s start off by understanding what metastasis or spread of the cancer is. There is much confusion and worry about massage or skin brushing “spreading the cancer”. True metastasis occurs when a cancer cell breaks away from the primary tumor, (not the lymph) , and enters the blood system. Once in the blood it transitions into a different type of cell and can now exit the blood system and create a micro-metastasis that can then grow in a different area of the body. Cancer in the lymph nodes may spread to other lymph nodes, but they cannot transition to enter into the blood stream to cause metastasis in other parts of the body.
Wherever you are on your healthy breast journey, everything discussed in this blog is Dr. V. approved. These treatments should not be considered a special treat but rather an essential part of your prevention and healing plan to live a vibrantly healthy life!
Below I will discuss why each therapy will help you and how to do it yourself or with a professional. I will also share a few studies that debunk metastasis myths about each treatment. Lastly, with anything, there are a few cases in which someone should not participate, and I spelled each out. *That being said, please ALWAYS check with your personal doctor before trying anything new. This article is written for a general audience, not for your specific situation.
Before we dive in, here’s a quick reminder and recap of how cancer spreads from the original tumor site:
- Progressive direct local invasion of nearby structures
- To distant sites via the bloodstream (hematogenous metastasis)
- Through body cavities
- To distant sites via the lymphatic system (lymphomatous metastasis)
Dry brushing has certainly received some strokes of popularity lately. However, it is a practice that has been around for centuries. People use it for:
- Lymph Drainage and Lymphedema: It helps open the pores to allow the body to sweat and eliminate toxins causing the swelling. Note: Dry brushing should be part of your lymphedema treatments, but not the only thing you do.
- Relaxation: We ALL need to relax more, decrease the cortisol buildup, and calm our adrenals.
- Exfoliation and Detoxification: The act of brushing your skin is excellent for exfoliating rough, dry skin. “Dry brushing unclogs pores in the exfoliation process. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage,” says Dr. Khetarpal of the Cleveland Clinic.
- Stimulating the Nervous System: It wakes up your system by stimulating nerve endings in your skin. I feel invigorated after just dry brushing for a few minutes!
What type of brush should I use?
Look for a brush with natural fibers such as agave. The brush fibers should be firm and move easily but not extremely stiff. I suggest getting a brush with a long handle for hard-to-reach areas. Also,
How do I care for my brush?
After each session, make sure to rinse your brush and dry it in an open and dry area to prevent mildew. If you brush daily, clean it once a week with soap and water, and never share your brush with others.
Warning: If you have sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, talk to your doctor before starting dry brushing practice. Also, never dry brush over an open wound and raised bumps or warts. Doing so could lead to a bacterial infection.
Myth: Massage can spread cancer. False. Massages DO NOT spread cancer. “There is no credible evidence that massage spreads cancer. In fact, many cancer patients find massage helpful, improving their overall psychological wellbeing and relieving some symptoms related to treatment.”
“A large study of nearly 1300 patients found that massage helped reduce symptoms of cancer treatment such as pain, fatigue, nausea, depression, and anxiety by approximately 50%.
Massages of all types, lengths, and styles are for YOU! Whatever helps you relax is an essential part of your healing journey! This is why I dedicated the 100th podcast episode to Finding That Relaxation Mode.
The medical term for massage is neuromuscular therapy because it reduces stress, pain, and muscle tension, all of which are needed for postsurgical mastectomy patients. It is also true for every single person who deals with the mental and physical pressures and aches of life. Even looking forward to a relaxing massage (or something wonderful) raises endorphin production by 27% and human growth hormone by 87%!
I also give my breasts a quick, daily massage using Healthy Girls Breast Oil to soften breast tissue and detoxify. The aroma is wonderful and sends relaxing and healing feelings to my nervous system. I massage from the inside out using long smooth strokes towards my armpit and up my collar bone.
Myth: Lymph drainage can spread breast cancer. Debunked: Here’s a hospital-based cohort study stating that MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) does NOT increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Lymph drainage can happen in many ways: a strategic massage, compression sleeves, rebounding (jumping on a trampoline—fun is also guaranteed!), and using a recirculating compression pump.
Why would I get a lymphatic massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, can naturally relieve the painful swelling in the arms and legs from the surgery, treatments, and cancer. Lymphatic buildup affects 20% of people undergoing conventional treatments for breast cancer. This type of massage involves gently helping the lymph move to an area with working lymph vessels.
Large proteins can sit in your lymph and cause congestion of your lymph vessels. The lynph is designed to pull toxins, unhealthy cells and pathogens away from your organs.
What happens during a lymphatic massage?
A lymphatic drainage massage is a two-step process:
- Clearing: This step releases lymphatic fluid in your tissues.
- Reabsorption: This step moves your lymphatic fluid to your lymph nodes.
The XP2 System by Rightway Enterprises is a fabulous way to move the lymph and open up those pathways.
Warnings: It is safe and recommended unless you have a heart condition, kidney failure, blood clots, or an infection.
Myth: Infrared Saunas can spread cancer. Debunked: Dr. Antonio Jimenez M.D., N.D., C.N.C. of Hope 4 Cancer uses near-infrared sauna therapy as one of his 7 key principles of cancer treatment. Learn all about it here. In summary: “Near-infrared sauna helps your body detox from cancer-causing industrial chemicals. It assists in the excretion of chemical toxins and heavy metals through the sweat glands. It increases oxygenation and strengthens the immune system — while also reducing the radiation burden in the body by removing radioactive particles resident in the tissues.” Additionally, all of my experiences and research have also led me to know that infrared saunas are an amazing resource for detoxing and healing.
We live in a world full of toxins, many of which you can’t control. Frequent sauna sessions gently release toxins, and I truly believe saunas are one of the best things you can do for cancer prevention and general detoxing!
The best sauna option is infrared sauna therapy like Sunlighten Sauna. Using an EMF-protected infrared sauna regularly prevents a variety of toxins (heavy metals to pesticides and everything in between) from becoming “encapsulated” in your fatty tissues Both near and far infrared saunas allow your body to sweat and promote lymphatic drainage and deep-tissue detoxification to get rid of these harmful toxins.
In conventional medicine, localized hyperthermia (applying heat) is often used with chemotherapy and other drug protocols. A Korean study found that raising the body’s temperature to 105° F (42° C) killed off regular breast cancer cells and breast cancer stem cells as well! Integrative doctors also use hyperthermia with a combination of natural substances, such as quercetin. Doing so helps directly affect cancer tumors without the side effects. Learn more via this study.
If you are curious about uncovering more benefits of saunas, check out this blog.