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A friend and I recently discussed whether it’s time to stop wearing bras. When you think of the imagery of bra-burning feminists or French women who stop wearing bras, you can’t help but question the status quo. These women are definitely not alone, as many Americans are rethinking this painful and uncomfortable garment.
There are many reasons not to wear a padded bra. The most important is that they inhibit lymphatic fluid flow, leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, one of the reasons why I don’t wear bras anymore is because they are uncomfortable. After reading about how the model-off-duty look is sans padded bra, I started to wonder, “why do we still wear these things?”
It sounds like the greatest cause for concern is for women who wear tight bras over 12 hours a day. That’s not what I do regularly, so I can’t comment on the risks. Rumi bra’s triangle design and cloth material make it a healthier option. If you haven’t heard of the connection between bra wearing and breast cancer, you should know there are a lot of details to consider.
At least five research studies have shown that there IS a strong connection between breast cancer and bra wearing for many hours per day. Some scientists are calling for a boycott of Komen and the ACS, because they say this cover-up is costing lives.
The problem with bras, according to medical anthropologists Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, is that they restrict the flow of lymphatic fluid, thereby retaining toxins in the breast that have nowhere to go. They compare it to the feet and ankle swelling that occurs on long flights, because the lymphatic fluid pools in the lower extremities and isn’t allowed to circulate.
Singer and Grismaijer, co-authors of Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, say that wearing a bra more than 12 hours a day dramatically increases the risk of getting breast cancer. A woman who wears a bra 24/7 is 125 times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who rarely or never wears a bra. Those who sleep in their bra, they found, have a 75% chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Harvard did a study in 1991 that showed greatly increased incidence in breast cancer in those who wear bras over those who don’t.
Even limiting the wearing of tight bras can make a difference.
Women who wear a bra more than 12 hours, but not to bed, have an one in seven risk of breast cancer, but wearing it less than 12 hours reduces her risk to one in 152, while cutting it out completely carries a one in 168 risk. Midwife Lisa Goldstein recommends that women take off the bra when they get home and massage the tissue that has been compressed to get the lymphatic fluids flowing properly.
So are you convinced? Ready to give up your bra for a day? I know it sounds extreme, but the numbers don’t lie. We wear bras because we feel obligated, not because they’re necessary. I’d love to hear what you think about reading this article. Will it change your behavior in any way? Will it change your attitude about bras?