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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Bra … Friend or Foe?

Apr 24, 2012 11:10PM ● By Pamela Howard

Drawing © Chloe Rose

Every morning women get up and put on their bra. It’s part of our daily routine. But, what if it were harming our health? Would we forsake it?

Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer are a husband and wife research team looking for answers. Medical anthropologists dedicated to uncovering the lifestyle causes of disease, their books, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras and Get It Off: Understanding the Cause of Breast Pain, Cysts, and Cancer, study the effects of bras on women’s health.

Each of our breasts is surrounded by a large number of lymph nodes and vessels. According to Singer and Grismaijer, when the breast region is constricted by a bra, the lymph system cannot flow freely—causing a buildup of fluid, less effective feeding and cleansing of the tissue, an increase in accumulated toxins and restriction of lymphocytes.

Consider Singer and Grismaijer’s findings:

  • Women wearing bras 24 hours per day were 125 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Women wearing bras more than 12 hours per day, but not to bed, had a 1 in 7 risk.
  • Women wearing bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 in 152 risk.
  • Women that rarely or never wore bras had a 1 in 168 chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Wearing a bra at least 14 hours a day tends to increase the hormone prolactin, which decreases circulation to the breast tissue.
  • Professional women have higher than average breast cancer incidence rates than rural women that wear their bras less often.
  • In 1997, Singer compared a group of women in Fiji. Half of the women wore bras and the other half went without. The diet, environment and lifestyle of both groups were the same. Those who wore bras had the same rate of breast cancer as women in the U.S. Those who went braless experienced practically no breast cancer.

It’s time we consider health over fashion and demand new fashion trends featuring healthy breasts—au naturel. If wearing a bra is a must, consider bras made from natural fabrics and avoid padded, push-up, sports, strapless, underwire and tight or ill-fitting bras that contribute to breast compression.

Dr. Pamela Howard is a chiropractor, certified clinical thermographer and founder of Advanced Thermal Imaging. For information, call 866-522-3484 or visit

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