If you don't follow Rachelle Poitras of @her_metanoia you are missing out. In a sea of excessive information, it is hard to weed through and discover the accounts that matter. Accounts with substance. When I first started following Rachelle, I was immediately impressed by the quality of information she was offering. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing, she was talking about a subject that matters - breast health.
Women become so hyper focused on beauty as an aesthetic concern, and breasts often fall into a similar realm of a "looks only" feature. What we are trying to get to, and what Rachelle is also doing- is bringing health and beauty together to create a foundation for radiant health. Something that goes much deeper.
Informed by her own experience, Rachelle is a wealth of knowledge and information. This interview is a must read for any women, and an opportunity to look at skincare as something that goes deeper.
1 - Your 3 word bio:
Holistic Breast Health
2 - Tell us briefly about your background and how you started focusing on breast health?
For the past eight years I’ve been exploring the realm of holistic breast health to heal 12 fibroadenomas and a benign phyllodes tumor. Surgery was a quick fix that didn’t work for me in the past. I wanted to harness my body’s ability to heal naturally. Deep down I knew that if my body created this imbalance, it could also heal it. My healing journey started with Ayurveda, then holistic nutrition, herbalism and recently fascia maneuvers. It’s been a journey of understanding my body, what it’s been communicating via symptoms and getting to the root of the imbalances.
3 - I think most of us grow up believing that our breasts are more of an aesthetic thing, and rarely give much thought to the interconnectedness of it all. Can you offer 3 ways that you feel like breast health is culturally misunderstood?
Western society doesn’t understand the impact of our emotions on our breasts and our bodies.
Surgery seems to be the only option when it comes to breast health imbalances. We want to remove the issue but not get to the root cause.
Just because imbalances show up in the breasts, that doesn’t mean that’s where the root issues lie. It’s all connected.
4 - I personally didn't understand that - BOOBS ARE A BIG DEAL- until after having my daughter. Being able to breastfeed is wild. I know not every woman is able to connect to this, but given that August is breastfeeding awareness month I think it's an appropriate topic. My question is how and why should any women, breastfeeding or not, be connected to the life of their breasts in this functional and intimate way?
Being connected to your breast is being connected to your body, yourself, your heart, your soul, your children. There’s a lot of fear surrounding breasts. So many women don’t even touch their breasts out of fear they might ‘find something’. Being disconnected doesn’t decrease your chances. It simply disconnects you further from yourself.
5 - I have read that you suffered from fibroadenomas. Many of the women in my family, including myself, have dealt with these. Doctors say that they need to be surgically removed if they become large. I think in most cases you feel differently. Can you please explain what these are, and how you believe they can be softened or dissolved?
So the breasts are glandular organs composed of lobules and ducts which are surrounded by fatty, glandular and fibrous tissue. Fibroadenomas are common benign breast lumps/tumors and usually develop from the lobule (milk producing glands). Essentially, fibroadenomas consist of fibrous and glandular connective tissue that have grown more rapidly. They are usually round in size, may feel rubbery or like a small pea or marble and move easily under the skin. To sum it up, they’re benign breast tumors and they can grow anywhere from ½ - 4 inches, even bigger at times.
I had surgery to remove a fibroadenoma years ago. It came back and grew to the size of a tennis ball. Surgery wasn’t the solution. Correcting my root imbalances was the work that needed to be done. If the body can grow it the body can heal it.
Most health care practitioners never ask “Why are these fibroadenomas showing up?”. Doctors tell you not to worry, they’re common. That doesn’t mean it’s normal and most women should have to deal with them. It’s a sign something is out of balance like nutrient deficiencies, imbalanced hormones, etc.
6 - Where do you think breast health has gone wrong in its approach?
Something’s there? Cut it out. Cancer? Remove the breast.
I understand their approach of wanting to remove as much of the affected area as possible, but this approach is often done without finding the root cause. What are the patient’s nutrient deficiencies? Is she taking care of everyone but herself? What is she eating? Did she suffer trauma? Does she express herself or keep everything bottled up? Are there trapped emotions?
I had someone reach out to me and tell me she had a mastectomy after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis and the cancer came back. It has nothing to do with the breasts.
I don’t think women are presented with enough information to truly make an informed decision. I mean women are getting preventative mastectomies because they have a certain gene. Again, with the advent of epigenetics, we know that we can turn our genes off and on with our environment. Perhaps we should be focusing on creating healthy environments.
We make most of our decisions out of fear. And I’m guilty of this too. But it’s time to perhaps do things from a place of love.
Dis-ease is merely an absence of love.
7 - What do you feel are some of the common ways that we mistreat our breasts (ie. underwire bras?)
Wearing underwire or super tight bras, using chemical filled deodorants and skin care, not doing breast massage ( it’s really about moving them more than massaging them), eating pooly, not nurturing ourselves.
Avoiding them completely out of fear. Ignoring that monthly breast pain and tenderness. Our bodies are constantly communicating with us. We need to listen.
We also judge, shame and criticize them. Too big, too small, too saggy and it goes on and on. They’re incredibly sexualized and even censored on social media. It’s crazy how much one body part gets so much attention from others but so little from ourselves.
8 - What are the top 5 supplements or herbs you recommend women take for breast health?
Vitamin D3/K2 - this one is super important
B vitamins complex
It’s tough with herbs, there are so many amazing ones...
9 - What are the top 5 foods you recommend to support breast health?
Oh and make sure it’s non GMO and organic! So important.
10 - Top 3 books about holistic health/breast health that you feel everyone should be familiar with?
Renegade Beauty by Nadine Artemis
Breast Cancer! Breast Health! by Susun Weed
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup
11 - And since we're a little bit about self care ;-) What's your recipe for the perfect evening and what are the products you use?
I love a good mask. They’ve always felt so luxurious. When you’re using a breast mask, you’re forced to stop and chill. There’s no running outside with it - well, unless you live in the forest or something. The breasts hold a particular type of energy - that of nurturance. It’s important we nurture ourselves and our breasts.
I love to light candles, play some music, have an herbal infusion all the while using the breast mask and sitting in the bath. And I love to lather myself with amazing oils afterwards. Face, body and breast oils!
I’m currently using Living Libations on my face, and Osea and Nucifera on my body. There are also so many great breast oils on the market but I’ve been using my ginger turmeric infused castor oil and I’ve noticed big shifts in how my breasts feel.
*A tip for women who are currently using any breast oil : add some castor oil (if it doesn’t already have it) to help bring the oil’s medicine deeper into the breast tissue.