Holistic Breast Health
Breast self care had never been something I truly thought about until I recently stumbled on Rachelle Poitras’ website.
With her project, Metanoia, Rachelle shares incredible and valuable information about holistic breast health care. After being diagnosed with a phyllodes tumor a few years ago, she was recommended surgical removal but opted to search for more natural treatments and implemented self care routines and holistic consciousness in her healing process.
In the early stages of her journey, she felt quite lost and ressourceless while looking for a more holistic approach to heal. That's why she decided to create her inspiring website Metanoia to share her experience and knowledge gathered along the way.
Could you tell us what your project « Metanoia » is about?
“Metanoia is an online journal to inspire awareness in holistic breast health. I’ve had fibroadenomas (up to 12) for a very long time and about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with a benign phyllodes tumor. What I discovered during my healing journey is that holistic information on breast health is incredibly hard to find. I wanted to create what I longed for when I first started. I wanted to compile all of the things I’ve learned, from herbs to the energetics of breast health, and share them with women who are also struggling with their breast imbalances. I wanted to empower women with the knowledge and tools to take their health into their own hands and heal themselves. It’s what we are designed to do.”
What was the first treatment you started after you were diagnosed with a phyllodes tumor?
“My first fibroadenoma was removed surgically and only required one biopsy. It was very quick and a physically pain free experience. Because breasts are primarily composed of breast tissue, they simply froze the localized area. There was no need to go under. There was some recovery time afterwards, mostly rest, but I was incredibly grateful for the kind and supportive surgeon and nurses. They were incredibly reassuring and made me felt at ease. This is so important for anyone who’s working with any health care practitioner. Make sure you’re working with someone you feel comfortable with and who supports you.
For the phyllodes tumor, the treatment I was recommended was surgical removal. This was after they biopsied the tumor 5 times. It was that large, 9.8 cm at its largest. Unfortunately the surgeon couldn’t answer any of my questions which greatly frustrated me. I wanted to know if my history of birth control use had had any kind of influence on the growth of my tumor. She didn’t have any answers and didn’t seem to care why it has developed. Her job was to simply remove it. Her bedside manners were also incredibly poor which made me very hesitant to want to work with her in any capacity. Walking away from her was one of the hardest and best decisions I ever made.”
When did you feel the call to seek for more natural treatments?
“It started with walking away from the surgeon who I felt didn’t support me. I then read a book called Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. He talks about how his wife Julie healed a golf ball sized cyst in her neck with Ayurveda. This was the call. I knew that I had to try this and that I’d regret it if I didn’t. Everything in my body was pulling me in this direction. I knew I needed to make some changes in my life. It would all start with Ayurveda.”
What was your experience with Ayurveda?
“I’d like to tell you that I embarked on my Ayurveda journey and one year later my tumor had healed. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. I followed an Ayurveda protocol for 2 years and looking back I now realize how much I fought my body during this time. I stressed that the treatment wouldn’t work. I worried about paying for the treatment. I was constantly thinking and obsessing about the tumor. I had little faith in myself. I became incredibly obsessive about adhering to the diet to the point where I was borderline orthorexic. I was not only judging myself but others for what they ate. I was mentally exhausted.
During this time, I went to my functional medicine doctor and had an ultrasound to check on things. To my absolute disappointment, the tumor grew. A lot! I was so disheartened and frustrated that “Ayurveda” didn’t work. I blamed the Ayurvedic doctor. I blamed myself. I blamed the herbs. I blamed it all. I needed to rest, so I stopped the treatment. This taught me was that no matter how healthy you eat, how many herbs you take, if you stress or don’t believe in yourself no protocol will work. It’s ALL energy!”
“This taught me was that no matter how healthy you eat, how many herbs you take, if you stress or don’t believe in yourself no protocol will work. It’s ALL energy!”
How did you find information about holistic breast healing at that time?
“At that time, it was so hard to find this kind of information. I’d buy books only to find a paragraph of valuable information, sometimes it was only 2 lines. Many health practitioners had very little to contribute others were incredibly supportive which motivated me to keep going. I’d learn about one herb from one healer and discover another herb in a book. I’d gather pieces of information here and there. Fibroadenomas are incredibly common with women yet there is so little useful holistic information out there.”
What were the self-care routines and natural treatments you implemented in your life?
“For the first couple of years, I fought myself and my body through this process. There wasn’t much self care. What I’ve learned is that breast issues are related to a refusal to nourish the self. Which was so true for me. I wasn’t looking after myself. My diet, thoughts and feelings about myself were not a reflection of my highest self. Our bodies know what to do, but we have to support and love it so it can heal itself. My natural treatments at that time consisted of supplementing with iodine, taking care of any nutrient deficiency, eating a plant based organic diet, meditating, applying castor oil, and violet leaf infusions daily.”
How did it work for you?
“April 2018, I received ultrasound results that the tumor had shrunk from 9.8 to 7.5 cm. I was shocked. I was waiting for them to call and tell me they had mixed up the results. When I look back on my journey and realize that healing doesn’t come from one thing in particular, like a meditation, herb, supplement, or food. It’s a combination of things that help bring your body back into balance. Getting out of a bad relationship, saying no to things that are not in your worth, it’s surrounding yourself with positive and loving people, engaging in activities that you love and make you feel fulfilled, etc. This is what it means to nurture and love yourself.”
Breast health is still a topic we have a lot to learn about. What have you discovered about the importance of our breasts on your healing journey?
“That our breasts represent the ability to nurture ourselves and others. They symbolize the primal need for nourishment, love, safety, care, support as well as femininity and sexuality. Breasts mirror what is manifesting within a woman's heart and mind and they are incredibly sensitive to our internal and external environments. Healing breast imbalances asks us to nurture our emotional, physical and spiritual health. We have to regain balance in all three areas.”
“Breasts mirror what is manifesting within a woman's heart and mind and they are incredibly sensitive to our internal and external environments. Healing breast imbalances asks us to nurture our emotional, physical and spiritual health.”
What is now your self-care routine for maintaining your breast's health?
“I’m paying very close attention to my thoughts, feeling and beliefs about myself. I’m fascinated about the power of our subconscious beliefs and reprogramming on a daily basis. I also do my best to make sure I’m not deficient in any vitamin or mineral. I eat a plant based, organic diet and exercise/move my body on a daily basis (almost daily). Reducing stress is also very important as it will deplete many important nutrients very quickly. But I think loving yourself as best you can will truly make the biggest difference. Breasts respond to positive, loving thoughts.”
For the women who are interested in more guidance, what are your offerings at the moment?
“I’m offering one on one individual consultations to support and guide women who are struggling with breast health. My goal is to empower them on their healing journey by offering them the tools and knowledge to do so.
I’m also coming out with an online course to help women navigate breast health from a holistic perspective. Whether they’re dealing with imbalances such as fibroadenomas or are looking to be proactive in their breast health, I’m compiling everything I’ve learned from the energetics of breast health to herbs, supplements and nutrition in one spot.”
Follow Rachelle’s work here.
ONE MINUTE INSPIRATION WITH RACHELLE
1. Rituals for self-love? Doing whatever nourishes myself that day. Sometimes it’s going for a walk, making a healthy meal or taking myself out to a movie. Spending time with and honoring myself.
2. First thing you do in the morning? Meditate followed by a kundalini routine.
3. Favorite self-care routine? I love getting massages and foot reflexology. I’m aiming to do each at least twice a month this year. Anything that helps me ground I love.
4. Rituals to rest and regenerate? Spending time alone and in nature.
5. Tools for self-healing? Meditation, lots of time in nature, iodine, herbs, castor oil packs among many others.
6. One limiting belief or body imbalance you are still working on? I am enough.
7. Favorite place to cultivate inspiration? Sitting still in those early morning hours is when I receive the most inspiration as well as spending time in nature.
8. Your Guardians of Vision ? Hearing Julie Piatt’s healing story changed everything for me.
Practical Content to Implement in your Life
8 Self-care routineS to take care of your Breast Health Daily
1. Nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual self.
2. Eat a plant based and organic diet and plenty of cruciferous vegetables.
3. Be mindful of what you put on your skin, especially deodorants. Chemicals disrupt hormones and accumulate in breast tissue.
4. Correct any nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins and iodine are all incredibly important for healthy breast tissue.
5. Exercise and move your body daily doing something you love. This gets the lymph moving which helps detoxify your breast tissue.
6. Massage your breasts with loving kindness.
7. Go braless when possible. And when you need to wear one, choose one that doesn't leave red marks afterward. Anything too tight, whether from a wire or elastic band, cuts off important lymph and blood circulation.
8. Find the right self-care products. I created an Online Shop where I share all the tools that have been beneficial in my journey from skin care and oral health products, books, breast oils and balms to supplements. It’s a great place to start if you’re unsure of what brands to use or what products to buy. Some of my personal favorites are Living Libations Breast Massage Oil for it’s incredible smell. Thorne liquid vitamin D3/K2 because we all need vitamin D and Alexis Smart Flower Remedies for their powerful healing benefits.
Breast Mask Recipe
Interview: Laura Vendescoeur
Photos: Laura Vendescoeur
Editorial Assistant: Wilma Koch