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Why do you wear a bra? Nobody is around, so answer honestly. The least honest answer is “for comfort,” and the most honest answer is “to make my breasts look nicer.” Maybe, “to help with back pain.” That answer may have been disproven, however.

French professor of physiology and sports science expert, Jean-Denis Rouillon, completed a 15-year study on over 300 women to support the lack of support bras give. Not only that, but his study concluded that the bra does not help breasts stay firm and young, it does the opposite:

“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.”

No Bra Boobs: 7mm Nipple Lift

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His research further indicates that not wearing a bra makes breasts stronger. Your breasts will gain more tone and support for themselves without the bra because the bra limits your breasts growth and strength. He found that after the women stopped wearing bras, they experienced a 7mm lift in the nipple per year, showing firmer, more toned breasts.

Rouillon’s research consisted only of women between the ages of 18-34. In the earlier years, as breasts are still developing, a bra will impede the growth and strength of ligaments and tissues in the breasts. Weaker tissue of course leads to earlier sagging, but it could lead to much worse.

Why You Should Consider Going Braless

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Wearing a bra compresses and restricts the lymphatic vessels in the breasts which can leads to a buildup of toxins. Because they’re restricted, the vessels are carrying less oxygen and nutrients to the cells so the toxins aren’t being removed fast enough, or at all.

Some theories suggest this buildup of toxins leads to fibrocystic cysts, sacs of fluid that appear as hard lumps. There is a believed link between fibrocystic change and breast cancer, but doctors maintain the two are typically unrelated. If you have the following symptoms it is more likely fibrocystic than cancerous, but you should still see your physician:

  • Cysts in one or both breasts (packets of accumulated fluid)
  • Fibrosis (the formation of scar-like connective tissue in your breasts)
  • Lumpiness
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Areas of thickening (a tense feeling, like muscles after working out)

Bra Burners

In 1991 Syd and Soma Singer conducted a survey where the interviewed over 4,000 women in the United States. Of these women, ranging from 30-79 years old, most were unhappy with the shape of their breasts and only wore the bra for appearance. Roughly half of the women in the study were previously diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Three out of four of the women who wore her bra while sleeping developed breast cancer. One in seven who wore her bra for more than 12 hours a day developed breast cancer. The study also proved that only 1 in every 168 women who didn’t wear a bra developed breast cancer, which is the same for men.

Don’t Support Bras

They weaken your breasts. They make your breasts sag sooner. They increase back pain. The studies conducted found only a few benefits of the bra. For older women, burning the bra may be a bad idea; Rouillon says, “a middle-aged, overweight woman with 2.4 children? I’m not at all sure she’d benefit from abandoning bras.”

There are bras that add a cup size or cleavage, but they deteriorate tissue and restrict oxygen to blood cells. Bras seem to be worn only for the immediate benefits (i.e.: confidence boosts) and less for their long-term ramifications (i.e.: soreness, tenderness, cancer).

I’ll leave you with a quip from Rebecca Watson’s article on the subject:

“So, is it better to go braless? The answer is yes, if that’s what you prefer… They exist to give you support if you need it, cleavage if you want it, and nipple coverage if your cultural milieu demands it.”

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