Our #boobyluv interview series continues with a pioneer in thermography, Jackie Bell. Dr. Maureen has chatted with Jackie as part of her podcast series (you can listen to that interview here). Below, Jackie shares her responses to our #boobyluv questions.
Jackie Bell is best known for her pioneering work in Natural Breast Health. Since 2003 she has been lecturing throughout New England on the concepts of natural and integrative medicine, the application of those concepts to breast health, and the use of European Thermography, an adjunctive breast health screen. She is currently establishing integrative breast health programs within clinics across the US.
It seems like everyone is aware of the pink ribbon campaign and breast cancer awareness activities that take place in October. The messages that proliferate are about coping with a diagnosis, finding a cure. We share a common interest in shifting that conversation to “prevention.” What does prevention mean to you?
Although prevention is the best paradigm for health care, it is currently the missing link. The Pink Ribbon program is based upon the strict allopathic model of early detection, not prevention, focusing solely on the breast tissue and whether or not it is diseased, which is now time-proven to be an impotent and inadequate health strategy and the reason, I believe, that breast cancer statistics have never improved.
To me, prevention means comprehending our body’s health tendencies and addressing them to such an extent that health maintenance becomes a seasonal lifestyle. It absolutely means taking an integrative and holistic approach to symptoms, however small they may seem, and attending to their root causes so that the body can heal itself. It means taking the responsibility to live in a way that is conducive to breast health.
And why are you passionate about breast health, and women living healthy vibrant lives?
Over a decade ago when I originally took up the banner of natural breast health, I quickly saw what a marvelous impact I could make on women by showing them through testing, consultations, and teaching, just how much their breast health depends upon the health and synergy of other organs and systems in their body. Every day I get to watch women realize that breast symptoms are a result of interrelated dysfunctions in their physiology and that they can do something about it. Therefore, every day I wake up knowing that I can replace the fear of breast disease with empowerment and inspiration for fabulous breast health. That’s why I’m passionate about it.
Too often we talk about breasts only in two (maybe three) contexts: female sexuality, usually as it is contained by male sexuality; and when something goes wrong with breast health – namely breast cancer (maybe we talk about breastfeeding, usually when it has been shunned publicly). Why do you think there is a silence around talking about breasts outside of these topics/angles?
That’s a great question, and I think it has to do with our American culture. For instance in Europe, when a woman goes for a massage, the breasts are naturally included. Here in the US it’s not so, and in fact the front of the torso is usually avoided. I give all my female clients a self-breast massage handout and encourage them to massage their breasts every day to improve nervous system, lymph, and blood circulation to and from the breasts. Every woman agrees that this makes sense, and some say that they never knew they could touch their breasts for fear that it would spread disease. Perhaps the silence is due to a lack of awareness.
Also, if we are limited to the sexual, nursing, and disease aspects of our breasts, I think it’s because we are not conscious of our true selves and our potential beyond those limited aspects. I think we’ve lost our connection to the natural world, and without experiencing the natural environment we cannot recognize, understand, or appreciate the natural laws, forces, and rhythms that guide our existence on this amazing earth, which are the same laws, forces, and rhythms that influence our bodies, souls, and spirits. Again, perhaps the silence is due to a lack of awareness.
We believe that women are unsure of their breasts, and that for many women, their breasts are a source of fear. Perhaps pink ribbon campaigns are in part responsible for this fear, perhaps there is a fear of the sexuality of breasts, or of the power women can hold. Many women are not used to touching their breasts even. What is your opinion of our culture of breast fear?
I think any culture of fear is manipulative and sinister and that breast fear does not contribute to breast health, so other than listening to and soothing the fears of my clients, I don’t pay attention to it. My objective is to empower women to realize fabulous breast health and the joy that accompanies it.
Imagine yourself talking with a young girl about body image, body health and growing into a conscientious woman. What would you impart to the conversation of breasts?
To begin, I would want a young girl to know how precious, lovely, and captivating her breasts are, and because they can make those she loves feel wonderful, they make her powerful. Anyone who makes fun of her or insults her and her breasts lacks depth and sensitivity and should be spurned. I would tell her that her breasts fit her body and soul perfectly and that it’s more important that she knows herself and who she is growing into as a woman, than it is to be concerned about her breast size. Her soul mate will recognize and love her because of who she is deep inside her heart and mind, and not because of her breast size, although he will take great delight in her breasts sexually when the time comes for that, as will she. She will have tender loving moments with her newborn babies when she nurses them and will develop a connection with, and intuition about, her children that only breast feeding makes possible. Her breasts are designed for love and relationships and because of them she will grow in wisdom and influence.
How has breast health touched your life. In what personal ways are you invested in projects that raise awareness of breast health?
My business revolves around natural breast health. Not only am I a go-to person in the Boston area for a natural breast health analysis, but I have designed a breast health program for natural medicine clinics. I also teach physicians how to analyze breast health integratively using European thermography.
Leave us with a final word. When we say “breasts” you say:
Read our past #boobyluv interviews:
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I’m learning how to release the fear and love my breasts with the #boobyluv interview series.