The Brassage for Wellness?

From the FMS Global & UK News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Courtesy of

By Kathleen Doheny – WebMD Guest Blogger Posted March 30, 2009

Any woman who has ever shopped for a bra would probably think it sounds too good to be true, but perhaps be interested anyway. So, there is a bra that looks sexy, lifts, and claims to massage you and improve breast health by flushing away toxins? Never mind the $59 price tag, where is it?
That was the promise, anyway, behind The Brassage–the brainchild of Christina Erteszek, daughter of the famed Olga Erteszek, the lingerie maker. She appeared on television’s “Good Morning America” Monday to talk about her bra. But when the questioning turned tough, she got up and abruptly walked off. She returned to finish the interview, emphasizing that she is making no medical claims.

Later Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the bra-under-fire had been taken off the market. That could not be confirmed, though, because the telephone number for the company’s North Carolina headquarters, Intimate Health, now carries a recording that the number has been disconnected.

The Federal Trade Commission, as is its policy, refused to comment.

“The Federal Trade Commission has not concluded any investigations against the marketers of the Brassage,” says press officer Betsy Lordan. As a matter of policy, however, FTC does not comment on ongoing investigations, she says.

Meanwhile, what about the claims that the bra is massaging bumps sewn into the side “stimulate lymphatic flow,” which promotes healthy breast tissue, according to the company’s website.

Erteszek is also quoted in other media outlets as saying the “wellness bra” helps to prevent breast disease.

Not so fast, says an expert from the American Cancer Society. “There is no credible evidence to suggest that local accumulation of toxins has a role in breast cancer risk,” Ted Gansler, MD, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, tells WebMD.

“And there is no scientific evidence that this type of bra or any other has any impact of women’s risk of developing breast cancer.”

What about the bra’s claim of stimulating lymphatic flow? “Unless you have had surgery or a treatment that damages lymphatic vessels, your lymphatic flow will be just fine, regardless of what bra you wear or even if you wear no bra,” Gansler says.

On its website, the American Cancer Society also addresses the topic of bras and breast cancer, posting information in response to a previous email rumor that claims wearing a bra for the entire day compresses the breast’s lymphatic system, resulting in toxin accumulation that cause breast cancer.

In respond, the ACS says: “There are no scientifically valid studies that show wearing bras of any type causes breast cancer.” 

Debating whether to buy a $59 bra that bills itself as the “wellness bra” is distracting and takes attention away from productive measures to maintain breast health, Gansler says.

“It’s important for women not to be distracted by unsubstantiated claims and to learn about things they can do to lower breast cancer risk and to find it early,” he says. Among the ways to lower breast cancer risk: maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise, drink alcohol in moderation or not at all, get regular mammograms, be aware of breast changes and seek medical help if they occur.”



Anonymous said…
The Brassage may or may not help lymph flow. Research is needed. But the link between bras and breast cancer is real. The ACS (American Cancer Society) is covering-up this important information, and refuses to do follow-up research into the bra/cancer issue. It is an embarassment to the medical industry that they have ignored the bra in their research into breast disease. It is like ignoring tight shoes when researching foot disease. The ACS is also interested in treating this disease, not in preventing it, which makes no money for the medical/cancer industry. 
As for the bra/cancer link, medical anthropologist researchers Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer have conducted groundbreaking research, discussed in their book Dressed To Kill, showing that constriction from bras is the leading cause of breast cancer. Essentially, bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men. And a Harvard study in 1991 found bra-free women had a much lower incidence of breast cancer as bra wearing women. 
More research is needed, but the medical industry is avoiding and suppressing the issue. Women should try going bra-free to see for themselves what effect it has on their breast health. Unfortunately, you cannot trust the medical industry to admit that they have ignored the major cause of breast cancer, as well as of fibrocystic breast disease.    


I am stunned to find there is a link between bras and breast cancer. I am a 73 yr old woman and have worn a bra since youth. I do know a man must have invented them as they are the most uncomfortable item of clothing you can wear. Fortunately, I have not had breast cancer but I do have ten grand-daughters who will immediately receive this information.

“And there is no scientific evidence that this type of bra or any other has any impact of women’s risk of developing breast cancer.”

Read it again! There is no evidence of a link between bras and breast cancer!!!!

And anyone who thinks the American Cancer Society is in it for the money should be ashamed of themselves. I have volunteered for several years for the ACS. The staff is overwhelmingly supportive and energetic, doing all they can to help people who are dealing with cancer (their own or a loved one), to provide FREE OF CHARGE cancer prevention education, and to fund cancer research. They give away their money – they are not getting rich from their work. What kind of sad mindset does it take to come up with this kind of c–p?

I have been wearing a bra for 65 years and would have a broken back if I did not. God in his infinite wisdom endowed the women in my family with huge breasts. I think Olga’s daughter is full of b— s—.


I have not read the specific book you refer to, but how can you be sure the research takes into account the fact that small breasted women are more likely to not wear a bra at all, while large breasted women (who are already at higher risk, regardless of bra wearing) probably will. In other words it may be true that bra wearing women have more incidences of cancer but it is due to their breast size not the bra. Also the types of people who go bra-less might generally lead healthier lifestyles ie eat healthier or live in rural areas where fashion is not a priority as much as hard work, which goes hand in hand with a healthier diet and regular exercise.


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Bras and Breast Cancer


This email rumor states that wearing a bra for the whole day compresses the lymphatic system of the breast, resulting in accumulation of toxins that cause breast cancer. It says “Bra-burning is no longer a feminist issue…it is now a battle between life and death.”


There are no scientifically valid studies that show wearing bras of any type causes breast cancer. The email appears to be based on the writings of a husband and wife team of medical anthropologists who link breast cancer to wearing a bra. The two anthropologists suggested this association in a book called Dressed to Kill. Their study was not conducted according to standard principles of epidemiological research and did not take into consideration other variables, including known risk factors for breast cancer.

We know of only one scientifically-conducted epidemiologic study that investigated a possible link between bra use and breast cancer. This study suggested that breast cancer might be less common among women who do not wear bras than among bra wearers. However, breast cancer risk in the two groups was not significantly different, according to standard statistical criteria, and the researchers themselves expressed uncertainty regarding this correlation. They also noted that if there is any connection, it would most likely have occurred indirectly, because women who are obese or have larger breasts are less likely to go braless. Obesity has been identified by numerous studies as a breast cancer risk factor, and having large breasts has been suggested in some studies as increasing breast cancer risk for young women who are not overweight.

We do not know of any epidemiologic studies published in scientific journals that suggest bras directly contribute to breast cancer risk or that lymphatic compression by bras might cause breast cancer.

Regardless of the size of a woman’s breast and whether she is slim or heavy, there is no convincing epidemiologic evidence that her choices regarding bra use will influence her breast cancer risk. Furthermore, the alleged mechanism suggested in the book and in chain e-mails (blocked lymphatic vessels causing toxins to accumulate) is inconsistent with scientific concepts of breast physiology and pathology.






EDITOR’S NOTE:  According to the company’s website ( the new Brassage is a bra that massages while you wear it, with gentle micro-massage  stimulating lymphatic flow, promoting healthy breast tissue, and  Brassage ‘cushions’ that elminates tight-fitting side panels and relieves pressure from the underwire.  The company also offers a panty of unparalleled Intimate Health comfort that helps to prevent infection. Femmy Award winner  in 1989 Christina Erteszek  has been designing  women’s products for 25 years and her creations are well known for their fit,performance, good looks and quality.


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