Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Zoe Lind van’t Hof of Boobs Essential
We at REV have known Zoe through her amazing energy on a Rêve En Vert panel on facing modern day anxiety, where she spoke honestly and openly about losing her mother to breast cancer and the effects that had on her as a young woman. We also know her as an ethical entrepreneur, having created one of the lines we most love to sell – Boobs Essential – in the wake of her incredible loss. She began a company that would empower women to check their breasts in order to catch any issues early in honour of her mother’s struggle with breast cancer, and now we have asked her to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness month by sharing her story with us all.
During 2014, I decided to leave my job to start my own business, as I was going through a deep inner transformation giving me confidence in myself and in the path I had chosen to embark on. What I was to discover was that I would be needing this strength and confidence in order to cope with the news that – one month into leaving my job and starting a health business – my mother had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
No one could believe it…My mother, radiant with life and youthfulness, had breast cancer that had already spread to her liver and lymph nodes by the time she went to the doctor. She was the most active and resilient woman I knew, so her becoming weak and fragile to such a disease was incomprehensible. This pivotal event put my whole life into perspective. The flexibility that starting my own business allowed whilst caring for my mother, flying back and forth from my London office and her house in Germany, reassured my risky career choice. What struck me was that all the knowledge, love and gratitude she taught me throughout life, I could now give back to her.
Only one year later my dear mother passed away. We didn’t expect – or dared to acknowledge – this, we still believed that my mother was getting better every day and that soon the cancer would be a forgotten, temporary inconvenience…
Life is ridiculously unpredictable. The loss of my mother has come with such an important message: namely that we can’t take anything for granted. We learn what and who really matters and, since her passing, I have learned that we get to choose our attitude in any given circumstance…that we can be serene and happy in moments of distress.
Throughout the year she was terminally ill, I extensively researched scientific journals exposing a wide range of complementary therapies that would make her life more comfortable… whilst also expanding upon my understanding of the cancer itself. One topic that stood out most in my research was the role of essential oils during cancer treatment, along with the importance of breast and lymph massage as a means of prevention. The importance of using natural skincare products, as our skin is our body’s biggest organ, like essential oils, that work right into the deepest layers of the skin. Avoiding any kind of chemical compounds in your body creams and make-up for this reason is important enough, but you can be pro-active in nourishing your body by massaging yourself with essential oils.
So… my mother and I began experimenting with different recipes and combinations, eventually creating a truly soothing essential oil blend: carefully selected, high vibrational and nurturing plants such as Frankincense, Sandalwood, Myrrh in combination with vitamin E rich, organic, sweet almond oil. These essence offered calming aromas with the power to alter your emotional state, exhibiting both therapeutic benefits on top of the physical ones that allow the essence to deeply penetrate your skin. She would apply it lovingly every evening to connect to her breasts, unwind, and stimulate lymphatic flow. We bottled the oil in small, amber bottles so that my aunt, friends, and myself could also start creating a loving breast care ritual.
My mother’s graceful passing concretized the message that all women – young and old – must make a breast care ritual part of their beauty and self care routine, as it struck me as a young adult that I had never checked my own breasts for lumps. However, since my mother’s late diagnosis, I realised how important it is to check your breasts regularly to avoid late detection of any abnormalities and to stimulate our lymphatic system. Only a few months ago, whilst I was using my Boobs’essential oil, I found a little lump that I got checked straight away. Thankfully it was nothing to worry about, but I would have hardly ever noticed it, if I hadn’t created this self-care routine.
Since her passing, I began sharing this message wholeheartedly and have set up Boobs’essential as a social enterprise. Apart from sharing the important message to nurture our breasts, I donate £1 of every sale to Hello Beautiful: a charity taking a holistic approach to women with breast cancer, in an incredible supportive space in the heart of London (check out their October events too). £1 goes to CARE’s Women Empowerment project, as well. Furthermore, the avocado-dyed pouches which we use to pack the B’E bottle in are made by mothers at AMMA in Sri Lanka: a social enterprise fostering female independence. Use this breast cancer awareness month as a time to start your own breast nurturing self-care routine.
My mother and I crafted this unique oil blend, so that women of all ages can lovingly massage and get to know their breasts more intimately. This self-care routine enables you to increase awareness of any lumps, stimulate your lymphatic system through massage, assist in clearing your body from any emotional and physical stagnation, and help you to relax… as scent is one of the fastest ways to impact your emotional state.
We often feel so disconnected from our bodies, particularly our breasts, by hardly ever acknowledging them. It’s only since I started my breast care ritual every Sunday that I have become more confident about my body and more loving of my breasts. I feel my natural, feminine energy that somehow was burdened under the stigma attached to naked breasts. They are more than a sexually associated organ – our breasts are the outer visible manifestation of our heart. Some even go as far to say ‘breast cancer is one of the physical dysfunctions associated with the heart chakra’ -Barbara Brennan, and Caroline Myss, a medical intuitive, also states that issues concerning love and nurturing affect the health of women’s breasts.
Integrate a breast nurturing time into your beauty ritual, for example take some time every Sunday morning to honour and nurture this beautiful part of your body. I usually have a cold shower to stimulate the blood flow, and I put a few drops of my B’E oil, onto my hands, rub them, inhale the calming aroma and massage my breasts. Do this in a calm setting without being in a rush and take this time to check in with yourself mentally. Our breasts have an abundance of lymph vessels, responsible for draining toxins from the breast tissue that by massaging we can assist in activating our lymphatic flow, so all in all you are doing good in many ways for your overall health.
Barbara Brennan – Hands of Light: A Guide to Understanding Human Energy Field.
Caroline Myss – The Creation of Health: The Emotional , Psychological and Spiritual Response That Promote Health and Healing. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., C. Norman Shealy, M.D.