By Kendra Whitmire
A recent French study turned the lingerie world upside down by proclaiming that women should not wear a bra. Bra burning no longer belongs to uber-feminists, now all women should throw off the constraints of their bras. However, before you throw away all that lace, take a moment to consider the findings of this influential study.
The study lasted for 15 years and looked at 330 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Throughout the trial, the breast and nipple location were measured, and any changes were noted.
For decades, wearing a bra has been touted as not only giving your body a shapely figure, but also helping with sagging and back pain. The French study showed this hypothesis as completely false. According to the study, wearing a bra actually increases the sagging breast because it impedes the growth of breast tissue. By not wearing a bra, the muscles in your breasts work out more, keeping the breasts firmer.
Although the study was not definitive when it came to back pain, some participants noticed that it was easier to breathe and experienced less back pain. Going au naturale allows your body and posture to find a natural balance, while wearing a binding bra can force your body into an unnatural position.
This study only looked at the sagginess of breasts and whether a bra helped or not. It did not look at any correlation to bras and breast cancer or any other breast health issues.
Although this study is definitely worth considering, there is still work to be done to see whether wearing a bra is beneficial or detrimental to breast and back health. Because this study only looked at young women, there is no way of knowing the accurate correlation to older women.
Perhaps strapping on an ultra-binding bra everyday is not the best idea, but going completely bra free may not work with your lifestyle, either. Some clothes need a bra, and bigger breasted women may feel very uncomfortable without a bra. Additionally, another recent study showed that women in the workplace are more respected if they wear a bra.
For now, unless you are already looking for a reason to forgo the bra, just go braless on days spent at home in lounge wear and save the bra for when you are at work or going out. It will bring a nice balance between the two options, and it might still bring benefits to your breast health.