Why on earth is heat helpful for mastitis?

This is a really good question and there are a few answers.

But first, sorry you are researching this, you are clearly in THAT mastitis space. I’ve been there too.

And it’s a time when although you feel so terrible, that usually a lot of internet trawling and scrolling through social media occurs, looking for that something to make this nightmare end.

Well, if you have mastitis, it will need to be “processed” by your body. Don’t worry, your body has the tools to do this. Mastitis is typically inflammatory that may become an infection. Your body has dealt with inflammation and infection before.

One of things I definitely found relieving was heat applied to my breast. My best pain relief came from the shower water. I was so sick with mastitis my husband actually had to put a plastic garden chair IN the shower for about a week for me to be able to rest there without fainting. It was so worth it.

In our clinic we have heard the same feelings about heat many times from mothers with mastitis.

So why is it that heat is helpful for mastitis?

Well there’s a couple of reasons that come to mind. One is that heat is soothing and comforting. At a time like an episode of mastitis, that’s what you want to look for, the things that feel lovely to your body. Even if it’s only temporary relief this is worth it so trust your intuition if heat does it for you.

Another reason is that heat promotes fluid flow, whether that is blood flow, milk flow or lymph. Your body is run by fluid and heat is know to improve circulation of tissues. Your circulation is important because it helps us heal our ill tissue.

We’ve found heat to be especially good when combined with massage and the right massage technique is ultra-useful for mastitis.

Heat can be in the form of:

  • Warm shower water
  • Wheat bag in the microwave
  • Hot water bottle
  • Stick on iron oxide patches

Just remember to take care of your skin and not to make the heat too hot. You don’t need to be dealing with burns as well.

We hope you feel better soon.


Author: Katie Willy

Osteopath & Your Two Jugs Co-Founder

your two jugs co-founders

Elise Fuller & Katie Willy

Osteopaths & Your Two Jugs Co-Founders

Elise & Katie are Melbourne based osteopaths who have been actively treating breastfeeding women in clinic since 2015. During 2020 lockdown they launched their company Your Two Jugs to educate more women about how to treat their own breastfeeding conditions. Their online video based course, Boobology, is available now with heaps of education and hands on techniques to teach women the do’s & don’ts for mastitis, blocked ducts & engorgement. More recently, Your Two Jugs launched a full health care practitioner course, called The Boob Hero, to educate manual therapists on their contribution to supporting breastfeeding women with hands on care. Empowerment all starts with education, and the more support available for women, the better.