Episode 27: The Basics of Chest Binding ft. Frances Reed, LMT (they/them)
"Chest binding" or "binding" is utilizing various materials and techniques to change the contour of the chest. Studies are few and far between when it comes to standardized guidelines, recommendations, and safety protocols. Today, we chat with Frances Reed, LMT (they/them) about their experience specializing in techniques for relieving pain caused by chest binding and top surgery. Frances is the owner of Freed Bodyworks and HealthBinding.com.
The Basics of Chest Binding ft. Frances Reed, LMT (they/them)
Meet Frances Reed, LMT (they/them)
“Freed Bodyworks embraces the many ways that people's bodies are non-conforming: gender identity, body modification, weight, culture, sub-culture, race, employment, ability, illness, age, and more.”
Frances Reed entered massage school several years ago and quickly realized their peers had very little awareness of Frances’ non-conforming gender identity. Frances decided then to open a practice where all non-conforming people would not have to explain, defend, or educate health practitioners about their body, lifestyle, or ability.
In 2011, Frances formed Freed Bodyworks as a solo practice, and it was quickly apparent that they had tapped into an unmet need for inclusive wellness services in the DC metro area. As business boomed, Frances, along with life partner and business partner Jessica VonDyke, expanded Freed Bodyworks to include additional massage therapists and new treatments in 2013.
In 2015, Freed Bodyworks moved to a new location in order to integrate whole-body wellness education, movement classes, and expand into other holistic healing services. We currently have five treatment rooms which house bodywork, energy work, counseling, psychotherapy, health coaching, herbalism, Ayurvedic treatments, aromatherapy and more! The Feinberg Room offers space for workshops, events, and movement classes, including Yoga and Tai Chi. Our accomplished team of Holistic practitioners and Yoga instructors offer a wide range of services that celebrate everyBODY.
Frances recently launched HealthyBinding.com to create a resource for individuals to bind safely and comfortably.
Frances’ Binding Recommendations
Ideally, wear a commercially made binder with compression fabric that is on the front of the body and a looser fitting fabric across the back (rather than the same tightness of compression all the way around).
Always use the sizing guidelines to find your correct size and wear the correct size. Not only will your body expreience fewer painful symptoms but the appearance of a flat chest will be improved by the correct size. Yes, you will look better in a larger size.
Massage and stretch your body after each time that you wear your binder.
Practice deep, rib-expanding breathing when your binder is off. It will help you to have better capacity to breath when you are wearing your binder which will make wearing it more comfortable for longer periods of time.
Take days off from binding. It will improve your overall health and is one of the few things that our research says will allow you to bind with less health complications for longer.
Hydrate constantly, binding will make your body sweat more than you think. Being dehydrated will make you ache more than you think. It's a no-brainer.
Work out or play sports in a less compressive garment than you wear regularly. Sports bras are designed to promote movement better so if you are able to wear a sports bra and a baggy shirt, that is a great option. If not, wear a binder that is a size larger than you need or an older binder that has stretched out.
Learn the warning signs of serious problems and don't mess around if you experience them. Get the binder off immediately and get to a medical professional if the symptoms don't go away promptly.
Keep your binder clean, bacteria and fungal infections are common when people do not wash their binders.
***These recommendations are the opinions of Frances Reed. Please cite appropriately***
For more information on chest binding, visit HealthyBinding.com
https://queerdoc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Binding-Health-Project-Results.pdf (free publication of what is published in the journal Culture, Health and Sexuality)
Frances’ Binder Company Recommendations
B Ur Slf (TGNC owned)
Flavnt (TGNC owned)
gc2b (TGNC owned)
New York Toy Collective (queer-collective owned)
Off-the-shelf & custom-made binders
Origami Customs (TGNC owned)
Rebirth Garments (TGNC owned)
Shapeshifters (TGNC owned)
Non-garment binding option
TransTape (TGNC owned)
*TGNC = Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming