• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Women better off without bras: French study
Women pose during a promotional shoot for a new brand by Wonderbra in Madrid in 2007. Photo: Bru Garcia/AFP

Women better off without bras: French study

Dan MacGuill · 11 Apr 2013, 09:00

Published: 11 Apr 2013 09:00 GMT+02:00

The results of a mammoth 15-year study led by professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, from the University of Besançon in eastern France, are finally in and it looks like conventional wisdom about bras and back pain has been way off the mark.

According to Rouillon, a sports science expert, the lesson to be learned from the preliminary results of his marathon experiment is that “bras are a false necessity”.

“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra,” Professor Rouillon told France Info radio on Wednesday.

Using a slide rule and caliper, Rouillon spent years carefully measuring changes in the orientation of breasts belonging to hundreds of women, at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (University Hospital) in Besançon.

All the women involved in the study were aged between 18 and 35, although the professor was keen to stress that the group were not a representative of the global population of females.

After regularly measuring women who were not wearing bras the scientists concluded that "on average their nipples lifted on average seven millimetres in one year in relation to the shoulders."

Dr Jean Denis ROUILLON

Jean-Denis Rouillon (Photo courtesy of Osteopaths de France)

See also: Women around the world react to controversial bra study.

Capucine, a 28-year-old woman who participated in the professor's in-depth study, hasn’t worn a bra for two years, and swears by the results.

“There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain,” Capucine told France Info.

Despite the groundbreaking results of his study Rouillon advised certain women not to immediately throw away all their bras in the bin.

"It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother to stop wearing a bra," he warned.

See also: France lifts 200-year-old trouser ban on women

Speaking to The Local, Rouillon sought to emphasise the provisional nature of his data.

“These are preliminary results,” Dr. Rouillon said. “The small sample of 320 young women is not representative of the entire population – that would require something like 300,000 subjects.”

However, Dr. Rouillon did confirm that the initial data indicated that when young women stopped wearing a bra, there was no disimprovement in the orientation of their breasts, and in fact, there was widespread improvement.

Story continues below…

“Of course, this is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not wear a bra – for example, many women simply find them very comfortable, especially in winter,” Rouillon acknowledged.

Ultimately, however, he feels his work is not complete, since the findings are not definitive.

“We will simply have to recruit a larger sample of the female population, and conduct further research,” Rouillon added.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
BREAKING
Ten children struck by lightning in Paris park
Photo: AFP

Eleven people including ten children have been injured by lightning during a thunderstorm at Parc Monceau in Paris on Saturday.

What to expect when working in a bar in Paris
Photo: Fabrizio Morrola/Flickr

Fancy the idea of a bar job in Paris? There are a few things you need to know first, writes bartender Lauren Belcher.

Five key tips to opening a bank account in France
Photo: Dave Dugdale/Flickr

Avoid the headaches. Read this before opening a bank account in France.

Afghan migrant killed by lorry in Calais
French riot police guard a truck after migrants tried to mount several trucks near the Eurotunnel, near Calais earlier this year. Photo: AFP

A 25-year-old Afghan migrant was killed by a lorry on a motorway near the French port city of Calais in the early hours of Saturday, according to officials.

French PM Valls stakes political career on union fight
A demonstrator wears a sticker featuring France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls last week in Nantes, western France, during a protest against government planned labour law reforms. Photo: AFP

Engaged in a fierce tug of war with unions and some of his own party over labour reforms, France's embattled Prime Minister Manuel Valls has staked his political career on staring down the crisis.

Which of France's strikes could affect Euro 2016?
Photos: AFP

A series of ongoing strikes in France could continue to affect the country throughout the Euro 2016 tournament, which starts in just two weeks.

Fuel crisis eases as French police unblock depots
Tires on fire in front of an oil depot near the Total refinery of Donges, western France, on Friday. Photo: AFP

After a week of fuel shortages in France, things are improving in time for the weekend.

Opinion - French strikes
'Stop pissing everyone off': French boss to union chief
Philippe Martinez, the head of the CGT union. Photo: AFP

In an open letter to the man attempting to bring France to a standstill, a business owner tells him to stop "living in the past" and stop "pissing everyone off".

Want a '30-hour work week'? Move to Paris (or Lyon)
Lunchtime in Paris? Photo: reynermedia/Flickr

Workers in Paris and Lyon put in the fewest hours out of 71 major cities around the world. Lazy or supremely efficient.

The nations the French love to make fun of the most
Photo: Romain Seignovert

The British are not the French's top target, believe it or not.

National
Which of France's strikes could affect Euro 2016?
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
'You're not welcome': French police chief warns English yobs
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
It's Neighbours' Day! But what does it all mean?
National
The French fuel crisis for dummies: 27 key questions
National
The trials and tribulations of moving to rural France
National
Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
National
A complete guide to France's (many) ongoing strikes
Culture
Paris: Street artist makes the Louvre pyramid disappear
Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
2,737
jobs available