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Please bear with me as this site is slowly updated. I would prefer not to disable the whole site as it may take a while. Thank you for visiting and please contact me if you have any questions!


We’re on Facebook!

Hello all! Earth Hands Therapies is now on Facebook! Check it out and give me a “like” at https://www.facebook.com/EarthHandsTherapies.  Find out more about my services as well as good tips and information about your health.  Feel free to submit comments, suggestions and ideas for site-related things, services or products you would like to see offered, massage and health-related success stories and anything else you’d like to share!


Lymph Drainage Therapy

Lymph and Lymph Drainage Therapy

Lymph fluid is a composition of mostly water, proteins, cellular waste and other macromolecules. It flushes through the various tissues of the body before being collected into lymph vessels, purified through the lymph nodes and sent through the circulatory system to the kidneys and liver to be recycled & reused or eliminated. As this fluid moves through your body, it collects up proteins, bacteria, viruses, and cellular waste products that otherwise cause stagnation and thus becomes a breeding ground for disease. Lymph fluid also transports dietary fats from the digestive system to the heart & circulatory system. This lymph fluid is directed into and through the various lymph vessels in the body where it goes through lymph nodes to be cleansed & purified as it goes on its way to the heart. When people have node biopsies or node removals, this often causes a backlog of fluid which can permanently damage the lymph vessels and cause lymphedema. Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is a bodywork treatment that manually assists the collection and movement of lymph fluid into and through the lymphatic vessels to be sent through the heart and circulatory system to finally be recycled, reused and/or eliminated through the kidneys and liver. LDT is an essential part of preventive treatment for people who meet risk factors for lymphedema. LDT is also an essential part of treatment for people who have already developed lymphedema and need to keep it managed to prevent further discomforts and complications.

Everyone can benefit from Lymph Drainage Therapy. For healthy individuals, it is beneficial to assist the natural cleansing and detoxification of the lymphatic system, boosting immunity. This helps you to avoid sickness as well as helping you to recover faster from illness. LDT also supports the healing process after an injury or surgery. You will find that with LDT your incision heals faster, the amount of swelling is less and is eliminated much more quickly than without LDT. This type of therapy is commonly prescribed by M.D.s as an integral part of most treatment programs within and outside of the hospital setting.

LDT is beneficial to people with arthritis, as it helps to work the vessels around the joints, helping to reduce swelling within and around the joint capsule. It also helps to reduce pain. Focused treatments are available to specifically target hands,feet, knees, shoulders, and spine.

LDT can be applied to more focused areas of the body for maximum efficiency and function of your body. Example, LDT can be applied around the face, mouth and throat. This would be beneficial to use on people with various speech or throat pathologies, for people who clench their jaws or grind their teeth a lot. It would be a good treatment to maintain throat/vocal health of people who are public speakers or singers.

Cosmetically, Lymph Drainage Therapy is used to successfully treat the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite on the body. Please contact me for more information regarding the series of sessions required for a most successful end result.

LDT is also used most commonly in the United States for the treatment of lymphedema that often result from breast cancer diagnostics and treatments. This type of lymphedema is the most common form of lymphedema in the United States.

*** I am currently in training to become certified in the Chikly method of Lymph Drainage Therapy as well as to eventually become nationally certified as a Lymphedema Therapist. In order to earn these certifications, I need to do several case studies. I am looking for people with specific conditions and treatment goals to work on for practice and these case studies. If you would like to be considered for a series of treatment sessions at a discounted rate for these purposes, please contact me at 608-780-3993 or email me at earthhandstherapies@gmail.com.


Do you have one of these conditions that you would like to have focused LDT treatment for at a reduced rate for a series of sessions? Please contact me to set up a series of sessions for treatment:

  • Facial wrinkles
  • Cellulite
  • Allergies, asthma, or COPD
  • Past surgeries or scars, injuries
  • Arthritis (RA or OA) – with manifestations in the hands and/or feet primarily, also that may affect the knees and/or shoulders
  • Shoulder pathologies: frozen shoulder, inflammation, bursitis, arthritis, rotator cuff tearing or injury, etc.
  • Frequent headaches and/or intracranial pressure
  • Singers, public speakers, or people with speech pathologies or conditions involving the throat/neck area, including the jaw (TMJ, clenching or grinding teeth, etc)
  • Eye surgeries or pathologies including floaters, cloudy vision, headaches around the eye area, dryness, tracking issues, excess moisture/drainage or tearing from the eye, pressure behind the eye.
  • Ear surgeries or pathologies, including conditions affecting the outer and/or inner ear, conditions affecting balance or intracranial pressure.
  • Nodal biopsies or removals, radiation (must be finished with treatment and several weeks passed to allow the integrity of the skin to be repaired as it is extremely fragile after radiation treatment) or chemotherapy (e.g. diagnostics and treatments for cancers, including breast cancer).
    *** please be aware that I am not yet qualified to treat stage 1, 2, or 3 lymphedema. I am able to treat stage 0, latent stage of people who meet risk factor criteria for development of lymphedema ***

*** Please be aware that certain medical conditions may require a medical release from your doctor before treatment can begin.
The main reason for this is that because the lymph fluid drains into the heart/circulatory system, it increases the load upon the heart
and could be problematic for people with certain cardiovascular conditions or other conditions. ***

Going Organic!

I am pleased to announce that Earth Hands Therapies is transitioning to a more natural & business! As I am able to, I will replace current items with more natural & organic alternatives, supporting companies & organizations that are concerned about the welfare of people & environment, and take actions to improve current conditions & practices.

Now featuring:

  • Super-comfortable 100% organic cotton flannel sheets (Arcadia brand) by Body Linen (a division of All-Together Enterprises). Learn more here about Body Linen & their products.
  • 100% organically grown & certified Jojoba (pronounced ho-HO-ba) oil from The Jojoba Company. Learn more here about jojoba & the Original Jojoba Company.
  • Aromatherapy Essential Oils by Young Living. These are available upon request for use during your massage session. Learn more here about Young Living’s Seed to Seal quality. You may also want to check out the oils available and indications for use. A great essential oil resource is the testimonials site. Learn about the uses of essential oils from the regular people who use them.

More great changes will be taking place here and I will keep you updated as they happen! I am excited to be becoming more mindful of my impact on the world around me, both in my personal life and in my professional life. I hope that you will be inspired to become more aware and mindful of your impact as well. Together we can make a difference!

– Rebecca Felten, LMT –


Relieve Stress with Massage

Stress is inevitable in today’s world and it has quite negative effects on both the body and the mind. One of the most common sources of stress is our work environments. About 75% of Americans say their jobs are stressful, with 40% describing the stress as “extreme.” Over half of respondents routinely find they end the day with work-related neck & back pain & eye strain (surveys by Northwestern National Life & Integra). According the American Institute of Stress, U.S. employers lose about $200 billion annually on stress-related expenses! Considering these facts, it would be wise for us to learn how to effectively manage stress. On the business end, effective management of stress could improve employee efficiency & accuracy; on the personal end, it could improve our health, reducing stress-related healthcare costs, medications, and missed work.

Being under stress causes our muscles to tense up; sometimes we don’t even realize we are so tense until that tension has been relieved with a massage. As muscle tension increases, so does anxiety; as anxiety increases, it increases muscle tension and so the cycle continues. Stress has also been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Many people then turn to pharmaceuticals to alleviate these symptoms, but these drugs often have many negative side effects. Massage is a natural therapy that has been shown to effectively alleviate anxiety, reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Massage stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, relieving pain and anxiety. Massage therapy has an immediate effect on the body and mind and leaves a person visibly relaxed and calmed. As stress is relieved, productivity increases. Massage therapy has been shown to improve employee efficiency and accuracy, reducing stress-related problems at work as well as reducing the need for time off work due to stress-related illness. (Learn more about the negative effects of stress here.)

People can get massage therapy on their own time, but some employers show their appreciation to their employees by bringing massage therapy into the workplace. Corporate chair massage is a 10-15 minute experience, focusing on neck, shoulders, back, and arms. It does not include any oils and the only equipment is a special massage chair easily set up in a break-room or employee lounge. Chair massage is easily incorporated during the workday – on a short break, during lunch or at end of shift. Some companies  choose to cover the cost as a “thank-you” to their employees; others offer their employees the opportunity to pay for the massage if they choose.

Unmanaged stress can have extremely negative effects, but a short chair massage could make a big difference in employee well-being and work productivity. Bringing chair massage by Earth Hands Therapies into the workplace is a decision that any company or employer will not regret! Contact Rebecca for more details on offering Corporate Chair Massage to your valued employees!

Why Do I Hurt After Massage?

We keep hearing that massages are supposed to feel good, but the truth of the matter is, sometimes they leave us in a bit of pain for one to several days. Sometimes this after-pain is uncomfortable enough that the receiver may not want to get another massage treatment, especially if this was their first one. There are many reasons why a person may feel sore, stiff, tender, in pain, etc. after a massage:

  • You don’t receive massage on a regular basis. Getting a massage is similar to exercise for the body and muscles. If you aren’t used to it, then the first couple times could make you sore. It’s also real easy to overdo it. However, once your body is accustomed to regular bodywork, the physical response will lessen and the massage will provide that more “blissful” feeling.
  • Massage stimulates lymph uptake and movement. I am discovering that many people today have very sluggish and congested lymph & digestive systems. These systems help our bodies to stay healthy by cleaning the body’s tissues on a daily basis, moving nutrients around and clearing out metabolic garbage, viruses, bacteria, etc. These systems can become sluggish due to lack of lymph-stimulating movement & overload of toxins (extreme exercise, chemical ingestion from our environment into our mouths, eyes, ears, lungs, skin, etc.). Massage & bodywork stimulate these systems to get working and move things through. Sometimes this can overload our bodies & cause pain or physical sickness. If you experience this, let it serve as a notice from your body that something needs to be done to get your body’s health back on track. There are many things you can do to keep your lymph & digestive systems functioning optimally (this is addressed briefly in my July newsletter & will be covered more in-depth in a future post). It has been shown that many illnesses & diseases start with sluggishness & congestion in the lymph & digestive systems.
  • Neurological sensitivity (“central sensitization”) is a theory that looks at the whole picture of what’s going on with a person – on all levels of input, including physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. Massage therapy provides a significant amount of CNS stimulation and sometimes this combined with other stress/stimuli that the body is dealing with during the day/week compounds to be too much to handle effectively. Since the amount of stress we experience fluctuates, our response to it may fluctuate as well: at times we will feel fine, and other times we will feel overloaded and experience negative after-effects while the body works to get back into balance. Also, some people just have a higher tolerance to painful stimuli than others.
  • Depending on the type of problem being addressed may be more painful than others. Example: working out those “knots” can be painful because the area is extra-sensitive due to being stuck in a contracted state for as long as it has and becoming tender and congested with waste product that doesn’t get cleaned out of the area. Also, scar-release work can be more painful as tougher fibers and adhesions are broken down to allow the body to replace them with more functional fibers. This will allow greater range of movement.

Please don’t let fear of pain or discomfort prevent you from getting bodywork treatment. A good therapist will communicate with the client throughout the treatment to make sure that the techniques are comfortable to the client; a good client will give honest feedback to the therapist regarding what is and is not comfortable during the treatment. Please don’t just grit your teeth and bear it until the end of the appointment – say something! When discomfort and pain are unavoidable, the therapist will communicate this to the client and coach them to breathe through the technique to allow the body to release the tension held in the tissues. Scientists are finding there is a direct link between emotional and physical states and this connection is being increasingly studied by those in research and utilized by those in fields of somatic (bodywork) therapies.

Myofascial Release Relieves Pain & Restriction

Are you suffering from a pain condition or restricted range of movement?

Give Myofascial Release (MFR) a try! A firm-but-gentle, effective hands-on treatment that works with the body to elicit lasting positive change. MFR techniques have successfully helped relieve conditions such as the following: TMJ syndrome, frozen shoulder and rotator-cuff issues, low back pain, migraines, extreme tension of neck & shoulders, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, endometriosis, osteoarthritis, scars, sciatica, scoliosis and more!

Find out more on how MFR helps:https://myofascialrelease.com/about/problems-mfr-helps.aspx

What is Myofascial Release? 

Myofascial Release (MFR) a safe and very effective hands-on technique that engages the fascial system through a gentle-yet-firm stretch of the skin and underlying tissues. Fascia is very dense connective tissue that penetrates & supports bones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, as well as lining & shaping every organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, brain, and spinal cord. In a normal healthy state, fascia is relaxed & smooth, similar to a cobweb when stretched, with the ability to glide and stretch in every direction. Traumas (falls, whiplash, surgery, habitual poor posture), scarring, and inflammation cause fibers & layers of fascia to stick together (adhesions). The fascia can then exert pressure on muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves & organs, which leads to pain, headaches, and restrictions.Fascia has a tensile strength of 2000 lbs. per square inch and can be resistant to many types of bodywork. Only when it has gentle, sustained pressure does it soften into a gel-like state, stretching and elongating the tissues, helping the body to restore balance. Myofascial Release is the manipulation of the fascial system to smooth out adhesions and return to a normal, pain-free state.

MFR must be done on clean skin—no lotions or oils are to be used the day of treatment. The therapist often will use a liquid chalk product on the hands or utilize a hand-sized sheet of grip enhancer (dycem). This helps to maintain an effective grip on the skin without increasing the pressure. The therapist initiates the stretch but then allows the client’s body to lead the treatment. Rarely, clients with sensitive skin may report pinked skin and/or feeling itchy on the areas worked. These sensations are normal and should subside within a few hours.

Communication between client and therapist is especially important with MFR. Although it is a gentle treatment, it has deep-reaching effects. Be aware of the sensations in your body during the treatment; let your therapist know how and what you feel and if it is familiar to you. If the treatment is too much in any way, let your therapist know; the techniques can be adjusted or stopped. It is essential for the you to be comfortable and relaxed during the treatment.

Information Sources: Myofascial Release Treatment Centers & Seminars and Wisconsin Center for Myofascial Release

Therapist Comments: I have heard from people who have experienced MFR that it is a very painful treatment. First of all, any treatment can be painful depending on many factors: Sometimes the therapist may use too much pressure on the client – this may be due to the lack of client feedback during treatment and/or due to the inability of the therapist to “listen” to what the client’s body under the skin is telling the therapist. Another reason for painful treatment could be due to the tissues being worked on;  scar-release work can be painful because of the tougher fibers that have to be broken down to make way for more functional fibers. This type of work may take longer and be more painful than relieving other kinds of restrictions. Yet another reason for the pain is: every client is different; every person perceives pain differently than other people. Some have a very high pain tolerance, that pain doesn’t feel painful until it is excessive. Other people may be very sensitive to even very mild pain sensations. Please don’t let this prevent you from getting bodywork treatment. A good therapist will communicate with the client throughout the treatment to make sure that the techniques are comfortable to the client; when discomfort and pain are unavoidable, the therapist will communicate this to the client and coach them to breathe through the technique to allow the body to release the tension held in the tissues. Scientists are finding there is a direct link between emotional and physical states and this has been something increasingly studied by those in research.

Chair Massage at the Farmer’s Market

I provide chair massage at the local farmer’s market in Viroqua during the warmer months. The farmer’s market is open on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm and runs from the first Saturday in May through the last Saturday in October. I am there to provide chair massage (10 minutes for $10) as well as give information and answer questions. I will be there most nice days through the season. Generally I am not there through October as the weather is quite cool and not conducive to a relaxing massage. Stress is quite pervasive in our culture and studies have shown that even a 10-15 minute chair massage provides much benefit to reduce the effects of stress on the body and mind.

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

What are some of the specific benefits of massage therapy?

Massage therapy has been used as an effective treatment for thousands of years. Science is finally starting to catch up to this natural therapy and researchers are conducting studies to measure the effects of massage on the body.

Tiffany Field and her team of researchers at Touch Research Institute have done many studies on the effects of massage on the body and mind, how it affects us on a cellular level and what this means in regard to health and treatment of illness and disease. Massage therapy has shown:

  • Decreased pain (e.g. fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome)
  • Decreased autoimmune problems (increased pulmonary function in asthma and decreased glucose levels in diabetes)
  • Enhanced immune function (increased natural killer cells in HIV and cancer, improved CD4 numbers and CD4/CD8 ratio in HIV; WBC and neutrophil counts increased in children with leukemia)
  • Enhanced accuracy, alertness, and performance (EEG pattern of alertness and better performance on math computations)
  • Decreased anxiety and stress (reduced levels of cortisol in saliva post massage)
  • Improved mood / lessened depression
  • Increased levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain
  • Eased labor (massaged mothers had shorter labors, shorter hospital stay, and less postpartum depression)
  • Improved health in the elderly
  • Improved growth in neonates (massage helps them to grow and thrive)
  • Improved quality of sleep / reduced rates of sleep disturbance
  • Lessened frequency and intensity of migraine headaches
  • Relieved premenstrual symptoms (reduce pain, water retention, and overall menstrual distress)
  • Improved behavior in children with Autism, Asperger’s, & ADD/ADHD (children massaged showed less stereotypical behavior, were more attentive and on-task, showed more social relatedness behavior and fewer sleep problems)
  • Lessened cerebral palsy symptoms (reduce spasticity, less rigid muscle tone, improved fine and gross motor function; also noted were improved cognition, social, and dressing scores, and the children also showed more positive facial expressions during play interactions)
  • Decreased symptoms of atopic dermatitis in children (significant improvement seen in redness, scaling, lichenification, excoriation, and pruritus)
  • Improved motor function and muscle tone in children with Down syndrome (also showed less severe limb hypotonicity)
  • Reduced PTSD in children and adults (improved mood, less anxiety and stress hormones)

Source: Touch Research Institute, http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/Research.html

WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

What can massage therapy do for me?

Why should you get a massage? Massage therapy can get you back on track to great health. It helps reset your internal system to re-balance your body and mind, helping you to feel your best so you can perform at your best. Massage therapy improves circulation of blood and lymph, improving delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells and assisting removal of cellular waste. Massage alleviates stiffness, soreness, and fatigue; it reduces pain, improves muscle tone, immunity and mental function. Massage has been shown to lessen depression, nausea, and anxiety, and increase energy and vigor. There are many different kinds of massage, various modalities, and a wide variety of techniques and modifications to meet the needs of each individual client.