The Blog

Massage for Breast Health- Here’s the scoop

breast-massage-books It’s confusing growing up with a uterus and breasts. I have spent years studying and expanding my knowledge of the beautifully complex female reproductive system. These parts always felt mysterious and distinctly other from the rest of my body. After charting my cycles for 5+ years, dappling in Mayan Abdominal Massage, and venturing into v-steams, I have gained an appreciation for what my lower half can do. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery left me in awe of my own pelvic capabilities. And now, after breastfeeding for a year, my eyes have been opened to what those (not so) feeble A-cuppers are designed to do.

post-breast-massage-filteredSo when I was invited to attend a breast massage workshop hosted by Midwife, Massage Therapist, and Women’s Health Extraordinaire, Susanrachel Condon with the Earth + Sky team, I was delighted, if not also a little bemused. I thought, “That’s all good and well, I’m down for massage any day of the week, but how can we spend 6+ hours talking about rubbing boobs?”

I was very quickly proven wrong. Breast massage includes work on the upper back, shoulders, and upper arm areas. All of course which are connected to the breast tissue in one way or another. The practitioner gave me a few options – she could massage on the skin like a regular massage, through a towel, or she could instruct and guide me to massage myself depending on my comfort level. (I opted for the full monty!)

The lecture part of the class revealed so much on the anatomy, development and health of the female breasts. The same breasts I covered up in misfitted brasseries in 6th grade had a completely different cellular structure than the breasts I carried around in college, which were vastly different than the breasts I have been nurturing my daughter with for the last year. In short, the female breasts do not remain stable throughout a woman’s life. Their evolution is fantastically fluid. (No pun intended.)

Between the ages of 17-24 the breasts develop the most alveoli they will ever contain (except for pregnancy). Through continual ovulation and production of high levels of hormones, breasts continue their life of prepping for lactation. Around the age of 35, there is a slow, but steady waning of hormones. The glandular development begins to decrease. This means that the mid-40’s woman’s breasts are less dense with less glandular and connective tissue. In other words, the breasts prepare for menopause a decade (or more!) beforehand. But don’t worry, the girls take their time, they shed alveoli slowly and thoughtfully.

While oscreen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-42-11-amn a cellular level, their composition is constantly evolving, so is their palpable quality. A woman may notice at one point in her cycle or season of life, they feel more or less lumpy. More or less sensitive. Or even painful. (Also known as Cyclic Mastalgia, which massage can help relieve.) They change in size. There are few nerve endings in breast tissue, but they respond very directly to estrogen and progesterone. So pain in the breasts, when not stemming from an infection or cyst, is usually referred from somewhere else in the body. It’s crucial that a woman knows her normal – even if that varies in a monthly menarche. Breast massage serves as a great starting point to familiarizing ourself with our breasts and starting the journey of healing our past with all the criticism that comes with growing up female.

Some indications for breast massage include swelling in the lymph nodes from edema (raise your hands pregnant and postpartum mamas!). Massage can clear up general congestion and aid tenderness from fibrocystic tissue. As our breast undergo involution, either after weaning or approaching menopause, massage facilitates healthy drainage. It is also highly recommended for cancer patients. Women who have undergone surgery in the upper chest area, such as mastectomy or reduction, find massage helps immensely in the healing process. And lastly, it just downright feels therapeutic. You don’t need a medical reason to indulge in breast massage. In fact a little prevention can go a long way in keeping the girls happy and healthy.breast-massage-pic-filtered

I left the class inspired and excited about all this new knowledge. I had discovered another hidden corridor on learning to delight in my female body. Breast massage felt like I was removing a bra I had been wearing for years and replaced it with a velvety cloak over my whole upper body. I feel like my relationship with my bosom has grown to be even more intimate, respectful, and loving.

So the final verdict? Breast massage is a healing way to appreciate and maintain breast health. I am grateful that I was able to discover this lost art and I hope to carry it on to other women. So what do you say? Let’s #keepthegirlshappy (and healthy!)



As part of our participation in breast cancer awareness month, our staff (and our sister practice Red Moon Wellness in Brooklyn) all participated in advance training in massage for breast health.  To schedule a session with one of our therapists click here. To find out more about classes contact Susanrachel Condon, CCCE, LMT, LM, CLC at River and Mountain Midwifery.

October 17, 2016 Comments Off on Massage for Breast Health- Here’s the scoop

Can Fertility Charting help you get Pregnant? Well Rounded’s interview with Katinka

We were so thrilled when NYC’s very own Well Rounded asked Katinka to be featured in a piece to cover Fertility Awareness. Katinka has been an avid promoter of FA based methods of family planning for years and has a mission to shed light on what fertility awareness can offer!

Here is the full interview.


Photo by Christina Emilie

How did you personally get into Fertility Awareness Method? What was your own awakening?

I was thinking of going to Med School after college and was interning with a holistic Doctor. There was a sign in her office that said “Come learn how your cycle works.” I was intrigued and signed up for the class. It was life changing. I couldn’t believe I was a 22-yr old woman and I didn’t know when I was ovulating, or that it was possible to have regular periods without ovulating, or that fertility awareness could be used effectively as birth control. I just kept thinking “How has no one mentioned this to me!”

Why did you start building it into your practice? Why do you feel it’s so important to help/guide women as they embark on this?

In my practice, I see women of all ages with all kinds of health and hormonal issues. A woman might come to me and tell me her blood work is normal, or that her Doctor can’t find a problem, but she’s having trouble getting pregnant, or having horrible cramps. I learned over the years that her fertility chart could give a more accurate picture of her overall pattern. FAM is not just about birth control or conceiving, it can be incredibly useful for identifying imbalances like sub-clinical thyroid problems, or too much stress impacting relative progesterone levels. I also noticed that for some women connecting with their cycles and becoming more aware of how their lifestyle impacted their symptoms was really empowering. We all know stress or diet can affect our hormones, but seeing your cycle lengthen change after increasing sleep, or cutting back foods with too many chemicals, is really powerful. It gives a woman a much deeper understanding of her body and how everything is connected.

Give us the basics of FAM. The elevator pitch of how to do it?

Well first let me tell you what its not. It not the “rhythm method.” Its not assuming you ovulate on day 14, or have a regular cycle. FAM is a way for a woman to know each day whether she’s potentially fertile by observing two basic fertility signals- basal body temperature and cervical fluid. To practice FAM, a woman takes her temperature before getting out of bed every morning, and takes note of her cervical fluid changes a few times a day. She records this info on her chart (either a paper chart or more commonly a fertility charting app). She can then apply a few simple rules to determine with accuracy when she’s fertile. Its really about living with your fertility every day and knowing what’s going on.

Why can FAM be a big asset to actually achieving pregnancy?

Many women don’t actually ovulate on day 14, or have regular cycles, so being able to time sex correctly makes a big difference. If you are ovulating, your temperature is lower in the first half of your cycle and your cervical fluid increases. Right before ovulation, there’s often a dip in the temperature and a peak in fertile cervical fluid (think eggwhites) that let you know when its best to plan sex.

After ovulation the temperature remains high for the rest of the cycle. If the temperatures don’t this could mean there’s a problem with progesterone or with ovulation. When I first started charting, my temperatures didn’t go from low to high each month. To my surprise, that I wasn’t ovulating, even though I was having regular periods. I was able to use that information to rebalance my system. I shifted my diet to include more health fats, and started to sleep more. Within some months I was ovulating again. When women come to me who have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for several months, her chart can helps us determine what imbalances might be going on so she knows what to work on. And women who have charted their cycles over many years can often spot and correct subtle shifts in their fertility well before they become a problem.

What about using as postpartum birth control? is this a particularly good — or bad — time to start it?

I’ll be honest, it’s not a great time to start FAM. Irregular sleep patterns can make it difficult to chart waking temperatures accurately, and postpartum hormones will affect cervical fluid, especially when breastfeeding. Women who do want to start at that time really should seek the guidance of a certified FAM teacher to help learn the method. That said, many women do learn FAM during that time and use it effectively. Its really a personal preference, no birth control is perfect.

How effective is FAM, and what are the efficacy risks?

Studies showing the efficacy of FAM as birth control vary. Perfect use is often as high as 97-99%, on par with the pill. Typical use may drop to 85%.

What’s interesting is that the biggest efficacy risk is the commitment it takes to act in accordance with information your chart gives you. One of the benefits of FAM is that many women find it puts them in touch with their libido, but as nature would have it, you want to have sex most when you are most fertile. So if you want to avoid getting pregnant, you have to be 100% committed to using another form of birth control during that time or avoiding intercourse and getting creative. Still for many women, avoiding side effects of other forms of birth control or gaining an understanding of their hormonal health is worth the extra effort and attention it takes to practice FAM effectively.

How has the public perception changed about FAM over the time you’ve been exploring this area?

There’s a lot of interest! The increase in period tracking apps (there are over 100 on the itunes app store) means more women are used to charting their menstrual cycles, and many are deciding to chart their fertility signals too. There’s also a bigger cultural shift happening. While the pill was once considered a symbol of feminist freedom, many women now find a deeper sense of independence and control in knowing how their body works and not relying on a pharmaceutical company to navigate their fertility.

Give us a 3 step plan to get started using FAM.

(Note: If you are on hormonal birth control of any kind, you aren’t cycling so you need to come off if it before you start charting)


1. Download an App: Kindara is my favorite charting app by far, and it has a great online resources to help you learn how to chart, you can even reach an expert through the app when questions come up. Then get a basal body thermometer (you can order WINK which syncs with your phone through Kindara or a regular basal body thermometer on amazon).

2. Learn the method: There are two great books that I recommend -Katie Singer’s the “Garden of Fertility,” and Toni Weschler’s “Taking Charge of your Fertility.” We are also lucky to have the Fertility Awareness Center here in NYC so women or couples wanting to take a class can contact them.

3. Chart your fertility signals for at least 3 cycles: Then find a teacher or someone to discuss your charts with so you know you understand them before deciding if its right for you as Birth Control. If you are breastfeeding, coming off the pill, have just been pregnant, or are approaching menopause it may take some time for you to be able to chart accurately enough to use the method as birth control, but you can learn a lot about your body in the process and that alone is worth the effort!

Happy Charting! Look out on the blog here for future Fertility Awareness events hosted by Earth + Sky. And don’t forget that we offer one on one instruction and support for anyone interested in learning the Fertility Awareness Method.

April 26, 2016 Comments Off on Can Fertility Charting help you get Pregnant? Well Rounded’s interview with Katinka

New Prenatal Breastfeeding Class – Feb. 8th at 6:30

Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

Monday February 8th, 6:30-8:30 pm

$75 (partners welcome free of charge space permitting)

with Heather McFadden

Prenatal breastfeeding education is an important step in preparing for your new baby. Many moms have heard how difficult or painful breastfeeding can be. Learning proper latch techniques and basic management skills before baby arrives can help get breastfeeding off to a good start. Using educational materials and an interactive open question approach, the prenatal breastfeeding class covers a range of areas including:

Pregnant woman

  • Proper latch and positioning
  • Feeding frequency
  • Timing of feeds
  • How can I tell if baby is getting enough milk?
  • Milk supply
  • Two breasts or one?
  • Pumping
  • Milk storage guidelines
  • Diet and breastfeeding
  • Medications and breastfeeding
  • Bed sharing, is it safe?
  • Sleep training, does it work?
  • Swaddling
  • Introducing Solids
  • Weaning
  • Resources and support
Call 646-221-3147 or email for questions, to reserve a spot, or for more information.
January 15, 2016 Comments Off on New Prenatal Breastfeeding Class – Feb. 8th at 6:30

Shop Local: Five Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Need some refreshing gift ideas? E+S new gift items arrived just in time for the Holidays! To help keep your holiday shopping simple, here are five gift ideas that will inspire peace and relaxation in those around you. And even better, they are all hand crafted and support small local businesses!

_MG_59561. Gift Certificates  What says “love” better than the gift of healing and relaxation at the hands of our skilled therapists? All you have to do is visit our website and click the ‘gift certificate’ tab- 5 minutes later you will have a present that will keep your loved ones smiling for so much longer! Use the code MERRY and get 15% off holiday gift certificates through Dec 31st 2015. With so much goodness, why not get one for yourself too?!



2. Rose Milk Baths ($5) Warm baths, cold weather – those two just go together! Make your experience extra luxurious (and wholesome) by adding these locally made bath salts to your tub.  A simple joy that’s deeply relaxing!


3. Soapwalla Travel Pouch ($68) For the jet-setters in your midst, we love this travel pouch from Soapwalla. The adorably designed pouch fits everything even the most pampered person may need while traveling: deodorant, body oil, body wash, face serum, toning mist and even body polish – all of which are in FDA approved travel sizes. (Psst… Their deodorant is super-effective and the face serum is simply addictive!)


Bitters4. Urban Moonshine Digestive bitters ($14)  More food and less movement during the holidays may put extra pressure on your system. Help your body out by giving it something that promotes activity and movement… from within. Urban Moonshine Bitters are organic and come in several enticing flavors. Try our favorites: Maple and Chamomile



candle5. Meditation Candles by Little Lights ($16 ) What’s better than the gift of inner peace?! These locally handmade soy meditation candle look and smell divine – the same way you will feel once you get a chance to escape the holiday bustle to contemplate the unchangeable.


For questions and shop hours please call 917-725-0299 or email us at

November 25, 2015 Comments Off on Shop Local: Five Gift Ideas for the Holidays


April 28th, 7-9:30pm $40
Wythe Hotel, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Join hosts, Jessa Blades and Katinka Locascio, for an exciting evening dedicated to fertility awareness and expanding the conversation around birth control and women’s reproductive health. You’ll learn how the your cycle works as women’s health expert Katinka Locascio introduces the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). You’ll meet director Cassondra Moriarty as she premieres her short film documentary Miscon(tra)ceptions. And hear you’ll hear the latest on birth control, fertility awareness and hormonal health from our esteemed panelists:

Nicole Jardim- Hormonal Health Coach
Danielle Stratford- FAM Advocate
Emily Sadri- RN, MSN, Nurse Midwife
Abby Epstein- Filmmaker, “The Business of Being Born”

Whether you want to be more aware or your fertility, or have questioned the side effects of birth control, or want to understand how your body works this evening will inspire and inform!

7-7:30pm- Cocktails (cash bar) + Conversation
7:30-9:30pm- Lecture, Screening, and panel Q&A


April 25, 2015 Comments Off on FERTILITY AWARENESS EVENT April 28th

Job Opening at Earth + Sky

Job Openings for Part-Time and On-Call Licensed Massage Therapist

July 2019

Earth + Sky Healing Arts, a well-established Long Island City based massage therapy office is seeking both Part-Time and On-Call experienced LMT’s to join our team. We are a unique, therapist run, healing arts center that specializes in therapeutic/deep tissue massage, pre and postnatal, Arvigo Therapy®, and cranial sacral therapy. We have a dedicated clientele, but also a rapidly growing practice that reaches deep into our community here and throughout New York City.


  • Must have a NYS Massage License (LMT) and carry liability insurance (ABMP or AMTA)
  • Must have training in prenatal massage and be skilled in therapeutic massage (ie deep tissue and medical massage)
  • Ideal candidate would have at least 3-5 years of experience, but all serious applicants will be considered
  • Consideration given for therapists who have training in Arvigo Therapy ™(Mayan abdominal massage), or experience in the birth world, such as doulas and child birth educator.


  • This is a 1099 position with a competitive hourly rate based on level of experience
  • Additional “benefits” included discounted massages and products, yearly staff trainings, use of the treatment rooms for trades.


  • Regular Scheduled Therapist: Candidates must have Saturday or Sunday availability as well as be able to cover one weekday shift.
  • On-Call (Subs): Availability is flexible based on needs of the therapists

To Apply:  Send a cover letter describing your interest in the position and experience and resume to Please indicate “LMT Job Application” in the subject line.

March 23, 2015 Comments Off on Job Opening at Earth + Sky

Prenatal Breastfeeding Class- Nov 9th, 7pm

Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

Monday Nov 9th, 7-9pm

$75 (partners welcome free of charge space permitting)

with Heather McFadden

Prenatal breastfeeding education is an important step in preparing for your new baby. Many moms have heard how difficult or painful breastfeeding can be. Learning proper latch techniques and basic management skills before baby arrives can help get breastfeeding off to a good start. Using educational materials and an interactive open question approach, the prenatal breastfeeding class covers a range of areas including:

Pregnant woman

  • Proper latch and positioning
  • Feeding frequency
  • Timing of feeds
  • How can I tell if baby is getting enough milk?
  • Milk supply
  • Two breasts or one?
  • Pumping
  • Milk storage guidelines
  • Diet and breastfeeding
  • Medications and breastfeeding
  • Bed sharing, is it safe?
  • Sleep training, does it work?
  • Swaddling
  • Introducing Solids
  • Weaning
  • Resources and support
 Call 646-221-3147 or email for questions, to reserve a spot, or for more information.
November 4, 2014 Comments Off on Prenatal Breastfeeding Class- Nov 9th, 7pm

Infant Massage: Bonding Through Touch


Infant Massage Class starting September 17th at Pranavah Yoga

active alert

Infant massage is more than just learning how to relax your baby! It’s about your baby’s first language touch. Touch can help to grow a baby’s nervous system and teach them about the world, and is so soothing. In this four week class, caregivers and parents will be taught a safe and playful routine to practice with their babies in a supportive and friendly group setting. We’ll also discuss techniques that can help with gassy tummies, and ways to integrate baby massage into everyday activities like diaper changes and playtime. Class will take place on Wednesday mornings from 11:15am-12:15pm at Pranavah Yoga starting on Sept 17th.  There is one 1 make-up class available on October 29th in case you miss a class. Preregistration and payment in full $100 is required, call (718) 392-0979 or sign up here.  Appropriate for babies two months to pre-crawling.

Want to learn more? Katinka was recently interviewed by reporter Rachel Sokol for a piece on baby massage that appeared in Parent and Newborn magazine. See the full article here.

August 18, 2014 Comments Off on Infant Massage: Bonding Through Touch

Fertility Awareness Event- July 16th, Fort Greene



with Katinka Locascio, Erin Borbet
Wednesday July 16th, 6:30-9:30pm
$40 . Fort Greene, Brooklyn


Please join Jessa Blades as she hosts women’s health experts, Katinka Locascio and Erin Borbet on Wednesday, July 16th for an interactive and exciting evening. Find out what you need to know to understand the female fertility cycle and how you can start supporting yours today! Healthy snacks and herbal cocktails will be provided.


6:30-7:30pm– Cocktails, Herbal Tea, Conversation and Shopping
(great natural beauty products + wellness goodies with 10% off discount)
7:30-9:30pm– Lecture begins at 7:30pm, Q&A and discussion to follow
$40 per person

High School Biology class- so long ago, right?! Did it really prepare you for what you needed to know about your fertility from ages 20-50? This class will bring your fertility IQ up-to-date as we look at how modern science intersects with Chinese Medicine, Herbalism, Fertility Charting and more…

For anyone who is:
-Looking to optimize fertility now……or five years from now
-Eager to better understand their hormonal health
-Wanting a natural form of birth control
-“Waking up” from hormonal contraception
-Questioning what diet choices balance out the cycle
-And overall interested in appreciating the Goddess within the female body!

For questions or more information, contact: or call (646) 580-2851

_MG_6065Katinka Locascio, LMT, Doula
Katinka is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Herbalist, Bodyworker and Labor Doula. She founded Earth & Sky Healing Arts 12 years ago with a vision to help people live to their fullest potential while staying rooted in the wisdom of the body. Inspired by her background in science, she has pursued numerous trainings in the healing arts. Her practice focuses on women’s health, pregnancy, and fertility, as well as integrative structural bodywork.


Erin Borbet Head ShotErin Borbet, L.Ac, MS, Doula
Erin has her Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Nationally Board Certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is the Founder of Grow Wellness Acupuncture in Manhattan, a holistic health clinic that specializes in working with women during the reproductive years. Her practice emphasizes a traditional foods approach to health and the importance of stress relief and self care.
May 29, 2014 Comments Off on Fertility Awareness Event- July 16th, Fort Greene

Event: Jewlery Making and Massage Night

Jewlery and Massage Event

Treat yourself to an evening of crafting and relaxing!  Join Hudson and Stella for a jewelry making event and choose from a 30min massage or mini facial with Earth + Sky.  Wine and nibbles will be provided.

Thursday May 1st, 2014


$65 (includes one massage or facial and beading workshop!)

Spots are limited, Please SIGN UP HERE!

April 22, 2014 Comments Off on Event: Jewlery Making and Massage Night