Health and Healing Blog
Tracy Sutphen's picture

The Benefits of Going Barefoot

How long has it been since you've kicked off your shoes and spent time walking barefoot upon the ground? Industrialized regions around the world often host more acres of paved roads an concrete parking lots than acres of green grass or wooded forests and have at least one footwear store at every shopping center within walking distance. Surprisingly, the majority of the Earth's population today continue to live their lives without anything protecting their feet.

When looking back, it is assumed that indigenous peoples, who walked barefoot upon the Earth, had every incentive to find new ways to protect their feet from unknown dangers lingering throughout each unexplored area. Who would have thought that our basic human instinct to protect our feet would lead to the creation of a multi-trillion-dollar market revolving 'sole-ly' around shoes (1)?

A new group of scientists have recently started looking into the health benefits of direct contact with the earth—things like walking barefoot on the grass, sitting against a tree and lying on a warm, sandy beach. This practice of direct contact has been termed “earthing,” and a number of health and wellness gurus are beginning to advocate for it. Several research studies have revealed that direct contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding orearthing) produces positive effects on physiology and health. "Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (2)."Furthermore, "grounding appears to improve sleep, normalize the day–night cortisol rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation, increase heart rate variability, speed wound healing, and reduce blood viscosity (2)." It seems we've been neglecting our roots and have forgotten the many health benefits associated with going barefoot and taking time to connect with the negative ionic energy of the Earth. Fortunately, there are a variety of green-spaces located within the Pittsburgh area where residents can enjoy taking a much needed barefoot break (3). So, instead of browsing the interwebs for that new pair of sandals to match your favorite Summer outfit, try taking some time to rejuvenate your soul by connecting the soles of your feet directly to the Earth.





Read more

Laura Pickens's picture

Keep the Lymphatic System Healthy

I remember the first time I shared some information I learned in Massage School about the Lymph System to my father and he said "A what System?!" The Lymphatic System is not the most popular system but keeping it healthy can have lots of benefits to how you feel everyday.

It is a network of tissues and organs that rid the body of toxins. It's primary function is to transport lymphatic fluid. Lymph is fluid that is thicker than blood that contains white blood cells that fight infection all throughout the body. The Lymphatic System doesn't have a pump so it has to rely on the contraction in the vessels to move it along. 

So a healthy lymphatic system is clutch to a healthy body.

Some common blocks to the lymphatic flow are:

  • Inflammation
  • Feeling tired
  • Bloating
  • Soreness or stiffness when you wake up 
  • Rings too tight on fingers 
  • Weight gain and extra belly fat
  • Swollen glands
  • Low immunity 
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Constipation
  • Mild headaches


There are many reasons why the lymph nodes and lymphatic system get congested but there are ways you can take part in helping the flow. 



Jumping on a mini or regular trampoline can help get things moving. You can do this between 10-20 minutes everyday.

Dry Brushing

You can purchase a natural bristle brush and sweep briskly up the skin. Start on your abdomen in a counter clock wise direction and then sweep the front of the body. Start with your hands and sweep up towards your shoulders. Then begin at the feet and quickly brush upwards toward the hips. Sweep up the back of the body as best you can. Do this for 5 minutes before you get in the shower 3 times a week.

Essential oils

After a shower you can apply essential oils like cypress, grapefruit, or ginger root to the skin to aid in increasing lymphatic flow. I like to add 3 drops of grapefruit and 3 drops of bergamot with a tablespoon of coconut oil  and apply over my skin.


A massage will physically help the lymph to drain where it naturally needs to go by gliding upwards and compressing the legs and arms as well as a variety of techniques used to get the process moving. Castor oil packs on the stomach with added heat will clear out toxins.


It is important to get the body moving and the lungs functioning. Walking is something everyone can do outside or at home. Just take a break and walk. Breathe as deep as possible while walking.

Eat healthy and drink water

Dehydration is a leading cause of lymphatic system congestion. Drink plenty of water to keep it moving. Also, it is important to remove processed foods from one’s diet to keep as many toxins out as possible. Have warm drinks and soups in the winter and cooling foods such as cucumbers in the summer. Also, try eating raw fruit on an empty stomach rather than having any food in your stomach.

Read more

Beth's picture

For Your Next Rainy Spring Day....Gain Some Inspiration

       For a long time now, I have cleaned around an old receipt sitting on top of our microwave at home.  It was folded and placed under a gifted piece of pottery holding change and small lotion bottles and other random things.  I would look at the words, "path of freedom" and "mindfulness and meditation" and give those touching words a quick thought and let it pass just the same. What were these words even related to?  A book? That's what I assumed. I had a hard time recalling what conversation was connected to it.  Now, that's some mindfulness for ya   I could tell it was a recommendation from someone at work most likely.  The receipt came from "D's Six Pax and Dogz." The date is from October 2016. That's a long time to keep moving around a receipt. But the words seemed meaningful enough I suppose. Did a client tell me to write down these words?  Or maybe even Carrie McCann, our recently retired assistant manager? She did work outside of the center dealing with mindfulness and meditation with children. I knew that. 

        Finally, on a lazy afternoon, while Kendra was at a friend’s house and Matt and Theo watched a movie, I was wiping down the kitchen counters and got to the top of the microwave and came across the receipt again.  I gave myself that moment to type in the quoted words into a google search online.  There it was, "Path Of Freedom" from Go Project Films, just 9 minutes and 41 seconds long.  It truly captured me.  It starts with a woman talking about "a tough guy world" and talking about running a prison in Rhode Island. Images of prisoners fill the screen.  And then the viewer looks prisoners in the eyes and hear about why they are in prison and how long they will be spending time there. Their voices are not brash. These men are soft spoken individuals. They speak with good-intention. To follow, is a man named Fleet Maull who spent time behind bars as well but is free now, who relied on meditation and mindfulness to get him through his years as a prisoner. The video continues to teach the viewer about a program that Fleet Maull brings to prisons all over to guide prisoners through meditation to find peace within themselves and to teach these men how to re-enter the world outside of jail in a calm and productive manner.   As I watched this video, I felt so moved.  It was inspirational and positive and felt reassuring in a world that can sometimes not feel so much as that.

         So with this positive vibe that held onto me so tightly, I researched a little further.  Go Project Films is "the film production arm of the Global Oneness Project, an online multi-media educational platform."  "Daily Acts" on Vimeo is run through Go Projects Films and shows shorter films that boasts acts of kindness and shares good energy and good deeds for others.  These short films are really worth the watch. On your next rainy and cozy spring day indoors, grab a blanket and give yourself the time to veg out on these beautiful videos on spreading good energy to others in the world.  I can't believe it took me so long to find out what "path of freedom" meant.  What a good suggestion from whoever I can't remember. Thanks for the unknown.

Read more

Diane Brinsko's picture

A Time for Me

Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet?    And, how’s that going for you?


For some reason we feel as if the new year means that we have to turn over a new leaf, completely reinvent ourselves, as if the arrival of the New Year will magically provide the motivation for extreme change. This extreme pressure to change is often tossed by the wayside in short order, leaving us with a feeling of failure.

 My recommendation to you for this New Year is instead of radical and extreme external change, delve into your inner divine being for a little internal passive change. This will equally feed you need for change and help you to feel more fulfilled as a whole. Below are a few practices and daily mantras to help guide you and help you to accept who you are in this present moment.

 I will…

  • be kinder and more gentle
  • be generous and charitable
  • practice tolerance
  • be environmentally responsible
  • be fiscally responsible
  • be honest and faithful
  • be helpful and available
  • see simplicity
  • let my passion flow
  • practice joy and forgiveness freely


I hope you look forward to your journey towards physical and emotional well-being and the celebration of life!


Well Wishes,


Read more

Laura Pickens's picture

Make Play a Priority in 2017

New Year, New You!

As I ring in 2017, I want to consciously create more play into my experiences. Consider... if you were to look at your future through a lens of curiosity and brought in the elements of pleasure and play, what effect would that have on you being in the universal flow? How would that effect your health?

Recently, I had the experience of having a "paint night" with a friend of mine. We got our paper, brushes, paints and all the supplies to make our masterpieces. We put on music to get us into the mood and danced a little as we set up. I wish I could say that it turned out to be a masterpiece that I had imagined it would going into it, but the opposite is true. I had a limited amount of time to paint because I also had to be at a dinner later that night. I could feel the annoyance of the time constraint and wanting my painting to look a certain way. The thing that shocked me was that all of the clarity that came to me just from the act of painting after I let the pressure of doing it right go. The picking out of the paint colors, the size of the brushes and the speed of the strokes that brought so much joy and fun to me no matter how the picture turned out. I put aside the idea that it had to be perfect and immersed myself in the process of enjoying the moment and letting whatever needed to come out onto the paper, flow out.

Imagine if we all decided to set the to-do lists aside and consciously scheduled more play into our lives?

Some of the things I am going to tackle this year that bring me pleasure are knitting with big, fluffy yarn, making pottery on the wheel,  and walking meditations. Ask yourself what things you could create that bring you joy?

What gets in the way of you carrying out the things that you want to do? Are you making up excuses that get in the way of you following through with them? It can be easy to put these things on the back burner but take a moment to see how it makes you feel.

Clear time on your schedule to make play a priority. See what comes up for you as you do these activities and notice how you feel after. Let me know how it goes!

Happy creating!


Read more