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. 

 

Exercise!

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.

Massage

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.

Walking

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.

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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!

Laura

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Laura Pickens's picture

Fun times with Aromatherapy

 

I have been having really inspiring results with raising my energy levels and setting positive intentions for my day through the use of essential oils! This is something that I have recently incorporated into my daily routine and I am very excited because my clients have been asking me about it a lot more too! 

 

I bought a few oils and had them in my house for months before I actually opened them. I have about 20 of them. They each smell good and have different color labels on them which I love. 

 

I began using them in the morning as part of my morning routine but now I am using them before I go to bed too! 

 

After my shower, I choose how I want to feel for the day. (This is important to decide so you can begin generating that emotion from the inside out.) Then I look at all the oils and choose one that I think will help support me in that intention. For example, if I want to feel clarity and balance, I choose orange. This helps to strengthen intuition. Or I may want to feel grounded, so I choose frankincense. It really helped me because I noticed my energy levels were dipping from it being summer and not being in my normal routine. I got pretty good at going out to eat with friends a lot and being lazy. 

 

It helps to smell them first too, to see which oils you are drawn to that day and incorporate the properties of that particular oil. The point isn't to make it complicated or right or wrong. It's more important to choose the oils and experiment to see how they make you feel. The process of smelling and picking an oil can bring us into the present moment. It can create a ritual that we do everyday that is quality time just for ourselves. I'm all for adding more nurturing and compassion into the day and oils are the perfect way to do that. And the oils when applied to the bottoms of your feet and belly get absorbed through our skin and help us feel better.  

 

I have had more energy to exercise since I have been using the oils. Also I have been mindful about making meals at home and slowing the pace of my life down which seems to give me more energy as well. I love smelling the scent throughout the day and how it immediately reminds me of my intention and how I can apply it to my day. It can have a positive effect on your mood. 

 

Essential oils can be used as linen spray, cleaning spray, and perfume. I mix 5 drops of rose oil and 10 drops of neroli oil together in coconut oil and apply it all over my skin. Also, I sprinkle lemongrass and spearmint on my carpet before I vacuum!  So I wanted to pass some of these ideas along to you so you can start reaping the many positive benefits for yourself. 

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Laura Pickens's picture

Being Present Each and Every Day

I have been hearing a lot of talk recently about how we here in Pittsburgh aren't going to have a Spring and that we will be heading right into Summer. I wanted to write a little bit about the ways we can make the most of it while it is here now. Also in how we can put a little pep in our step and clean house to make space for new things to come in.

So what can we do to be present during this lovely time of year?

Go out and be in the sun. Replenish your Vitamin D levels. I take a supplement also but use your own judgement as long as it doesn't interfere with other medications you may be on.

Go for a walk outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Walking helps wake up your body's energy system and boosts endorphins to help you feel good.

Relax and release. Take a pink Himilayan salt bath before you go to bed to let go of the stress accumulated throughout your day. I put 2 cups in a bath tub full of water.

Add a touch of color to your environment. You can switch out pillows in your house or add a new house plant or flower.

Garden. Go to the nursery and see what grows nicely this time of year. Or you can buy fresh flowers or replace a potted plant that might need it.

Find new scents to use in a diffuser if you have one. Let the aromatherapy help lift your mood.

Clean out you closets or kitchen pantry. Get rid of the stuff you don't use anymore by donating it and make space for new things to come in.

It's easy to think to yourself that when the weather truly turns to summer that you’ll be back to your energized self.  But just do it now. Take positive action for your health and well being, and do your best in the present moment.

 

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Laura Pickens's picture

Recipe for Natural Deodorant

I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Mainly taking a break from my normal routine to see friends and family, sharing and trying new recipes and toasting to all of the blessings in my life. Even though it can be tiring it's worth it.

I also love setting goals for the New Year and taking inventory and checking in with myself to see where I can make positive changes for my health. This year I plan to get rid of all of the toxic skin care products I use daily that are out there and only focus on using natural beauty products. From shampoo, soaps, lotions, make-up, nail polish and deodorant. There is even an app on my phone I use that will rate natural beauty products.

It's something we don't take into account sometimes while we're doing it but all the work the body has to do to process everything that we eat, drink, apply to our skin and not to mention the situations we stress about has an effect on our physical bodies.

How I want to feel is nourished on the inside and out for 2016. That's why I will be taking advantage of the botanical mud wraps we have at PCCHH. There is an apothecary bar full of herbs. All of the products are natural and customized for detoxification, cellulite reduction, and purification.

It's so nice to learn how putting yourself and body first as empowering. It's not something you need to feel guilty about. When you take care of yourself you have more energy to help those around you and can be an inspiring example to your friends and families.

I recently have ditched the deodorants in stores that can have a harmful effect on my body. I started making my own that really works and I am sharing the recipe below if you would like to give it a try and see what you think?

In a glass container I put:

1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 cup baking soda
6 tablespoons of coconut oil
And I add a few drop of Neroli essential oil because I like the smell. You can add any essential oils or leave it plain.

Cheers to a chemical-free healthy New Year!

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