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!


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Angie Miller's picture

Self-Massage with Therapy Balls

Clients often ask me what they can do to maximize and maintain the benefits of their massages in between sessions.  And what to do when they have to travel and miss regularly timed appointments. Self massage with Therapy balls! With your own knowing hands and a couple little rubber balls you can work your way into nearly all of your knots and trigger points.  They're a cheap, handy and portable massage tool.  I use mine all the time and never take a trip without them.

Therapy balls are used to pinpoint a tight or painful spot by positioning them between the achy muscle and a hard surface and then applying pressure.  It's a lot like foam rolling, only the balls enable you to be far more specific and accurate in your aim.  Using the floor as a hard surface allows you to make use of your body weight to go deep and hold for minutes at a time if you wish.  Using a wall requires you to press into the balls and gives you more control of the intensity of the pressure, but it can be a little tricky working against gravity to keep the balls in place.

Once you've chosen a spot on the wall or floor and situated the ball near that knot or tender area, apply some pressure. Explore the area by rolling up, down and across the muscle. When you find that sweet spot, sink in and hold or gently rock back and forth. You want to apply enough pressure so that you feel it, but not enough to make you cringe.  It should "hurt good", so to speak.  If it "hurts bad", lighten up.  You need to be able to relax as much as possible in order to experience release.   It may take a few seconds or up to a few minutes, but once the intensity begins to melt or fade you can move on.

Ball Therapy is best suited for targeting the muscles of the hips, butt and back.  They fit perfectly in the narrow and often knotted paths between the shoulder blades.  If you keep them in their little mesh sack they align perfectly with the long muscles on either side of the spine. They do a great job of finding the trigger points deep in the thick layers of gluteus muscle.  I also like to roll them into the tired soles of my achy runners feet or pin them behind bent knees to work the calf muscles.

If you would like a little live hands on tutorial on how to use home massage tools like the Therapy Balls and foam roller, I'll be teaching an hour long class on Saturday, January 14 at 5pm.  If you can't make it to the class, you can also schedule an extra 15 minutes onto your next massage for a quick and condensed lesson related to your session.

Happy Holidays and be well!

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Tracy Sutphen's picture

3 Ways to Create the Perfect Winter Vibe for Your Favorite Space

Salt Lamps

Whether you purchase a salt lamp for is decadent glowing ambiance or to help give your desired space a new sort of Feng Shui face-lift, these beautiful pieces of art are a wonderful addition to any room where you enjoy spending quality time. Salt is a miraculous substance for various reasons and many have claimed there to be powerful health benefits when using salt lamps. Some argue that when heat is emitted through the salt crystal via the light bulb, the photoelectric effect creates a release of negative ions into the atmosphere, which helps to neutralize the harmful effects of the static haze of most of our electro-magnified, forever morphing and moving environments.

Health benefits aside, when it comes to buying your very own salt lamp, there are many shapes, sizes and colors to choose from. Himalayan salt rock is naturally occurring and can have a myriad of white, yellow, orange or deep pinkish shades of coloration. In its natural state an unpolished salt rock will likely have various textures and grooves giving it great character as a hand crafted work of art by mother nature herself. You can also find polished salt lamps in almost every shape  imaginable, including the pinecone shaped one pictured above.

Shopping online is always easy but consider going to your local gems and minerals store to purchase your one-of-a-kind salt lamp so this way you can take time to analyze every detail and coloration before you decide on one - or one for every room in the house! Either way, adding a salt lamp to your home or work space is guaranteed to bring a warm glow that will brighten your spirit and soften the mood. Below are a few links that may provide you with useful information and advice on where to find your perfect salt lamp.


Selenite Lamps 

Selenite is a form of gypsum crystal that has a naturally opaque or clear coloration, allowing light to pass through easily. Renowned for its healing effects, Selenite is known to help aid in the release of negative energy.  It is said to help cleanse and restore all other gemstones and crystals within close vicinity and can be used to help bring a greater sense of self appreciation and awareness, among many other things.

Selenite Lamps are similar to salt lamps in that they are illuminated by a small light bulb which in turn emits a photoelectric current.  The naturally clear coloration of the Selenite provides the perfect vessel to experiment with color therapy.  The lamp pictured above has a kryptonite-esque vibe about it and the green bulb is very easy on the eyes, allowing for the lamp to serve as a great night light as well. Green is also the color associated with the heart Chakra and corresponds with the vibrational frequency of self love and love for others, as well as empathetic openness. Buying a set of multi colored light bulbs can set the mood for any sacred space and provide great relief after a long day or during times of need. Let yourself be found as you glisten in the glow of your new selenite lamp.


SpaRoom AromaHarmony Diffuser

The previous two lamps have their own unique properties and surely help to create a relaxing and uplifting vibe. This SpaRoom diffuser, however, is on another level of mood- setting greatness. It not only provides color therapy using its multi colored LED light system with a setting for a continuously changing flow of colors or a solid color setting, it also acts as a diffuser.  Simply add cold water and a few drops of your favorite essential oils to fill your space with aromatic scents as you enjoy the colorful lights.

During the winter months you can infuse the air with eucalyptus or sage essential oils to help cleanse and sanitize the air, or citrus aromas to help neutralize stuffy odors and induce an uplifting vibe. Warming smells like frankincense, clove, ginger, and cinnamon can be a great accompaniment to any holiday festivity or cozy night in your favorite hangout. To top it off, this little piece of magic also has a built in Bluetooth speaker so you listen to your favorite music or meditation as you bask in the luminous glow of the LED color of your choosing as you breathe in the delicious aromas.

You can find this one in our online store or here in the center!


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Sheila Konn's picture

4 Step Coffee Body Scrub Recipe

Here at Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing we love scrubs and today we are making a coffee scrub!  Scrubbing is fantastic for exfoliating the skin.  Coffee scrubs specifically are great for tightening and for better skin health overall.  In the winter time we especially love to use coffee scrubs our shins that often become so dry! 


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Addison Henc's picture


When some people hear the word medicine, they think of little orange plastic adults-only rattles filled with various pharmaceutical drugs. This is the impression we are given on how to get well from the moment we are born: a quick treatment for every symptom, until the suppressed symptoms pile up and damage the entire system. This was the point of view I carried for a long time, and it still whispers in my ear when a symptom I've not had before sneaks up on me. And though I see the importance of western medicine, I have seen the truth of human care, and it's a bit different

Medicine is not a pill. Medicine is a way of living, a way of being.

Medicine means examining yourself, getting to know your physiology, your psychology, and learning how to nourish it deeply. With food and clean water and sleep and good thoughts. Medicine is feeling and learning your body's sacred language, and responding accordingly. Treating physical aches and pains first with movement or rest and touch. Nurturing a frazzled system with tonics and tea and tenderness. It means knowing your roots, your ancestry and how that affects your chemistry. It means forming a relationship with your ancestors, whether they are living or have passed on; learning of their lives and feeling their experiences in your bones. It means taking a look at your story, your life, turning over stones and looking at the creatures that live there, even if they're unpleasant. It's finding the usefulness and beauty in those darker, damper, more earthy areas of your being. Its curing relational tension with understanding, honesty, forgiveness, and love. It's taking space for yourself when overwhelmed, or surrounding yourself with love when depleted. Telling people what you need. Medicine is saying the hard things, and making the hard decisions, and then the easy ones. Medicine is dancing and singing and crying and screaming when that's what your body needs. Its being vulnerable and open. It's seeking and reveling in pleasure, but not distracting yourself from pain. Medicine is loving each person as the distant relative that they are. Loving them fiercely or harshly or tenderly and warm. And extending the same to yourself. It's filling your cup and letting it overflow for the benefit of others. It's taking care of our many homes: our body, our dwelling, our community, and our Mother Earth. It's ensuring a healthy future for the generations to follow.
Being human requires listening and paying deep attention. It requires work that we have not been taught in modern times. It's simple and intuitive, but has been discarded and buried. Fortunately for us, it is buried within the fabric of our existence.
Medicine is deep and empowering. You are made of medicine. You are medicine. Empower yourself, take care of yourself and you will inevitably help heal the world.

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