Meet Cindy, Marathon Master

Cindy wears compression socks for marathons for this reason.

At the age of 76, Cindy Peterson has run 49 marathons, is a founding member of the Mercury Masters running team, and is also a member of the Seven Continents Club, a privilege she earned from running in at least one marathon on each continent. Cindy ran her first marathon at the age of 55 back in 1994 and has no plans to stop running anytime soon. She is currently looking forward to running her 50th marathon in a few weeks.

We found out about this amazing woman when she called our customer service staff to reorder one of her favorite running accessories – Allegro compression hosiery! She mentioned her upcoming milestone and we just had to know more.  We had the opportunity to get to know Cindy in a recent interview, and pick her brain about marathon advice, strategy, training. Here are Cindy’s best tips and what fuels her motivation and dedication to marathon training.

Q: What motivated you to start running?

It all started about 35 years ago when Cindy made a bucket list of 30 things she wanted to achieve in her life. She looked at it for 2 weeks, then put it away, and forgot about it for a little over 10 years…only to find that 28 things were achieved without even trying! The 29th thing was “own a Jaguar”, and the 30th goal was “RUN A MARATHON”.

“I watched the NYC Marathon in 1993, when the Founder, Fred Lebow, ran with a brain tumor. I was so motivated that if he could run with a brain tumor and complete the Marathon, I could also run it, even though I had varicose veins, couldn’t walk a block, and was 20 pounds overweight. I was motivated!!”

Cindy crossed off the last item on her bucket list in 1994, (a year after rediscovering the list), when she completed her first marathon in NYC. Now, flash-forward to 2016, as she prepares to run her 50th marathon back in NYC in a few weeks.

“Reaching my goals with the training every day, makes me feel great, makes my mind sharp, and feel a lot younger than my 76 years of age.”

Q: Tell us about your experience with the “Mercury Masters.” How does getting involved with a group change the running experience for you?

Cindy is one of the Founders of the “Mercury Masters,” a running team for women 50 and over. It all started with a handful of runners who met in NYC once a week and trained together in Central Park.

“We really bonded together when we ran the Mini Marathon, which is a 10K women’s only race in NYC. Then we set out to run the 1996 100th Boston Marathon, where 5 of us came through the finish line together holding hands. Since then, we have 74 members in the group.”

The Mercury Masters team encourages each other by running together, attending running classes together and supporting each other. The President keeps the group motivated and informed about upcoming team races, as well as any other member news. This group of ladies have played a big role in encouraging Cindy to run.

“Running with The “MERMS” as we are referred to by other teammates, has been a wonderful experience through the years, without which I would not have completed so many marathons. We motivate each other.”

Q: How do compression stockings benefit you during training? Why do you love Allegro Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose for running?

Many runners wear compression socks to enhance performance, speed up muscle recovery afterwards and prevent injury like shin splints. Cindy loves wearing our Allegro Sheer Compression Pantyhose for training and marathons. In her early running career, she started wearing compression hosiery to manage varicose veins and relieve the pain caused by them. Compression socks have played a vital role in allowing Cindy to train.

“The support pantyhose were a big relief. I will not go out for a run without wearing support pantyhose. They give me stability, comfort and confidence, and are a part of my uniform. I would not train without them because I would not be able to run very far with the pain from the varicose veins. They were a miracle for me. I had absolutely no pain after a 6, 10, or even a 15 mile run.”

Cindy wears the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#32) in 20-30 mmHg compression for long training runs and marathons. This level of compression is ideal for boosting athletic performance and for managing varicose veins. Cindy also likes to wear the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#14) in 15-20 mmHg, which is great for speeding up recovery and relieving muscle fatigue and minor swelling.

“The Allegro open toe pantyhose gave me great support on my calves, quads and my toes were free. They had more stability than my previous hose, and I was able to start running again. It was an amazing find!!”

You may have seen runners wearing bright colored athletic knee high socks. Other runners and gym-goers opt for compression leggings or pantyhose for full leg coverage. Cindy loves wearing sheer pantyhose with an open toe. Since there is no difference in the compression provided between an open or closed toe style or between a sheer or opaque fabric, it’s mostly up to personal preference.

“I love the sheer style because it gives my legs a great look. It does not look like I am wearing pantyhose at all. The reason for the open toe is so my toes are not constricted at all. Two years ago I had major surgery on my toes, which made my feet wider. My support pantyhose would constrict my toes and cause me great pain and discomfort.”

Q: What’s an overall week of training look like for you?

When Cindy isn’t training, she is running about 6 miles a day, 6 days a week, adding up to a total of 30 miles each week. While prepping for a marathon, Cindy averages 50 miles weekly. If you want to run a good marathon, Cindy advises completing at least three 20 mile runs. To prepare for a marathon, it’s a complete lifestyle change. Diet is also important, just like exercising and staying hydrated.

“When setting out for a run, I eat a banana, and that’s great for a 6 to 8 mile run. When running a long run, I bring “Gu” which is an Energy Gel. I also have a product called “The Right Stuff”, which is an electrolyte drink additive for hydration to make you perform stronger and recover faster. It is developed by NASA for astronauts.”

Q: After completing 49 Marathons, what advice do you have for beginner runners?

Cindy’s advice to a runner preparing for their first race is to partner with a friend or join a group like the Mercury Masters for motivation. This will help you stay dedicated, the time will go by faster and you have someone to push you. When you’re running with a friend, they won’t let you make excuses for missing a run! It also makes it more fun to train for the same race and help each other grow.

“The time spent running will go quicker and you will begin to feel the energy you get from the daily run. Eventually, you can plan for your first 5K, and move on to a 10K. Training is the key, and maybe you can even plan to do your first marathon. All you need is DETERMINATION! I ran my First Marathon at age 55. You can do it too no matter how old you are!!” – Cindy Peterson

Want to know more? Check out this interview Cindy did with New Jersey TV:

It’s Get To Know Your Customers Day!

Here at BrightLife, you’re not just another customer. If you need compression, we’re here to help! For Get To Know Your Customers Day, we would love to hear from you. Don’t be shy, share your story with us! Over the years, we’ve heard from people who use compression for travel and lifestyle, as well as lymphedema, dysautonomia, diabetes and more.

Get to know your customers day - BrightLife Direct

Click to read more of our customer’s posts!

Whether you wear compression garments for traveling, fatigue or to manage a condition, we have what you need to live a comfortable, healthy life. Allegro compression hosiery is our exclusive line of affordable, high quality compression socks and garments. We offer the same kind of products as the bigger brands, but at a much lower cost to you. Allegro is a longtime customer favorite and is one of our best selling brands. To learn more about Allegro, check out the full online Allegro Catalog.

It's get to know your customers day! Thanks from BrightLife Direct

Click to read more reviews!

Our excellent customer service team is here to assist you with any questions you may have. With years of experience and specialized training, our helpful team can help you find the best garment for your needs. BrightLife Direct works hard to offer you the lowest prices on the best products available. Plus, we’re also the only place to get free shipping in the US with no minimum purchase when you order online!

Check out what our customers have to say about us:

BrightLife Direct has the best customers!Laura Baker helps to raise awareness for fat disorders, and recently connected with our company. We’re here to support our customers however we can. If you’re passionate about a cause or are advocating awareness, reach out to us!

Get to know your customers day!

 We take pride in our caring customer service team and offering the latest and great compression products available. If you have questions about the perfect product for you or don’t see what you’re looking for, just give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

BrightLife Direct has the best customers!Tell us what you think! Is there a brand that you can’t live without, or a product you just have to have? When you love it or hate it, let us know so we can offer our customers more of what they love. Don’t forget to leave a product review for a chance to win each month!


Dysautonomia Hacks and Facts Giveaway!

Dysautonomia Awareness Month Hacks And Facts From BrightLife Direct!

In honor of Dysautonomia Awareness Month this October, here’s your official spoonie guide, complete with tips and information to educate your friends, families and doctors. Plus, enter to win a $50 gift card in honor of Dysautonomia Awareness Month. See below for entry and details.

FACT: Dysautonomia symptoms can include lightheadedness, fatigue, fainting, blood pooling in the extremities, brain fog, chest pain, heart palpitations, nausea, migraines, shortness of breath and more.

HACK: Laying down or wearing compression socks can provide relief for some symptoms of dysautonomia. Many POTS patients have difficulty standing, so laying down can help your body improve the blood flow and reduce symptoms. A proper diet and exercise regimen can also help regulate symptoms.

FACT: Dysautonomia is an umbrella term for disorders of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which helps to maintain the ideal blood pressure and body temperature, controls your heart rate, breathing, sleep cycles and digestion. Many dysautonomia patients look “normal” because their symptoms are invisible.

HACK: Educate others about the symptoms of dysautonomia and be aware of your own. The severity of symptoms varies between patients. Keep track of medications that work or don’t work, activities that provoke symptoms and note how your body reacts to different situations, so you can stay in control of your symptoms.

about dysautonomia

FACT: Over 70 million people worldwide have developed various forms of dysautonomia. A common form of dysautonomia is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which can be found in people of all ages and genders. POTS impacts an estimated 1-3 million Americans, and is most often found in women.

HACK: The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Get involved with a local support group or volunteer with an organization like Dysautonomia International or participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month activities to help fundraise to find a cure.

FACT: Dysautonomia is a relatively unknown condition to doctors and patients.

HACK: Find a doctor or a specialist who is knowledgeable about Dysautonomia or autonomic disorders. It’s important to work with someone who can determine the most appropriate medications for you to effectively manage your symptoms, and who can answer any questions you may have. Finding a doctor who can create an individualized treatment plan is crucial. You can click here to find a doctor near you.

Spoon Theory - Dysautonomia Awareness Month

FACT: Although Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is not a rare condition, it is frequently misdiagnosed. The average diagnosis can take almost six years.

HACK: Participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month this October to educate patients, doctors, friends and family about this condition. Share your story or get involved with organizations like Dysautonomia International and support research to find a cure.

FACT: There is no cure for Dysautonomia.

HACK: Adapt your lifestyle to assure your symptoms do not get worse. Remember to wear compression socks to prevent blood from pooling in your legs and relieve the dizziness or lightheadedness from orthostatic hypotension. Get organized, fight off stress as much as possible, and eat lots of lean proteins, fibers, fruits and vegetables. A high sodium diet of about 2-4 grams of salt a day is recommended, along with increasing your fluid intake to about 2-3 liters of water each day. Refrain from consuming refined sugars and caffeine as much as possible. Make sure you are staying active as much as your symptoms allow and are getting a good night’s sleep. Most of all, stay positive!

Have some great tips and tricks of your own? Comment below to share!


To win, follow the rules below and participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month for your chance to win. Just comment on this post or share it on social media. Good luck!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway Contest

Here at BrightLife Direct, our customers are very important to us. Each day, we talk with people who have been diagnosed with lymphedema and hear not only their questions, but their struggles. Lymphedema is commonly overlooked by doctors and can go undiagnosed for a very long time. Many people battling breast cancer are unaware that lymphedema can be a side affect to treatment and are unprepared for managing this condition. It can also be hard to obtain the resources needed to manage lymphedema due to a lack of regional availability of therapists and the financial cost. Since there is no cure for lymphedema yet, patients must wear a compression armsleeve everyday which can be costly, especially depending on the severity of the swelling.

The BrightLife Direct Armsleeve Assistance Program

BrightLife Direct Komen Armsleeve Program for LymphedemaIn light of this, BrightLife has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to provide compression armsleeves to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. We will be providing free compression sleeves to patients at six different Komen grantee organizations here in Washington, D.C. These awesome organizations will help the patient measure for the correct fit and find the best armsleeve to help manage their symptoms. They will then send this information to us, and we ship out the armsleeve free of charge the same day. Check out Francia, pictured on the left, happily showing off her new compression armsleeve!

Enter Our Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway!

You can win! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BrightLife Direct wants to give back to the lymphedema community. To help others with the financial burden of lymphedema, we are offering a $100 gift card for one lucky winner to choose any armsleeve or compression stockings of their choice! See below for entry and details.

lymphedema fashion compression armsleeves and compression socks

Lymphedema Style Guide

BrightLife Direct offers tons of compression armsleeves in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns and fabrics so you can find the perfect sleeve for you. If beige isn’t your style, we have lots of fun patterned armsleeves like LympheDivas and the new Juzo Signature Prints. The Juzo Dream Collection offers armsleeves and lower extremity compression garments in fun seasonal colors and tie-dye patterns. If you’re looking for eye-catching patterned leggings, try the new Juzo Soft Print Leggings, available in a large variety of patterns. Check out our style guide below for our customer’s favorite lymphedema options:

Lymphedema Compression Garments for Fashionistas

Mild to Moderate Lymphedema Garments

Moderate to Severe Lymphedema Garments

Lymphedema Compression Wraps

Juzo Soft Fashion Compression Socks and Lymphedema Armsleeves

Sizing Help

If you’re shopping on your own and don’t know your size, check out our Size Machine! Just enter your measurements and we’ll tell you what fits you best in all of the major brands. If you still have questions or would like some help deciding, please contact our customer service team.

You Can Win!

The rules are simple – the more you share, the more likely you’ll win! You can comment on this blog post to share your experience with Breast Cancer or Lymphedema, or share this post on social media. For details, see the Rafflecopter Contest Box below. Good luck!

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Compression garments, coming to an astronaut near you!

Nasa is working with BSN Medical on compression garments for astronauts!

According to recent NASA research, compression garments can help astronauts once they return to earth to prevent orthostatic intolerance (OI). Once gravity hits, many astronauts experience a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, the feeling of lightheadedness, or even like they might faint. Whether you are in space for two weeks or six months, once you return to earth your body experiences many changes, such as a lack of strength, blood volume, differences in coordination and balance, and even a struggle to walk or stand.

To help astronauts transition better back to life on earth, NASA is teaming up with BSN Medical, an international company that supplies therapeutic medical compression garments. BSN engineers are designing custom three-piece elastic gradient compression garments to protect astronauts against orthostatic intolerance (OI) symptoms, which occur when the body reacts to an upright or standing position.

It’s not just astronauts who can benefit from wearing compression garments to prevent orthostatic intolerance. Other chronic orthostatic intolerance conditions such as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH) fall under the OI category. NMH occurs when your blood pressure is normal while sitting or laying down, but is much lower after standing or being in an upright position. POTS refers to an increased heart rate while standing, but remains normal while in a resting position. Wearing compression socks can help fight symptoms of dysautonomia and prevent the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up.

While we have compression stockings that help manage these symptoms, this new, innovative garment designed for NASA is still in the research phase and shows a lot of promise. Check back for the latest on the development of this cool new compression garment.

Sigvaris to acquire Biacare

Last month, Sigvaris announced that they have signed a purchase agreement with Biacare, a small manufacturer of lymphedema, wound care and bandaging products.  Sigvaris is one of the largest compression stocking manufacturers in the world.  Still a family owned and managed company, Sigvaris corporate headquarters are in Switzerland, but they have manufacturing facilities around the world.  Their US mill in Peachtree City, GA is in the midst of a major expansion project that will double the size of the facility.

sigvaris-biacare-blogBiacare, also a family owned company, specializes in short stretch velcro wraps, bandaging, and specialty compression garments that are mainly used to treat lymphedema, lymphoedema and serious venous diseases.  Biacare’s CompreFit and CompreFlex lines of compression wraps have excellent customer reviews, and their bandaging is very competitively priced.

The merger of Sigvaris and Biacare completes the consolidation of the small family run businesses that specialize in the manufacture of specialty lymphedema garments in the US.  Mediven purchased Circaid in 2014.  Lohmann & Rauscher purchased Solaris in 2015, and BSN-Jobst purchased Farrow Medical and JoviPak in the past year.

BrightLife Direct has sold products from all of these small specialty manufacturers for many years.  As a whole, we see the mergers between these large stocking mills and small specialty businesses as being a positive one for our customers.  Before the corporate acquisitions, products made by Circaid, Farrow, JoviPak and Solaris could not be returned once they were opened.  Corporate backing has changed this.  Like we do on compression stockings, BrightLife Direct can now offer our 30-day guarantee on ready-to-wear wraps that can often cost hundreds of dollars for just one limb.

reduction-kit-for-blogThese mergers have also fostered some great innovation.  Medi and Circaid have led the way with the development of Reduction Kits used during the initial decongestive phase of lymphedema treatment.  In the decongestive phase, the affected limb is wrapped every day with multiple layers of bandaging, padding, and gauze.  This treatment can go on for months, and the whole wrapping and unwrapping process can take hours each day.  Reduction Kits are customizable short stretch velcro wraps that eliminate all the wrapping.  These garments can change the life of someone dealing severe lymphedema.

If you suffer from venous disease, lymphoedema, or lymphedema and would like to learn more about short stretch wraps, we have just put together a PDF brochure that explains the many options available.  We’re happy to send you a copy by email, that you can print out and take to discuss with your doctor or therapist.  Just fill out the form below.

Request the BrightLife Direct Velcro Compression Wrap Brochure

Please enter your email address below, and when you are done press Subscribe.


Wool socks are bad for summer – and other myths about wool.

We frequently suggest wool socks to our customers (because we love them!), but our recommendations are often rebuffed. Too hot! Too Scratchy! We get it – wool socks have a terrible reputation, but we’d like to change that. 

Misunderstood Wool Socks

So, what are our favorite wool socks?

Allegro Wool Compression Socks 15-20 mmHg

Allegro Wool Compression Socks 15-20 mmHg
For Men and Women

Sockwell Wool and Bamboo Blend Compression Socks
15-20 and 20-30 mmHg
Men’s and Women’s Styles

Sigvaris Outdoor Merino Wool Socks

Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Compression Socks
15-20 and 20-30 mmHg
For Men and Women

Sigvaris Luxury Merino Wool Compression Socks

Sigvaris Merino Wool Compression Socks
15-20 and 20-30 mmHg
Men’s and Women’s Styles

Horses Wear Compression Bandages Too!


equicrown horse bandages by juzo

There are many reasons to wear compression garments for humans and animals alike. Did you know that horses can wear medical compression bandages to stimulate the lymphatic flow in their legs? This helps to remove lymph fluid and toxins while managing swelling. Yes, after a long day of standing or running around, even horses get tired and swell up like the rest of us!

Interestingly enough, horses have about 8,000 lymph nodes, which is the most out of any mammal. This makes them much more prone to developing moderate to severe swelling, or lymphedema. In comparison, there are about 500-700 lymph nodes in humans, which are much larger than the lymph nodes in a horse.

Luckily there’s a solution. Juzo manufactures medical compression bandages that are specifically designed for horses to support and stimulate lymph flow. However, horses can benefit from wearing compression bandages for more than just swelling. Compression garments are recommended for anyone (humans and animals) standing for long periods of time to help increase circulation, to prevent and relieve swelling or fatigue. Since horses are almost always standing, compression can also be used as a preventative method to keep your horse in the best shape possible. Here’s how EquiCrown bandages can benefit your horse:

EquiCrown by Juzo Benefits for Horses

Juzo’s EquiCrown bandages provide precisely-defined pressure to relieve swelling in the horses’s legs. These flat-knit compression bandages are soft, durable and stretchy as to not interfere with performance. EquiCrown bandages are designed to promote circulation, treat wounds and scars, prevent and relieve swelling, and for managing injuries. These breathable bandages are even safe to machine wash and dry! EquiCrown compression bandages are available in ready-to-wear and custom sizes to fit mild to severe swelling. Here’s how it works:

equicrown horse bandages - how it works

Still have questions about how these innovative bandages work? Comment below!


Meet the BrightLife Scholarship Recipient!

This year, BrightLife Direct is giving back to the physical therapy community by providing a scholarship to help an aspiring physical therapist continue their education.

The 2016 BrightLife Physical Therapist Scholarship was open to all students studying to be an occupational therapist, physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. We received so many wonderful applications from students who are incredibly passionate about helping their community and returning their patients to a state of independence.

With so many amazing occupational and physical therapy students all working to improve the lives of others in their own way, it was challenging to choose a winner. The recipient of this year’s scholarship is one that is very deserving. This student’s hard work ethic, professional goals, and dedication to patients in need stood out to our Scholarship Committee. It is our pleasure to congratulate Lacy as this year’s Physical Therapy Scholarship winner!

Lacy is a hardworking student at Angelo State University, recognized as one of the top students within the program. She goes above and beyond the course requirements to impress the Angelo faculty with her ability and commitment in the classroom. Lacy is a natural leader and is involved in many community service activities and organizations, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. As a child, Lacy was passionate about science and helping others. She was inspired to pursue a career as a physical therapist after seeing the outstanding progress and happiness of patients and their families as they heal and are able to get back to their normal lives. Experiences like watching someone walk again for the first time after a stroke motivated her to pursue a career as a physical therapist.

“Experiences with my brother’s vehicle accident, a friend’s back surgery, my mother’s frozen shoulder, and volunteering at a local therapeutic riding facility all introduced me to the idea that this field could restore a broken, pained person to a functional and pain-free daily life. Such an idea is wholly beautiful.”  – Lacy (excerpt from essay)

As the first member of her family to graduate from a university, we know that she will continue to break barriers and make her family and professors proud. We look forward to seeing her grow as she continues down this path of excellence, and we wish her the best in the future. To learn more about Lacy, click here to read the press release.

Physical Therapy Scholarship Winner

Can I wear compression stockings swimming?

This blog was originally posted in July of 2014, but it’s a question we are asked often at this time of year, so we felt a refresh and re-post was in order.

It’s summertime, which means pools are open, and people are fleeing to the beach every weekend to escape the heat. For those of us that have to wear compression stockings from morning to night, this can be a difficult time of year.

beach sceneI was excited to see one of my favorite lymphedema bloggers, Monique at, addressing the issue in a blog post.  Monique admits to being self conscious about wearing her stockings to the beach and pool at first, but found strength and inspiration in watching CrossFit Athlete Deborah Cordner Carsen proudly rocking her Elvarex stockings during a Triathlon.

Definitely check out the blog above to read more about Monique’s experience wearing compression to the beach and pool. Here are the basic FAQs on compression and water activities:

1. You CAN wear your compression stockings in the ocean, lake, pool or other water source. But, all of these environments will be hard on your stockings – causing them to deteriorate more quickly than regular daily use. We recommend setting aside a set of stockings or armsleeves specifically for water activities. These could be an older pair that you’re not worried about destroying, or a less expensive garment that won’t be a huge monetary loss (like Allegro).

2. If you will be submerged completely in water for most of your water excursion, you don’t need your stockings or sleeves. The pressure on your body under water actually replicates what your compression garment does outside of water. If you go without your compression garment, do make sure your affected limb will be under water and put the garment back on quickly after leaving the water. If your affected limb is not submerged in the water, you should be wearing your compression garments.

3. As always – stay hydrated. Being in the sun at the beach or pool may leave you dehydrated. Pack plenty of water!

Some additional information on water activities and lymphedema can be found on LymphNotes.

Lastly – a few product recommendations. If you have just one affected leg, you might try the Juzo Varin 3511 Thigh w/Hip Attachment and Open Toe – available in 20-30 or 30-40 or 40-50 mmHg. Sigvaris offers a similar option in 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg in the 862 line.

CrossFit superstar Deborah Cordner Carsen recommends the Jobst Elvarex, which is a custom order product.

And – if you’re looking for something that’s very durable and affordable, the Allegro Surgical Weight Line is a great option!