Friday, April 18, 2014

Spa Articles

The number of medical spas in the U.S. has almost quadrupled in the last 10 years, and they now comprise a $2 billion industry. They're called medical spas because they offer procedures that can only be performed by, or under the supervision of, a licensed physician. Although the promises are appealing — they can take inches of fat off your waistline or they'll erase years of sun damage from your face in one or two sessions — approach them with the same due diligence you'd apply when shopping for any healthcare provider, and ask your own primary care physician if the procedure your considering poses any risks given your own health status. 

What follows are four articles I've written for medical spas to promote their services.

1) Eliminate Belly Fat Without Exercise, Diet, Surgery or Downtime

It’s not supposed to be easy. The only way to a trimmer belly is thousands of grueling, back-spasming crunches, right? And nothing short of dangerously starving away every once of fat will take away those “love handles,” right?

Not anymore! We’re happy to report that those long-standing fitness rules have been obliterated by a remarkable breakthrough — from Harvard researchers, no less.

The science is called “cryogenic lipolysis,” or cryolipolysis.

Despite the sci-fi-sounding name, body sculpting by freezing your fat is based on a few simple principles: 1) Cryogenic means very low temperatures and lipolysis is the decomposition of fat. 2) The body’s natural response to extreme cold is to restrict circulation to non-essential cells to preserve heat in the essential ones. 3) Fat cells freeze (or crystallize) at a higher temperature than other cells, so they can be frozen without harming other cells. 4) After freezing, fat cells die as they re-warm and are naturally eliminated, forever, by the body.

Because the science is effective when precisely applied, the FDA approved Zeltig’s CoolSculpting® non-invasive, thermoelectric cooling device to reduce fat on your stomach and flanks (“love handles”).

Does Freezing Your Fat Work for Everyone?

Available only by prescription, CoolSculpting is approved for those with a Body Mass Index of up to 30. A BMI of 30 is the bottom of the range for those considered moderately obese, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 18.5 to 24.9 is normal (healthy). It’s clearly not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Although the frozen fat cells are removed permanently, new fat cells will replace them if your diet and activity levels feed new fat cells.

Freeze Your Fat Body Sculpting Results

A single CoolSculpting treatment, on average, takes about an hour and reduces 20% of fat cells in a targeted area; greater results are experienced by some or with additional treatments. Full benefits are apparent within two months for most. Ask your doctor what sensations to expect during and after the procedure.

Men’s Belly Fat and Testosterone

There are serious health reasons for men to be concerned about belly fat. Excess belly fat can contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and some cancers, as well as the health and fitness issues that accompany low testosterone. A study by the New England Research Institutes confirmed that a man's waist circumference is the biggest predictor of low testosterone levels. It’s a vicious circle because body fat contains an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogens, a primary sex hormone in women. Having extra estrogens triggers your body to slow its production of testosterone. And the less testosterone you make, the more belly fat you accumulate.

Freeze Your Fat Versus Other Body Sculpting Techniques

Other methods to remove fat often require downtime to heal. CoolSculpting doesn't burn, shatter or extract any cells. No knives. No suction hoses. No needles. No scars. After your CoolSculpting treatment you can typically get right back to your busy day.

Men, Do Not Try Freezing Your Fat at Home!

Put that ice pack back in the freezer! Although the science is straightforward, the CoolSculpting system is a precisely engineered medical device available by prescription only. It utilizes controlled temperatures for freezing underlying fat, a warming function that protects the outer layers of skin and a massaging function for circulation.

2) Look Your Best at Your Class Reunion

With your class reunion fast approaching, the good news is that your classmates have been aging just as long as you have. The even better news is that several techniques can bring you that most beloved greeting of all: “You haven’t aged a bit!”

Horrified because your skin has begun to sag around your neck and jowl? Have lines on your forehead turned your face into a permanent scowl? Are there discolored patches, not only on your face, but also trickling down your neck and chest?

Or perhaps you’re years away from these significant signs of aging. Maybe your lips simply aren’t as full as they once were, or you’ve noticed fine lines around your eyes.

Whether you want a minimal “tune-up” or dramatic improvements, non-surgical, non-invasive treatments can give you a natural younger appearance in time for your class reunion.

Plump Away Those Wrinkles with Dermal Fillers

Although it varies among treatments, dramatic and immediate results are often achieved with dermal fillers that replenish the naturally occurring substances that give structure and volume to your skin. These fillers are FDA-approved for injection into the mid-to-deep dermis to correct moderate to severe wrinkles and folds. Here are some of the fillers that can make you look younger:

Radiesse® works by temporarily adding volume to facial tissue and restoring a smoother appearance to the face. Made from calcium hydroxylapatite, which occurs naturally in the body, Radiesse dissipates more slowly in many patients’ systems, meaning its wrinkle-reducing benefits last longer.

Juvéderm® fillers were created by Allergan, the 60-plus-year-old medical company that gained FDA approval for its revolutionary wrinkle-reducing Botox® over 10 years ago. Juvéderm is available in two formulations: Juvéderm Ultra XC for versatility in contouring and volumizing facial wrinkles and folds in the skin, and Juvéderm Ultra Plus XC, a robust formulation for volumizing and correcting deeper folds and wrinkles, allowing treatments tailored to your unique volume needs.

Restylane® is made from hyaluronic acid, a substance the body naturally produces that is also used in Juvéderm. It’s injected into facial tissue to smooth wrinkles and folds, especially around the nose and mouth. Effective for many areas, Restylane is especially noted for its ability to add fullness to your lips.

Relax Those Wrinkles Away with Botox®

Botox® is perhaps the best-known of the cosmetic prescription injectables. While dermal fillers make muscles disappear by adding volume, some wrinkles result from muscles that are continuously contracted or tense. Botox works by relaxing those muscles, thus making the wrinkles less prominent or invisible.

A skilled anti-aging physician will know how to use injectables to give you a natural, younger looking face and neck. These treatments are effective within minutes to days of your first treatment and last from a few months to up to year, or more.

Laser Facials Rejuvenate & Tighten Skin

Research has pinpointed how different light wavelengths affect precise elements of the body, and led to the ability to use finely calibrated lasers to address a multitude of skin imperfections. Among the amazing breakthroughs: using laser facials to treat deeper layers of the dermis to tighten the skin, eliminate wrinkles and erase flaws on the skin’s surface.

Pearl® Laser Rejuvenation can provide striking single-treatment results. Using unique laser wavelengths, this technology can treat both the outermost and deeper layers of the skin in just one or two treatment sessions. The basic Pearl treatment improves surface skin problems, including fine lines, discoloration, large pores, sun damage, and uneven skin tone or texture, while the Pearl Fractional® laser facial penetrates the deeper skin layers to improve more challenging conditions such as deep, stubborn lines around the mouth and eyes. Areas that can be treated include the face, neck, décolletage and hands

The IPL Photofacial minimizes uneven pigmentation, rosacea, broken capillaries, acne scars, fine wrinkles, bags under the eyes and large pores. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy uses a patented Florescent Pulsed Light system to rejuvenate and refresh your skin and even your skin tone. It also dissolves broken capillaries, making them disappear as your body absorbs them.

Titan® Skin Tightening is a non-surgical facelift alternative that uses infrared light to tighten skin and reverse the signs of aging. Titan laser treatments work by heating the natural water in your dermis, your deepest layer of skin, inducing natural collagen production. Titan facelifts can tone and tighten facial skin, returning it to more youthful contours and is also effective on lax skin around the jawline and neck, upper arms, abdomen and thighs. One laser skin tightening session may produce significant results, but more sessions may be required for optimum benefits.

Customized Treatment Plans Bring the Best Results

There are many remarkable alternatives to turn back your clock for a younger, yet natural appearance. Your anti-aging physician will work with you to customize a program that will give you noticeable results before your reunion.

Some areas to discuss with your practitioner include how quickly treatments take effect, what you’ll feel during and after the process, how long the benefits last, whether potential redness or swelling will mean you have some “social downtime” post treatment, and any existing allergies, prescriptions or medical conditions.

To improve your overall health along with your appearance, ask your practitioner about healthy weight-loss alternatives and vitality-boosting treatments like Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy.

3) Holiday Diet Tips

Mama, I Know Your Holiday Cooking Says You Love Me, However ...

The holidays can wreck havoc on any diet plan. You’ve put so much effort into reaping the health benefits of the Diet, so here are some priceless pointers so the holiday’s emotional and food challenges won’t set you back.

Emotional Triggers

Many of us have a mom, grand-mom, aunt, or heaven forbid, mother- or father-in-law whose greatest pleasure is feeding those they love. Add to that a sabotaging sibling or cousin who has never been able to master their own weight; you’re just not totally sure their “little green monster” isn’t a little miffed because you’re looking so fit.

Accept that you’re not going to change these people or their behavior. You own resolve, however, can keep your Diet gains on track while also preserving the holiday peace. It’ll take some planning, but formulate, write out and practice some responses like those below that might gain some understanding from your worst food pushers.

For the sweetest family members:

“Mama, you know I love your brown sugar sweet potato casserole and I know you love making it for me. Your love for me taught me to love myself, and that self-love led me to find a great doctor who’s taught me how sugar wrecks havoc on my metabolism. I’m going to pass on the sweets this year, but know that I love and appreciate all the hard work you put into our family dinners.” And a hug wouldn’t hurt a thing right here.

For those who need a tougher push-back:

When was the last time you had your blood sugar (cholesterol, thyroid, etc.) checked? My doctor told me I was a candidate for heart disease by 60 if I didn’t get my nutrition under control. We have many of the same genes, you know.” Hug, optional.

Bolster Your Resolve With Affirmations

Writing and rewriting affirmations daily can work to bolster our drive toward any goal, and they’re especially appropriate to prepare you for the food challenges you’ll face over the holidays. Write them repeatedly or say them aloud to yourself, maybe in front of a mirror. Try both methods for two or three days, perhaps first thing in the morning and right before you go to sleep. You’ll quickly know which methods and positive affirmations work for you:

  • My Diet makes my body stronger and leaner everyday. I chose to follow these guidelines that are making me feel so good.
  • I make smart food and exercise choices every minute of every day.
  • I love the people who are pushing unhealthy foods at me, but I love myself and my healthy body even more.

Put Technology And Tapping In Your War Chest

For another approach to minimizing the emotions and challenges the holidays bring forth, you may find that the Emotional Freedom Technique helps relieve your stress and bolster your resolve. Here’s a link to an EFT tapping video to get you started: Emotional Freedom Technique. There are lots of smartphone apps to make the practice easy — we found the Charmistry iEFT for iPhone $0.99 app particularly user friendly.

Share The Love

You won’t be only one at your holiday event who knows they should be eating better. Search for scrumptious, beautiful recipes made from foods on your Diet lists. Make and take at least one dish to holiday events. Yes, you’ll have foods you enjoy available for yourself, but you’ll also be giving everyone at the event the gift of learning that healthy foods don’t have to be bland or boring. Instead of being the fussy Grinch who won’t partake of the holiday feast, your new recipes will be star attractions.

Over The Hill And Through The Woods ... With Your Diet

You’ve got a routine of daily weigh-ins and calorie management that works well in your home, but travel will bring its own challenges. A little planning will keep you on track. Long before you depart, search online for a “travel body scale” or “portable body scale” — we found more than one that weighs less than 2.5 pounds for less than $25. Make sure your new scale is calibrated to the one you use at home and you won’t be waylaid by your host’s scale which may be far from accurate — maybe because that “sabotaging sibling” sets their scale 10 pounds too low.

If you can travel with food, and possibly a cooler, pre-measure your portions and take them with you. If not, pack your food scale, a few zip lock bags and search out your best food shopping options at your destination before you leave home.

For extra help hitting your daily calorie target on unfamiliar turf, try out a smartphone app that helps you keep count. One we like is NewFit’s Lose It, which:

  • Measures your intake against your daily and weekly goals
  • Has calorie counts for hundreds of chain restaurant foods as well as food labels that the app will scan
  • Allows you to input calorie counts for your custom foods and meals, and
  • Estimates the calories burned during a multiple of exercises.
Following your personally prescribed Diet protocol is key to success; these tips should when they complement your existing program, and disregarded if they veer from your prescribed program. Call us to schedule if you’d like a consult to learn how our Diet program can help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, once and for all, as it has for many others.

4) Is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy the Best Anti-aging Treatment for You?

The human endocrine system naturally produces more than 50 different types of hormones, and maybe more depending upon the classification system used. Over recent decades, exhaustive research has proven that proper replacement of some declining hormones can vastly slow the aging process.
The potential benefits to your overall health, vitality, appearance and even your longevity are worth exploring with a physician specializing in the anti-aging treatments known as HRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Be sure to ask your physician about one of the most significant breakthroughs in HRT: BHRT, Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Bio-identicals are hormones that match the hormones naturally found in your body. Produced from yams and soybeans, bio-identicals were created by Mother Nature, not a pharmaceutical company. Because bio-identical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies, they respond and act just like your own hormones.  This natural HRT approach is believed by many to be much safer than the widely used synthetic hormones created by pharmaceutical companies.

In addition to addressing the many hormonal issues related to menopause and peri-menopause, emerging research is expanding the list of BHRT benefits: reducing the risks of osteoporosis, heart attacks and strokes, cholesterol imbalances, senility and uterine and breast cancer.

Also worth pursuing with your medical provider are anti-aging treatments using the naturally occurring Human Growth Hormone, a hormone that peaks when we’re in our 20s, but drops by about 80% by the time we hit age 60. Essential to skin elasticity, maintaining muscles, including the most important muscle — the heart, weight control, and energy and endorphin levels, it’s worth asking your physician if your HGH level is where it should be.

And if you’ve never been the “one-size-fits-all” kind of woman, find out if your HRT provider uses formulation or compounding pharmacies so that you can get the exact combination and doses of Hormone Replacement Therapy to meet your very individualized needs. Hormones can be prescribed based on a woman’s test results and symptoms so she is taking only what she needs to maintain the optimal levels of hormones in her body.
The variety of hormone replacement therapies and options are too complex to tackle alone, or to pursue a particular HRT or anti-aging treatment simply because it worked well for friends. The key to successful hormone management is to start with a thorough physical that includes detailed testing of all your essential hormone levels, with particular emphasis on your personal adverse symptoms, as well as areas where you’d like to see improvement.

HRT may very well be the best anti-aging treatment for you — it may make you feel as strong and vital and attractive as you ever have. All you need is a physician who is willing to formulate a plan customized to your very unique needs and health status, and work with you to monitor it as you progress.