By Jana Soeldner Danger
City & Shore Magazine
The new year is a time for positive changes. Here are ideas for looking better and feeling better in 2020.
Goals, not resolutions
Making resolutions for lifestyle improvements is a traditional part of the new year. But many people don’t keep their resolutions and get depressed about failing. Avoid that downer by following some simple guidelines, says Dr. Daniel Bober, a psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician in Hollywood. Instead of making resolutions, set goals. Make sure each is realistic. A common resolution, for example, is to get more exercise. If you haven’t set foot in a gym for years, don’t decide you’ll go five times a week. Start with two and work up from there, Dr. Bober says. If you find you’re not achieving your goals, reassess instead of feeling guilty.
Better skin tone
Skin discolorations from sun exposure or hormones, as well as tattoos that are no longer desired, can be discouraging. Now there’s a fast, painless way to get rid of them, says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, a dermatologist in Boca Raton. The Pico laser uses ultra-short acoustic pulses — as short as a trillionth of a second — to break up pigmentation. It also builds collagen, minimizing fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars, and it’s safe for all skin types. Sun spots usually require two or three five-minute sessions, while getting rid of a tattoo will probably take a minimum of six. There is virtually no downtime.
Wearing open-toed shoes all year around is one of the joys of South Florida living. It’s not so much fun, however, when toenails are thick and discolored because of fungus. Toenail fungus can be caused by trauma — stubbing a toe or dropping something on it — pedicures given by technicians who don’t sterilize their instruments and sports activities, says Dr. Ross Limon of the Boca Deerfield Footcare Center. Topical treatments often aren’t strong enough to eradicate it, and oral medications can have side effects. But treatment with the Aerolase laser can get rid of fungus quickly and easily, leaving toenails looking healthy and attractive again. Treatments are painless and take just a minute or two per toe.
Secret RF, a system that combines radio frequency energy with micro-needling, can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars and stretch marks, says Dr. Jacob Steiger, a facial plastic surgeon in Boca Raton. Fine needles prick the skin at different depths, a procedure designed to increase collagen production and, at the same time, deliver radio frequency energy to maximize tightening effects. A treatment can take from 15 minutes to an hour, and some redness and swelling may be present for a few days afterwards. Best results require three or four treatments a month apart, Dr. Steiger says. The procedure can be done on the face, arms, neck and knees.
Bio-Identical hormone replacement
As a person ages, dwindling hormone production may cause loss of sex drive, lack of energy, fatigue, foggy thinking, weight gain and poor sleep quality, says nurse practitioner Carolyn Zaumeyer of Low TE Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Bio-identical hormone therapy can help restore hormone balance in both men and women, Zaumeyer says. The replacements, which mimic testosterone and estrogen, are made from wild yams and are different from synthetic hormone replacements, she says. Treatments, which are individually dosed for each patient, consist of making a quarter-inch incision in the skin and inserting a pellet the size of a grain of rice two or three inches away from the site. Effects last from three to five months. Patients tend to experience improved sex drive and satisfaction, more energy, less anxiety, better sleep and even weight loss, Zaumeyer says.
Stress can diminish quality of life and is a risk factor for a variety of illnesses. Practicing mindfulness can help manage it, says Cathy Whitt, community wellness specialist for Holy Cross Hospital’s Community Health and Wellbeing Department. Mindfulness can make the body relax, turns off the flight-or-fight response, increases feelings of wellbeing, boosts the immune system and improves the way cells function, Whitt says. The process involves learning to shut out intrusive thoughts by focusing on deep breathing; reciting a repetitive word or phrase can help. Yoga can be an important tool — the positions of yoga are designed to facilitate breathing and increase focus. There are different types of yoga, so find one that suits you, Whitt says.
Chronic pain and frequent headaches can make life miserable. Craniosacral therapy may help alleviate them by reducing tension in the muscles of the whole body, says Gary Galasso, a massage therapist at South Miami Hospital. The light-touch massage technique addresses the central nervous system from the base of the spine to the head, restoring the free flow of cerebral/spinal fluid through the dural tube that can be restricted by poor posture, stress or trauma. The therapist identifies restrictions by following the patient’s craniosacral rhythms, Galasso says. A treatment can take one to two hours, and three sessions within a two-week period are optimal.
Feeling tired and weak? Experiencing numbness, trouble with balance or lack of concentration? The problem may be a B12 deficiency, says Manuel Miguelez, a physician’s assistant at Baptist Health South Florida. Individuals who have had bariatric surgery and vegetarians may be particularly at risk, but a deficiency can happen for other reasons too. It can be identified with a simple blood test, and a monthly injection may solve the problem. Even people without low B12 levels may get an energy boost from the shots, he says.