The minute I open the option of acupuncture to patients, I usually get the terrified, puzzled look from them. As though I offered witchcraft for a fee. In my side of the world, acupuncture relatively remains a mysterious phenomenon. Despite that it gained the approval of the World Health Organization (WHO) as a method of treatment for a number of diseases, it is sadly brushed aside by skeptics. After all, what we don’t understand scares us.
Why I Do Acupuncture
Practiced for more that two thousand years in China, acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine that involves poking thin needles underneath the skin to restore health. Although I am trained in Western Medicine, I opened myself to other forms of healing when I became a patient, myself. Not too long ago, I suffered from complications of cancer surgery. My left arm couldn’t feel a thing or move for a few weeks after the operation. Despite regular physical therapy and megadoses of vitamin B complex, it wasn’t responding to treatment. The most mundane tasks became a burden. I thought I was going to live the rest of my life like that- not until I underwent sessions of acupuncture. After the 3rd session, it was like my left arm finally awakened from deep slumber. I made a resolve to study acupuncture so I can offer it to patients like me who needed it.
How Acupuncture Works
There are other countless stories of how acupuncture amazingly helped people. However, do not think of it as a magic bullet that can end all misery. It has its share of limitations. Acupuncture works on the premise that for your body to be healthy, it must strike a balance. Energy or qi must flow through channels or meridians in the body. When the flow is blocked, it leads to imbalances that manifest as illnesses. It may be a simplistic view of a disease process but it works. Despite attempts to explain the anatomy and physiology of the acupuncture points, much remains difficult to be reconciled with the contemporary medicine that we widely accept.
Uses of Acupuncture
The World Health Organization listed specific diseases in which acupuncture is proven to help. But being both an art and science, it continues to evolve. In my practice, most cases have to do with pain management. In China, would you believe it is a form of anesthesia during open heart surgery? Patients who opt for this are usually up and about in no time because of the absence of side effects from the usual anesthetics. The hospital bills are also cheaper for them. In pregnant women, there are points to be avoided but acupuncture has been tapped to help turn babies from breech into cephalic (head first) position. It is also used to enhance fertility for couples wanting a child. In aesthetic medicine, acupuncture is growing recognition as a way to bring out youthful skin, and to lose weight.
It was reported that celebrities like Sandra Bullock get regular acupuncture sessions. Sandra Bullock receives acupuncture treatment 3x a week to maintain beauty and wellness. It is said that it is stipulated in her contract that studios have to pay for it.
Who Can’t Have Acupuncture
The following conditions will not allow you to have acupuncture:
- Infection on the area to be treated
- Allergy to metals
- Fear of needles / overly anxious patients
- Too old or too weak
- Cases that should be treated with surgery ( example: appendicitis can’t be treated with acupuncture)
- Bleeding disorders
Sometimes, people mistake acupuncture as a one time treatment that can miraculously cure them. Let me add that it also isn’t for the impatient ones who want instant results. Depending on the problem, it may take several sessions to work. If your health concern stems from ages ago, you cannot expect it to correct the problem as soon as you get up from the acupuncture bed. There are times when acupuncture offers fast relief, like in headache, clogged nose, etc, but the diseases treated here are usually of the acute kind ( it occurred a few days/ hours ago).
What to Expect
You will be asked regarding your medical history and how the symptoms came about. It helps us understand the pattern of your illness so we can formulate a treatment plan. The actual acupuncture session lasts only for about 30-40 minutes. After sanitizing the area to be treated, the thin acupuncture needles will be inserted just beneath your skin. Because they’re thin, it doesn’t feel like you’re being poked. Most of the time, when I insert the needles, patients would ask, “is that it?” then they breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, that’s it! To be honest, there are certain parts of the body where it can cause some discomfort, such as the feet. If the needle is larger, expect a little more soreness. Overall, it is a painless, relaxing experience. In some people with sensitive skin, the poked areas can turn red and itchy , but it should revert to normal in a few hours after taking off the needles.
There may be a tingling sensation on needled areas or distant from it, like a flow of electricity. It can sometimes feel sore, or heavy. All of these signify the “arrival of qi.” In other words, the treatment is in progress.
After the session, patients usually report a relaxed state, similar to the feeling after a rejuvenating massage. They get a good night’s sleep afterwards. If the points are aimed for detox, they usually report better bowel movement.
Acupressure vs Acupuncture
When I asked my acupuncture teacher why people can’t go for acupressure instead so we wouldn’t have to deal with their fear of needles, I was told that acupuncture is the stronger medicine. Acupressure involves pressing certain points similar to areas inserted with needles in acupuncture. Although it can enhance health, acupuncture will be twice as effective, if not a couple of times more effective.
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Mesotherapy has been practiced in Europe since 1952 involving homeopathic ingredients that are injected to the subcutaneous tissues for various purposes. One of its more popular uses is weight loss, in which fat-dissolving substances are injected to problem areas. It is otherwise known as Mesolipo, or Lipodissolve.
Because it involves syringe and needles, expect some degree of discomfort when the medications are injected into the fatty tissues. It won’t be as relaxing as RF or Lipo Cavitation, but the pain may be lessened with the addition of local anaesthetics into the cocktail of mesotherapy meds, or the application of numbing cream on the skin surface.
Most common ingredients used for fat reduction are:
- acts as a detergent that breaks down fats/ cholesterol
- effective for treating problem areas that do not respond to diet and exercise
- emulsifies fat for absorption in the intestines
- helps prevent and dissolve gall stones
3. L- Carnitine
- increases metabolic rate
- converts fats and carbohydrates into energy
- fat burner
Advantages of Mesotherapy
- Mesotherapy ingredients helps in cholesterol metabolism
- Target area is reached immediately
- Improves lymph drainage
Disadvantages of Mesotherapy
- Formation of nodules on injected sites (temporary)
- Discomfort from the injection
- Requires several sessions to be effective
After the session, some would describe the feeling as going through a boxing match, but that should only last for a few hours to around 3 days. The bruising, swelling, redness and lumps are temporary. The areas injected may feel softer and the skin, more lax. Hence, a combination with RF and Lipo Cavitation may be best for your weight loss goals.
You may immediately go back to your usual routine right after the procedure, but do not go into strenuous activities for the next 2 days, and avoid hot baths and compress for at least 24 hours.
- Insulin-dependent Diabetes
- History of Stroke
- Bleeding disorders
- Active skin diseases or infections on areas to be injected
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Perhaps Kim Kardashian comes into your mind when you hear Platelet Rich Plasma for beauty. She flaunted her bloody face on instagram while undergoing the said treatment, which is otherwise known as “Vampire Facelift.” This $1500 non-surgical fountain of youth is aimed to give the skin a firmer, younger look.
Apparently, Kim Kardashian is not the only Hollywood star enjoying the benefits the said rejuvenating treatment because other celebrities have sunk their teeth into this promising aesthetic procedure as well. A gift certificate to a vampire lift was even said to be included in this year’s Academy Awards’ loot bag.
Whether you’re a Hollywood star, a Twilight fan or simply someone looking for ways to improve your appearance, the Platelet Rich Plasma of Vampire Lift proves to be an ally in our quest for a youthful glow.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Explained
The procedure involves blood extracted from the patient, the way it is extracted for laboratory examinations (cholesterol determination, etc). It is then placed in a centrifuge machine to separate the platelet rich serum. Using an activator, the platelet is assured to be full of growth factors will will be beneficial for healing and rejuvenation of the skin.
Platelets are part of the body’s army that hurries to the injured site and incite response to protect the body. Its growth factors stimulate tissue regeneration and collagen formation.
The isolated platelet-rich serum will be applied to the skin using multiple punctures or intradermal injections. At my own practice at Zenbiosis, we use a combination of Derma Pen to induce multiple tiny punctures and stimulate collagen formation, plus the injection using the smallest gauge needle to deliver the serum just underneath the upper layer of the skin, to the areas of concern.
Cosmetic Uses of PRP:
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Sagging skin
- Dull-looking skin
- Lifting effect, as alternative to dermal fillers
- Hair Loss
- Large Pores
- Stretch Marks
- Combined treatment with botox, dermal fillers, laser, etc
Sports fans will probably argue that this is only used for injuries involving joints, as Tiger Woods was popularly treated with PRP for a painful knee. Other athletes like Rafael Nadal and Kobe Bryant were likewise reported to have benefitted from this treatment where the platelets extracted were injected into points of injury. These days, PRP is no longer limited to orthopedics or sports medicine. Aesthetic Medicine has recognized the potentials of PRP and employed it to deliver results for beauty problems.
In my experience, results have been encouraging. From treating stretch marks, to reducing wrinkles, the difference have been astounding. Despite its promising results, I believe that the price was a little prohibitive especially for the Cagayan de Oro market, despite that it was already offered at a fraction of the cost from Manila clinics. I’ve decided that PRP needed a little more introduction since most people are still at a loss to what it is and what it can do for them.
Go and try it out for yourself. In this day and age of advanced technology and in this case- affordable beauty treatment- there is no excuse for remaining frustrated with what you see in the mirror.
Kim Kardashian's picture courtesy of instagram
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Ever since I announced the upcoming launch our latest services at Zenbiosis- the Lipo Cavitation and Radio Frequency Body Sculpting, my inbox has been flooded with inquiries about the procedure. To address the concerns of those interested in getting into that bikini-ready body in time for summer, I am writing this article to educate both my readers and patients regarding the slimming technology we are offering. Hopefully, this can enlighten you more on what these non-surgical ways of shaping up can do for you even I don’t get to reply to your queries.
With the risks that come along surgery (not to mention cost), Liposuction is hardly an option for some. Although it is the fastest way to lose the bulge, the possible complications scare the wits out of potential patients. Over the years, non-invasive slimming procedures have been crafted to be a feasible alternative for liposuction. Currently, Lipo Cavitation is one of these body sculpting technologies that is widely offered in clinics and medical spas.
Lipo Cavitation employs ultrasound to break down stubborn fats located in the abdomen, arms, thighs, buttocks and other problem areas. The ultrasound waves vibrate to selectively target fat cells, disrupt its membrane, eventually “exploding” them. When the triglycerides are released, they are broken down into free fatty acids and glycerol. The free fatty acids bind to albumin, transported to the liver for metabolism. Glycerol, on the other hand, being water-soluble, is drained through the lymphatics. Thus, lymphatic massage is done after the cavitation procedure to help eliminate the cracked fats.
What to expect:
The procedure is similar to undergoing a diagnostic ultrasound except that there’s no monitor to view the internal organs and an acoustic feedback may be heard by the patient, which some may find annoying. Otherwise, it painless, with no down time.
Radio Frequency (RF) is a form of electromagnetic energy that is used to heat skin and promote tissue tightening. The heat wave penetrates the fatty layer to help melt fats and tighten the sagging skin through the stimulation of collagen formation. The process likewise facilitates the drainage of lysed fats through the lymphatics. RF, when coupled with cavitation improves your chances of slimming down without surgery.
What to Expect
Depending on the type of electrodes used, heat may be felt, which should be tolerable. Always inform your doctor or the therapist performing the procedure if the heat causing too much discomfort.
Benefits from Lipo Cavitation and RF:
- Reduction of localized fats
- Body Contouring
- Reduction of stretch marks
- Non-invasive or non-surgical, no downtime
- Promotes lymph and blood circulation
- Eliminates oxygen free radicals
- Muscle relaxant and pain control when temperature exceeds 45 degrees celsius (RF)
- Reduces wrinkles
- Skin Toning and tightening
Are Lipo Cavitation and Radio Frequency for you?
These procedures are ideal for those people with localized fats that persist despite adequate diet and exercise. Although they offer hope for the obese, they are not miracle procedures to deflate you instantly. Some patients lose around 1/2 inch to 3 inches right after one treatment, but multiple sessions are recommended to get you closer to your goals.
How Frequent ?
As much as you’d like to trim down fast, it cannot be done everyday. Since the dissolved fats are absorbed through the lymphatics, give it time to be properly processed by your liver and kidneys. At least 4 to 5 sessions are needed to see measurement changes, and 8 sessions are the maximum number of sessions in a cycle. At Zenbiosis Medical and Aesthetic Clinic, we recommend once a week interval.
Post Procedure Tips
Drinking water before and after the session is encouraged to hasten the elimination of dissolved fats from the body. Slurping down cold drinks is to be avoided for at least 24 to 72 hours after . Exercise or brisk walking for the next 3 days is highly recommended to help with the burning of fats. Avoid eating oily food and drinking alcohol for the next 3 days to avoid overworking your liver.
- Recent abdominal surgery or recent wound near the area to be treated
- Abdominal medical or surgical conditions (hernias, cysts, etc)
- Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Heart ailments/ Pacemakers
- Uncontrolled Dyslipidemia
- Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
- Liver and Kidney Failure
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In the spirit of Christmas, we are giving out a free premium Zenbiosis Glamour Glow Facial on Facebook. Glamour Glow is our signature facial treatment at Zenbiosis, which involves cleaning, application of a gold facial mask, diamond peel, and the infusion of premium whitening serum and antioxidants. Zenbiosis Glamour Glow is the facial treatment we recommend for a radiant looking and rejuvenated skin.
To join, here are the mechanics:
1. Like the Zenbiosis Facebook page: http://facebook.com/zenbiosis
2. Share this photo shown at the Zenbiosis FB page timeline: click this: Luxury at 160: click “view larger” then hit “share” at the bottom part of the photo on facebook
3. Promo is from December 13,2012 to December 19, 2012. Winner will be announced on December 20, 2012
Participants should be from Cagayan de Oro or have relatives or friends from CDO to claim the prize
Prize is transferrable, which means you have the option to give your prize as a gift this Christmas
Easy, right? No need to piss off uninterested people by tagging them. Just share on your own timeline and you’re on your way to a beautifying session, the Zenbiosis way.
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