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I Am Beautiful

“ I am beautiful. So many of us hesitate to think it—much less say it! But there are many ways to define being beautiful. Yes, it absolutely can be physical beauty. It can also be courage, kindness, humor, gentleness, motherhood, and a million other things. “—Kelly St. John

I was really struck by that. As a working professional, business owner, mother, and wife, I spend most of my time coordinating schedules and caring for my patients, staff, and family. It’s all I can do to just barely put myself together before walking out of the house. When do I ever have time to feel beautiful?! But pause…I’m told by patients, friends, and in rare moments, even my family, that I am beautiful. So, perhaps it’s time that I believe it, and LIVE it. As women, we take care of so many people, and it is the love and care that we put into our what we do that makes us who we are. We are not defined by beauty; rather it is WE who define BEAUTY, by our love for the people around us. It shows in the hug we give, smile we flash, even when we tell our kids, “don’t make me ground you!” So, in celebrating the upcoming holiday season, let’s celebrate our womanhood and our beauty! For all that you do, treat yourself, pamper yourself, and say it, to yourself, “I AM BEAUTIFUL!”

One Cup or Two?

Cupping is a technique that has been around for millenia, in cultures worldwide, dating back at least 5000 years. There are written records of its use in Egypt, China, Greece, and even in the Islamic culture. It is a technique that uses cups placed over the body with a little negative pressure. The cups can even be dragged to produce an “upside down massage” that lifts rather than compresses. It can treat deep myofascial problems as well as pain and other inflammatory disorders. It had not been popular in the U.S. due to the marks that it leaves on the body…until now.

Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated swimmer of all time, popularized cupping in the recent Rio Summer Olympics as he bared his chest revealing the blood-red dots over his shoulders and arms. Well, that was it. Cupping immediately became sensationalized. Overnight, news agencies–local, national, and international—featured interviews and demonstrations on cupping and the marks it branded on its patients. These marks were what once made cupping “taboo”, but now they have become the trendiest therapeutic “body art”. These marks, often viewed as “bruises”, were associated with perceived pain and injury. But they are actually NOT bruises resulting from damaged blood vessels and extravasation of blood into the soft tissues. Rather, they are signs of stagnation of blood, qi (energy), fluids, and toxins embedded in the soft tissues that are drawn out by the negative pressure of the suction. The cups typically stay on the body for 5 to 15 minutes. The patient typically feels a light pressure that is relaxing and invigorating, and literally, uplifting. When the cups are removed,  there can be round marks left behind that vary in color from clear light yellow lymph, to red or deep purplish blood. These marks can be either flat or even raised blisters. It is the characteristics of these marks that are most fascinating as they reflect the underlying condition of the patient, and can be used in diagnosis for further treatments utilizing acupuncture and even herbs.

I practiced cupping years ago, but had put away my glass cups as I had very few takers due to the marks left on the skin. Now, cupping is all for the taking! The “marks” are “in”! More people are wanting to try cupping and be “branded”, just like Michael Phelps. I actually hear sighs of disappointment when the marks are not as vivid or intense as what patients had hoped for, compared to what they saw on TV. Go figure! Well, far be it for me to disappoint a patient. I am happy to oblige, to leave my mark. My only question is, “one cup or two”?

By Judy Lui, MD, DOM

Stem Cell Facial

It never ceases to amaze me the regenerative powers of the human body. This has been the secret not only to our survival, but to the enticing powers of beautiful women throughout history. Controlled damage to the skin to stimulate repair and regeneration for a younger look—that is the basis of microdermabrasion, chemical peels, micro-needling, and even laser treatments.

As a physician in medical aesthetics, I am trained to do “everything”. While I can do micro-needling, I typically preferred to leave it to the hands of my trusty aesthetician. Instead, I liked the more aggressive laser treatments. Well, fortunately for me, I had the perseverance of a very smart Eclipse rep, DJ Shooter, to enlighten me on a new twist to micro-needling. He said the magic letters, “PRP”. He had my attention. See, about a year earlier, DJ had introduced me to PRP, and I was hooked. I love PRP. No, I really LOVE PRP. So, a new use for PRP? Ok, I was in.

I was already aware of the benefits of micro-needling, but the combination of micro-needling with PRP would provide synergistic results like 2+2=5, bigger and better than expected. Moreover, Eclipse had redesigned the micro-needling instrument into the new MicroPen. Now I could control the vertical damage into the specific depths of the skin with more precision to stimulate regeneration of collagen, elastin, and fibrinogen—all those wonderful components of new youthful skin. Plus, the power of the stem cells and growth factors in the autologous (human, your own) PRP would bring out the hidden regenerative powers of the body that would otherwise have been untapped. The effect, a Continue reading

Ironman Lessons

I recently completed my first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run). It was an incredible event, and needless to say, really difficult.

As I sat just past the finish line, trying to eat pizza and not cramp, I started to take in what the accomplishment meant for me. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the athletic accomplishment.

The goal. Choosing the goal, planning, the work, the practice, training post working all night, food choices, sacrifices, etc. And yes, actually pushing myself to the finish line.

By making a goal, a big one, I learned a lot. As a physician, there’s always more to learn, and most importantly, more about ourselves so we can be better doctors.

So as a new Ironman (sounds strange), I’m most proud of actually making the goal in the first place. I encourage all of you to make a goal, a big one, write it down, and embrace it. It will certainly make you better.

Estrogen Replacement

This is an article posted by CNN on estrogen.

Hormone replacement therapy has been a controversial issue for a lot of women over the last decade. Many have rejected any type of hormone therapy since a large, federally funded study found hormone replacement therapy could increase a woman’s risks for heart disease and strokes.

Now, a new study out of Yale School of Medicine suggests anywhere from 18,000 to 91,000 women in their 50s who had hysterectomies may have died prematurely in the last decade because they did not take estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy.

A bit of background

Before 2002, it was standard practice for gynecologists to recommend estrogen therapy to women with hysterectomies. More than 90% of those patients used it to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and to prevent osteoporosis and other diseases related to menopausal hormone deficiency. But according to the Yale study, only about 10% of these women use estrogen therapy today.

The data analyzed for this study comes from the large Women’s Health Initiative trial. That study was designed to confirm the hypotheses that hormone replacement therapy not only provides relief for menopause symptoms, but also helps protect women from heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia. The WHI first looked at the benefit of taking two hormones – estrogen and progestin, and then examined the benefits of taking estrogen alone.

The first part of the study was stopped in 2002, when early results suggested the combined estrogen-progestin therapy was Continue reading

Bad Sweets

Now I like sweets a lot, but some are worse for your health than others. Some also make it very difficult to lose weight. Below is an excerpt from a recent article on the subject:

Sugary foods and drinks, white bread and other processed carbohydrates that are known to cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar appear to stimulate parts of the brain involved in hunger, craving and reward, the new research shows. The findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that these so-called high-glycemic foods influence the brain in a way that might drive some people to overeat.

For those who are particularly susceptible to these effects, avoiding refined carbohydrates might reduce urges and potentially help control weight, said Dr. David Ludwig, the lead author of the study and the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“This research suggests that based on their effects on brain metabolism, all calories are not alike,” he said. “Not everybody who eats processed carbohydrates develops uncontrollable food cravings. But for the person who has been struggling with weight in our modern food environment and unable to control their cravings, limiting refined carbohydrate may be a logical first step.”

Regardless of the diet they choose, most people who lose a great deal of weight have a difficult time keeping it off for good. For many people, despite their best efforts, the weight returns within six months to a year. But a few studies of weight loss maintenance, including a large one in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, have reported some success with diets that limit high-glycemic foods like bagels, white rice, juice and soda.

So, keep the carbs in check, especially the bad ones!

Exercise

I did a cesarean section and ran 8 miles this morning all before 630am. You don’t have to exercise like a crazy man in order to get the benefits of activity. 45 minutes a day five times a week of brisk walking , swimming, yoga or other activity can be a great way of keeping the pounds off and improving your health.

I am frequently asked about the paradox of eating less but still gaining weight. Many women know that it’s very difficult to lose weight ,especially as they age. Weight-loss is dependent upon the body desiring to burn fat. In order to stimulate the body’s desire to burn fat it is very important to eat 5 or 6 small meals daily, fewer calories, higher percentage of protein, and, most importantly, fewer carbohydrates. If you follow this plan, with light exercise, the weight should start to come off.

Unfortunately, we cannot always direct WHERE the weight comes off…that’s when the SmartLipo comes in.