Botox Before And After. But Is It Worth It?

Botox Before And After. But Is It Worth It?

I’ve had two deep furrows in my forehead for years. A result of too much squinting and frowning. I decided to give Botox a try.

A friend recommended his dermatologist and I arranged a visit. It’s a very easy procedure, the doctor was great and at $360.00, the cost is not outrageous.

The treatment I got on my forehead is for two very deep frown lines between the brows, known as glabellar lines. They are caused by the force of overactive glabellar muscles. As the skin ages and loses collagen and elastin, the skin can no longer resist the force of these muscles and gives in by forming wrinkles.

Twelve days after the procedure, I do see some improvement on my forehead but I’m not sure I care enough about it to do this on a regular basis. That said, all week long I’ve been getting incredible compliments from people who say I’m “glowing.” However, I also had my keratin done this week and my hair has looked phenomenal (thank you, Rodrigo Padilla). In other words, I’m not entirely sure what’s eliciting the compliments: the botox or the keratin?

Bottom Line.

I do notice a difference but I am not 100% convinced I need to do this every 6 months (versus the keratin which I absolutely cannot live without).

Scroll down if you’re curious to see photos of my forehead from day 1 to day 12.
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Why Is Giving Up Salt So Darned Difficult?

Why Is Giving Up Salt So Darned Difficult?

“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death globally and excess salt consumption is the biggest culprit, estimated to have caused over 3 million deaths globally in 2017.”

Dr. Norm Campbell, former President of the World Hypertension League
Tobacco-Style Health Warnings

Which is why we may soon see salt shakers carrying tobacco-style health warnings like this.

Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure and promote stomach cancer. Limit your use.

Salt and High Blood Pressure

My doctor has warned me about high blood pressure for years. I refused to be medicated for it so the salt had to go (and a daily exercise regime entered my life). The salt habit I replaced with copious amounts of pepper and sometimes, hot sauces.

This past week, however, I found myself salting a piece of buttered bread while out to dinner. That’s been my favorite way of eating bread since childhood! Why did I revert to that behavior? So bad – but so tasty!

Anybody else addicted to salt? I don’t know why I love it so much but I must cut it out because high blood pressure is no joke.

Bottom Line.

Over the last few years, by cutting out salt, I’ve been able to bring down my blood pressure to the 121/78 range from around 144/96. All accomplished naturally with exercise, losing weight, cutting out salt and dialing back the drinking. Zero medication involved.

And hereis the article from Medical Xpress about adding health warnings to salt packaging sold in supermarkets as well as salt shakers at restaurants.

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Get Your Flu Shot! It’s Forecast To Be A Horrid Season.

Get Your Flu Shot! It’s Forecast To Be A Horrid Season.

Australia, often a precursor for what kind of flu season we’ll get in America, just reported the highest number of confirmed cases in the country’s history – more than 270,000, compared to 60,000 in 2018.

This is my loving annual PSA begging everyone I know to get their flu shot – and to do it NOW. This weekend!

Most of my friends do not bother and it drives me crazy. As I’ve previously written, I had a nasty experience with the flu on a business trip with a slew of major presentations scheduled. All canceled and me stuck in a hotel for over a week. I have been a firm believer in flu shots ever since. And I have not come down with the flu since I started getting vaccinated. I still get bad colds but never the flu.

Another sign that this will be a bad flu season:

Earlier this month, a four-year-old boy in Riverside County, California died from the flu. Public-health officials announced the case as the county’s first pediatric flu-related death of the 2019-2020 flu season and worry that a death so early in the season is a harbinger of a particularly bad flu season to come.

So do not delay one moment more.

Get that flu shot – it takes about two weeks to kick in and the flu season typically runs October through February.

Carry on.

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How Did Forest Bathing Suddenly Get So Trendy?

How Did Forest Bathing Suddenly Get So Trendy?
Forest Bathing in Kyoto in 2017 (with National Geographic)

Anyone else noticing stories on “forest bathing” or “Shinrin-Yoku” popping up everywhere?

I first experienced forest bathing in Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove on my 2017 National Geographic trip. I thought it was a little hokey and touristy and hadn’t given it much thought since.

Over the last month, however, it’s been on my radar non-stop:
  • Most recently, an email from the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival. In partnership with the Sierra Club, they’re adding a “Forest Bath” art installation for festival-goers. It will be located in the Western Hotel in downtown Vegas and curated by Albie Alexander from 29 Rooms. Forbes Magazine even covered it.
  • It’s the hottest trend in Colorado (forget weed!). This writer from the Daily Beast describes the experience.
  • The Sacred Wilds in Oakland California is offering a Forest Bathing Walk with Hana Lee Golden, a certified forest bathing guide. It’s also available at the Mohonk Mountain House in Upstate NY.
  • Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) is being touted by health and wellness experts all over the world as a new/old way to heal stress and reprogram our overstimulated minds and bodies. It’s recently been featured in the South China Morning Post, on NPR, and in hundreds of blogs including Better This World and Spirituality Health.
  • There’s even an International Forest Bathing Day (September 7, 2019).
Bottom Line.

Forest Bathing’s popularity appears to be fueled by the mindfulness and eco movements. It’s also being adopted by the spa and wellness industries.

It’s practiced around the world after starting in Japan in the 1980s. But it seems to really be taking off in Colorado and the Western States.

Followers of the movement often talk about it as a detox, an antidote to our stressed-out, always-on, always-connected urban lives.

Scroll down for more photos.

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Feeling So Good – And Here’s Why.

Feeling So Good – And Here’s Why.

 

Three health tips. All part of my daily routine and all having a major impact on how I feel, physically and mentally.

 

Let’s start with blueberries!

They’re my go-to with my cereal, every morning. Sometimes I mix it up with strawberries, but unless Whole Foods is out of them (or I’m traveling), blueberries are integral to how I start my day. I find them very tasty.

I wasn’t even aware of their health benefits, e.g., blueberries have the highest quantities of antioxidants, as well as other phytochemicals that are believed to lower blood pressure, improve memory, and make aging a healthier process.

Per SlashGear:

A total of five studies on blueberries were recently published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The research looked at different health effects associated with eating blueberries, including changes in inflammation, memory, and avoiding age-related diseases.

Who knew those blueberries packed so much goodness?

 

Read on below for an update on how I’m doing with my shift to “mindful” drinking plus the latest on how walking and weight loss have been shown to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

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Medicaid Made Ambulances Cheaper Than Uber. Guess What Happened?

Medicaid Made Ambulances Cheaper Than Uber. Guess What Happened?

 

I find this to be a very peculiar turn of events. But that may be because I’m terrified of ambulances. Living in NYC, I see people getting carted away in them daily and it looks very unpleasant.

 

And yet, ambulance dispatches for minor injuries like abrasions, burns and muscle sprains rose by 37% in New York City after ACA provided health insurance to previously uninsured people.

Just because you can get an ambulance for $3 under your Medicaid plan doesn’t mean you should call one for all your minor ailments. People are so weird!

It’s gotten to be so commonplace, there’s even an acronym for it – PNR (see above).

 

Per Medical Xpress:

When ambulances (at $3) are cheaper than an Uber, researchers found a massive spike in ambulance calls for minor ailments.

The exact opposite of previous research which found that when Uber shows up in a city, the usage of ambulance services dropped off.

Medicaid patients, in particular, have incredibly low out-of-pocket responsibility for ambulances. The most an ambulance ride covered under Medicaid costs the patient is three dollars. If there’s a low-cost alternative to Uber to get the hospital, you’re going to take it.

However, dispatches for more severe injuries (such as chest pain, compound fractures, and unconsciousness) remained unchanged.

In response to these unnecessary calls for ambulances, a handful of major U.S. cities are implementing 911 nurse triage call centers to address non-emergency calls and redirect those patients away from ambulances.

NYC—and most U.S. cities—don’t do that yet, but as dispatches for scrapes and sprains tie up emergency responders, that may soon change.

 

Bottom Line.

I find this all so so incomprehensible. I would be so embarrassed (mortified really) to call an ambulance for anything less than imminent demise. Where do you all stand on this?

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Top Fitness Trends To Keep You Thriving No Matter Your Age

Top Fitness Trends To Keep You Thriving No Matter Your Age

 

I turned into a conscientious gym-goer 20 years ago (for health reasons) and can’t imagine life without this daily routine.

 

My experience with arthritis and weight loss has made fitness even more integral to my lifestyle. The last three years, in particular, have been game-changers in terms of how I work out including getting a trainer and my approach to eating and drinking.

I’m writing about it today (again) for two reasons:  1. I believe if I had started this way of life earlier, e.g., in my early thirties vs. late forties, I might have avoided this arthritis situation altogether and 2. I’ve seen so many of my friends (mostly younger) struggle to get motivated with fitness.

I used to be gym-averse also. I can’t count the number of times I joined a gym only never to go. It took being diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to get me motivated. Now, going to the gym is as ingrained a habit for me, as taking a shower or brushing my teeth.

Today’s post features the Top 5 Fitness Trends just released by Sara Kooperman, CEO of SCW (which I believe stands for Sara’s City Workout). I wanted to share this because every word of what Sara writes mirrors my fitness journey. One sentence, in particular, got my attention:

  • Exercise is medicine, and fitness and health professionals are emphasizing prehab rather than rehab.

This is so relevant to my situation. Twenty years ago, my doctor gave me the choice of taking medicines to treat my high blood pressure and high cholesterol OR going to the gym. For whatever reason, I was adamant NOT to become a pill popper to stay healthy. And fortunately, I saw results quickly which turned my then new gym-routine, into an unbreakable habit.

 

Sara’s top five fitness trends are based on surveys conducted among fitness instructors, personal trainers, owners and managers at independent health clubs, recreation centers, YMCAs and boutique studios.

The top five most sought-after areas of fitness/wellness across the nation are:

  1. Functional Training
  2. Active Aging
  3. Nutrition
  4. Strength Training
  5. Personal Training

 

Read on below for a recap of the top trends, but if fitness is a topic of particular concern or something you’re struggling with, please read this in its entirety.

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How Many Steps Should We Be Trying To Get In Daily?

How Many Steps Should We Be Trying To Get In Daily?

 

First of all, do you know where the 10,000 step a day regimen came from? No? Read on below; it’s pretty funny.

 

My goal recently has been to get in 12,000 steps daily, which I read is ideal for good health. But I am not reaching that number. I am lucky to rack up 10,000 steps a few times a week.

For 2019, my daily average has only been 6061 steps versus 7834 per day in 2018. This is a result of spending an additional day a week sitting at my desk writing. Fortunately, I do get to the gym every day for a one-hour workout.

Now, however, a new 4-year study of 17,000 women (ages 62-101!) from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found that the sweet spot for optimal health is between 4,400 and 7,500 steps daily. The danger zone is anything below 2,700 steps. Drop below that number and your risk of early death increases by 40 percent.

They don’t give you any indication of how the findings vary for a younger age group, e.g., women in their 40’s or for men.

But one thing is certain according to the press release, hitting 10,000 daily steps isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

And here’s a fun fact: The 10,000-steps phenomenon became popular as a result of a marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer that was invented in 1965, called Manpo-kei (which translates to 10,000-step meter).

 

Bottom Line.

Despite “10,000 steps” being more of a marketing ploy than science, I am still a believer.

P.S. Happy to report that yesterday (Friday) I got in 11,849 steps!

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