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Take the doctors’ advice

Live your best life with these natural solutions from local experts

Save your skin

When it comes to wellness, my first priority is always skin care and cancer prevention. Sunscreen is a must, and I prefer the natural ingredients in the physical blocker sunscreens. Pure zinc and titanium are minerals in my favorite sunscreens. The minerals block and reflect light to avoid damage to skin. This is in contrast to chemical sunscreens that produce a chemical reaction with the ultraviolet rays on your skin. Elta MD UV Pure and Colorescience sunscreen powder are a couple of my favorites.

— Dr. Carmen Traywick, LUX: A Medical Spa


Get to the point

Dry needling is a treatment method administered by a physical therapist that involves inserting a fine needle into the skin and muscle. It is an effective treatment for a large array of conditions, including but not exclusive to sports injuries, muscle pain, arthritic pain, fibromyalgia, stiffness, neck pain, back pain, improving scar mobility and more. Traditional massage and stretching are not always effective in addressing scar tissue due to the strength of collagen fibers, which is why dry needling has been proven to be significantly more effective in treating chronic pain syndromes. Dry needling differs from acupuncture by theory of practice. Acupuncture focuses on treatment meridians (energy channels) by addressing the blockage of energy flow through the body. Dry needling involves physical therapists using their examination skills to identify pathological tissue and treat the tissue by inserting a microfilament needle. Dry needling does not involve treating blockage in energy flow, but instead aims to normalize the quality of skeletal soft tissue to relieve pain and improve mobility.

— Sean Neuman, DPT, Hilton Head Physical Therapy


More to blue than meets the eye

Did you know that blue light from our digital devices like cell phones, computers and laptops can negatively impact eye health and cause digital eye strain? Digital screens emit a specific type of high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light. Overexposing your eyes to your device’s blue light can cause a range of health issues. Wearing blue guard material lenses with anti-reflective coating can protect you against this harmful exposure.

— Dr. Michael Campbell, Optical Solutions


Find your libido

Our society has a very stilted and imbalanced view of sex. Here’s the problem: the complex and intimate interaction that is sex cannot be adequately and comprehensively addressed by a pill. But I think many of us are too scared and embarrassed to demand a larger conversation: Where did my libido go? Is my loved one disappointed and unhappy because of this? Can this get better? What does this mean for our relationship?

In case you didn’t notice, women are largely left out of this conversation. I don’t think the women reading this are surprised — we’ve known this for years — there are no “little blue pills” for women.

Over time, diminishment in sexual drive and sensation is due to worsening blood flow to sexual organs. The same pathologic processes that lead to stroke and heart disease also lead to impotence and poor sensation. In women, vital life events such as childbirth contribute to this, often at a young age. Then there’s menopause with not only the diminished production of female hormones but also testosterone. All of these issues combined often lead to a great big pile of no sex and diminished intimacy.

Stem cell therapies have been shown to improve blood flow. Study after study in a variety of disease states have really gained traction in regard to sexual health as a viable and powerful tool to naturally correct the pathology that leads to these issues in men and women. Post-partum women have been seeking platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapies for years shortly following child birth to remedy this issue quickly. In the Lowcountry, we don’t have to travel to Miami or New York to seek this treatment. These therapies are available here locally with a caring and comprehensive approach.

— Dr. Heather Hinshelwood, Fraum Center for Restorative Health


Find it in your heart

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. The Impella, known as the world’s smallest heart pump, may be tiny, but its powerful technology to keep your heart pumping during heart failure can save your life. Impella is a family of devices used for temporary ventricular support in people with depressed heart function. An Impella device can be used in high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), cardiac shock following a heart attack, coronary artery bypass grafting or to help stabilize a patient before or after an open-heart surgery procedure. The device pumps blood through the body, allowing the heart to rest and is typically removed within days of placement. St. Joseph’s Hospital routinely performs a high volume of Impella procedures, particularly with left ventricular devices.

— Dr. Michael Babcock, The Heart Hospital at St. Joseph’s/Candler


Smile to live longer

Years ago when researching for an article I was writing, I came across a study titled, “Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity” (Feb 2010). The study was done by the Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at Wayne State University. This was the first study to link smile intensity to a biological outcome: longevity. The study focused on Major League Baseball players because statistics are available and they represent a homogenous occupational group. Two hundred thirty photographs were taken from the Baseball Register for 1952, and the analysis was limited to players who debuted prior to 1950.

The photographs were rated on a scale of smile intensity. Although the study goes into great detail on methods used to determine smile intensity, the results were simple and significant. Players with no smiles lived to an average of 72.9 years of age, whereas players with the highest intensity of smiles lived to an average of 79.9 years of age. Players with partial smiles fell somewhere in between.

I suspect there may be other factors that influence the outcome of this study. The easiest way to smile is to think happy thoughts. And there is much research linking happiness and optimism to one’s well being and longevity.

So if you have the desire to smile big but hold back due to the appearance of your teeth, find a cosmetic dentist. We have the ability and technology to offer solutions to help you smile at the world with intensity. Not only will the world smile with you, you might just live longer!

— Dr. Bonnie Rothwell, Rothwell Cosmetic Dentistry


Make your mouth happy

There are good bacteria and bad bacteria in your mouth. They need to be in balance with one another. When the good guys and the bad guys are in balance, they serve many necessary purposes. However, when bacteria are killed indiscriminately, harmful bacteria and good bacteria are both killed. This delicate balance of bacteria goes awry. I’m sure many of you have heard about the overuse of antibiotics and how it can cause serious problems with your gut, leading to immune deficiencies and medical complications.

Today, use of probiotics are necessary to help proliferate good bacteria and encourage a healthy gut microbiome, which will improve the mouth bacteria. What I would like to point out is that the mouth has a similar microbiome, and mouthwash acts just like an antibiotic. Over usage is simply not healthy. When a healthy balance is disturbed, your overall health can be at risk. If you use antimicrobial mouthwash every day, you will destroy this delicate balance of the entire garden of bacteria in your mouth. Ultimately, this could lead to tooth decay, progression of gum disease, and negatively affect your heart and blood pressure. My recommendation if you still choose to use a mouthwash, try Himalayan salt with warm water or a prebiotic toothpaste-like Revitin that can be placed in a pea-size amount in the mouth with water and swish away. Both options are non-chemical and safe enough to swallow.

— Dr. Richard F. Porcelli, Biological Center for Dentistry


Get in your hair

A new world of hair science has changed the way we think about hair and its relationship to our overall health. Turns out, it’s not just genetics and nutrition. The fact is, many factors contribute to hair health; intrinsic and extrinsic. Nutrafol is a non prescription, surgery free solution for thinning hair in men and women. The once a day vitamin supplement includes more than 20 natural ingredients, designed specifically to improve your hair’s health, thickness and its ability to grow.

— Dr. Thomas Bundy, Hilton Head Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center


Not a dry eye in the house

Ever think about wellness in terms of eye health? Dry eyes affect over 5 million adults over the age of 50. A comprehensive wellness exam will determine if you are a candidate for the treatment of dry eyes.

We really uncover everything from medical conditions, medication use, lifestyle demands and current product use in addition to our exam findings to determine the best course of action. A complete wellness exam is necessary to diagnose the condition of dry eyes. There are many causes and contributing factors to dry eye disease including side effects from medications to auto-immune conditions to general hygiene habits and product use. Preservative-free lubricating eye drops, natural eye cleansing remedies, heated masks and diet modifications are a few of the treatment options offered. Of course, drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet rich in Omega 3 plays an important role in preventing symptoms of dry eye.

— Dr. Robert Allen, Eyeland Optique


Eat for eye health

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, recognizing 2020 as “The Year of the Eye,” identified 36 vision-healthy foods. It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and fish. Key ingredients are those containing:

• Vitamin A (important in preventing dry eye) from sources including carrots (of course), sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and apricots.

• Vitamin C (an antioxidant providing protection from harmful free radicals) found in citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and strawberries. This protection plays a role important in preventing or stabilizing macular degeneration and cataracts.

• Vitamin E is another important agent which helps keep cells healthy. Vitamin E can be found in avocados, almonds and sunflower seeds.

• Omega-3 Fatty Acids from cold-water fish might help reduce the risk of developing dry eye. These fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut and trout.

• Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in leafy green vegetables and other brightly colored foods. They are key to protecting the macula, the area of the eye that gives us our central, most detailed vision. Good sources of these are kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, collards, turnip greens, broccoli, peas and eggs.

• Zinc helps keep the retina healthy and may protect your eyes from the damaging effects of light. Sources of this mineral include all kinds of beans (legumes), oysters, lean red meat, poultry and fortified cereals.

— Dr. Ken Gleitsmann, Bishop Eye Center


Pump up the volume

Cosmetic procedures are not “all natural,” but when the goal is to enhance your natural beauty or restore lost volume, they can lead to an overall healthy, rested and very natural look. Cosmetic filler made of purified hyaluronic acid placed in areas of lost volume restores the body’s natural hyaluronic acid lost over time due to aging and the sun. We can accomplish a natural, lifted look with smoothing of lines without putting in anything permanent and without surgery. Restylane Lyft is one of my favorite products to use for this look.

— Dr. Carmen Traywick, LUX: A Medical Spa


Exercise myths vs. facts

Myth 1: Exercising only benefits the body.
Fact: Regular physical activity helps you look and feel younger and stay independent longer. It also lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, and obesity. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment through the release of endorphins, and the mood enhancing benefits of exercise can be just as great at 70 or 80 as they were at 20 or 30.

Myth 2: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down. Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and therefore improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. As you flex and stretch with exercise you will be reversing any natural breakdown of muscles that had occurred previously.

Myth 3: Too old to exercise. Fact: You’re never too old to get moving and improve your health! Fitness is important at all stages of life but even more so as we age. In fact, adults who become active later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts.

— Mark Piegza, Synergy Home Care


Oh my GERD!

Coastal Carolina Hospital is the first in the Lowcountry to offer an incisionless surgery that can benefit those with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). The procedure is called TIF, or Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication. Over 20 million Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions.

Until recently, these people faced either a lifetime of daily medications, and often incomplete resolution of their symptoms, or the risks of invasive surgery. Now, the TIF procedure can help alleviate these symptoms. This procedure is performed through the mouth and helps the body rebuild the valve between the stomach and esophagus. Benefits include no external incision, no scarring, no internal cutting of the natural anatomy and a more rapid recovery.

“This procedure can significantly improve quality of life  for those with GERD — a common disease that impacts one in five adults. Many reflux patients are unable to drink alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine or eat rich foods or fruit without triggering reflux. They may also have to sleep at an angle to reduce nighttime reflux.”

— Dr. Carlos Montenegro, Coastal Carolina Hospital