Perimenopause and Menopause: New Hope For Difficult Symptoms.

Treatment for difficult menopause symptoms

Treatment for difficult menopause symptoms
Experiencing difficult menopause symptoms? Some women seem to go through perimenopause and menopause without missing a beat. But others find themselves ‘dazed and confused’ by what is happening to the way they feel every day.

Many people think of menopause as the time when periods stop, and symptoms start. But most symptoms actually begin long before menopause. They start to appear during perimenopause — the time leading up to the end of menstruation. This is a longer period than most women realize — on average, four years before menopause, the time when a woman has had no period for a year.

Menopause Symptoms are Common but Intensity Varies
Some of the more common perimenopause and menopause symptoms are:

Hot flashes
Night sweats
Disrupted sleep patterns
Changes in emotional well-being
Unfortunately for some women, some symptoms become intense enough to throw them off keel. They experience:

Brain fog
Dizziness
Body aches
Panic attacks or intense emotional distress
Excessive fatigue
These symptoms can be too disruptive to ignore.

You may have tried to tell your friends what you’re going through but they don’t understand. All the other women your age may seem to be getting along and coping just fine. They might even tell you, however nicely, that you “get a grip” or “snap out of it” or just relax and have a glass of wine. They can’t sympathize; it’s a lonely place to be!

Unfortunately, doctors can also misunderstand that some women experience menopause differently. Maybe you’ve tried to get help from doctors, but felt like they saw you as ‘a complainer’ or with a weak tolerance for discomfort. Because it’s a normal phase of a woman’s life, some people may expect you to just take it in stride. The fact is, perimenopause is a very individual experience.

Your Experience Is What’s Normal for You
While perimenopause lasts an average of four years, your personal experience may vary. You are a unique individual, and average does not equal normal. For many women, perimenopause takes place for much longer than they expected. For some women, it lasts only two years, or takes as long as seven, 12, or 15 years.

It is possible for women to begin to notice menopause symptoms in their early forties. The average age of actual menopause is 51 years for women in the United States.

Each woman will experience symptoms in her own way. Your own symptoms may change in intensity over time. You may be surprised to know the number of women who experience severe perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Here are three groups of symptoms that may cause concern.

Sleep Problems
As many as 40-60% of women suffer from insomnia during perimenopause (says Medscape). Insomnia isn’t just a bad night’s rest. This is night after night of difficulty falling asleep, or of getting poor quality sleep. Insomnia often makes it hard for you to function during the day. It can be acute (noticed over days or weeks) or chronic (you’re wondering, after a month or more, if this will ever stop).

Emotional Symptoms
Many women notice changes in their emotional outlook, or shifts in their sense of well being during menopause. Unfortunately, the term ‘mood swings’ tends to lump together a wide range of experiences. It doesn’t mean these emotional changes should be a simple walk in the park for you.

Emotional symptoms during perimenopause range from mild crankiness, to feelings of depression or panic that are very intense and very real. Some medical experts estimate that 20% of women will endure depression during menopause (reports Medscape).

Women may be ashamed to admit anxiety, depression or panic attacks during the transition to menopause. High anxiety during perimenopause may be more common than most people imagine. The symptoms may include feelings fearful for no clear reason, feeling tense or irritable, or feeling the heart pounding, racing or palpitating.

One study found, for women with low baseline anxiety before perimenopause, about 13% experienced anxiety symptoms for years, reaching a peak level of high anxiety late in perimenopause. The good news, the study found, was that anxiety levels decreased for these women later in postmenopausal years.

Emotional health is complex. A woman may have good reasons for depression or anxiety in addition to hormonal changes. So it is important to discuss your emotional health with appropriate, qualified healthcare professionals you trust.

Changes in the Ability to Enjoy Sex
With decreasing estrogen levels, the walls of the vagina become thinner, and the skin of the vagina becomes more dry. This is because the number of folds in the lining of the vagina decreases over time with lower estrogen levels.

During perimenopause, the vagina begins to secrete less lubrication. The skin of the vulva, around the opening of the vagina, may become drier and prone to irritation. The vagina can shape too — becoming shorter, narrower, and less elastic. These changes tend to occur especially for women who do not have regular sexual intercourse.

If a woman has not been sexually active during perimenopause, and then wants to have more sex, she may experience pain, even when using familiar lubricants. The discomfort can be so great that it interferes with a woman’s ability to enjoy sex or may dampen her level of sexual desire.

Fortunately, these symptoms usually respond well to low-level estrogen therapy. Vaginal estrogen with bioidentical hormones can help by providing estrogen directly where it’s needed, with minimal impact on the rest of the body.

Hormone Replacement and Bioidentical Hormones
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a reliable approach to treatment for menopausal symptoms. There are many new forms of HRT available: tablets, skin patches, vaginal lubricants, and lotions.

How do you know if HRT is safe for you? That is where talking to an informed doctor comes in. Not all hormones therapies are the same. In recent years, extensive studies show that the chemical makeup of the hormones plays a key role in their safety and effectiveness.

Bioidentical hormones are formulated to match the body’s own chemistry, that so that the body processes them safely, just as it would the natural human hormone. Bioidentical hormone therapy offers health benefits with lower health risks than the earlier generations of synthetic hormones used decades ago.

You can learn more about bioidentical hormone therapy. We’ve addressed many questions patients have in these articles:

Bioidentical HRT: The Truth About Hormone Therapy for Menopausal Women
Low Libido in Women – How Can Hormone Therapy Help?
Women and Hormone Imbalance – Signs that You Are Experiencing Hormone Imbalance and What You Can do About it
We are Here to Listen and to Help You
I welcome your questions about how Bioidentical Hormone Therapy can help you.

If you live in or near Ridgewood, New Jersey, come to the Optimal Wellness Center and learn about our individual approach to your perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Hormone balancing is can help you if you are suffering from sleep disturbances, low libido, or emotional and memory changes with perimenopause. So can a doctor who listens carefully and understands that you have your own set of symptoms.

Contact Dr. Keller at the Optimal Wellness Center in Ridgewood New Jersey, at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

We thank you for sharing this post to help others!

Perimenopause, Menopause and Estrogen Dominance

Perimenopause and Estrogen Dominance

In the past physicians have focused mainly on Estrogen when treating the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

We know now that progesterone is as important as estrogen in balancing women’s hormones. In order to treat the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, estrogen and progesterone need to be balanced.

Balancing progesterone levels is especially important for women going through perimenopause. Progesterone levels decrease much earlier then estrogen levels during perimenopause. Most perimenopausal women have enough estrogen, and their symptoms are actually caused by low levels of progesterone, a condition called Estrogen Dominance.

When a women’s estrogen starts to decrease as well, her progesterone has already decreased to a greater degree, so estrogen dominace can occur even when estrogen levels start to drop. Its just that progesterone has dropped to a greater degree and there is a relative estrogen dominance. In addition, if a women is prescribed estrogen without progesterone, this can also cause estrogen dominance.

What happens during perimenopause?
During a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen increases at the beginning of your cycle, peaks at ovulation and then decreases. If the egg is not fertilized it ruptures and releases progesterone, which now is the dominant hormone during the second half of the cycle. Estrogen raises in the first half to promote cell proliferation, and progesterone rises in the second half to oppose estrogen and prepare for the beginning of your next cycle (menses).

The beginning of perimenopause actually occurs when there is a large decrease in progesterone levels after ovulation. This causes estrogen levels, which decline at a slower rate to be high relative to progesterone, resulting in estrogen dominance. Your periods start to become irregular, and you can develop a variety of symptoms, because of an imbalance in your hormones.

Estrogen Dominance can produce the following symptoms:

Irregular bleeding
Weight Gain
Breast tenderness
Hot Flashes
Mood instability (anxiety, depression, irritability)
Trouble sleeping

Fatigue
Low sex drive
Foggy Thinking
Migraines

Prescribing progesterone during the luteal phase can help even out this imbalance.
Once menopause is reached and estrogen levels have declined, women may need estrogen replacement as well. It is important to balance these hormones with optimized dosages.

It is important to have individualized treatment and dosages. At optimal Wellness, our individualized treatment is based on your history, symptoms and comprehensive laboratory evaluation. We prescribe Bio identical Hormones, If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, call us at 201 485 7930, to see how we can help you address your symptoms of hormone imbalance.

Natural Ways to Have Younger Looking Skin. Spring Is The Perfect Time To Rejuvenate Your Skin

When you know how to treat your skin well, it shows! By learning to nourish your skin’s cells, you can help it stay firmer and smoother, with younger looking texture and tone.

Natural treatments are now available to help you feel and look your best without painful procedures.

By getting to know more about the skin, and new natural ways to care for it, you can restore your own healthiest, youngest-looking skin, and look and feel your best.

A Closer Look at Collagen and Elastin

If you’ve checked into skin care, you’ve heard about collagen and elastin. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It grows as fibers that inter-connect to support all the other tissues and organs in our body — especially the skin.

Collagen and elastin are major skin components. Only about one-third of the protein in our muscles, internal organs and connective tissues consists of collagen. But, collagen makes up about 75-80% of our skin, says the Cleveland Clinic.

Elastin makes the skin elastic — just as the name suggests. It occurs in the skin along with collagen fibers. It is necessary to help the skin and other organs expand, stretch, flex, and return to their resting shape.

Think about how your cheeks get round as you smile, and then lay evenly on your cheekbones at rest. Or think about how your lungs and sides expand and relax as you breathe. Elastin, working with collagen, makes this possible.

Understanding Skin’s Layers

You don’t see them, so you may not know your skin is made up of three layers.

The skin’s outer layer is the epidermis, the innermost layer is the hypodermis, and the middle is the dermis.

The most collagen and elastin are contained in the deepest layers, the dermis and hypodermis. The dermis layer actually makes collagen and elastin. The hypodermis contains fat cells and collagen cells to support the two upper layers of skin.

When collagen and elastin break down, we see wrinkles, lines, cellulite, and sagging skin. To reduce wrinkles effectively, it helps to think about all the layers when considering treatments.

Why Skin Sags and Wrinkles

reduce wrinkles younger looking skin

Our skin creases, wrinkles, and gets more lax because starting about age 30 we lose collagen at a rate of about 1% a year.  As we age our bodies also decrease production of collagen when women reach menopause; there is a 30% reduction in collagen production in first 1-5 years of menopause. So, it is vital to take good care of the collagen and elastin you have now.

What can you do to take care of the collagen and elastin in your skin, to help it stay strong, flexible and even? Can you make more of these proteins when they break down? Skin care science has some positive news.

Yes, You Can Make Your Own Collagen!

Did you know it’s possible to stimulate your body to increase production of collagen and ok even decades after the body’s prime years?

Thanks to medical science, we now have treatments that stimulate the body to increase production of collagen and elastin naturally. Your skin can generate some of the proteins that have broken down, without painful, costly surgery. You just need to know how to get started making the right repairs – and how to keep enjoying the results.

It turns out the best handy-person to repair your skin is the body itself.

Begin by Stopping the Damage that Ages Your Skin

Wear Sunscreen

First, you need to limit the damage to your collagen and elastin. UVA and UVB rays generate free radicals that damage your skin — they are like little solar hammers that strike at collagen and elastin fibers. Using sunscreen is the best thing you can do to prevent degradation of collagen/premature aging.

  • Choose a sunscreen of SPF 50 or greater
  • Use broad spectrum UVA UVB SPF 50 (to block 98% of harmful rays)

Nourish the Skin

Use skincare products that provide antioxidants to deal with infrared and visible light. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, suppress collagen digesting enzymes, and help protect against damage from air pollution.

Antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • COQ-10
  • Resveratrol
  • Green tea polyphenols

I recommend this great sunblock which gives you much-needed protection from damaging rays, and adds antioxidants as it moisturizes.

Check out: Age Defense Antioxidant Sunscreen, Moisturizing Formula

Clean, Moisturize, and Keep Nourishing

As we age, the skin makes less moisture. Dirt and pollutants clog pores and increase the risk of acne and scarring.

Moisture helps skin cells remain hydrated and plump. Quality skin care (including sunblock) can help prevent premature aging and help repair and renew skin. Vitamin C, Retinol and Ceramides are a few clinically proven ingredients that support skin health. that break down collagen and elastin. Antioxidants reduce free radical’s power. Check out our personally developed line of medical grade skincare products.

Eat, Sleep and Exercise Well

Minimize processed foods, white sugar, and drinks with alcohol or caffeine. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins can help neutralize free radicals that damage the skin.

Drinking more water helps your skin cells stay hydrated and plump. Good muscle tone from exercise supports firmer skin tone. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep is essential to every beauty routine.

Next, Stimulate Collagen and Elastin Repair

Next, you need to wake up the body’s ability to make collagen and elastin. Fortunately, with treatments based on the latest science, you can stimulate collagen and elastin to grow in your skin naturally and safely.

These three medical aesthetic treatments deliver safe, fast results without surgery:

Micro Needling or Collagen Induction with SkinPen

One of the best treatments for acne scars and stretch marks, as well as wrinkles and lines is called micro-needling or collagen induction. This treatment uses a special device to make micro channels in the top two layers of the skin — the epidermis and the dermis.

The micro-injuries stimulate a number of healing responses. The outer layer of the skin begins to renew itself at a much faster rate. Unevenly pigmented areas therefore begin to look more even and youthful as new cells replace dark spots and age spots.

Your practitioner can focus on special areas such as acne scars and stretch marks, breaking up scar tissue. The body responds by forming fresh collagen and elastin, a process called skin remodeling.

The body’s natural response is immediate. Patients may see some redness, but results are often visible just after a treatment. While the treatment is not painful, some redness usually appears where the skin is treated. The body continues to require the use of specialized post procedure protocol skin care products that optimize collagen and elastin production to increase collagen and elastin for the 30 days following each micro needling.

A minimum of 3 treatments spaced a month apart is recommended for most patients. People with deeper acne scars or wrinkles will benefit for additional treatments. I provide collagen induction treatments with the SkinPen at the Optimal Wellness Center.

Cosmetic Acupuncture

This treatment helps firm and tone the skin painlessly with acupuncture needles. It also helps patients relax and enjoy a greater sense of well-being. Not only does it soothe the body as a whole, it improves appearance by:

  • Increasing blood flow to the skin
  • Stimulating skin cell regeneration
  • Relaxing muscles in the jaw, forehead and eyes

Cosmetic acupuncture can be especially effective for patients who want to firm skin and reduce frown and worry lines — and to ease the feelings that make them want to frown and worry. I am a well trained and experienced cosmetic acupuncture practitioner — find out more.

Therapeutic radio frequency energy with Venus Legacy For the Face , Neck and Body

For patients concerned about cellulite, stubborn fat deposits as well as lines and wrinkles, and sagging skin. Venus Legacy is often the treatment of choice.

Treatments stimulate collagen production using a combination of medically approved radiofrequency and magnetic pulses. An applicator directs gentle, safe heat energy through the layers of skin. Not only does it wake up the skin’s collagen and elastin production. It improves elasticity so that sagging skin becomes firmer and tighter, reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It also breaks down stubborn fat deposits, which the body eliminates naturally.

Venus Legacy gives excellent immediate and long term results with tightening of the skin, and with improved body contours.

Medical Aesthetic Treatments for Skin: Comparison Chart

To quickly sum up, you have a choice of natural ways to improve your skin, depending on the type of change you want to see.

A number of treatments help your skin repair collagen and elastin, give you smoother, firmer skin and reduce wrinkles.

But depending on your preferences, some treatments will have other advantages you may want to explore:

Advantages of Aesthetic Medicine Treatments at the Optimal Wellness Center

Reduce wrinklesImprove skin tone & textureReduce scars & dark spotsTighten sagging skinReduce celluliteImprove Contours; body sculptingIncrease Well-beingReduce stretch marks

SkinPen

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Venus Legacy

Find out more about the best treatment for you. If you are in the Ridgewood, NJ area, contact Dr. Keller, for a consultation to learn more.

 

Share What You’ve Learned — Thank you for liking and sharing this information with your friends.

What’s New At Optimal Wellness Center

What’s new at Optimal Wellness Center and Medical Spa?
I have been busy training and learning about the latest in Aesthetic Medicine, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Medical Weight Loss. I just completed Allergan’s Medical Aesthetics Injection Training Course, where I learned the latest techniques in using Botox and Juvederm to get naturally beautiful results. In addition I also just completed ” Advances in Hormone Therapy” the most up to date information regarding Bioidentical Hormone replacement. This weekend I attended The International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference, this conference is held once a year in New York and highlights the latest advances in aesthetic treatments. I am so excited about what I have learned and cannot wait to share it with you. Look for new treatments and services including  “Change Your Biology Diet” all coming soon to Optimal Wellness Center and Medical Spa.
Look And Feel Your Best!
Dr. Keller

Hypothyroidism 12 Common Symptoms. Is It Time To Call Your Doctor?

 

Hypothyroidism also known as an under active thyroid, presents with a variety of symptoms. These           symptoms arise because your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. When this  occurs it causes a slowing down of all your bodies processes. Here are common symptoms that indicate you  may have hypothyroidism.

  • Fatigue: Hypothyroidism, one of the main symptoms, and often the first sign of hypothyroidism is fatigue. Without enough hormone your body slows down. You may have trouble getting up in the morning despite getting 8 or more hours of sleep each night..
  • Weight Gain: Hypothyroidism slows your metabolism down, which can make you gain weight, even though  you eat healthy and exercise.
  • Feeling Cold: Without adequate thyroid hormone to keep your metabolism active, you may feel like you are always cold no matter what the temperature is.
  • Depression: Hypothyroidism can also cause mood disorders like depression and or anxiety. It can also worsen symptoms in people who already have depression. If your mood is low, get your thyroid checked.
  • Memory Problems: Low thyroid hormones cause a slowing of all processes in your body including your brain. You may have difficulty focusing, problem concentrating, suffer from mental fatigue, and problem with short term memory. Although there are many causes, your thyroid could be the problem.
  • Muscle and Joint Pains: Hypothyroidism can cause your muscles and joints to hurt. The pain can be severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. Left untreated some people can develop muscle profound weakness. Again there are many causes of joint, and muscle pain but if you have persistent aches and pains its time to call your doctor.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, you should make sure to have your thyroid levels checked.Hypothyroidism is a common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling and or pain in your hands.
  • Constipation: Hypothyroidism is associated with slowing down of your digestion system, resulting in constipation. The thyroid can make your whole digestive system “lazy”. The proper blood test may reveal its due to low thyroid hormone.
  • Change in Menstrual Cycle. You may develop lighter periods or even skip your menstrual cycle if you thyroid hormones are low. A change is your cycle may indicate thyroid disease.
  • Infertility: If your thyroid is underactive it can interfere with your fertility. Talk with your doctor about checking your thyroid if you are having fertility problems.
  • Elevated Cholesterol: If you have elevated cholesterol, your thyroid may be to blame.
  • Dry Hair and Skin: You can develop dry hair and skin. Some people also notice hair loss. A classic sign of hypothyroidism is the absence of hair on lateral one third of your eyebrows.

In addition if you have a family history of hypothyroidism you are at an increased risk of developing an underactive thyroid. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to discuss these with your doctor. Make sure to discuss any family history of thyroid or autoimmune diseases. When asking to have your thyroid checked, make sure they do a complete profile and not just check your TSH. You should have FreeT4, FreeT4, RFreeT3, Thyroid antibodies and also have your adrenal function tested. If your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, they can cause your thyroid to not produce enough thyroid hormone. Additional testing may be indicated depending on your symptoms.

If you think you may have an underactive thyroid, we can help!

To schedule a consult with Dr. Betty Keller call 201 485 7930

Optimal Wellness Center 172 Franklin Ave Suite 4A Ridgewood NJ 07450

https://optimalwellnessctr.com

Are Your Hormones Balanced?

bioidentical hormone replacement therapy helps restore your optimal health

Bioidentical Hormone Specialist in NJ Explains Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are responsible for making your body run properly. And for optimal health they need to be balanced.

Our hormones play a major role in our body’s health. Hormones effect how we look, feel, and function.

Why Hormones Impact Health So Many Ways

Hormones are the chemicals that make things happen within the systems of our body. These chemical messengers control our metabolic processes by stimulating the cells in our bodies.

Your hormone levels change throughout your lifetime. You may notice changes in mood, weight, body composition, energy, and physical strength. Hormone balance is extremely important to have optimal health.

The same hormones that keep you happy and healthy, when out of balance can cause emotional and physical distress. Hormones are the most finely tuned systems in our body. It is a delicate balance; each hormone is depended on the other hormones to work properly.

What Throws Hormones Out of Balance?

Women with a healthy hormone balance enjoy long healthy and productive lives. Life stressors from working long hours, taking care of the family, commuting, poor sleep, unhealthy eating habits, environmental toxins and other forms of physical and emotional stress can disrupt our natural hormone balance.

Hormonal imbalance can make life challenging. Hormone imbalance can contribute to, common problems including, weight gain, mood disorders, PMS, perimenopausal, and menopausal symptoms. The following are some symptoms that can be caused by an imbalance in your hormones.

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a hormone imbalance.

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Excess facial or body hair
  • Acne
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Aches and pains
  • Thinning Hair
  • Dry Skin
  • Reduced Libido
  • Decreased Muscle Mass/Strength
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritable/ Mood changes
  • Poor memory/concentration
  • Frequent/chronic infections
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Cravings for sweets/carbs
  • PMS

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Treats Hormone Imbalance

Dr. Keller is a bioidentical hormone doctor, specializing in helping you look and feel your best.  Contact us about bioidentical hormone treatment at the Optimal Wellness Center, Ridgewood, NJ 201-485-7930.

 

Enriched Retinol Eye Cream

Why we love our Eye Cream. Our Enriched Retinol Eye Cream delivers rich hydration to the delicate skin around the eyes. This deeply moisturizing cream helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles while state of the art microcirculation ingredients minimize dark circles and puffiness.

  • Our eye cream is:
  • Scientifically formulated
  • Clinically proven
  • Made in the USA
  • Cruelty Free
  • Paraben Free
  • Fragrance Free
  • Gluten Free
reduce eye wrinkles: retinol renewal eye cream BEFORE
BEFORE: Retinol Renewal Eye Cream
reduce eye wrinkles: Retinol Renewal Eye Cream AFTER
AFTER: Retinol Renewal Eye Cream
Enriched Retinol Eye Cream
Enriched Retinol Eye Cream

https://optimalwellnessctr.com/store/

Perimenopause and Menopause: New Hope for Difficult Symptoms

Treatment for difficult menopause symptoms

Experiencing difficult menopause symptoms? Some women seem to go through perimenopause and menopause without missing a beat. But others find themselves ‘dazed and confused’ by what is happening to the way they feel every day.

Many people think of menopause as the time when periods stop, and symptoms start. But most symptoms actually begin long before menopause. They start to appear during perimenopause — the time leading up to the end of menstruation. This is a longer period than most women realize — on average, four years before menopause, the time when a woman has had no period for a year.

Menopause Symptoms are Common but Intensity Varies

Some of the more common perimenopause and menopause symptoms are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Changes in emotional well-being

Unfortunately for some women, some symptoms become intense enough to throw them off keel. They experience:

  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Body aches
  • Panic attacks or intense emotional distress
  • Excessive fatigue

These symptoms can be too disruptive to ignore.

You may have tried to tell your friends what you’re going through but they don’t understand. All the other women your age may seem to be getting along and coping just fine. They might even tell you, however nicely, that you “get a grip” or “snap out of it” or just relax and have a glass of wine. They can’t sympathize; it’s a lonely place to be!

Unfortunately, doctors can also misunderstand that some women experience menopause differently. Maybe you’ve tried to get help from doctors, but felt like they saw you as ‘a complainer’ or with a weak tolerance for discomfort. Because it’s a normal phase of a woman’s life, some people may expect you to just take it in stride. The fact is, perimenopause is a very individual experience.

Your Experience Is What’s Normal for You

While perimenopause lasts an average of four years, your personal experience may vary. You are a unique individual, and average does not equal normal. For many women, perimenopause takes place for much longer than they expected. For some women, it lasts only two years, or takes as long as seven, 12, or 15 years.

It is possible for women to begin to notice menopause symptoms in their early forties. The average age of actual menopause is 51 years for women in the United States.

Each woman will experience symptoms in her own way. Your own symptoms may change in intensity over time. You may be surprised to know the number of women who experience severe perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Here are three groups of symptoms that may cause concern.

Sleep Problems

As many as 40-60% of women suffer from insomnia during perimenopause (says Medscape). Insomnia isn’t just a bad night’s rest. This is night after night of difficulty falling asleep, or of getting poor quality sleep. Insomnia often makes it hard for you to function during the day. It can be acute (noticed over days or weeks) or chronic (you’re wondering, after a month or more, if this will ever stop).

Emotional Symptoms

Many women notice changes in their emotional outlook, or shifts in their sense of well being during menopause. Unfortunately, the term ‘mood swings’ tends to lump together a wide range of experiences. It doesn’t mean these emotional changes should be a simple walk in the park for you.

Emotional symptoms during perimenopause range from mild crankiness, to feelings of depression or panic that are very intense and very real. Some medical experts estimate that 20% of women will endure depression during menopause (reports Medscape).

Women may be ashamed to admit anxiety, depression or panic attacks during the transition to menopause. High anxiety during perimenopause may be more common than most people imagine. The symptoms may include feelings fearful for no clear reason, feeling tense or irritable, or feeling the heart pounding, racing or palpitating.

One study found, for women with low baseline anxiety before perimenopause, about 13% experienced anxiety symptoms for years, reaching a peak level of high anxiety late in perimenopause. The good news, the study found, was that anxiety levels decreased for these women later in postmenopausal years.

Emotional health is complex. A woman may have good reasons for depression or anxiety in addition to hormonal changes. So it is important to discuss your emotional health with appropriate, qualified healthcare professionals you trust.

Changes in the Ability to Enjoy Sex

With decreasing estrogen levels, the walls of the vagina become thinner, and the skin of the vagina becomes more dry. This is because the number of folds in the lining of the vagina decreases over time with lower estrogen levels.

During perimenopause, the vagina begins to secrete less lubrication. The skin of the vulva, around the opening of the vagina, may become drier and prone to irritation. The vagina can shape too — becoming shorter, narrower, and less elastic. These changes tend to occur especially for women who do not have regular sexual intercourse.

If a woman has not been sexually active during perimenopause, and then wants to have more sex, she may experience pain, even when using familiar lubricants. The discomfort can be so great that it interferes with a woman’s ability to enjoy sex or may dampen her level of sexual desire.

Fortunately, these symptoms usually respond well to low-level estrogen therapy. Vaginal estrogen with bioidentical hormones can help by providing estrogen directly where it’s needed, with minimal impact on the rest of the body.

Hormone Replacement and Bioidentical Hormones 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a reliable approach to treatment for menopausal symptoms. There are many new forms of HRT available: tablets, skin patches, vaginal lubricants, and lotions.

How do you know if HRT is safe for you? That is where talking to an informed doctor comes in. Not all hormones therapies are the same. In recent years, extensive studies show that the chemical makeup of the hormones plays a key role in their safety and effectiveness.

Bioidentical hormones are formulated to match the body’s own chemistry, that so that the body processes them safely, just as it would the natural human hormone. Bioidentical hormone therapy offers health benefits with lower health risks than the earlier generations of synthetic hormones used decades ago.

You can learn more about bioidentical hormone therapy. We’ve addressed many questions patients have in these articles:

We are Here to Listen and to Help You

I welcome your questions about how Bioidentical Hormone Therapy can help you.

If you live in or near Ridgewood, New Jersey, come to the Optimal Wellness Center and learn about our individual approach to your perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Hormone balancing is can help you if you are suffering from sleep disturbances, low libido, or emotional and memory changes with perimenopause. So can a doctor who listens carefully and understands that you have your own set of symptoms.

Contact Dr. Keller at the Optimal Wellness Center in Ridgewood New Jersey, at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

We thank you for sharing this post to help others!

September Is The Time To Repair, Restore, and Renew Your Skin For Naturally Beautiful Healthier Skin

 

Advanced Skin Care

September is a great time to think about your skin care!

After a summer of fun, its time to,

Repair, Restore, and Renew your skin with

Dr Keller M.D. Skin Essentials

Our scientifically developed, advanced formula skin care products visibly reduce redness, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pore size & puffiness. Improve skin texture and tone while you protect your skin from UV damage. See our line of moisturizers, sunscreens and anti-wrinkle formulas in our store.

5 Reasons Why Sunscreen Is the Most Important Skin Care Product You’ll Wear This Summer

woman on beach

Being outdoors and active is part of a healthy lifestyle. However, a tan is not a sign of skin health! In fact, a suntan or sunburn are signs that skin has already been damaged.

Of course we can’t totally avoid sun exposure, but a little goes a long way. Harmful exposure can happen after just 10 minutes in the direct sun, especially between 10AM and 4PM.

What’s Harmful About Sun Exposure?

By harmful exposure, we are talking about more than sunburn. There are several additional ways that too much sun exposure damages the skin. It causes:

  • Dark blotches / age spots
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Premature wrinkling
  • Premature sagging
  • Increased risk for skin cancer

That’s why I believe everyone should protect the skin with sunscreen, especially during the summer. Here are my top 5 reasons why sunscreen is the most important skincare product for you.

Top 5 Reasons To Use Sunscreen

1) Prevent Sunburn

Sunburn is the redness caused by enlarged blood vessels, and inflammation as the body responds to skin cell damage. It can be painful! People of all skin types and skin colors can get sunburn.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays causes damage to skin cells and DNA within the layers of skin. When damage is severe enough, the skin can blister, dehydrate, die off and peel.

Two types of UV rays cause sunburn and sun damage: UVA and UVB. UVA waves are long waves, and pass more deeply into the skin. UVB waves are shorter, and they do most of their damage to the skin’s surface.

Why is it important to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days? UVA rays pass through windows, clouds, and bounce around even in the shade. So even if you’re spending lots of time in the shade, get your lotion on.

The damage of sunburn will heal, but unfortunately, the body will still have to deal with the long-term harmful effects of UV rays.

2) Help Prevent Age Spots

Also called liver spots, these dark patches start showing up around age 50. For some people, they appear earlier — even decades sooner — especially for people who have spent more time in tanning lights or in the sun.

Age spots form when areas of melanin — naturally formed by the body — build up with repeated UV exposure.

Age spots settle in with time. They do not go away on their own. While not medically harmful, they cause an uneven, blotchy or speckled complexion that many people don’t want.

Prevention is the best way to avoid age spots. But, it is possible to lighten age spots effectively, with new treatments including:

  • Skin Pen: gentle micro-needle procedure that helps improve the absorption of skin lightening formulas, and stimulate the growth of healthier skin

3) Help Prevent Premature Wrinkling

Skin’s texture changes naturally as we age. But sun exposure can speed up this process drastically. Sun exposure is linked with the appearance of deeper creases and lines on the face: around lips, eyes, brows and forehead.

Creases form naturally when we smile and use our facial muscles. Younger skin becomes smooth again, thanks to collagen, a protein that supports the skin like a scaffold.

Collagen helps skin keep its shape and look continuous and even. As we get older, we have less and less collagen in the skin, because our bodies make it more slowly after age 20. UV rays break collagen fibers apart as they pass through the skin.

The more sun exposure, the more collagen breaks down. The body cannot naturally repair this fast enough. And so, creases and wrinkles begin to show where the collagen is too damaged to provide enough support.

4) Help Prevent Premature Sagging

As we age, skin becomes thinner and the youthful layer of fat below the skin tends to shift downward. Also, the skin naturally becomes less elastic with age. Elastin is a protein that helps restore the skin’s shape after stretching. Our body makes elastin more slowly, and replaces it more gradually as we age.

Over-exposure to sun degrades and weakens elastin much faster than the normal rate.

Sagging, sun-damaged skin causes many people to look much older than their real age. Unfortunately, the aging difference shows up many years later after the original over-exposure. A good sunscreen is one of the best things you can do to prevent long-term damage and keep your skin looking younger for years to come.

5) Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Protecting yourself from sunburn and harmful sun exposure is more and more important to help prevent skin cancer. Unfortunately, the rate of all forms of skin cancer is on the rise. Most notably, the rate of new melanoma cases in the US has tripled between 1975 and 2013, says the National Cancer Institute.

Melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — is related to UV exposure. Both UVA and UVB rays can contribute to melanoma, as a number of studies have shown.

Two other forms of skin cancer — basil cell and squamous cell — are not usually life threatening, but they do cause unwanted changes in the skin’s appearance. They are also related to sun exposure, and are very common. Between 40-50% of people aged 65 or over will be diagnosed with one or the other of these types of skin cancer, says the National Cancer Institute.

Make Sunscreen Part of Your Healthy Skin Lifestyle

Sunblock is not a magic cure-all, but it can help prevent a host of skin problems from sunburn to premature wrinkles, dark spots, sagging, and skin cancer.

It is important to include sunblock in your healthy skin strategy. Remember that UVA rays pass through windows, clouds, and even enter the shade.   Wear sunblock, protective hats, and plan indoor activities during the most dangerous hours of the day.

Now is the time to start protecting your skin. New sunblock formulations are available to help you care for and nourish your skin. I want to encourage you avoid harmful sun exposure, and enjoy your healthiest skin. You can do both with these quality sunscreen formulas and treatments available here at the Optimal Wellness Center.

Skin Care Products

Treatments To Rejuvenate Sun-Damaged Skin

Venus Legacy

venus-legacy-thumbnail

Visibly and painlessly slim your waist, hips and thighs, reduce cellulite, and firm loose skin anywhere on the body – without surgery. Find out about Venus Legacy.

Skin Pen

anti aging treatment: skinpen

Skin Pen works by stimulating new collagen and elastin production, reversing years of sun damage, improving acne scars and enhancing the skin’s overall appearance. Discover Skin Pen.

Cosmetic Acupuncture

cosmetic acupuncture franklin lakes nj

Lift and firm skin around chin and eyes; reduce wrinkles and fine lines. This ancient healing treatment improves the complexion and leaves the entire face a fresher-looking. Get Details

Bioidentical HRT: The Truth About Hormone Therapy for Menopausal Women

bioidentical hrt
Dr Betty Keller is a menopause specialist and bioidentical hormone doctor who helps you understand and care for your menopause symptoms.

Menopause is a normal stage of life, and some women have symptoms they can take in stride. But for others, mood changes, disturbed sleep, increased urinary issues, and discomfort during sex have too much impact on quality of life and well-being.

Many women have heard that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bioidentical HRT) can help. But there is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion about the safety of HRT medications. More women need access to updated information so they can learn about treatments without fear.

When Menopause Occurs

Menopause is an important health milestone in a woman’s life. A medical definition of menopause refers to the 12 months after a woman’s last period. However, changes in hormone levels occur for most women between the ages of 45 and 55.

Common Symptoms of Menopause

Many women are satisfied that the issues of pregnancy and monthly periods are over. But for some women, these hormonal changes have a major negative impact on their well being:

  • Negative Changes in Mood: Changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect mood. As the body adjusts, some women find it difficult to concentrate or keep from becoming irritable.
  • Painful Intercourse: Lower levels of these hormones make the skin around the vagina thinner and less lubricated. This can make sex painful or uncomfortable.
  • Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Hot flashes are symptoms of menopause that cause sensations of sudden heat in your upper body, neck and face, and may trigger increased perspiration. And when a hot flash is over, you may feel a damp chill. Night sweats (hot flashes that occur during bedtime) can disturb sleep for months at a time for some women.
  • Bladder Control Problems: During menopause, changes in vaginal tissue can impact bladder function. As these tissues become thinner, less elastic, and lose strength, some women find that normal coughing, sneezing or lifting causes uncontrollable leaks. It may be hard to sleep through the night without having to get up and use the bathroom. Some women get painful urinary tract infections more often.
  • Bone Health: If menopause is premature or early, some women may be concerned about bone health.

Women who want to improve their quality of life during menopause have good questions, but may also have doubts about the safety of hormone replacement therapy. The level of distrust and misinformation around HRT is unfortunate.

It is important to inform women about bioidentical HRT, especially those who do not know the benefit of new forms of these hormones.

The Checkered History of HRT

Hormone replacement therapy began to be widely prescribed for menopausal women during the 1980’s and 1990s. HRT usually came in the form of oral tablets called Premarin and Prempro. But many stopped in 2002 with the public reports of health risks by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).

The media widely reported the finding that combinations of hormones used at the time were linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Women were suddenly told to discontinue taking their medications, and there was widespread alarm about unwanted health risks.

What these studies could not show, because of their design, was the role of the synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone used.

Premarin, for example, was processed from the urine of pregnant mares (as the name Premarin reflects). These drugs had adverse affects because the hormones extracted and synthesized in the lab had a different chemical structure than the body’s own forms. As the body processed the synthetic forms, they released harmful byproducts.

What is Bioidentical HRT?

Bioidentical hormone therapy uses hormones that match those made by the human body. In other words, the chemistry of these hormones matches the body’s own estrogen, and the body processes them the same way.

Bioidentical hormones are sometimes called “natural” hormones, which can be very confusing. Many HRT products can claim a “natural” origin, be it plant or animal. The important difference is that bioidentical HRT medications are formulated to act just like the body’s own hormones. The FDA has approved many bioidentical HRT medications for use in treating women with concerns about menopausal symptoms.

More Recent Findings

Research after the WHI study identified important factors that impact the safety and outcome of HRT, such as how soon it begins after menopause, and whether it is taken orally or in other forms. Unfortunately, the news of these findings is much less widespread.

Follow up studies found that the way a treatment delivers hormones also plays a part in how safely the body can use them. Some hormones in pill form carry different risks than those taken through the skin as a cream or gel, for example.

If you were to try to get information on the Internet, it is difficult to know who to believe. Some medical sites continue to share findings of older studies, and some focus on some of the newer studies without making clear what the full range of risks and benefits are.

Talk with a Doctor Who Is Informed about Bioidentical HRT

If you are concerned about symptoms and the safety of HRT, the best step for your health is to become better informed by talking with a knowledgeable doctor you trust.

HRT safety and effectiveness depends on when it starts, how long treatments last, what preparations are used, whether hormones are combined, and how the hormones themselves are formulated.

The benefits of any treatment must certainly outweigh the risks. And you deserve the opportunity to work with a doctor who will carefully assess and diagnose your symptoms and talk with you about the safest, most effective therapy for you.

Bioidentical HRT in Ridgewood, New Jersey

If you are in the Ridgewood, New Jersey area, and want to see bioidentical HRT can help, speak to Dr. Keller at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

Thank you for sharing

When you share, you help friends only YOU can reach! Thank you for liking and sharing this update.

Treating Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain with Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

LDN pain relief

You may have heard of naltrexone as a medication to help people recover from drug dependence. It blocks receptors in the brain for the most addictive drugs, known as opioids. Naltrexone helps to reduce cravings and lowers the risk of relapse, without a negative impact on mood. Naltrexone is safe to use because it is not habit forming.

So what does this drug have to do with fatigue or fibromyalgia relief?

Very low doses of naltrexone have been found to be very helpful to people who are struggling to cope with chronic pain and fatigue, and fibromyalgia.

Low dose naltrexone, or LDN, enables many to find pain relief for symptoms without unwanted side effects. It requires a physician’s prescription. Typically it comes in tablet form that patients usually take at bedtime.

How LDN Works

LDN has been found to impact the production of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. Doctors believe that this medication blocks the brain’s receptors for endorphins, and this stimulates the body to compensate and make more of them.

Endorphins are one of the body’s natural and most powerful anti-depressants and pain relievers. The brain and other parts of the nervous system naturally produce endorphins. Endorphins may boost the immune system, and are known to trigger positive moods and reduce the perception of pain.

Some medical professionals believe that fibromyalgia symptoms are linked to problems with the body’s stress response system controlled by the HPA axis. This part of the brain regulates the body’s response to stress and sensation of pain. The HPA axis is the complex interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the adrenal glands.

The HPA axis also produces endorphins. When this area is not functioning properly, many medical professionals believe it throws the body’s hormone chemistry out of balance, and impairs the body’s pain regulation systems.

There is some controversy about how much the HPA axis and endorphins impact fibromyalgia pain. But evidence has made it clear that LDN helps many people who suffer fibromyalgia pain to find lasting relief.

Results of Treatments with LDN

In my practice, I see patients make remarkable improvement with LDN. Instead of having to rely on strong painkillers with undesirable side effects, patients find that low doses of naltrexone allow them to reduce or eliminate their use of other drugs. While a small amount of pain may still exist, it is mild when compared to the excruciating levels that people with fibromyalgia can suffer without effective treatment.

LDN allows many patients to sleep better, manage lower levels of pain much more easily, and feel more positive about life.

LDN therapy for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue is not a simple cure. It is part of a treatment plan that you and your doctor create together. Treatment plans vary for each individual, and may include other changes that keep your symptoms in check.

At the Optimal Wellness Center, we find the best results combine therapies including acupuncture, hormone balancing treatments, and healthy life habits such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and choosing nutritious foods and supplements wisely.

If you are in the Ridgewood, New Jersey area , and want to see if LDN could work for you, speak to Dr. Keller at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

Thank you for sharing

This information can help people you know, especially when you share it! Thank you for liking and sharing this update.

Collagen Induction Therapy for Younger-Looking Skin: Your Micro-needling Questions Answered

smooth face skin

What is micro-needling as skincare treatment?

Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) also known as micro-needling, is a skin treatment that stimulates your skin’s natural ability to heal itself. Micro-needling uses tiny sharp needles to create hundreds of micro-channels in your skin.

In response to these micro injuries, your body releases growth factors and cytokines, which trigger the wound healing process. During this process, the body produces more collagen and elastin, essential components of your skin that contribute to its structural integrity and elasticity. This revitalizes the natural structure of your skin, resulting in firmer, smoother, younger-looking skin with a healthy, even glow.

What is the device called the Skin Pen?

The micro-needling device we use is called the Skin Pen because it is shaped like a pen, but that’s where the similarity ends.

The device allows a medical professional to safely use a cartridge with 12 tiny surgical-grade needles, which makes microscopic punctures in the skin’s surface. The applicator is automated for precise, safe control. Each cartridge is only used once per person for each treatment — and discarded afterward.

What is a treatment like?

We gently clean the area of the skin being treated, and apply a numbing cream. You relax for about 20 minutes and the numbing cream is washed off before your procedure. Most patients find the treatments non-painful, as the numbing cream ensures your comfort. Some patients experience a mild sensation on the skin, mostly notably the vibration of the device as it glides over the skin. Micro-needling of your face takes approximately 30 minutes.

How soon will you see results?

There is some redness immediately after the treatment, which naturally begins to reduce within hours. A post-procedure skin care formula helps calm and nourish the skin for its natural repair and remodeling process.

The results continue to improve over time. As increased elastin and collagen form, you see a softer, smoother, more even complexion, reduced fine lines and wrinkles. Scars and stretch marks are also reduced as new collagen and elastin remodel the skin. Some patients see the greatest improvement starting from 2-4 weeks after beginning treatments. Those who are familiar with Skin Pen notice their skin continues to improve over time for up to 3-6 months after the last treatment.

What skin conditions can it improve?

Skin Pen is ideal for people with skin damage due to sun exposure, acne, or stretch marks.

Micro-needling benefits skin health by reducing

  • Age spots
  • Mild to moderate acne scars
  • Large pores
  • Hyperpigmentation (unusual uneven complexion)
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Stretch marks

Benefits include:

  • Revitalizing your skin
  • Healthier younger skin
  • Improved skin appearance
  • New collagen to reverse years of sun damage

Where on the body can micro-needling be performed?

The procedure is an excellent treatment for the face, neck and décolletage. Unlike photo laser peels or chemical peels, micro-needling causes little if any peeling or sloughing of the skin. It can also be used on the arms, hands, legs, back, and abdomen.

Is there any downtime?

Each person’s experience will vary. Usually the treated areas are “pink “ to “light red” after the procedure. This usually quickly resolves over the first 24 hours, some patients may see redness for up to 48 hours.

We use Skinfuse post procedural skin care products that help reduce downtime. It is clinically proven to augment micro-needling’s ability to increase collagen and elastin, enhancing your results.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of recommended treatments will depend on the condition of the skin you want to improve.

For example, a treatment for mild scarring may need a series of 3 treatments about 4 weeks apart.

We work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your goals. Our aim is to plan only the treatments you need to give you the optimal results and help you maintain them.

Got more questions?

You can schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Betty Keller by calling the Optimal Wellness Center at 201-485-7930, or make your appointment online.

Visit or Skin Pen page on our website to see before-and-after photos and more information: See the Skin Pen at the Optimal Wellness Center.

Get more anti-aging information: Like us on Facebook and join our free wellness newsletter!

The Four Essential Supplements For Optimal Wellness

The Four Essential Supplements
by Dr. Betty Keller

The Four Essential Supplements
With so many vitamins and supplements available, what are the essential supplements we need for optimal health?
A good Multivitamin, a little insurance policy to ensure you are getting essential vitamins and minerals. Despite eating a healthy diet it is very difficult to get all the essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally.
A good probiotic, probiotics are naturally occurring “good bacteria” they are essential for your optimal wellness. They manufacture key nutrients, and limit unhealthy bacteria. Stress, poor diet and antibiotics can disrupt the balance, a good probiotic can return your intestinal tract to the proper balance. They improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and help prevent inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease.
Fish oils, which are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to good health. These essential fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent chronic disease. They support the immune system, the cardiovascular system, and help with cognitive function, attention, mood, and memory.
Vitamin D is involved in playing an essential role in preventing disease. It is essential for muscle strength, helps build bones, strengthens the immune system and has both anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Low vitamin D is associated with chronic pain, low mood and dementia. Having adequate levels is essential for optimal health.
Make sure you get good quality supplements, vitamins and that the fish oil is purified and free from heavy metals and other contaminants. I recommend using Metagenics brand for multivitamins, probiotics, fish oil and Vit D.

Discuss with your Doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.
To order products from Metagenics.com:
Web Address:https://optimalwellnessctr.com/store/metagenics-supplements/
Our Practitioner Code: drkeller

Natural Ways to Firm Legs and Abdomen This Spring

skin firming cellulite reduction

Do you want a flatter belly without surgery? Wonder how to get smoother thighs without painful liposuction or laser therapy?

If you don’t want to give up wearing shorts or your favorite beachwear, but are frustrated by the problem of belly fat and cellulite, here are some natural and cosmetic treatments that can help.

Eat Well; Drink More Water

How can drinking water and eating right help tone skin and manage cellulite? It helps to understand what causes skin to loosen and dimple.

“Cellulite is caused by fibrous connective cords that tether the skin to the underlying muscle,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “As fat cells accumulate, they push up against the skin, while the long, tough cords pull down. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling.”

Inflammation and poor muscle tone can worsen the dimpling effect of fat under the skin. As the body works to rid itself of toxins and waste, fluids such as lymph accumulate under the skin.

Drinking water and eating healthy foods (to reduce toxins) helps your body reduce inflammation, burn fat, and nourish and hydrate your skin.

How Exercise Helps

Regular Exercise can be very beneficial to reducing the cellulite and firming skin. Without exercise, the body is less able to rid itself of excess fluids and wastes that build up and cause inflammation. Improving circulation and muscle tone helps the body flush this buildup.

Muscles that are firm and toned also do a better job of burning fat than weak, out of shape muscles. Smaller fat deposits help skin appear less baggy and be less dimpled.

Radiofrequency Therapy with the Venus Legacy System

Sometimes exercise and diet don’t do enough to reduce stubborn cellulite or loose skin. That’s when radiofrequency can be a very effective procedure without requiring painful surgery.

Radiofrequency therapy — with the Venus Legacy system — uses medically approved energy waves to firm the skin and reduce layers of fat and cellulite underneath.

The energy generates a gentle, safe amount of heat, which stimulates the body’s natural healing response. The healing response helps produce collagen in the skin, and break down fat deposits below.

Collagen is present throughout the skin and connective tissues and supports them. It allows skin to stretch in all directions and return to its original shape.

Skin sags because of a breakdown in collagen. But our bodies regularly make the most collagen only through about age 25. Afterward, the rate of production slows, and does not keep up with the wear and tear of sun exposure and the effects of free-radical damage and aging on collagen.

How It Works

Radiofrequency stimulation triggers the body to produce more collagen.

That is how the Venus Legacy system works. The procedure uses a safe applicator to gently warm the skin and cellulite layers. Not only does it stimulate the body to make new collagen. It also reduces the amount of fat underneath by causing fat cells to break down and shrink. The body removes the excess fat naturally as waste.

Radiofrequency has been used medically for years to promote deep-tissue healing. And because it is also so effective in firming and restoring younger looking contours, it has become a leading non-surgical cosmetic procedure. Venus Legacy is the radiofrequency system I use, with very satisfying results.

With Venus Legacy, I have seen patients lose inches from their waist, thighs and buttocks when they follow a recommended series of treatments. Venus Legacy provides more effective skin firming, cellulite reduction and body contouring than any known cream, or deep-tissue massage system. It is the most effective rejuvenating procedure to firm skin on the abdomen (and anywhere else) and reduce cellulite without surgery.

An additional benefit – it feels great! The gentle warmth of the treatments allow patients to relax and de-stress during the procedure. Results are visible immediately. There is no downtime and no pain, and patients return to their regular activities feeling — and looking — rested and rejuvenated.

Have Realistic Expectations

Changes in skin appearance and texture can be managed, but preventing all signs of change may not be realistic.

To some extent, looser skin and cellulite come with aging. Certain changes may run in the family. For example, if your mother’s hips and thighs became dimpled with cellulite as she grew older, your skin show similar changes as you approach middle age. It may not be realistic to expect to get rid of it completely, but you can take action to minimize its appearance.

When you take care of yourself, you can stay trim and feel great. You do not have to give up wearing shorts or your favorite beachwear, or feel embarrassed about the changes to your body over time. Now you know some simple healthy habits and procedures to help you enjoy a firmer looking abdomen and smoother thighs — and feel happier with the results.

For your Venus Legacy Consultation in Ridgewood, NJ, contact us online or call us at 201-485-7930

Fed up with Hot Flashes and Nights Sweats? Tips to Manage them Naturally

manage hot flashes naturally

Discover natural ways to ease night sweats and dietary supplements that help. For night sweats bioidentical hormones may also help you get the rest and relief you need.

Hot flashes and night sweats can be very disruptive, even if you expect them as part of menopause. Sometimes their severity can come as a surprise. Symptoms may be so intense they wake you up at night.

Night sweats are related to daytime hot flashes, and are usually associated with menopause. However, both hot flashes and night sweats can happen in younger women, pregnant women, and those with an underlying medical condition, or high levels of stress.

What Causes Night Sweats

Night sweats occur when blood vessels open in the skin to release heat. You can perspire enough to soak your nightclothes and be awakened by cold wet sleepwear and damp sheets.

Night sweats happen when the body-temperature control system in the brain — the hypothalamus — triggers your body’s cooling system. The hypothalamus also controls stress hormones, sex hormones, and is sensitive to hormonal changes, including changes in estrogen levels. It can trigger the body to rapidly cool down in response to lower levels of estrogen.

Natural Ways to Manage Symptoms

The foods you eat and the way you manage stress can have a big impact on night sweats and hot flashes. You can reduce and manage the symptoms by knowing how to manage stress, take care of your body, and by learning which foods to avoid and why.

For example, excess sugar in the diet triggers a stress response in the body – including an increase in blood pressure, and heart rate, which can elevate body temperature. The hypothalamus is already hypersensitive to signals of overheating, and is can contribute to hot flashes and night sweats.

What other foods can you avoid to help you minimize night sweats? Here are a few to avoid:

  • Hot foods (served at a high cooking temperature)
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine or other stimulants

Here are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you calm your temperature regulation system:

  • Practice meditation to decrease adrenal hormones
  • Dress is loose clothing – for easier temperature regulation
  • Keep room temperature lower especially at night (ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees)
  • Exercise daily – do aerobics to get your heart rate up; and sweat will help decrease stress hormones
  • Eat a low glycemic whole food diet
  • Get 8 hours of sleep

These Dietary Supplements Can Help

Dietary supplements and herbs can be beneficial but should be taken under the guidance of your physician.

I recommend these 4 essential supplements for optimal health (Four Essential Supplements):

  • A good multivitamin
  • Fish oil
  • Probiotic (“good bacteria” in yogurt, sourdough bread and also capsule form)
  • Vitamin D

Two additional supplements have been shown to reduce night sweats. The first is Estrovera by Metagenics, a tablet formulated using the extract of Siberian rhubarb, which has been clinically proven to reduce symptoms. I have found it to be especially  helpful in reducing night sweats.

I also find many of my patients find Kavinace Flash-Ease by Neuroscience to be effective in reducing hot flashes, night sweats and helping them get and stay asleep. It contains black cohosh in addition to ashwagandha (a restorative herb which helps balance stress hormones). A naturally occurring amino acid known as 5-HTP which helps increase serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone).

It is important to discuss your options fully with your doctor. If you plan to take herbs or supplements, it is important to do so under the guidance of your physician. Just because a preparation is ‘natural,’ does not mean it’s free of side effects or possible interactions with other treatments you are taking. Herbs and supplements can have an impact on each other, or interact with prescription medication or over-the-counter medications.

Night Sweats and Bioidentical Hormones

I find that for many patients, a personalized treatment plan that combines, lifestyle changes, diet changes, exercise, stress reductions, and supplements helps provide relief from night sweats. But for other patients, these changes may not provide enough relief or control over symptoms. In these cases, low dose bioidentical hormones may provide the relief you are looking for.

Find many of the supplements we recommend at:

http://drkeller.metagenics.com. Use code: drkeller

6 Ingredients Your Skin Loves – And Which Skin Care Products Have Them

ID-100129500
Find out which nutrients keep skin looking its best.

 

Science tells us why skin wrinkles, loses shape and gets blotchy with age.

Sun damage usually does the most to age the skin. The UV rays from too much exposure break down collagen — the support structure for skin.

Damage also comes from toxins, environmental pollution and poor food choices. As our bodies break down foods high in sugar and chemicals (most processed foods!), a torrent of free radicals is unleashed. These unbalanced molecules change the structure of nearby cells by breaking off the particles they need.

Unless we help, this damage can outpace the body’s ability to repair it — which is a job for antioxidants. Without enough antioxidants — found in healthy foods and the right skin care products — damage becomes visible over time, in ways that age us: more wrinkles, age spots and loose skin.

Which Skin Care Products Ingredients Matter?

The quality of your skin care products can make a real difference to help rejuvenate your skin.

Not all products contain the ingredients that improve skin health. Here are 6 important ingredients that help your skin regain and keep its healthy, younger-looking properties. And you’ll find links to formulations that we have selected to help replenish the ingredients that help your skin look its healthiest and best.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vital part of healthy skin. As an antioxidant, it reduces cell damage from sun exposure and from free radicals. It also helps the body make collagen – the most common protein in the body. Collagen provides a structure for growth of new cells in healing and helps the stay firm and keep its shape.

In skin care formulas, Vitamin C helps reduce skin wrinkling and decrease damage to collagen. When used for at least 12 weeks, it can help stimulate collagen production, and help the skin appear smoother. Dr. Keller’s formulations balance the correct amount of vitamin C with other ingredients in these products (see links for details):

Retinol

Retinol is one form of Vitamin A. At first it was called the “anti-infective vitamin” because of its role in the immune system. It helps reduce the formation of cancer cells in the skin, breast and other organs. It also helps regulate over 500 genes involved in differentiating cells and making proteins.

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that helps rejuvenate skin. Skin creams with the right formulation of retinol, in the right concentration, help restore elasticity, and reduce wrinkles, and dark spots caused by sun exposure. Too much can cause redness and peeling, so using the correct formula is important, such as these:

Green Tea

The flavonoids in green tea protect and help rejuvenate the skin. Flavinoids are named for the Latin flavus, for “yellow,” their natural color. Many are antioxidants, reducing cellular damage from unstable molecules called free radicals.

Studies find that skin treated with formulas containing green tea is more resistant to sun damage. When applied to the skin, it also helps reduce inflammation and reduce fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. You can find green tea preparations for skin in these skincare formulas:

Ceremides

Ceremides are vital to the skin’s role as a barrier. The word comes from cera, Latin for wax. They are found in the cell membranes, and in the coating on the skin of newborn babies.

Ceramides help the skin retain moisture, while keeping out infection.   As we age, ceramide levels in the skin go down. They can be replenished through well-formulated skin care products such as these:

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red grapes, berries, peanuts and red wine. It has been found to aid in the therapy of skin conditions, especially in helping the body defend against the damage of UV radiation from too much sun exposure. UV radiation is linked with the breakdown of the elastic proteins in the skin, and increased incidence of skin cancer.

Studies show that resveratrol, when used regularly in a skin treatment plan, can help skin regain elasticity, decrease age spots and reduce acne. A skin care formula with resveratrol:

Gylcolic Acid

Glycolic acid cleans and exfoliates the skin. A correct formula safely removes dead outer layer of skin, which sends a message to the live cells below to build more collagen. This reveals the healthy glow of your complexion from the well-nourished, skin underneath.

As a cleanser, glycolic acid reduces the discoloration of acne and age spots.

Skincare products with safe glycolic acid formulations are:

Sources:

Image courtesy of Marin on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top Skin-Firming, Fat-Reduction Treatment With No Pain, No Downtime




wrinkle reduction skin tightening
Our clients say the best non-surgical treatment for skin tightening and fat reduction for the face, neck and body is Venus Legacy

See firmer, smoother skin, and melt fat away with painless treatments. No downtime!

Sounds too good to be true? Not with the Venus Legacy, it delivers excellent results, without surgery, injections or pain!

Why the Skin Creases and Sags Over Time

Being born with good genes can help some of us look younger than our years. But as we age, we lose the collagen and elastin that gives our skin that youthful glow. Even if you eat healthy foods and exercise well, you may have a few trouble spots that you just can’t get rid of. The torso, thighs, arms, neck and face are prone to wrinkles, stubborn fat deposits and loose skin as we age.

wrinkle reduction face eyes neck

How Can You See Younger Looking Skin – Without Surgery?

Venus Legacy is not only the latest in non-invasive, medical aesthetics; treatments are also amazingly effective in achieving an optimal natural and youthful result for skin tightening and fat loss. It gently uses magnetic energy and radio frequency to stimulate the skin’s elastic properties and melt fat.  No invasive surgery is needed. Venus Legacy treatments look great immediately – it requires no downtime.

Venus Legacy is an exciting option because it is a non-invasive, pain-free solution for treating cellulite and wrinkles, contouring the body, and toning the face, neck and body for a sculpted, toned and natural look. Your younger appearance is natural looking — not ‘fake’ — because the process stimulates the body’s own deep, natural healing response.

How It Works, and How Soon

skin firming cellulite reductionThe Venus Legacy treatments are not only the latest in modern technology, but they are also hassle-free.

 

Venus Legacy combines two of the most successful medical technologies into one very effective treatment. The treatment consists of an exclusive combination of magnetic pulses and radio frequency. A trained medical professional uses an applicator on the treatment area in a painless, risk-freeprocedure that works. The treatments are so comfortable, that, in fact, you may fall asleep because of the soothing, warming feeling.

Patients can expect immediate results after one session and permanent results can be acquired in as little as two to four treatments.

Where It Works

venus-legacy-sbVenus Legacy can be applied to all skin types and body parts, making this procedure ideal for face, neck, arms, torso, thighs, and buttocks. This is an all-in-one procedure used to tighten skin, improve elasticity, trim circumference, reduce fat and cellulite, and reduce wrinkles for both men and women.

High Satisfaction for Patients

Patients have been thrilled (some are ecstatic) with the difference in their appearance. Appointments take only 20 to 30 minutes,fitting easily into your day, since you’re able to return to daily activity immediately after a Venus Legacy Session.  Enjoy relaxing while your skin rejuvenates without any inconvenient down time from your schedule.

We asked our patients why they love the Venus Legacy and here is what some of them had to say.

 

I love the way my face has a refreshed glow immediately after my treatments. I started doing Venus legacy when I turned 50! I have been keeping up with a treatment every 4 months and love the way I look. JK -Wyckoff, NJ

 

I love that Venus Legacy is painless and I can stop in on my lunch break and go back to work without having to take time off from work. I also love the results! NL – Mahwah, NJ

 

I love the way Venus Legacy tightened my skin and reduced my little stubborn belly. I eat well and exercise regularly but it just wouldn’t budge. So happy withth the results I’m doing my love handles next. KP – Midland Park, NJ

 

I love the way Venus legacy tightened the skin on my arms, I had crapy skin and was too embarrassed to wear sleeveless shirts or dresses. Now my arms look fabulous, cant wait to wear my summer clothes. SL – Ridgewood, NJ

 

I love the way Venus Legacy helped make me look my best at my son’s wedding. We timed it so I started 3 months before the wedding and I had a touch up the day before! I love the natural refreshed look. MC – Saddle River, NJ

 

I love how Venus Legacy gives natural looking results. I love that it stimulates my body to produce collagen. I just didn’t want to have injections and fillers. AH – Franklin Lakes, NJ

 

I love that I can put off the signs of aging by starting Venus Legacy now while I still have a youthful appearance. I plan on keeping up with my treatments as part of my regular beauty regime. MG – GlenRock, NJ

 

I love that the Venus Legacy made my thighs smooth, I couldn’t believe the results. I love the way I look in my shorts! SG – Ridgewood, NJ

How to Find out More

You can view before and after photos, and learn more about the treatment on our Venus Legacy page.  You can also contact Dr. Betty Keller with your questions, and make an appointment for a free consultation by calling 201-485-7930.

Want to run this by a friend? Just click to share–

Want Beautiful Skin? Try Adding These Whole Foods To Your Diet.

        Want  Beautiful SkinTry Adding These Whole Foods To Your Diet.    

 

vegan-salad-berries-green-nuts-65544183

There are many whole foods that can  help promote healthy beautiful skin. Eating a variety of these healthy foods can give your skin a natural glow! Whole foods provide your skin with the nutrients it needs to maintain skin health. Try adding these foods to your daily diet, your skin will thank you!

Green Leafy Vegetables, especially Spinach are loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants that help provide protection from the damaging rays of the sun.

Citrus fruits, are loaded with Vit C, a powerful antioxidant that also helps support collagen production.

Berries, are full of antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which can age your skin prematurely.

Apples, in addition to having Vitamin C, which helps with collagen formation, apples also contains copper.  Copper is needed to produce melanin the skin pigment that helps protect your skin from UV damage.

Nuts,  walnuts are a good sources of omega three fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in your skin. They also contain Vitamins B and E, which help prevent damage to your skin cells.

Share this with your friends!

Reverse The Signs Of Aging With Venus Legacy!

diagram-venus

Looking to reduce the natural signs of aging? Then Venus Legacy is the answer your looking for. It is the best non invasive solution for skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, body contouring, fat, cellulite and stretch mark reduction.

Like our Facebook page in the month of February and receive 50 dollars off a series of Venus Legacy treatments.

To find out how so many patients have received superior results at The Optimal Wellness Center in Ridgewood New Jersey, click on the following link

.https://optimalwellnessctr.com/venus-legacy-treatments/

 

 

Medical Acupuncture

 

Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture: What is it?

Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting very thin needles, or a cool laser, at very precise acupuncture points. It is used to relieve pain, treat a wide range of illnesses, and promote health.

What is Medical Acupuncture? Is it Different from Ordinary Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old medical art, and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine that has also had through training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use one or the other approach, or a combination of both as the need arises, to treat an illness.

What is the Scope of Medical Acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is a system, which can influence three areas of health care:

Promotion of health and well-being
Prevention of illness
Treatment of various medical conditions
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders.

The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:

Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and recurrent chest infections.
Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendonitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.
Acupuncture is particular useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions.

How does Acupuncture work?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needs unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorptions and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the bodies own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body?s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.

Are There Any Side Effects to the Treatment?

Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally, the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.

It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest of rest to overcome.

What Are the Needles Like? Do they Hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not how with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.

Because your doctor uses disposable needles, there is no risk of infection from the treatments.

Does Acupuncture Really Work?

Yes. In the past 2,000 years, more people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today, acupuncture is practiced in Asia, the new disbanded Soviet Union, and in Europe. It is now being used more and more in America by patients and physicians.

Acupuncture treatments can be given at the same time as other techniques are being used, such as conventional Western medicine, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments, and homeopathic or naturopathic prescriptions. It is important that your physician-acupuncturists know everything that you are doing, so he or she can help you get the most benefits from all your treatments

Acupuncture- Dr. Keller is trained in palpatory acupuncture, which combines classical Chinese medical principles with modern pathophysiology in a way that facilitates the understanding and brings out the best in both.

To see if Medical Acupuncture can help you, call us at Optimal Wellness located in Ridgewood New Jersey 201 485 7930

For more information about The Benefits of Medical Acupuncture go to our website at

Optimalwellnessctr.comAcupuncture therapy - Dr. Betty Keller Acupuncture NJ

 

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Acupuncture therapy - Dr. Betty Keller Acupuncture NJWhat is cosmetic

acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture can help to firm

and tone your skin, bringing about a

younger appearance and a greater

sense of well-being.

When applied to skin that is affected

by aging, cosmetic acupuncture helps

minimize wrinkles, lines and can help

to firm loose skin. With treatments, clients often enjoy additional benefits of

acupuncture, such as increased energy, better skin tone and a healthy glow

that comes from a deeper feeling of wellness.

Where is cosmetic acupuncture applied?

Cosmetic acupuncture is used on certain areas of the face.  Specifically,

it’s used to lift and firm up skin that sags around the chin and eyes,

reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It improves the complexion and

gives the entire face a fresher-looking appearance.

 How does cosmetic acupuncture help

you look younger?

The treatment uses acupuncture needles.  These are sterile, stainless

steel needles that are hair-thin. A medical acupuncturist inserts them

painlessly into the skin at specific points.  The body responds to the

insertion point as a micro-trauma, bringing better circulation, and

producing collagen and elastin in the immediate area.  This healing

response results in skin that becomes firmer, with a healthier glow,

and reduced signs of wrinkles.

Comparison to other treatments

Cosmetic acupuncture is much gentler than Botox or surgery.  It

requires no incisions or skin removal, acid peels or injections.

Acupuncture brings about subtle improvement. You will not get

the same results as a facelift, Botox or fillers. The results will also

not change your appearance the way that Botox, surgical facelifts

or under-skin fillers do.  You get a more youthful look naturally,

without the side effects or recovery time needed from these other

treatments.

Cosmetic acupuncture relies on the body’s healing process.  It does

not rely on drugs, chemicals or implants.  It has no side effects, and

avoids the need to spend time healing from more traumatic

procedures.

How many treatments are needed?

To get the desired results, it’s recommended to plan a series of

10 treatments.  Plan two treatments per week for 5 weeks.

Afterward, you can schedule just one treatment per month

as recommended to maintain your results. Results can last

from 3 to 5 years depending on your age and your schedule

of treatments.

Schedule your treatment at the

Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller is trained in Mei Zen cosmetic acupuncture and

practices at the Optimal Wellness Center, in Ridgewood,

New Jersey. You can start look younger using your body’s

own natural healing response, and feel better too.

Schedule a consultation to see if cosmetic acupuncture is

right for you and to discuss your expectations. Make your

appointment by calling 201-485-7930 or contact Us.

 

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment at the Optimal Wellness CenterFibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes chronic, wide spread musculoskeletal pain, and it is often associated with one or more other symptoms, such as fatigue, stiffness, and insomnia.  The pain of fibromyalgia syndrome (also know as FMS) typically includes particular areas of increased sensitivity called tender points.

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Approximately 2% of the U.S population meets the criteria for FMS that the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established for research purposes.  These criteria require patients to have widespread pain, both above and below the waist and on both sides of the body, for at least three months, in combination with a minimum of 11 of 18 specified tender points.

In actual clinical practice, however, physicians often diagnose FMS in patients who may not meet these criteria. Instead, the diagnosis may be made in people who have a generalized lowering of the pain threshold along with other typical characteristics.

How Common Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia affects more than 3.5million Americans, it affects women, men and children.  People with other rheumatic diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are at greater risk for fibromyalgia.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

The cause of FMS remains unknown.  The current research shows that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that leads to a process called ‘central sensitization’.  A sensitization of the central nervous system is the proposed mechanism for pain.  This means that there is an abnormal pain signaling process in the brain and spinal cord.  The disturbance of sensory processing is most likely a general sensory processing disorder and not pain specific.  People with fibromyalgia are also frequently sensitive (hyper-responders) not just to pain but also to temperature changes, loud noises, bright lights, smells, medications and chemicals.

Onset and Development

While the symptoms of FMS often develop gradually, up to one-quarter of patients can remember a physical or emotional trauma preceding the onset of symptoms.  Precipitating factors can include both physical trauma including hypermobility, and mental stress and or mental trauma.  Infectious diseases are also commonly seen prior to the onset of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has been reported to follow numerous infections, including viral hepatitis C, parvovirus, Epstein Barr virus, and bacterial infections including Lyme. People with chronic autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis often develop symptoms of fibromyalgia as well.

Current Fibromyalgia Research

Research has shown a number of abnormalities in patients with fibromyalgia. These include sleep disturbances, hormonal abnormalities, metabolic abnormalities and abnormalities in sensory processing.

Sleep Abnormalities and Fibromyalgia

Insomnia is a frequent complaint of patients with fibromyalgia, and abnormalities are commonly seen on sleep electroencephalography (EEG).

Endocrine Factors

Many patients have endocrine abnormalities; there can be abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis (the brain and hormone interactions that regulate the stress response).  Some patients have low levels of insulin like growth factors and growth hormone, which may contribute to postexertional muscle pain. Others may have under an active thyroid.

Metabolic Abnormalities

Several abnormalities in central nervous system fluid have been observed.  These include increased levels of substance P (known to influence pain perception) and lowered levels of serotonin (known to influence both mood and pain perception).

Central Sensitization

Fibromyalgia patients have differences in pain perception (with an overall increase in pain sensation) due to central sensitization, which causes a generalized disturbance in the processing of sensory information within the central nervous system. There is extensive evidence supporting this hypothesis. ‘The volume is set too high’.  People with fibromyalgia feel pain from stimuli that would not ordinarily be painful to others.  This happens because their brain and spinal cord are either augmenting normal pain processing or missing some of the filters that usually dampen painful sensation from the periphery.  The end result is that the brain receives more signals indicating pain or other unpleasant sensations.

Symptoms

Diffuse musculoskeletal pain and tenderness are the clinical hallmarks of fibromyalgia.  In general, widespread muscle pain is the predominate symptom. While the sensation of join swelling and pain is not uncommon there is not objective evidence of swelling.

Other symptoms include fatigue, stiffness, muscle tenderness, post-exceptional pain/ fatigue, trouble sleeping, and parenthesis (sensations of numbness). Some people may have heightened sensitivity to temperature changes, smells, sounds, medications and or chemicals.  Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep may make symptoms worse.  Many people have cognitive problems, such as difficulty with memory and vocabulary.

Other central sensitization syndromes

Many patients with fibromyalgia may also have migraines, premenstrual syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, restless leg syndrome, and Raynaud’s syndrome.  The degree of overlap may be significant; for example, one-third of patients with fibromyalgia also fulfill criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  These conditions are felt to be a part of the central sensitization syndrome.

Importance of Confirming Diagnoses

It is important to get the right diagnosis and rule out other causes. Physical exam is usually normal, except for tender points or (allodynia).  Allodynia is the term for the pain evoked by ordinarily non-painful stimuli.

Evaluations

Laboratory tests in fibromyalgia are usually normal.  The following tests should be done to make sure you don’t have any other disorders.  These include: complete blood count (CBC), chemistries (including muscle enzyme tests CPK and aldolase, thyroid function tests, urinalysis, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and a check of autoimmune blood markers such as antinuclear antibody (ANA) and rheumatoid factor (RF).  Other tests may be ordered depending on your history.

Fibromyalgia/ Coexisting Autoimmune Diseases

People who have already been diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder also may develop fibromyalgia syndrome.  FMS patients may have symptoms that are common in autoimmune disorders (such as systemic lupus erythematous and rheumatoid arthritis).  Fibromyalgia may coexist with autoimmune disease in up to one-quarter of patients with systemic lupus and other connective tissue disorders.  However, these other diseases have abnormal laboratory tests and/or other signs to differentiate them from FMS.

Our Philosophy for Treatment

We take an integrative approach, combining Western medicine, therapeutic lifestyle changes, with complementary and alternative therapies.  A patient centered holistic approach is taken, which takes into account all aspects of our patients, including physical, mental, and emotional.  We seek to support the body’s natural healing process.  First we do a comprehensive evaluation, which includes a detailed history, review of your records, and physical.  Appropriate tests are used to confirm your diagnosis.  This is the most crucial part of your first consultation.  Your individual treatment plan will include a comprehensive plan looking at all aspects, physical, mental, and emotional.  We address every symptom as part of a whole.  There is a complex interconnection between mind and body.  We look to support the body’s natural healing system. We start by evaluating your diet.  Recommendations are based on your needs as well as evaluation of any food sensitivities.  We may recommend medical foods, medications, herbs, nutritional supplements, or vitamins based on your unique needs.

We Also Focus on Teaching Stress Management and Relaxation Skills

We focus on mind body techniques to elicit the relaxation response to reduce the harmful effects of stress on your health.  The relaxation response helps your body heal.

We want to educate our patients on so they can take control of their health/wellness: We are here to guide and support our patients and help them strengthen and heal.

Another integral part of healing includes Cognitive Restructuring Techniques

Cognitive restructuring techniques are taught to stop automatic negative thoughts from worsening your physical symptoms.  Replacing them with thoughts that heal your body.

Exercise/Condition

Exercise is essential for the healing process.  Exercise (the right amount) is part of every treatment plan.  We may also recommend medical acupuncture and or laser acupuncture.  Acupuncture helps the body heal and has been found to be very beneficial in treating pain syndromes and relieving stress.  Additional recommendations may include, but are not limited to, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

 

Want To Look Your Best For The Holidays? Venus Legacy Can Help!

Venus Legacy Special Offer

201-485-7930

Venus Legacy Offer
Venus Legacy is currently the

#1 skin tightnening treatment in the world.

The best solution for stubborn areas of fat, cellulite and wrinkles — Finally a non-invasive and

painless solution without any downtime! Venus Legacy treatments tighten and smooth skin on the face,

neck and entire body. Our clients experience firmer skin, softening of wrinkles and a more youthful

appearance. Body treatments show reduced cellulite and a more contoured figure.

Venus Legacy has emerged as a new gold standard anti-aging treatment.

I loved my Venus Legacy experience.  I started seeing results immediately and over time the

results were amazing.  I would do it all over again.  Thank you, Dr. Betty Keller! –

J.D., Bergen County

Venus Legacy Before and AfterCall today to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr Betty Keller

| 201-485-7030

*only available if scheduled before 11/30

The Power Of Your Mind Is The Key To Successful Weight Loss!

The Power Of Your mind Is The Key To Successful Weight Loss

In order to consistently change the way you eat, you need to change the way you think about eating. Many of us have lost and regained the same 5, 10, 20 or more pounds only to see it creep back on and unfortunately along with a few extra pounds. It can be discouraging once we lose the weight somehow our old habits that caused us to gain weight in the first place return. The only way to consistently lose weight and keep it off is to change the way we think. We need to develop a plan to control negative thoughts that sabotage and undermine our sense of control. We need to choose an eating plan that we can live with for life. Diets do not work in the long run. Changing your lifestyle, including, how you think about food, what and how much you eat, and engaging in regular activity. In addition, we need to develop ways to counter act the effects of excessive stress in our lives and make sure we get enough good quality sleep. These changes not only will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight you will also feel better, have more energy, a more positive outlook and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease.

How can we change our thoughts? One way is through Cognitive Behavior Therapy. CBT has been very successful in helping people control their eating. CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps you identify these negative or unhelpful thoughts that can sabotage your healthy lifestyle. This form of therapy helps you develop effective solutions. The basis of CBT is awareness and change. You learn to identify negative thinking patterns, and develop tools to challenge these unhelpful thoughts and make choices that are positive. There are many books available as well as certified CBT therapists that can help you get started. A great way to learn more about CBT and how it can help you lose weight and keep it off is to read:

The Diet Trap Solution by Dr. Judith S. Beck

 

At The Optimal Wellness Center we take a holistic approach to weight loss. Including using CBT techniques to help our patients successfully lose and keep the weight off.

Optimal Wellness Center is located at 172 Franklin Ave Suite 4A Ridgewood NJ 07450

Want To Lose Weight? Watch your Portion Size!

 

Portion Size

It’s about the portion size!

Lifestyle changes that lead to a lighter healthier you.

Watch your portion size

Losing weight is a matter of eating less and moving more. Calories in minus calories burned determine your weight. Not so fast, it also has to do with the types of foods you eat and when. We will discuss that later. More importantly if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make permanent lifestyle changes or it will just creep back on. Here are some small changes you can make which can add up to big results, a lighter and healthier you.

GIVE UP THE SUPERSIZE!

Watch your portions; let me repeat that portions do matter. Even healthy foods contain calories. Our brains have been “hijacked with supersized portions, giant bagels, commercials of skinny women holding supersized cereal bowls, (Special K), restaurant, portions are frequently 2 to 3 times the healthy serving size your body needs. You need to retrain your brain to recognize the correct portion size. Measure, measure, measure. Try this trick pour yourself what you think is a serving size of cereal and then in another bowl actually measure the 2/3rd of a cup serving. Chances are you poured two to three times the serving size which means you are eating two to three times more that you should. This may be the reason the pounds are not coming off even though you increased your activity level.

Next replace your large dinner plates with smaller salad size plates, you will naturally give yourself smaller portions. If you fill up a big plate you will be doubling or tripling the portion sizes, and eating far more calories then your body needs. If you have a smaller plate your brain will be satisfied with the smaller portions, the brain registers that your plate is full. Again, measure until you know exactly what a serving size looks like.

Here are some guidelines. Your fist equals about 1 cup, the palm of your hands is about 3 to 4 oz. serving of chicken fish or meat. Your thumb is about 1 oz. (cheese) a tennis ball is about a half cup of fruit or vegetables your thumb tip is about 1 tsp. a small handful of nuts is about 1 oz. (20 almonds)

Also serve yourself from the stove, never bring serving bowls to the table, it is too easy to keep having additional servings. If you have to get up from the table to get a serving you will be less likely to over eat.

We all know when we go out to eat the portion sizes are at least twice what we need to be eating. Try ordering a salad (dressing on side) and appetizer instead of an entrée or ask to have half your entrée wrapped up to take home before they serve it. Consider splitting an entrée with someone.

Remember eating was meant to be enjoyable, enjoy your food. Eat slowly it takes time to signal the brain that it’s full.

Portion Size

It’s about the portion size!

Lifestyle changes that lead to a lighter healthier you.

Watch your portion size

Losing weight is a matter of eating less and moving more. Calories in minus calories burned determine your weight. Not so fast, it also has to do with the types of foods you eat and when. We will discuss that later. More importantly if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make permanent lifestyle changes or it will just creep back on. Here are some small changes you can make which can add up to big results, a lighter and healthier you.

GIVE UP THE SUPERSIZE!

Watch your portions; let me repeat that portions do matter. Even healthy foods contain calories. Our brains have been “hijacked with supersized portions, giant bagels, commercials of skinny women holding supersized cereal bowls, (Special K), restaurant, portions are frequently 2 to 3 times the healthy serving size your body needs. You need to retrain your brain to recognize the correct portion size. Measure, measure, measure. Try this trick pour yourself what you think is a serving size of cereal and then in another bowl actually measure the 2/3rd of a cup serving. Chances are you poured two to three times the serving size which means you are eating two to three times more that you should. This may be the reason the pounds are not coming off even though you increased your activity level.

Next replace your large dinner plates with smaller salad size plates, you will naturally give yourself smaller portions. If you fill up a big plate you will be doubling or tripling the portion sizes, and eating far more calories then your body needs. If you have a smaller plate your brain will be satisfied with the smaller portions, the brain registers that your plate is full. Again, measure until you know exactly what a serving size looks like.

Here are some guidelines. Your fist equals about 1 cup, the palm of your hands is about 3 to 4 oz. serving of chicken fish or meat. Your thumb is about 1 oz. (cheese) a tennis ball is about a half cup of fruit or vegetables your thumb tip is about 1 tsp. a small handful of nuts is about 1 oz. (20 almonds)

Also serve yourself from the stove, never bring serving bowls to the table, it is too easy to keep having additional servings. If you have to get up from the table to get a serving you will be less likely to over eat.

We all know when we go out to eat the portion sizes are at least twice what we need to be eating. Try ordering a salad (dressing on side) and appetizer instead of an entrée or ask to have half your entrée wrapped up to take home before they serve it. Consider splitting an entrée with someone.

Remember eating was meant to be enjoyable, enjoy your food. Eat slowly it takes time to signal the brain that it’s full.

10 Tips To Help You Lose Weight and Get Healthier.

Here are 10 basic tips to start you on your way to permanent weight loss, one step at a time:

#1 Start with a personal commitment to yourself.  Before you can make changes that last, promise yourself that you are doing this for real.  No medical consultation in the world is going to make a difference if you are not committed to making changes happen.  Your progress in choosing foods, activities and ways to reduce stress only work if you are ready and willing to make the new choices you’re giving yourself.

#2 Find what motivates you and work with that.  Only you know the real reasons you want to make a change.  No one can tell you the right reason. This has to be what you want for yourself.  Think about what means most to you, like “I want more energy and fun playing with my kids,” or “I want to feel more comfortable in my body.”   Write your reason down.  Keep it in mind.  These thoughts will help you make positive, healthier choices.

#3 Say to yourself:  I can do this! Your mind is powerful – the most powerful tool you have.  When you tell yourself “I can,” you’re helping set the course of your actions.  Your actions follow your thoughts.  “I can do this” leads you on to your own personal success.

#4  Look at how you think about food, and change the way you think about it. Food is meant as fuel for your body.  It gives you nourishment and the ability for your body to perform.  People may talk about “comfort” food.  But any “comfort” in eating doesn’t last very long.  Our thoughts and relationships about food are complicated.  Be willing to reflect on your thoughts and feelings about food, and decide which thoughts to keep.#5  Take time to relax and enjoy yourself when you eat.  Enjoy your food.  Be mindful and allow yourself to sit down for your meal, and enjoy every bite. Don’t watch TV while eating, or check your email, or read.  Make meal time a pleasure and a break you take for yourself.

#6 For the first 3 weeks, write down what you eat in a food diary.  This isn’t forever, — it’s good to do at least for the first 21 days.  Keeping a food diary will help you become aware of the new habits and choices you are forming.  It will help keep you on track..

#7 Keep unhealthy foods out of your home.  Remove any foods you’ve decided to keep out of your life for now.  You save yourself a lot of stress and temptation if it’s not in your house.  Make sure you remove trigger foods from your home: those which you can’t stop eating once you get started.  Know that you’re not alone in having foods that are just not safe for you to have nearby:  There’s a reason why certain potato chips makers advertise that “You can’t eat just one.”

#8 Drink water.  Plan times to help yourself to a glass of water.  Drink a glass before you have a meal, and before you have a snack.  When you make sure to give your body enough water, you are less likely to make the common mistake of eating, thinking you’re hungry, when you are actually thirsty instead.  Drinking plenty of water also helps prevent food cravings, and keeps you from feeling fatigue due to dehydration.

#9 Get active.  Find an activity that you enjoy.  Make time to enjoy your activity for at least half an hour, 5 days a week.  Exercise speeds up your metabolism.  If you stay active for 60 minutes a day, you reach your weight loss goals even faster.  In addition to an activity that gives your heart rate and metabolism a healthy boost, find an exercise that helps you improve muscle strength.  Just two days per week of strengthening exercises is enough to improve wellness.  Your doctor can help you find a range of activities that are safe and beneficial to you.   Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

#10 Eat breakfast – don’t skip it.  A healthy breakfast is a signal to get your metabolism going after having no food overnight.  When you skip breakfast, your body response as if you are under stress.  It automatically responds with hormones that tell your body to conserve fat tissue.

Could A Leaky Gut Be The Cause Of Your Symptoms?

Could A Leaky Gut Be The Cause Of Your Symptoms?

Do you suffer from? Fatigue? IBS? Rashes? Or Joint Pain?

A “Leaky Gut” can cause of a wide variety of symptoms and diseases.
Including the following:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fibromyalgia
Food Sensitivities
Diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating or IBS
Rashes, hives, eczema, psoriasis or acne
Allergies, asthma
Joint pains, arthritis
Autoimmune disease, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s disease

Leaky gut syndrome happens when the lining of your intestines are damaged by inflammation. Foods including gluten, highly processed foods, medications, stress, intestinal infections and an imbalance of your intestinal bacterial flora are some of the potential causes of a leaky gut.

When the intestinal lining is damaged, inflammation develops resulting in small holes in the intestinal lining causing increased intestinal permeability. The problem comes from small food particles, and toxins that can now “leak” into your blood stream through these holes. Once these substances enter your body they can trigger an inflammatory immune response, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms and diseases.

How to treat a leaky gut? As long as the intestinal lining is damaged food and toxins will continue to enter your blood stream and continue the inflammatory process.
The way to stop this vicious cycle is to heal your intestinal lining.

At Optimal Wellness we use the 5R Restoration Program

Remove offending substances from the diet, while adding targeted nutritional support to help remove unwanted compounds from the body.

Replace digestive enzymes if needed. Digestive factors and enzymes facilitate the breakdown of food. An insuffiency of these enzymes prevents optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Reinoculate the GI tract with a good probiotic (good bacteria) to rebalance your intestinal flora. This balance is import to your overall health including supporting your immune system, GI health, digestion and intestinal barrier function.

Regenerate the GI mucosa through diet and lifestyle changes, enhanced by nutritional support. If needed we may recommend medical food to help repair and maintain intestinal integrity
Retain the health of your GI tract with nutritional support along with healthy eating, adequate sleep, regular exercise, and stress management.

The Four Essential Supplements

The Four Essential Supplements

With so many vitamins and supplements available, what are the essential supplements we need for optimal health?

A good Multivitamin, a little insurance policy to ensure you are getting essential vitamins and minerals. Despite eating a healthy diet it is very difficult to get all the essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally.

A good probiotic, probiotics are naturally occurring “good bacteria” they are essential for your optimal wellness. They manufacture key nutrients, and limit unhealthy bacteria. Stress, poor diet and antibiotics can disrupt the balance, a good probiotic can return your intestinal tract to the proper balance. They improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and help prevent inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease.

Fish oils, which are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to good health. These essential fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent chronic disease. They support the immune system, the cardiovascular system, and help with cognitive function, attention, mood, and memory.

Vitamin D is involved in playing an essential role in preventing disease. It is essential for muscle strength, helps build bones, strengthens the immune system and has both anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Low vitamin D is associated with chronic pain, low mood and dementia. Having adequate levels is essential for optimal health.

Make sure you get good quality supplements, vitamins and that the fish oil is purified and free from heavy metals and other contaminants. I recommend using Metagenics brand for multivitamins, probiotics, fish oil and Vit D.

Estrogen Dominance

Hormone specialist NJ Dr. Betty Keller identifies insomnia, weight gain, and anxiety among symptoms of estrogen dominance.  Discover Dr. Keller’s holistic treatment approach to restore hormone balance.

Estrogen Dominance:What Every Woman Needs to Know

hormone specialist nj

Estrogen dominance affects about fifty percent of the women in the United States. It describes an imbalance of estrogen the “stimulating hormone,” relative to progesterone the “calming hormone.”

Estrogen and progesterone work with each other to create a balance. Estrogen is a stimulant.  It can induce anxiety, insomnia, and cellular proliferation of breast and uterine tissue. Progesterone is the “calming hormone.” Progesterone helps with anxiety, sleep, mood and inhibits cell proliferation in breast and uterine tissue.

What Is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is a condition in which women can have deficient, normal, or excessive levels of estrogen, but too little progesterone to balance the estrogen level. It is the balance between the two that matters. Women can have low estrogen but relatively lower progesterone and have symptoms of estrogen dominance.

Common symptoms of estrogen dominance can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Agitation
  • Heavy periods
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Fibrocystic disease
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Weepiness
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Food cravings
  • Sweet cravings
  • Muscle pains
  • Joint pains
  • Acne
  • Foggy thinking
  • Memory difficulties
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Insulin resistance
  • Decreased libido
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Fibroids
  • Allergic tendencies
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers

Adrenal Fatigue and Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is often seen in combination with adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue and estrogen dominance share many of the same symptoms.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when your body is exposed to sustained stress.  We often experience stress due to our modern lifestyle. Chronic stress eventually overwhelms our adrenals and they cannot keep up with the increased demand for cortisol, a stress-response hormone. Eventually stress hormone levels decrease and fatigue sets in.

Estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue frequently occur together. Progesterone produces cortisol. Since most estrogen dominance is due to low progesterone, you will also have low cortisol. Most adrenal fatigue results when the adrenal glands are not able to answer the body’s demand for cortisol. So when the adrenals are overtaxed, they rob the body of progesterone to make more cortisol. As more progesterone is shunted to cortisol, you have less progesterone available to balance estrogen. So, it is important to correct not only the hormone imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.  We must also correct the adrenal imbalance.

Restoring Hormone Balance with a Holistic Treatment Plan

At the Optimal Wellness Center, we take a holistic approach to estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue. Often we prescribe appropriate medications including Bioidentical hormones. In addition, we also prescribe medical foods, vitamins, and supplements.

We also address the many lifestyle issues that can affect hormone levels. We work with our patients to develop individualized wellness plans that include diet, exercise and stress management. As our patient, we help you find your own unique balance.

Contact Dr. Betty Keller, Hormone specialist NJ

Talk with Dr. Keller to understand your symptoms or for a consultation for your optimal wellness plan. Contact Dr. Betty Keller at 201 485 7930.

Venus Legacy Sofia Vergaras’s secret for looking her best!!

Ever wonder how popular stars get that red carpet look?
Here’s Sofia Vergara’s secret – Venus Legacy.
The Ultimate, non-invasive and painless aesthetic treatment to regenerate your face neck and body.

  • Non Invasive Body Contouring
  • Cellulite and Wrinkle reduction
  • Skin tightening
  • Stretch mark reduction
  • No down time
  • No Discomfort

See an actual treatment here –

The good news is, you don’t need to go to Hollywood to benefit from Venus Legacy.

Talk with Dr. Betty Keller about convenient, relaxing treatments here in Ridgewood New Jersey:  Request a consultation appointment at 201-485-7930

Summer’s Here! Venus Legacy Can Help You Look and Feel Your Best This Summer!

Venus Legacy reduce belly fat

Venus Legacy

Have you started to notice a few wrinkles? Is your skin starting to lose its youthful appearance? Do you watch what you eat and exercise but still can’t reduce stubborn areas of cellulite or fat? Does your abdomen need a Mommy Makeover? Not interested in surgery or other painful invasive procedures? Then, The Venus Legacy just might be your Best Option to help you look and feel your best!

What Is The Venus Legacy and How Can It Help You!
Venus Legacy is the newest non-surgical and painless aesthetic treatment to regenerate your face, neck, and body. The Venus Legacy has four primary functions:

Skin tightening,

Wrinkle reduction,

Cellulite reduction

Circumferential reduction

The procedure is non invasive, completely painless, with no downtime. For your face and neck, it is the ultimate “antiaging facial” reducing wrinkles, firming and tightening lax skin on your face, jaw line and neck. For your body it will tighten lax skin which occurs as we age and because of sun damage. No amount of exercise will reverse this process. The Venus legacy not only tightens your skin, you will see a reduction in circumference, and cellulite with a more contoured silhouette. It is ideal for combating stubborn areas of fat and cellulite, while diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. The procedure is completely painless, described by patients as feeling like a warm stone massage.

The device works by using a combination of radiofrequency and multipolar magnetic pulse that uniformly distributes a deep heat penetration to the underlying layers of skin. This process triggers the skin to increase the production of collagen and elastic fibers. This process reduces wrinkles, tightens and firms lax skin on your face, neck and body. There are four hand pieces two for the face and two for the body to address your specific needs. All four-hand pieces have a thermal sensor, which allows for precise control of temperature and improved results. The lift FX hand piece for the face and neck and the sculpt FX for the body also have varipulse technology for improved contouring results. The Lift FX is great for reducing fat under the chin and tightening and lifting the neck and jaw line. The sculpt FX allows for amazing body contouring results, cellulite reduction and circumferential reduction.

You can expect to see tighter skin, softening of wrinkles, plumper fuller more youthful appearance, reduced cellulite, reduced circumference and a more contoured silhouette. You will see some results immediately but you will need to do a series of treatments to see the full results. It is recommended that you do six treatments for the face and neck and 8 treatments for the body. You will continue to see improvement for up to three months after competition of your series. In order to maintain results a treatment is recommended ever three to four months.

The treatments are for anyone looking for great results, with out pain, downtime or the risk of complications from surgery or other invasive procedures.

To see more before and after photos go to https://optimalwellnessctr.com/venus-legacy-treatments/

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 2:

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 2: How acupuncture eases pain, improves mood, sleep, and body chemistry
by Dr. Betty Keller
We cannot eliminate stress from our live but we can learn to manage. That’s part of what we learned in Acupuncture and Stress Releif Part 1: How the Body Responds to Stress

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions.

It is well documented that there is a strong connection between the mind and body. Clearly mental well-being is associated with physical well being. Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress and thus help reduce stress and the harmful effects of chronic stress.

Acupuncture: How It Works
The modern scientific explanation is that needling stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals alter the experience of pain and also trigger the release of other chemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones that influence the bodies own internal regulating system.

Acupuncture Decreases Cortisol and Other Stress-Related Hormones

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions. It does this by modulating neurotransmitters and reducing stress hormones. Acupuncture needles stimulate the secretion of endorphins the body’s natural painkillers, as well as decrease cortisol – one of the major stress hormones.

In addition acupuncture increases serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin. These neurotransmitters help reduce pain, elevate mood, relax the body, improve sleep and help with an increased feeling of over all well being. People feel extremely relaxed during and after acupuncture treatments. Post acupuncture treatments, patients feel completely relaxed and often report improved sleep.

Multiple acupuncture treatments appear to up regulate the secretion of neurotransmitter and hormones, which explains the long-term effects of acupuncture. Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress, and is a safe and effective way to treat stress and stress induced disorders.

What is Medical Acupuncture, and Who Can Provide It?

Acupuncture can be part of a doctor’s medical practice. It is part of my practice at the Optimal Wellness Center, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Not all acupuncturists are doctors. A licensed acupuncturist can provide services without being a health practitioner.

As a professional medical doctor, I use acupuncture because the most effective treatment for some people uses contemporary Western medicine combined with complimentary techniques, including acupuncture. Sometimes the best treatment for difficult conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or weight loss, uses both acupuncture treatments and modern medical treatment. This is what integrative medicine is all about.

If you find that traditional medicine alone has not helped improve health for you, you may want to speak with a doctor who takes in integrative approach.

Acupuncture Helps Reduce Stress

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 1: How Your Body Responds to Stress
by Dr. Betty Keller
Stress is a part of our daily lives. In northern New Jersey, where I have my medical practice, we are so busy, we may not even be aware of how we respond to stress every day.

Too much stress can adversely affect your health. It is estimated that between 75 and 90% of primary care visits are in some way attributed to stress.

We all know that having a stress free life is impossible. In fact a strong reaction to stress also known as the fight or flight response is a physiologic response that is designed to increase survival.

Understanding your stress is the first step to having more power over it.
When you are faced with a threat whether real or perceived, your autonomic nervous system sets off a series of chemical reactions involving the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Also known as the HPAaxis. This results in the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucocorticoids (cortisol) from the adrenal glands. This triggers physiological changes that help you survive immediate danger.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, dilates your pupils, increases alertness and decreases blood flow to the skin, and your digestive system. Blood is redirected to your muscles for increased strength. Cortisol increases glucose, which is the main form of energy used by both your brain and body. Cortisol increases your blood sugar by breaking down muscle (protein) and increasing fatty acids to supply energy to the muscles. This increased energy supply gives the body the necessary power to respond to a physically and emotionally demanding situation. It allows you to fight harder or run faster, thus increasing your odds of surviving.

What is cortisol’s role is causing chronic disease? When you are in a stressful situation, large amounts of the hormone cortisol are released into the bloodstream. Over time, prolonged elevations of cortisol can have negative health consequences.

Here is what can happen when stress becomes chronic. Initially you have the alarm phase – the immediate reaction to a stress. Heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid, digestive enzyme production decreases, and blood sugar levels increase.

The alarm phase is usually short, and self limited, hormone levels go back to normal until activated by another threat. No long-term negative health consequences occur. Unfortunately in today’s world many people have chronically elevated levels of these hormones due to stress. Our lifestyles and the world around us are full of potential stressful situations. You may feel continuing stress related to the economy, fear of terrorists, relationships, natural disasters, traffic, your job, etc.

We have become a nation of chronically stressed individuals
Whether perceived or real, stressful situations arise multiple times throughout the day. The stress response was helpful to our ancestors that had to fight or run from a wild bear. Unfortunately in our daily lives, we all have perceived threats through out the day. This stress has contributed to many chronic health problems.

If the stress response continues, the body starts slowing down, as it is unable to continue producing high levels of stress hormones. Eventually, many body functions can become exhausted. Exhaustion due to prolonged stress weakens the heart, blood vessels, adrenal glands, and immune system – partially due to the chronic elevations of cortisol.

Recent research also shows that chronically high levels of cortisol can result in weight gain and changes in body composition too. Cortisol promotes increases in blood sugar, which is converted from protein stores (muscle). This results in the loss of muscle (lean body mass) and in increase in body fat, especially around the mid-section.

One study showed an increased tendency in snacking during times of high cortisol levels in the blood. People who have trouble coping with stress often turn to food for comfort. In addition cortisol causes physiologic changes that increase food intake. Cortisol affects our hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. Cortisol decreases leptin the hormone responsible for telling us we are full. It also increases ghrelin the hormone that tells us we are hungry. Both these hormonal changes cause one to increase their food intake.

In addition cortisol also increases insulin and neuropeptide Y, again both cause you to consume more food, particularly high fat or sugar comfort food. Therefore, chronic stress can lead to weight gain. Weight gain around the middle, known as “central adiposity,” is associated with the metabolic imbalances of “metabolic syndrome”, insulin resistance, and increased risk of heart disease.

So clearly chronic stress has a negative impact on our health causing or exacerbating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety depression, osteoporosis, impaired immunity, dementia, and possibly cancer.

The good news is, your can decide to take care of yourself. You can decide to better manage your stress. A highly effective, but often overlooked therapy is acupuncture. Very briefly, acupuncture enables the body to boost the immune response, and lessen the bad effects of stress on many fronts. More about how acupuncture reduces stress and helps restore healthier conditions in the body is the topic of the next article

Are You Tired Of Being Tired?

Are you tired of being tired? Could you have Chronic Fatigue?
Are you tired of being tired? Could you have Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is overwhelming fatigue that is not explained by a known medical condition.

CFS gets worse with too much activity and is not relieved by rest. The cause of CFS in unknown, however there are many theories. In some cases it may be caused by viral illnesses including Epstein Barr, HHV-6, and parvo.

There is also evidence to suggest it can develop after a bacterial infection like Lyme or prolonged respiratory infections.. There may be impairment of the immune system or hormonal imbalances of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands. Other theories include excessive stress, from any source including, physical, emotional, chronic diseases, or infections. Most likely it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and that multiple triggers alone or in a combination can cause the onset of chronic fatigue.

How is Chronic Fatigued Syndrome Diagnosed?
There is no single test to confirm CFS. To make the diagnosis of CFS underlying medical conditions need to be ruled out. A comprehensive work up should be done and include a comprehensive history, physical and appropriate laboratory tests. Some of the more common causes of fatigue including anemia, diabetes or an underactive thyroid can be easily ruled out with simple blood tests. Additional diagnostic tests should be done based on an individuals symptoms and physical findings.

The diagnosis of CFS is based on the following criteria. Severe persistent or relapsing fatigue lasting six months or more, in which the fatigue is not caused by a known disease, and is not relieved by rest. The fatigue also causes a significant (50%) reduction in a person’s activity level. In addition, to diagnose CFS four out of the following eight symptoms needs to be present.

Not feeling refreshed after sleep
Impaired memory/concentration
Muscle pain
Joint pain, involves one joint to another without swelling or redness
Headaches
Sore throat
Tender cervical/ axillary lymph nodes
Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical exercise
What are the risk factors for developing CFS?
Risk factors for developing CFS include age, female gender, genetics, high stress occupations and or lifestyle.

CFS occurs more commonly in people in there 40s and 50s. Anyone can develop CFS, but it is more common in women, this may be that women are more likely to seek treatment for fatigue. There appears to be a genetic link as well. People with a first degree relative with CFS have an increased risk of developing CFS. Those with high stress lifestyles are also more susceptible to developing CFS.

Associated Conditions
Some people with CFS also fit the criteria for FMS (a chronic pain syndrome). People with CFS who do not get help are at risk of developing anxiety, depression, social isolation, lifestyle changes (reduce activity level), and increased work absences.

Treatment for Chronic Fatigue
The treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must be individualized; a comprehensive holistic approach can help the body return to a healthy state. There is no magic pill that will make your symptoms disappear. It will take time for your body to recover. It is best to find a Practioner who has experience in treating CFS. The first step your doctor should do is to confirm the diagnosis, making sure there is not another cause for your fatigue. After your diagnosis is confirmed they need to help you develop an individualized treatment and wellness plan. Your wellness plan is not limited to but should include the following:

Stress management plan- tools and ways to reduce and manage stress. Excessive production of stress hormones can cause fatigue and make it difficult to recover.
Nutritional plan- you are what you eat you need to follow a whole food diet, avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners, and chemical additives. It is best to work with a practitioner who can help you develop a healthy eating plan. A diet rich in nutrients can help heal your body.
Vitamins/ Supplements- Appropriate vitamins and supplements if indicated.
Medications- Appropriate medications when indicated.
Sleep Hygiene Program- a program to help you get enough restorative sleep, so your body can heal.
Exercise program- individual exercise program tailored to your energy level.
Psychological support: Appropriate support in dealing with emotional issues, making sure to address automatic negative thoughts. Negative thinking can further fatigue your body. A referral to a good mental health professionals can help you when indicated.
Additional Treatments: Additional treatments to consider in your wellness plan include, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, Physical therapy, and Chiropractic therapy.
Support: on going support, working with a doctor who is there to support your recovery. It will take time to recover but with the right treatment and wellness plan you will get better.

10 More Tips For Weight Loss

Some simple weight loss tips make eating less stressful every day. Our first list of 10 weight loss tips offered several ideas that you can make work for you. Here are 10 more to help you reach your weight control goals:

  1. Plan meals and snack for the week. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  2. Never go to the grocery store hungry. Shop only after you have had a healthy meal or snack.
  3. Keep healthy snacks with you for emergencies. (Bottle of water, piece of fruit, small 100 calorie pack of almonds) This way you are less tempted to stop and grab a less healthy alternative.
  4. Practice daily relaxation to help reduce stress hormones like cortisol, which tells your body to hold onto fat.
  5. Increase your daily activity. Take the stairs. When shopping, don’t choose the closet parking spot; take a walk at lunch or after dinner.
  6. Try switching to a smaller dinner plate. Using a smaller plate will help keep your portions size down.
  7. Eat less but more often. Try 3 small meals a day and 2-3 small snacks a day. This keeps your blood sugar stable and avoids it from dropping too low and causing a rebound increased appetite.
  8. Eat more fiber. Aim for 25-35 grams. Fiber helps you feel full, with fewer calories. Foods rich in fiber include oat, bran, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
  9. After your evening snack, close the kitchen and brush your teeth. Don’t go back into the kitchen. If you feel like another snack after you closed the kitchen try sipping on decaffeinated tea or chewing sugarless gum.
  10. Don’t drink your calories. Soft drinks, fruits juices, specialty coffees, and smoothies are full of sugar. This sugar content makes your insulin rise quickly and your appetite increase shortly after drinking it.

Want other ideas to help you lose weight? Dr. Betty Keller specializes in guiding patients through lifestyle changes to improve diet and nutrition to lose weight – with lower stress. Therapies may include traditional Western medicine, dietary supplements, appropriate physical activities and an individual treatment plan created uniquely for you. She treats patients in her Franklin Lakes, New Jersey office – serving Bergen County NJ and surrounding areas. To learn about treatment options with Dr. Keller contact 201-485-7930.

Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture
Acupuncture: What is it?

Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting very thin needles, or a cool laser, at very precise acupuncture points. It is used to relieve pain, treat a wide range of illnesses, and promote health.

What is Medical Acupuncture? Is it Different from Ordinary Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old medical art, and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine that has also had through training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use one or the other approach, or a combination of both as the need arises, to treat an illness.

What is the Scope of Medical Acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is a system, which can influence three areas of health care:

Promotion of health and well-being
Prevention of illness
Treatment of various medical conditions
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders.

The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:

Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and recurrent chest infections.
Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendonitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.
Acupuncture is particular useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions.

How does Acupuncture work?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needs unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorptions and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the bodies own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body?s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.

Are There Any Side Effects to the Treatment?

Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally, the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.

It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest of rest to overcome.

What Are the Needles Like? Do they Hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not how with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.

Because your doctor uses disposable needles, there is no risk of infection from the treatments.

Does Acupuncture Really Work?

Yes. In the past 2,000 years, more people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today, acupuncture is practiced in Asia, the new disbanded Soviet Union, and in Europe. It is now being used more and more in America by patients and physicians.

Acupuncture treatments can be given at the same time as other techniques are being used, such as conventional Western medicine, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments, and homeopathic or naturopathic prescriptions. It is important that your physician-acupuncturists know everything that you are doing, so he or she can help you get the most benefits from all your treatments

Acupuncture- Dr. Keller is trained in palpatory acupuncture, which combines classical Chinese medical principles with modern pathophysiology in a way that facilitates the understanding and brings out the best in both.

Acupuncture Reduces Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Treatment: Acupuncture is Effective in Reducing Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is often associated with one or more other symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness, and insomnia. The pain of Fibromyalgia syndrome (also known as FMS) typically includes particular areas of increased sensitivity called tender points.

Fibromyalgia affects up to 2% of the population. The best treatment approach is integrative combining Western medicine, therapeutic lifestyle changes and complementary therapies. Complementary therapy, like acupuncture is effective in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia. An important study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that acupuncture reduced symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia including reduction in pain, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition, it was found to be as effective as some medications. Using the FIO score (a standard measure of fibromyalgia activity), acupuncture reduced the score by 7 points. This clinical benefit is comparable to pharmacological interventions such as tricyclic antidepressants (a decrease of 7 points) and the pain medication Tramadol (a decrease of 6 points)

According to the lead author, Dr. David P. Martin, M.D., PhD, “We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety.”

It is believed that acupuncture may actually block pain impulses from reaching the brain. Acupuncture increases production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. The gentle insertion of acupuncture needles at specific sites causes a measurable release of endorphins into the blood stream. These natural pain killers help decrease pain. Repeated treatments are felt to up-regulate endorphins causing increased production of endorphins and thus a sustained reduction in pain.

Acupuncture is felt to increase a patient’s pain threshold, which is normally low in patients with fibromyalgia. It also increases the production of neurotransmitters, which carry impulses between nerve cells. Acupuncture increases serotonin, which is also typically low in fibromyalgia patients. Seratonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for “feeling happy”. It controls mood by helping with sleep, calming anxiety and reducing depression.

Neurotransmitters stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses in the brain that relay sensations such as pain. Elevated levels of neurotransmitters can increase a patient’s tolerance to pain.

Benefits of Acupuncture For Fibromyalgia Patients
Less pain
Better sleep
More energy
Relaxation / Stress Reduction
Anxiety reduction
Reduction of depression
Possible boost to the immune system
Better overall health
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way of reducing symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Treatment with Acupuncture in Bergen County, NJ
Dr. Betty Keller specializes in acupuncture, combined with Western medicine in treating fibromyalgia. Her medical practice is in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, serving surrounding areas and Bergen County.

To request an appointment to visit her office at 777 Franklin Ave | Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417, please contact us: 201-485-7930.

Sun Screen Don’t Leave Home Without Appying It! Even When It’s Cloudy!

 

Sunscreen Don’t Leave Home Without Applying!

The sun’s Ultraviolet A (long-wave) and Ultraviolet B (short-wave) rays both penetrate the atmosphere and play a role in causing skin cancer, premature aging, and wrinkles. The use of a sun block that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is recommended to reduce not only the risk of skin cancer but also the signs of aging.

Excessive UV radiation damages your skin’s DNA producing genetic mutations, which can lead to skin cancer. Excessive UV radiation also leads to premature aging and wrinkles.

UVA rays penetrate the deeper layers of skin and have a major role in tanning, skin aging and wrinkling. Until recently scientists did not think UVA rays contributed to skin cancers. However research has proven that UVA light damages both basal and squamous skin cells and contributes to the development of skin cancers.

UVB rays damage the more superficial layers of your skin, and is responsible for your skin turning red and burning. UVB rays play a major role in causing skin cancer, but also contribute to tanning and photo aging.

Its essential to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB rays.

All sun screens have a Sun Protection factor (SPF). The number indicates how long it will take UVB rays to redden the skin when using a sun block compared without sun block protection. For example an SPF of 30 will allow someone to stay out thirty times longer than if they were not wearing sun block.

An SPF of 15 will block 93% of the sun’s UVB rays, an SPF of 30 blocks 97% and an SPF of 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.

Both UVA and UVB cause damage to your skin so it is important to get a sun block that provides protection from both types of ultraviolet light. To ensure you are getting good protection choose a sun block of SPF of 15 or higher. (I prefer an SPF of 50). In addition, in order to also get adequate UVA protection, look for some combination of titanium dioxide (UVA/UAB), zinc oxide (UVA/UVB), and or avobenzone (UVA)

Our M.D. Skin Essentials skin care line includes, two Age Defense Antioxidant Sunscreens, a moisturizing formula, and one for sensitive skin.

At Optimal Wellness our skin care products are the finest medical grade scientifically based line of skin care products. All our skin care products are gluten free, cruelty free, made in the USA, and paraben free..

Our broad-spectrum antioxidant sunscreens are both SPF50, giving maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

The moisturing skin formula is for dry or more mature skin; it is a wonderful moisturizing base that can double as a makeup primer. The sensitive skin formula, is perfect for people with sensitive skin, those with oily skin or prone to acne.

To read more about our sun block formulations, click on the following link, then scroll down to see full description

https://optimalwellnessctr.com/store/age-defense-antioxidant-sunscreen-moisturizing-formula/

NYC Caterpillar WAlk-Fibromyalgia Awareness Event

NANCY LARACY’S FUNDRAISER:

NANCY LARACY

Nancy's Photo

THE STORY:

CENTER FOR UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH & EDUCATION OF FIBROMYALGIA INC wrote –

The Caterpillar Walk program is a fundraising campaign designed to raise awareness and support for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain. 100% of proceeds raised will support education, advocacy and research efforts.

One of the greatest challenges of this syndrome is the lack of awareness and visibilty, as a result the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain association has launched this year’s theme: Your Voice Matters, YOU make Fibromyalgia Visible. Your participation in this walk will help us make Fibromyalgia visible.

While many walks have taken place across the country to support our work, this is the 1st annual walk in NYC. Our goal is to help bring the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain community together.

The NYC Caterpillar Walk will take place on Saturday May 16th.

Registration: 9:00 am

Welcome, Announcements & Awards: 9:45 am

Walk Start: 10:00 am followed by finish line photos, entertainment and an afterparty at the Riverside Boat Basin (within walking distance of finish line).

Click “Donate Now” to register as a walker or create your own Walk Team by clicking “Fundraise for this Campaign.”

Registration is $25.

 

Are You Tired Of Being Tired?

 

Are You Tired Of Being Tired?

Everyone feels tired now and then. Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed. Usually getting a good night’s sleep is all you need to restore your energy and feel like yourself again. However, if fatigue persists, it’s important to find the cause.

There are many causes of fatigue. The most common causes are lifestyle choices, not getting enough sleep, poor dietary choices, lack of exercise or over exercising and stress. By making these poor choices we stress our bodies, weaken our immune system, and increase inflammation in our bodies. In doing so, we increase our risk of developing chronic diseases like, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, dementia, and cancer. So it’s important to make changes in your lifestyle to prevent developing chronic diseases.

If you are experiencing fatigue, try making a few simple changes to see if your energy level improves. Make sure you are getting enough good quality sleep, and engaging in daily exercise. A healthy diet, one based on whole foods, like fruits vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, provides the nutrients you need to fuel your body. Reduce stress by practicing forms of relaxation like meditation, visualization or focused breathing. Discuss with your doctor about taking a daily multivitamin. In addition you may also want to discuss if you would benefit from fish oil, which are rich in omega three fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help reduce inflammation, they support and protect your immune system, cardiovascular system, joints, cognitive function, memory and mood. If you are under a lot of stress you may also benefit from Vitamins B, C and D.

Fatigue is quite common in the adult population, in fact, fatigue is the most common reason men and women go to the doctor. Although many causes of fatigue are related to sleep, diet, exercise and stress, if you have persistent fatigue, you should see your physician for an evaluation. It’s important to find out the root cause of your fatigue. There are many medical conditions that are associated with fatigue. The sooner you get the proper diagnosis and treatment the sooner you will be back to feeling well.

There are a variety of medical reasons for fatigue so a thorough history, physical and appropriate tests can help determine the cause(s). Some common medical reasons for fatigue include, medications, especially antihistamines, blood pressure pills and antidepressants.

Viruses are a common cause of fatigue but the symptoms usually resolve within a few weeks. When fatigue persists longer, some people can develop a chronic form, so it is important to see your doctor on ways to treat and manage your fatigue.

Anemia or a low blood count is another reason for fatigue. There are many causes of anemia including, vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, blood loss, genetic, autoimmune, and cancer.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroid), include, fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, muscle pain, weakness, dry skin and hair loss. Diabetes is also associated with fatigue along with other warning signs including, increased thirst, increased hunger, weight loss and frequent urination.

Adrenal fatigue is caused by prolonged stress, which can become severe. Chronic stress is thought to “stress” the adrenals, which are small glands in your body that produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that support your body especially during times of stress. Chronic stress is felt to deplete your body of these hormones leading to fatigue. Treatment requires permanent lifestyle changes and removal of chronic stressors.

Sleep disorders like Sleep apnea, cause people to stop breathing multiple times during the night, leading to interrupted non-restorative sleep and fatigue. Restless leg syndrome, the uncontrolled movement of ones legs while sleeping also results in interrupted sleep and resulting fatigue.

Celiac disease, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis all chronic diseases involving inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract are associated with fatigue.

Mood disorders like anxiety and depression can cause both mental and physical fatigue.

In addition, infections, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus, and malignancy frequently have fatigue as one of their main complaints.

Fortunately most people who have fatigue can resolve their symptoms with some minor lifestyle changes. However it may not be the whole picture. When treating fatigue taking a holistic approach looking at all aspects including lifestyle and a comprehensive medical evaluation will help give you the best long-term result. See your physician for an evaluation; finding the cause not merely treating the symptom will improve your health immediately and long term by preventing chronic diseases.

For 10 tips for more energy go to https://optimalwellnessctr.com/feeling-tired-fatigue/

 

Dr. Betty Keller M.D. F.A.C.R. is the Medical Director Of Optimal Wellness Center

A Integrative Medical Center specializing in Wellness, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Weight Management, Hormone Balance, and Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation and Body Contouring.

Optimal Wellness Center is located In Franklin Lakes NJ

For Smoother Skin, Non-Surgical Fat Reduction it’s Venus Legacy

Venus Legacy reduce belly fat

Have you started to notice a few wrinkles? Is your skin starting to lose its youthful appearance? Do you watch what you eat and exercise but still can’t reduce stubborn areas of cellulite or fat? Does your abdomen need a Mommy Makeover? Not interested in surgery or other painful invasive procedures? Then, The Venus Legacy just might be your Best Option to help you look and feel your best!

What Is The Venus Legacy and How Can It Help You!

Venus Legacy is the newest non-surgical and painless aesthetic treatment to regenerate your face, neck, and body. The Venus Legacy has four primary functions:

 

Skin tightening,

Wrinkle reduction,

Cellulite reduction (non-surgical cellulite reduction)

Circumferential reduction (non-surgical fat reduction)

Screen shot 2015-01-31 at 5.00.23 PM

 

The procedure is non invasive, completely painless, with no downtime. For your face and neck, it is the ultimate “antiaging facial” reducing wrinkles, firming and tightening lax skin on your face, jaw line and neck. For your body it will tighten lax skin which occurs as we age and because of sun damage. No amount of exercise will reverse this process.

Non-Surgical Fat Reduction, Non-Surgical Cellulite Reduction

The Venus legacy not only tightens your skin, you will see a reduction in circumference, and cellulite with a more contoured silhouette. It is ideal for combating stubborn areas of fat and cellulite, while diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. The procedure is completely painless, described by patients as feeling like a warm stone massage.

How to Get Natural, Safe Skin Tightening

The device works by using a combination of radiofrequency and multipolar magnetic pulse that uniformly distributes a deep heat penetration to the underlying layers of skin. This process triggers the skin to increase the production of collagen and elastic fibers. This process reduces wrinkles, tightens and firms lax skin on your face, neck and body.

There are four hand pieces two for the face and two for the body to address your specific needs. All four-hand pieces have a thermal sensor, which allows for precise control of temperature and improved results. The lift FX hand piece for the face and neck and the sculpt FX for the body also have varipulse technology for improved contouring results. The Lift FX is great for reducing fat under the chin and tightening and lifting the neck and jaw line. The sculpt FX allows for amazing body contouring results, cellulite reduction and circumferential reduction.

Cellulite Reduction, Wrinkle Reduction, Fat Reduction–All In One

You can expect to see tighter skin, softening of wrinkles, plumper fuller more youthful appearance, reduced cellulite, reduced circumference and a more contoured silhouette. You will see some results immediately but you will need to do a series of treatments to see the full results. It is recommended that you do six treatments for the face and neck and 8 treatments for the body. You will continue to see improvement for up to three months after competition of your series. In order to maintain results a treatment is recommended ever three to four months.

The treatments are for anyone looking for great results, with out pain, downtime or the risk of complications from surgery or other invasive procedures.

To see more before and after photos go to https://optimalwellnessctr.com/venus-legacy-treatments/

Wellness What’s In The News?

What’s in the News about your Health?

Exercise helps relieve depression!

Multiple studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on your mood. Based on research aerobic exercise is the preferred form of exercise for treating depression. Researchers suggest that patients participate in 3 to 5 sessions per week for between 45 and 60 minutes. Achieving a heart rate that is 50 to 85 % of an individual’s maximum heart rate. Scientists have long known that exercise increases our neurotransmitters (like serotonin) and endorphins that keep us feeling well, but more recently have discovered another way exercise keeps us from having a low mood. Swedish researchers studying mice, found that higher levels of a protein called PGC-1 (alpha1) which is increased in muscle during exercise has been shown to be associated with lower levels of depression. After reviewing the data on his study co-author Jorge Ruas says, “ The study proves that exercise should be prescribed for the prevention and treatment of depression”

Coffee can help improve memory!

Researcher studied 160 people to see if coffee improves memory and if it was dose related. Dosage was critical in this study. 200mg of caffeine the equivalent of a strong cup of coffee seemed to be the most effective amount to detect improved memory. Subjects were shown photos after drinking coffee and then ask to look at them 24 hours latter. Those who had 200mg of caffeine were able to recall subtle changes in pictures a day after originally viewing them. Those participants who had only 100mg of caffeine showed no improvement and those who had 300 mg reported side effects of headaches and jitteriness. So go ahead and have your coffee, just not too much!

Just Standing up can delay the effects of aging!

Swedish researchers looked at two groups, having one participate in a moderate exercise program and sit less and the other group to just continues their usual habits. They then measured the group’s telomeres, which are the ends of genes that shorten with aging. They found the normal groups telomeres shorted but the active groups telomeres actually lengthened. Furthermore they found that that most of the benefit came from just standing more. So just getting up and moving around can help you live longer!

Eating Vegetables reduce your risk of dying!

Researchers found after tracking the eating habits of 65,000 people over 12 years, that those who eat at least 7 or more servings of fruit and vegetable a day reduced their risk of death by 42%. A serving is approximately 1/2cup. More than likely individuals who eat a healthy diet also engage in other healthy habits that may factor into the equation. Regardless its just one more reason to eat more fruits and vegetable.

Why Wellness Matters

Why Wellness Matters

Start the New Year with your own personal wellness plan

Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we have is related to our wellbeing. Having Optimal Wellness is the active process of making choices toward a healthy and purposeful life.

Wellness is essential to enjoying a better quality of life. Having optimal wellness helps you manage stress, reduce the risk of disease, and allows for positive, social, emotional, and spiritual experiences. This ultimately leads to a healthier, happier, and more meaningful life.

In order to attain optimal wellness, you will need a plan. Studies show that setting specific goals when committing to lifestyle changes is necessary to produce lasting results.

In developing your plan one has to address The Mind, Body, and Spirit. We hear these terms often, but how do they translate to wellness? Mind, body and spirit describe the many complicated interactions between your thoughts, your body, and your environment. Your health depends on many factors: not only your genetics and current health status, but on your lifestyle, your emotional state, and social interactions. Understanding and believing you have control over your health is important in successfully making changes in your lifestyle, such as losing weight. In order to be successful, you need to be an active participant in designing your wellness plan.

There are many key aspects of Wellness to consider, especially the Emotional, Physical, Social, and Spiritual elements.

In order to achieve optimal wellness, you will need to evaluate what areas in your life need optimizing to attain your goal.

Let’s look at a few of these and get started on developing your own personal wellness plan. You can start writing your plan now. Get a piece of paper and write the word “Motivation.” Next, list all the reasons YOU want to have optimal wellness. Be specific: these are your uniquely personal reasons. Then write down short term and a corresponding long-term goal. Next to each short and long term goal, write the word “plan.” As we explore the different components of wellness, add any additional goals to your list. You can use suggestions from this article to help formulate your plan(s) for each goal. Later, we will discuss how to start executing your plan and how to stay on track to focus on and prioritize your goals.

Let’s define some of the areas of wellness and offer some suggestions on how to kick-start your plan.

Physical wellness:

Physical wellness relates to the proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. Overall physical wellness is the appropriate balance of nutrition, physical activity, and emotional well-being.

Benefits of Exercise

Physical activity is critical to optimal wellness. The benefits of exercise are endless. If we could bottle exercise in a pill, it would be prescribed for everyone daily. Physical exercise strengthens the heart, skeletal muscles, and bones. It improves lung function, increases energy, and decreases our risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show exercise also improves cognitive function, memory, focus, and executive control function. It can also treat mild cases of depression and anxiety. Exercise reduces stress and increases a sense of well-being.

Here are a few methods to begin increasing your activity:

There are many different recommendations on how much exercise is enough. most experts recommend 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five times a week for cardiovascular health. You can break it up into three 10-minute sessions and it is equally effective. Some activity is always better than none. Get a pedometer and attempt to walk 10,000 steps a day. I like the Fitbit, but trackers manufactured by Nike, Garmin, and others will also do the trick. In addition you should also try and do weight bearing exercises at least 20minutes three times a week. Studies shows that these devices help keep people committed and motivated. You will need to schedule activity into your day. When you get up in the morning, make sure to plan some form of exercise into your daily schedule. If you don’t plan to do it, you probably won’t!

Make sure to find activities you enjoy:

Consider finding an exercise buddy. Sign up for a class together or just get out and walk, hike or ride a bike. Having an exercise buddy will turn your workout into a social plan…and each of you can motivate the other to stay on track!

If you work long hours and time is tight, take a walk at lunchtime, and even consider organizing a lunchtime walking group.

No time or interest in going to a gym? Need to work out at night? There are countless online exercise programs that cost under a dollar per class, including FITORBIT, HITCHFIT, and TRAINONLINE. You can also opt for an online program that combines toning, yoga, and Pilates, likes barre3.com. Of course, there are a variety of exercise DVD’s available in every fitness level and method. This is a great way to keep your exercise routine fresh and new.

Prefer tuning in while you work out? Purchase a piece of home exercise equipment and walk on the treadmill, do the elliptical, or ride the exercise bike while watching your favorite TV shows.

Sleep:

Adequate sleep is absolutely vital to your physical mental and emotional wellness.

Both the body and mind repair, and renew themselves while you sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with obesity, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. In addition lack of sleep can cause mood disorders like depression and anxiety and reduced to cognitive function. There is also increasing evidence that chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So make sure you prioritize getting enough sleep. Ideally, try to maintain a regular sleep cycle. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time 7 days a week and getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

 

Nutrition:

Eating well is essential to have your body run in top condition. Food is your body’s fuel, and without the right nutrients, it cannot perform optimally. Food not only provides the essential nutrients for your body to function, it fuels your brain as well. Your food also informs your genes on how to express themselves; eating highly-processed nutritionally deficient food tells your body to slow down, and increases your risk of developing many diseases including, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stoke, depression, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Eating the right foods is critical if your goal is optimal wellness.

 

Ways to improve your Nutrition:

 

 

Follow a whole food diet, based on vegetables, fruits, protein, some whole grains, and healthy fats. Research also shows that following a low glycemic load diet is important in optimal health and reducing risks of developing chronic disease. For more information regarding nutrition, read “The Low Glycemic Load Diet” by Dr Robert Thompson.

 

Remember to eat mindfully: sit down, enjoy your food, and take the time to enjoy every bite. Don’t eat while watching TV, checking e-mail, or reading.

 

Keep a food diary, at least for the first 21 days. This will help keep you on track until your new healthy eating choices have become your new habits.

 

Make sure to remove unhealthy foods from your house. If it’s not in your house, you will not be tempted. Make sure you have removed any trigger foods (those foods which you can’t stop eating).

Mental and Emotional wellness:

Emotional wellness includes self-care, relaxation, stress reduction, and the development of inner strength.

Optimism is essential for emotional wellness. Optimism allows you to handle emotions both positive and negative with an attitude that allows you to learn from your mistakes. Optimism is a choice: the more you practice it the more natural it will become to you.

Ways to reach emotional wellness:

Remind yourself to stay positive. When negative thoughts enter your head, block them and think the opposite. Trying to stop thinking of something negative will only make you think of it more. Replace the thought with something positive.

Smile! It will make you and those around you feel happier.

Be grateful: focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Practice being mindful: meditation can help decrease the physiologic and mental effects of stress. To understand more about the benefits of meditation click on articles on our website to read “Meditation Matters”

Practice techniques to decrease stress: Some effective methods to decrease stress include, exercise, focused breathing, visual imagery; spending time with family and friends, listen to relaxing music.

In order to have true emotional wellness, one needs to have a healthy diet, daily exercise, adequate sleep, manage stress and have good social connections.

Social Wellness

Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. We are social beings, and being connected members of a community is vital to our emotional health. Our relationships fill our lives with meaning, purpose, and joy. They also offer needed support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships, surrounding you with a positive social network that increases your self-esteem, happiness and emotional resilience.

Here are a few tips on improving social wellness:

Stay connected; make time to spend time with friends and family.

Reconnect with friends you have not seen in a while

Spend time volunteering; get a friend to join you.

Find an activity you enjoy and set up regular times to meet a friend; walking, hiking, and meeting at the gym are a fun way to complete your daily workout, but you can also bowl, play cards or other games, or see a movie.

It is also equally important to remove those people from your life who negatively affect your social wellness.

 

Spiritual wellness:

Spiritual wellness is about finding meaning and purpose in your life. It is about seeking meaning in your life events and realizing your individual purpose. Spiritual wellness does not mean you have to participate in a religious practice, however, that may be the way you choose to find your spiritual connection. Spiritual wellness is very personal, and your upbringing and personal experience may influence this journey.

Ways to find spiritual wellness:

Be self-reflective: what is my purpose?

How can I contribute to make the world a better place?

What gifts were you given to help others?

Putting You Plan Into Action

Here are some basic guidelines to get you started. You can see that all areas of wellness overlap and any improvement in one area of wellness will benefit them all.

First, in order to make lasting changes, you will need to make a commitment to yourself. All the advice about exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction will only work if you are committed to make the necessary changes. Tell yourself every morning, “ I can do this” your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Only you can make these changes permanent. Your thoughts dictate your actions. ‘I can,” translates into your personal success. Visual imagery can also help keep you motivated. Picture a physically healthier, happier you every day

So now you have your list of what motivates you. Self-motivation comes from finding exactly what motivates you. Whatever your reason, such as “I want to have more energy to do activities with my kids,” is fine. Write it down and keep it in your thoughts. This will help you to make healthy choices.

You now also have a list of short and long term goals, and have started to formulate a plan for each.

Make sure your goals and plans are specific. “I am going to exercise Mondays Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays before work.”

Next you will need to review your list of short and long-term goals. Prioritize what is the most important thing on your short-term goal list and write the #1 next to it. Do the same for your list of long-term goals. Continue to assign a number in order of priority to the rest of your goals. (you can use the Personal Wellness Plan Worksheet on our Web Site)

Pick the #1 short-term goal and develop a plan of action to accomplish it. Then repeat this for the corresponding long-term goal. Have a plan and a back-up plan. For example: “I’m going to get up and exercise every morning before work.” Are you really going to accomplish this every day? Your back-up plan can be a walk at lunch. Start with only this one change, then evaluate your success at the end of the week, and give yourself positive reinforcement. Did you have problems keeping the plan? How about the back-up plan? Perhaps exercising at a later time of the day might make it easier for you to commit. Was the plan too difficult or frustrating? If yes, evaluate how to rework your plan and get help if necessary. Your friends and family can be a resource, and seeking professional help may just be the answer you need to move forward.

Once you have successfully mastered your first goal, continue down your list. Some people may try to change more than one thing at a time. Do what works for you; many times, we try to change everything at once, become overwhelmed and give up. Start slow: the journey to wellness is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Start your day by telling yourself “It is going to be a great day! I can accomplish my

Goals!”

Good luck on your Wellness Plan…the healthier, happier, more evolved “you” will greatly appreciate all your efforts.

 

Personal Wellness Plan Worksheet

Personal Wellness Plan   Worksheet

 

This work sheet is to be used as an organizational tool along with the article Wellness Matters to help you get started on your wellness plan.

People who are successful at making lifestyle changes take time to write out specific goals and a plan of action. Use this work sheet to write out your goals and action plans. As you read “Wellness Matters” Review the various area of your health, decide in which areas you would like to make an improvement. Write your specific goals and plans. Once you have your list prioritize your goals and use this sheet goal # 1 being the most important and the goal you will work on first. Keep track of your progress. Review your goals regularly.

 

 

 

Motivation

 

1) __________________________________________________________________________________

2)___________________________________________________________________________________

3)___________________________________________________________________________________

4)____________________________________________________________________________________

5)____________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Short Term Goal # 1

 

Plan:

 

Back up plan:

 

 

Long Term goal #1

 

 

Short Term Goal #2

 

 

Plan:

 

Back up plan:

 

 

Long Term Goal#2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Term Goal #3

 

 

Plan:

 

Back Up Plan:

 

 

Long Term Goal #3

 

 

 

Short Term Goal #4

 

 

Plan:

 

 

Back up Plan:

 

 

Long Term Goal #4

 

 

Short Term Goal #5

 

 

Plan:

 

 

Back up Plan:

 

 

Long Term Plan #5

Wellness

  Dr Keller
Optimal Wellness Center
 
Have you been to your doctor and told your a little overweight? That your Cholesterol is a little high? You have too much stress? Too little time for exercise? Not enough time to do the things you enjoy or enough time for family and friends? Do you have a plan to help improve your Wellness? Our traditional Medical system is a sickness model, as traditional doctors we are taught how to treat diseases not how to teach our patients to be well. Most likely you left the office without a plan to improve your wellness. We are living longer but are we living better? Our lives are full of stress and excess stress can lead to poor food choices, self medication, lack of exercise and sleep. Wouldn’t it be great if next year when you saw your doctor, you were at a healthy weight, your cholesterol was good, you learned how to manage your stress, and were enjoying your life more? Our goal this year is to inform, motive and help you on your Wellness Journey. We will be giving tips on improving Wellness, Weight Management, Stress Reduction, Exercise, Keeping Positive and living a Happy and Purposeful life. We hope to motive and inform. We will be posting our Wellness tips on Face Book and soon you can also follow our Wellness blog. You can also check out our articles on our website. Have questions we would love to hear from you and hope you share our tips with your friends and family. We all benefit from a community that promotes wellness. Our hope is to help you live a happier healthier life.Wellness is a Journey not a Destination!

Wishing you Health and Happiness,

Dr Keller

Lets get started!

What’s the best Diet for Weight Loss?

 

 

5 Super-Quick Tips for Weight Management

Too busy to think about healthy eating? Here are 5 quick tips that take no time to learn, that will have you feeling more satisfied and more likely to eat better automatically.

  1. Eat slowly, it takes about 20 minutes for your digestive system to tell your brain its full.
  2. Take small bites and chew your food well.
  3. Put your fork down between bites.
  4. Take break and have a conversation.
  5. Make sure to enjoy your meal.

Subscribe to the newsletter and never miss another update.

Meditation: The Health Benefits May Surprise You

Science clearly supports the many health benefits of meditation.

Meditation can help lower your blood pressure, boost your immunity, treat insomnia, and decrease stress, pain, and inflammation. It can also increase focus, concentration, memory, and learning. It can elevate your mood and decrease anxiety by increasing neurotransmitter like serotonin and dopamine.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have even shown that deep relaxation from methods like meditation can switch on genes that help protect us from disease. Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor at Harvard Medical School who led the research, said the changes were induced by the relaxation response.The relaxation response can potentially be as effective, if not more, than some medications.

Dr Benson reported “We found a range of disease fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not present in the control group.” If this was a new medication without any side effects, pharmacies would not be able to keep it in stock.

Meditation does not have any harmful side effects; it may just be the answer for many of todays stressed fueled diseases. Start now and soon you will be on your way to a more peaceful, focused, healthier, and possibly more creative you. There are many resources to learn how to start meditating.

One form of meditation called mindful meditation is becoming increasingly more popular. It involves placing you focus your attention in the present moment. Ideally you will want to find a quiet spot, but you can practice anywhere.

You want to focus your attention on your normal breath -don’t change your breathing pattern. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your nostrils, chest or abdomen, whichever feels most natural to you. If thoughts come in just bring your attention back to your breath. You want to feel your entire breath.

Start out trying it for 5 minutes, and gradually increase the time you spend meditating. You will find yourself in a state of relaxed alertness. Regular practice can greatly improve focus, concentration, memory, and learning! Meditation can help you handle daily stress, you cant eliminate it, but you can develop more control in how you deal with your stress.

Taking a few focused breaths before learning something new, taking a test, doing a presentation or participating in sports can greatly improve your performance. Yes, meditation can be life changing!

To help you get started check out these free apps.

Stop, Breathe and Think, iPhone, free; iTunes,

Meditation Helper, Android, free; Google Play

Mental Workout, iPhone, free; iTunes,Android, free; Google Play

Subscribe to the newsletter and never miss another update.

7 Healthy habits at work

  1. If at all possible do not eat at your desk.
  2. Try and bring your lunch and a healthy snack, rather than going out, ordering take out or getting a snack from the vending machine.
  3. Go for a walk during part of your lunch break.
  4. If you have a desk job get up and walk whenever possible.
  5. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  6. Try not to skip meals, your lunch should include lean protein and vegetables, add a piece of fruit if you are still hungry.(Protein and fiber keep you full)
  7. Drink water throughout the day.

Subscribe to the newsletter and never miss another update.

We’ve won the 2014 Best of Franklin Lakes Award

Celebrate-successWe’re glad to announce that the Optimal Wellness Center has just received the 2014 Best of Franklin Lakes Award.

For the second consecutive year, the Optimal Wellness Center has been selected for the Best of Franklin Lakes Award in the Wellness Program category by the Franklin Lakes Award Program.

Each year, The Franklin Lakes Award Program honors the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Franklin Lakes area. The Optimal Wellness Center appreciates being named among the exceptional companies that help make the Franklin Lakes area a great place to live, work and play.

Some of our new offerings to you in 2014 include

We appreciate all your comments and congratulations on our Facebook page.  Thank you to all of our wonderful patients and supporters for choosing the Optimal Wellness Center of Franklin Lakes!

5 Behavior Modifications that help you feel great and lose weight

Weight management involves adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a positive attitude, good nutrition and exercise.

Here are 5 tips to control your mealtime environment and make losing weight a natural result of your lifestyle:

  1. Serve your plate from the stove or kitchen counter. Do not place serving bowls on the table. Studies show that when meals are served family style with serving dishes on the table people eat more calories.
  2. Fill your plate half with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, a quarter with a whole grain starch.
  3. Use smaller plates, bowls and serving spoons. Visually your portion will look larger on a smaller plate, using a smaller serving spoon will help keep your portion size down.
  4. When serving yourself, limit portions of food to one serving or less.
  5. Eat slowly, enjoy your food and do not go for second helpings.

Subscribe to the newsletter and never miss another helpful tip.

Why Diets Don’t Work: How To Find True Motivation to Reach Your Weight Goals

Confused about what to eat? With so much information about which diet to follow, it can be very confusing. Low fat? Low carb? Low calorie? Paleo diet? South Beach? Atkins? Metabolic diet? Blood type diet? Alkaline Diet? Juice Cleanse? With so much conflicting information, it’s hard to know what to do to live a healthier life.

Are you ready to improve your health and feel and look your best? We all know diets don’t work long term unless you stay on them, and you may lose weight. But does following a certain diet mean you are really healthy?

If you want to lose weight, improve your health, and feel better, you need to make lifestyle changes. These changes include good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, reduction in stress, and a positive mental attitude.

Your motivation to become healthier is the key to your success. The first step is coming up with your own personal reasons for making changes that will improve your health.

Here are 3 tips to help you find the right motivation to help your reach your healthy goals

  • Make a list of what motivates you, make sure you look at that list every morning to set you on the right track for the day.
  • Set goals that you can keep, and think long-term success.
  • Start making small changes and see how much better you feel.

About those small changes to help you feel better – here are three to get you started:

  1. Keep tempting food out of your house-don’t buy it.
  2. Eat only while sitting down at kitchen or dining room table.
    (Don’t eat while watching TV, on the computer, or reading)
  3. Make sure you have healthy snacks available, at home, at work or on the go. Apples or a small 100 calorie pack of almonds are great on the go snacks.

Diets only work as long as you stay on them, that’s why, to lose weight and become healthy, you need to make lifestyle changes. If you lose weight and return to old habits the pounds will return!

Subscribe to 10 free healthy weight tips by email for more ideas for managing your weight naturally.

Hormones 101

The U.S. Census reports that there are over 50 million women in the U.S. who are over age 50. If you’re one of them, you may be experiencing the transition to menopause. You may have symptoms such as the following.

  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Mood swings.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Irregular periods.
  • More vaginal and urinary tract infections.
  • Less interest in sex.

These symptoms are the result of changes in your body’s levels of hormones, or natural chemical messengers. Menopause may be the best-recognized condition characterized by hormonal imbalance, but it isn’t the only one. An over-active or under-active thyroid can also disrupt your balance and cause symptoms.

Here some of the well-known and lesser known hormones that your body needs to be in balance, and why they are important.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

The most abundant steroid hormone in your body, DHEA helps the body manage stress, acts somewhat as a sex hormone, and has a role in the immune system. It promotes fat breakdown and protein synthesis. This hormone is also used to in the making of other hormones, including androgenic and estrogenic sex hormones. Your adrenal glands, skin, and brain produce and secrete DHEA. A low level of DHEA is a risk factor for heart disease, poor blood sugar regulation, depression, and nervousness.

Estrogen

Estrogen is present in both women and men. Women have much higher levels of estrogen than men do. It reduces a woman’s risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and urinary incontinence. The ovaries secret the most estrogen.Estrogen levels drop and cause well know symptoms during the transition to menopause. Low estrogen can also lead to lethargy, depression, and breakdown of collagen in the skin, leading to wrinkles.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

This hormone comes from the pituitary gland and supports tissue repair, bone health, muscle strength, and fat metabolism. Levels tend to decrease with age, and are associated with a greater risk for heart disease, reduced bone strength, greater fat mass, and trouble sleeping.

Melatonin

Melatonin is an antioxidant and it regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or natural cycle of sleeping and waking. Deep sleep improves your energy levels and immune system’s strength. Melatonin comes from the pineal gland, and inadequate levels are associated with insomnia and jet lag.

Progesterone

This hormone comes from the ovaries, corpus luteum, and adrenal glands, as well as the placenta in pregnant women. It is lowers the risk for certain cancers, osteoporosis, and ovarian cysts.

Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid hormone is involved in nearly all of your body’s functions, including metabolism, regulation of body temperature and cholesterol levels, and body weight. It is produced by the thyroid gland in your neck, and the active form contains iodine molecules. Hypothyroid leads to low body temperature, fatigue, and weight gain, while hyperthyroid leads to nervousness, trouble sleeping, and unintentional weight loss.

How Can You Tell if You have A Hormone Imbalance?

Having symptoms is not necessarily a sign of hormone imbalance. If you have been unsuccessful finding relief or finding a doctor who can diagnose the cause of your symptoms, you may need to talk with a doctor who has updated information about hormone imbalance. You and your doctor will need to gather a detailed history and plan careful testing to determine whether hormone imbalance is a likely cause of your symptoms. Talk to Dr. Betty Keller about whether hormone replacement therapy can safely give you the relief and results you want for better health.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a professional consultation.  Contact Dr. Betty Keller.
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Are you a Candidate?

New Jersey bioidentical hormone doctor answers questions about hormone replacement therapy.

For some women, menopause symptoms can be hard to adjust to. Women experience menopause usually between 45 and 55. Changing hormones bring on hot flashes, pain with intercourse, irregular moods, and low libido. Some women also experience trouble sleeping, restless leg syndrome, and some develop depression.

As we age, the body’s usual balance of hormones changes. These hormone include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  You may notice a clear difference in your quality of life. And you may decide to do something about it.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution.  But by working with a qualified bioidentical hormone doctor, rebalancing hormones can help restore your best health and wellness.

Alternatives to HRT

You might get all the relief you need with beneficial herbs, better nutrition (cutting out sugar is a big help), nutritional supplements, and exercise.

Or you may decide to learn about bioidentical hormone treatment.  Is it right for you?

Age and HRT

Age and time since the onset of menopause are two factors you will want to consider.

Researchers have studied whether hormone therapy affects the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and other health concerns. If you start HRT within 10 years of menopause, you face no increased heart attack risk, according to extensive research. Starting treatment between the ages of 50 and 59 also shows no increased risk to health.

However, women over 60, or who have at least 10 years of menopause are advised to not to begin hormone therapy.

Your Health History is An Important Deciding Factor

Women with certain health histories may be advised to avoid hormone replacement therapy.

HRT is not recommended for women with :

  • a history of breast cancer
  • a medical history of heart disease
  • a health history of a heart attack, stroke or blood clots
  • high risk of any of these health concerns

Your HRT Plan Will Change With Time

You may find relief almost immediately, especially if you work with a doctor who is skilled in finding the right re-balancing treatment for you.  But, what works in the beginning may not be right later on. You will probably re-evaluate your hormone treatment annually.  You and your doctor will plan how to taper off HRT when you no longer need it.

During the transition to menopause, your body’s production of estrogen decreases more than 90 percent. It’s no wonder that women experience disruptive and at times exhausting symptoms for along time.

New treatments to re-balance the body’s hormones can be very effective to relieve menopause symptoms. But not every doctor has the most up-to-date medical information.  Dr. Betty Keller uses the latest findings to develop your unique plan for optimal health.
Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Talk to New Jersey biomedical hormone doctor, Dr. Betty Keller, at the Optimal Wellness Center in Ridgewood, NJ.

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

Women and Hormone Imbalance – Signs that You Are Experiencing Hormone Imbalance and What You Can do About it

Hormones regulate every function in our bodies throughout our lives. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels rise and fall from a woman’s childbearing years through menopause. But women experience pronounced, normal hormonal changes through their 40s and 50s.

During menopause the production of estrogen may fluctuate. Higher levels of estrogen can cause uncomfortably tender breasts. You may feel bloated and have heavier than normal periods.

Eventually, the body will make only 1/10th of the estrogen it produces during peak years. As levels decrease, you may experience hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, and increased feelings of anxiety or depression. The body stops making progesterone when there is no ovulation (during pregnancy) and during menopause. Periods can last longer and become more irregular with a lack of progesterone.Testosterone, though known as a ‘male’ hormone, is also present in women and an important contributor to health. Testosterone peaks around age 20 and declines as a woman ages.

You may notice these common, and less well-known signs that you are experiencing hormone imbalance:

Hot flashes and night sweats.

Hot flashes and night sweats are often the first sign of hormonal change. They affect 2/3rds of North American women, and the exact cause is not known. You probably can’t avoid hot flashes during menopause, but you can help minimize them by avoiding these triggers:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Tight clothing
  • Heat
  • Cigarette smoke

Foods rich in phytoestrogens — compounds that act like estrogen found in certain plants – can help women have fewer symptoms. Studies have observed fewer menopause symptoms among women in countries where the diet includes phytoestrogen-rich foods such as tofu and soybeans. Other sources or supplements to consider include ginseng, fenugreek, licorice, gotu kola, dong quai, black cohosh and evening primrose (according to the North American Menopause Society’s Menopause Guidebook.)

Diminished or low libido.

One of the most noticeable indications of a hormonal imbalance is a diminished or lowered sex drive. Sleep disturbances and lack of quality sleep, also caused by hormonal imbalance, can cause a reduction in the production of the sex hormones.

Persistent weight gain.

Although weight gain is often tied to diet and lack of physical activity, undetected hormonal imbalances can make it very difficult to remain at a desired healthy weight.

Digestive problems.

Slow digestion, cramps, gas and bloating can have a number causes. They can be made worse by hormonal imbalance. The stress hormone cortisol often increases during menopause. Cortisol has a dampening effect on digestion, slowing down the release of stomach acid, and the rate of digestion.

Cravings.

Insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue and other hormonal imbalances are a common cause for cravings and overindulgence. Minimizing or eliminating sugars, alcohol, dairy and wheat from your diet can help control cravings and improve many of difficulties with digestion as well.

Insomnia and inadequate sleep patterns.

Lack of proper sleep can result from hormonal imbalance. It can also make other symptoms worse, as fatigue can begin a cycle of physical stress on the body, which increases cortisol levels.

Fatigue and low energy.

If you experience daily mid-morning or mid-afternoon fatigue, you may wonder what is going on with your body. Feeling scattered, overly tired or mentally foggy does not have to be the ‘new normal’ for you. Dietary changes to regulate blood sugar, such as the elimination of most grains and sugars, will often help improve these issues.

Irritability, anxiety, and depression.

Irritability, anxiety and depression often point to an imbalance, exposure to toxicity, being overworked or stressed out, or experiencing a lack of proper nourishment. Take steps to reduce these harmful actions before turning to pharmaceuticals.

What to do if You Are Concerned About Hormone Imbalance

Your efforts to eat better, mange stress appropriately get good quality sleep and regular exercise can go a long way to help you reduce the discomfort of hormone change.

New formulas and preparations allow hormone replacement therapy to provide low, safe doses to help control your symptoms. HRT requires careful adjustments to work successfully with your unique body chemistry and metabolism.

If you are considering HRT to benefit your health, talk with your doctor. Managing your symptoms safely and effectively requires a detailed health assessment and a treatment plan that is designed for you.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

Breast Cancer Risk and Hormone Replacement Therapy

It was 2002, and millions of women using hormone replacement therapy suddenly stopped taking their medication Doctors who regularly recommended hormones for women near menopause stopped prescribing it. That year, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) ended their HRT trial early after finding that health risks outweighed benefits. Researchers had observed an increase in the risk of breast cancer for participating women who took estrogen with a synthetic form of progestin.

Uncertainty and confusion remains more than 10 years after this study. Women still want to address menopausal symptoms, but are unsure whether hormone replacement is a safe option.

Discomfort and difficult symptoms of menopause include:

  • Irregular period
  • Hot flashes
  • Moodiness/depression
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Need to urinate often or urinary incontinence
  • Increased Urinary Tract Infections
  • Changes in skin and hair

Today, many women don’t consider treatment for debilitating symptoms. The lack of updated information has denied almost a generation of women the opportunity to improve their quality of life during their menopausal years.

Risks Linked to Estrogen Combined With Synthetic Progestin

Further analysis of the WHI study shed more light on reasons for these results. Researchers found that some women had been taking estrogen and progesterone before the study began. Others participants had additional risk factors to health such as obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

New research shows that health risks depend on how long hormone replacement therapy lasts. It also depends on whether estrogen alone, or estrogen and progesterone together are used. New findings show that estrogen-only HRT presents much lower risk of breast cancer. And the risk of breast cancer only increases when it is used for longer than 10 years.

More recent studies confirm that the type of progesterone used in treatment matters a great deal to breast cancer risk. Synthetic progestin (different in many ways from the body’s own progesterone)is linked with an increased risk for breast cancer. But studies are showing that formulations using bioidentical hormones — those made to have the exact same chemistry as the body’s own hormones — are linked with lower risks than synthetic versions. Other studies show a decrease in the risk of breast cancer using estrogen and bioidentical progesterone. The potential protective role of bioidentical HRT needs further study to confirm these findings.

A Better, More Natural Way

For women looking to reduce discomforts of hormone imbalance and improve quality of life, safer treatments are now available.

New forms of hormone replacement therapy offer options worth considering. Doctors who have the latest information can offer treatments with closer monitoring and safer hormone formulations.

The specific preparations, strength and duration of your treatment will depend on your unique needs. You and your doctor will need to perform careful testing to determine your best treatment. Talk to Dr. Betty Keller about whether hormone replacement therapy can safely give you the relief and results you want for better health.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

Low Libido in Women – How Can Hormone Therapy Help?

Having a low libido isn’t something that most women want to talk about. It is not easy to admit to ourselves or our partners that we are losing our sex drive. One recent study shows that as much as one third of women between 18-59 are concerned about their loss of sexual desire.  Other studies show even a higher proportion of women feel an unwelcome loss of interest in sex. If you feel this way also, you are not alone.

Understanding the causes of low libido is the first step in improving your well-being. Factors that regulate our sex drive are complex, and it’s is not always all ‘in your head’.  Identifying the causes of a low libido is the first step in changing how you feel for the better.

When is Low Sexual Desire a Problem?

It is natural for a woman’s interest in sex to rise and fall through life’s stages

There is no normal frequency of sexual intercourse or sexual activity in a partnership. If you and your partner enjoy being sexual less than you did before, but it’s working for you, there is no problem.

A problem with low sexual desire is more than just a low libido. A healthy body sends signals that it wants to be sexual. Whether and how you respond is up to you.  Sexual desire helps build intimacy in relationships and enables a spontaneous interest in sex.  When a woman notices a loss of interest in sex that is serious enough to interfere with intimacy and cause distress, then it may be time to do something about the problem.

Complex Causes of Lower Sex Drive

Both mental factors and physical ones can contribute to a lower libido.  Mental factors include a willingness to be sexual and enjoy intimacy prompted by a healthy sex drive. Physical factors include changes in hormone balance as we age.

A woman’s sex drive and interest in sex has complex of factors.  Among many causes that decrease sexual desire in women, these are some of the main ones:

  • Unresolved relationship issues. Emotions and family dynamics in a relationship have a big impact on a woman’s interest and ability to be sexual with her partner. If intimacy is missing, or there are intrusions like a new baby, or the need to care for a relative, a woman may experience a much lower sex drive.
  • Low testosterone: Though it’s thought of as a male hormone, testosterone is produced in a woman’s body as well.  It has a role in regulating sex drive in women, and levels diminish with age, most notably with menopause.
  • Medical conditions: Any medical illness or concern is likely to dampen sex drive for women. Medical problems impede sexual desire mentally and physically, whether you are facing an illness such as depression or a condition like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or thyroid imbalance.
  • Side effects of medication: Some prescriptions that help control blood pressure can also decrease sex drive.  Contraceptives have also been found to lower a woman’s sex drive by changing the natural balance of hormones.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during transition to menopause are linked to a lower sex drive.Blood levels of hormones fall continuously in women as they age, but most dramatically with menopause.

Can Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Help?

It is important to identify all the factors that are likely to be part of the problem to develop an effective treatment plan. For women nearing menopause, hormone imbalance may be one of those factors. Potential treatments may include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Bioidentical hormones, chemically the same as those naturally produced by the body, can provide relief with low risk of unwanted side effects.  Benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy include:

  • Restored Hormone Balance: When the hormones in your body become unbalanced, you can experience a range of physical and mental problems — such as sleeplessness, fatigue, urinary problems, irregular heartbeat, mood disorders, bloating, hot flashes, and anxiety. These problems can lead to a lower libido as well as to depression. Once the hormones are rebalanced, many women feel better emotionally, mentally and physically.
  • Improved Self-Esteem: Hormone rebalancing combined with a healthy diet and exercise can allow you to maintain a healthy weight, increase lean muscle and reduce signs of aging. Often these changes work together, allowing you to feel more confident about yourself and your body. You may enjoy a much improved libido and interest in sex.

There is no magic pill that will restore a woman’s interest in sex, or make it something different than before.

Research to develop ways to treat sexual problems for women is ongoing. This is good news, as the attention to women’s sexual problems lags behind the attention paid to men’s concerns.

Treatments to rebalance hormones and improve female sexual problems are currently being studied to gain FDA approval. It is important to know that if your sex drive is missing, your sex life does not have to be over. If you are concerned about low libido, find out how Dr Keller can help you see whether hormone imbalance may be a major cause. Dr. Keller is committed to helping you restore and enjoy optimum health.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

 

Bioidentical Hormones and Synthetic Hormones: What Are the Real Health Risks?

HRT Prescriptions 2001 - 2005

HRT Prescriptions 2001 - 2005Before 2002, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was widely prescribed for women near menopause, then after 2002, HRT sharply decreased. Do you wonder why this happened, and what we’ve learned since then?

In the 1990s, doctors began to prescribe hormones to women experiencing normal menopause. Estrogen and progestin were used together to relieve menopausal symptoms, and to protect against disease.

Most often HRT was routinely prescribed for women between 45 and 55, dealing with hot flashes, painful intercourse, irregular moods, and low libido. It was also used to help women with early menopause.

Then important findings in 2002 showed that HRT medications were linked to increased health risks to women. The study was designed to find whether the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and other health concerns was reduced by hormone therapy. HRT was largely stopped when researchers came to believe the risks outweighed the benefits.

Now you may be confused about whether or not hormone therapy is a good idea for you. Understanding your options and educating yourself are important first steps to deciding what’s best for your health.

Synthetic Vs Bioidentical Hormones

In more recent years, researchers learned that the chemical structure of hormones used to treat women matters a great deal to their health and safety. Before 2002, hormones used were usually synthetic, derived from animals. The body processed these differently than human hormones, with results that increased the incidence of disease.

Now, researchers have developed hormone formulas that copy human hormones exactly. The body responds to these bioidentical hormones just like those it makes naturally. Benefits include relief from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and discomfort during intercourse. Some research shows that bioidentical hormone treatment may reduce heart disease risk if begun early in menopause.

Studies find that a careful use of bio-identical hormones can lower discomfort and risk of developing some serious health conditions, while making the side-effects of menopause easier to manage.

Rebalancing With and Without HRT

While the symptoms of menopause may be common, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. When your body’s usual balance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone changes, you may experience very familiar symptoms. But re-balancing them requires careful adjustments that work for your unique body chemistry and metabolism.

Hormone replacement is not your only defense. Nutritional supplements and smart food choices can provide beneficial oils and herbs that relieve symptoms. Stress management and exercise can also be good choices to boost relief.

If you are considering HRT to benefit your health, talk with your doctor. Managing your symptoms safely and effectively requires a detailed health assessment and a treatment plan.

Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

Fatigue Caused by Underactive Thyroid: Could this be you?

Hypothyroidism, also known as an under-active thyroid, is fairly common. But because symptoms begin gradually and get worse over time, many don’t even realize that they are suffering from this disorder.

The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck, and produces thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone helps regulate your temperature, metabolism, heartbeat, and how efficiently your body burns calories.  When the thyroid gland is underactive, thyroid hormone levels fall lower than normal, and your body’s energy level decreases. Think of your thyroid like a gas pedal. When operating properly, the pedal is pushed down and your vehicle (your body) is moving along at peak performance. When not producing enough of the hormone, the pedal is barely pushed down at all, and you feel like you are hardly moving.

Two of the most common symptoms of an under-active thyroid are fatigue and an increased inability to lose weight.  But people often mistakenly attribute these symptoms to getting older. In fact, a thyroid condition may go undetected for years because many people fail to question the gradual loss of energy, or the slow onset of depression.

Hypothyroidism far too often under-diagnosed.  Some physicians do not ask the right questions or they put too much faith in the lab tests that they customarily use, and do not explore past ‘normal’ results they see. A woman’s long and sometimes wide-ranging symptoms can lead doctors to attribute them to the onset of menopause, or depression. Some doctors rely too much on one test to determine thyroid function when they need to add tests for active thyroid levels.

If you’re not feeling your best, ask yourself if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Depression
  • Brain fog (including poor concentration or memory)
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Low libido
  • Thinning hair
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Constipation
  • Poor sleep
  • Infertility

It is important to work with a doctor who takes a careful and complete health history and who uses appropriate lab tests to find what is causing your symptoms.

There is hope! There are a variety of treatment options for hypothyroidism including safe and proven medications, nutritional supplements to help regulate the thyroid balance, and even gradual lifestyle changes.

Dr. Keller is committed to helping you find safe and effective treatments to help you get back to living your best life. Contact us today to find out more about your symptoms, appropriate tests, and how to restore thyroid balance for your optimum health.
Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

 

Benefits of Retinol – Does it Really Reduce Wrinkles and Rejuvenate Skin?

Skin cream to reduce redness

Skin cream to reduce rednessWhen you look at skin care formulas, many will feature retinol, retinoids or Retin-A.  So what is retinol and why is it a major skin care ingredient? How does it help reduce wrinkles?

Retinol is derived from vitamin A, in the only effective form allowed in non-prescription skin care formulas. Retinol can indeed promote healthy skin and is a common ingredient in many anti-aging creams and lotions. Unfortunately confusion abounds about what is the truth and what is myth as to its power to reverse signs of aging skin.

Retinol 101

Retinol is a safe, natural ingredient found in abundance in the skin care aisle of your local pharmacy. No prescription is required. Retin-A is a stronger prescription-only version, formulated for acne treatment. You might also encounter retinol in forms such as retinyl acetate, retinylpalmitate and retinaldehyde. These are weaker forms of retinol and are gentler, but often less effective in reducing wrinkles and rejuvenating skin.  Only formulas with retinol itself will give you the same biochemical benefit as Retin-A without a prescription (visual improvement just takes longer).

How Retinol Improves Skin Health

Your skin absorbs retinol and it converts it into retinoic acid. This triggers receptors in skin cells and effects how skin cells function.

As cells age they repair themselves more erratically and aging skin develops dark spots and freckles. Retinol helps skin cells replace themselves more quickly, causing dark spots to fade and making pores less likely to clog.

Retinol also helps the skin create more collagen, which diminishes as we age, and which breaks down with sun exposure. Used regularly, retinol boosts the amount of collagen our skin forms, and can help new collagen remain intact for years.

In general, it takes six to 12 months of regular use for noticeable wrinkle reduction.

Retinol Usage Tips

Everyone’s skin is different, and yours may be more or less sensitive to retinol. Redness, dryness or flaking is normal during the first few days of use as your skin adjusts to the new stimuli. Here are some tips to help ease the transition:

  • Because retinol breaks down in sunlight, it’s best to apply it at night or in conjunction with sunscreen of at least SPF 30 during the day. If you’re heading outside, wear protective clothing and limit your sun exposure.
  • If you experience irritation, reduce your usage frequency. Switching from daily use to every-other-day gives your skin time to adapt.
  • Use a moisturizer to help prevent dryness and reduce potential symptoms.

Ask your doctor about using an AHA exfoliant with your retinol-based wrinkle cream. Studies show that AHA exfoliants can greatly enhance retinol’s ability to revitalize and repair damaged skin.
Dr. Betty Keller keeps up-to-date on the latest findings to help you develop a plan for optimal health.

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Is Hormone Rebalancing right for you?

Want to feel your best? Wonder how integrative medicine can help?
Get the Latest Information on Hormones and Your Health FREE

 

What Causes Wrinkles? Prevention and Treatment

What causes wrinkles

A new technology – the Venus Legacy system – minimizes wrinkles, firms lax skin and reduces fat and cellulite.

If you don’t welcome signs of aging like frown lines, crow’s feet and sagging skin, you’re not alone. Americans spend over $12 billion every year to reduce or reverse signs of aging.  Many people want to stay looking and feeling younger. But what really works to reduce wrinkles?

Understanding what causes wrinkles and premature aging is a first step to doing what you can to look younger and healthier without surgery.

Why Skin Wrinkles with Aging

Aside from the natural aging process, sun damage is by far the biggest cause of premature aging. By age 20, much damage to the skin’s structure is already underway (says a University of Maryland Medical Center report). Ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) disrupt the formation of collagen and elastin in the deep layers of the skin, breaking down these proteins needed for firmness, smoothness, and springiness.

The body naturally makes less collagen and elastin after about age 20. Production continues to decrease right through menopause.  Over time, glands that once made moisturizing oils begin to shrink. Our natural repair and healing processes slow down, too. They are outpaced by damage caused by poor diet, sun exposure, pollution, stress and repeated gestures like smiling, raising eyebrows, or squinting.

How To Minimize Skin Wrinkles With Aging

You can make a real difference by wearing sunblock, moisturizing with carefully made formulas that promote healing, limiting exposure to UV rays, and squinting less.

A healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise also go a long way to boost your healing response and reduce the premature formation of wrinkles and loose skin. Sunglasses and a hat help too.

Besides prevention, new treatments are available to boost the skin’s healing response.

How A New Anti-Aging Therapy Reduces Wrinkles, Shrinks Fat Deposits and Firms Lax Skin

About the Venus Legacy Rejuvenation System

venus-legacy-thumbnailOne new and highly effective anti-aging therapy uses radiofrequency energy. This is the same energy used for decades to improve wound healing. Scientists discovered that a combination of radiofrequency energy and magnetic pulses help direct the energy to where it’s needed to stimulate collagen and elastin repair.  It also boosts blood circulation and triggers the breakdown of small fat deposits and cellulite.

Results include firmer, smoother skin, fewer visible wrinkles, and slimmer contours where the treatment is applied.

The Venus Legacy system refers to this as Multi Polar Magnetic Pulse (MP)2 technology. The system’s applicator gently warms tissues with radiofrequency (RF) energy, and directs it to areas where it is needed with pulsed magnetic fields. The gentle, deep warming helps trigger the body’s natural healing response without injuring the skin.

How Venus Legacy Works

Venus Legacy, used professionally, gives you the benefit of both radiofrequency energy and magnetic pulse technology:

  • Radiofrequency sends electrical currents into the skin to generate heat without causing uncomfortable “hot spots.” It improves blood circulation and stimulates collagen production and lipolysis, or breakdown of fat.
  • Pulsed magnetic fields safely stimulate the skin around skin cells. Even by themselves, magnetic fields can lead to increased collagen production, the formation of small blood vessels, and healing in the area.

Optimal Strategies to Help Prevent and Reduce Wrinkles

You can’t do anything to eliminate wrinkles forever, but you can make a difference to maintain firmer, healthier, younger-looking skin.

  • Use sunscreen when you plan to be outdoors.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and antioxidants (get our heath tips).
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent excessive squinting.
  • Moisturize with high quality products that help restore skin.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Consider Venus Legacy for wrinkles, cellulite, and fatty spots that defy diet and exercise.

A healthy lifestyle and sun protection play a big part of any anti-aging strategy.  Be aware that UV exposure undermines the healing process — so sun protection is increasingly important when you want to look your youngest and best.

Feeling smarter now? Take a moment and Like us on Facebook!

Next Step: Take Action

Dr. Betty Keller offers Venus Legacy anti-aging treatments in Franklin Lakes, NJ at the Optimal Wellness Center.  Call us at 201-485-7930 to learn more about her approach to wellness and anti-aging treatments for firmer, smoother skin without surgery.

Is Venus Legacy Right for You?

Get answers to your question in a no-cost consultation:
Request an appointment

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Stroke Risk: Myths and Facts

Hormone Replacement Myths and Facts

Hormone Replacement Myths and FactsYou may be considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to benefit your health. But one of your main concerns may be the risk of stroke. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death for women in the U.S., and of course you want what’s best for your health.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. There is a great deal of misinformation surrounding BHRT and the risk of stroke. You can start to separate fact from fiction by gathering updated information, and by speaking with a doctor who keeps up with the latest medical findings about BHRT.

Here you can find out the truth behind some common myths around BHRT.

Myth: BHRT increases the risk of stroke.

Fact: BHRT does not necessarily increase your risk of having a stroke.

There is a great difference in risk factors for stroke, depending on whether synthetic or bioidentical hormones are used in treatment. Also, how the hormones are taken (in pill form, or a patch or gel on the skin) yields different results. A long-running study of more than 100,000 women in France (called the E3N study) found that bioidentical estrogen hormone patches and gels were linked with lower stroke risk than estrogen pills. Women taking estrogen through low-dose patches with pill-form progesterone slightly lowered their risk of stroke compared to women not using hormone replacement therapy.

Research published in the Journal Maturitas studied a group of 16,906 Swedish women ages 45 to 73 over a period of 10.5 years. They found that the risk of stroke was no different for women undergoing hormone replacement treatments than for those who did not. Excess body weight, smoking, older age, and high blood pressure were all found to be factors that increased the risk of stroke. Women who started treatments before menopause had a lower risk of stroke compared to those who started treatment after menopause.

 

Myth: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Bioidentical Hormone medications.

Fact: The FDA has listed drugs approved for menopausal hormone therapy; many are bioidentical hormone medications.

Some bioidentical hormone products are approved and regulated by the FDA, and some that are not. All hormones used for hormone balancing are man-made. Confusion arises between compounds that are custom made by pharmacies, and those that the FDA has approved.  Many bio-identical hormone medications are commonly compounded by pharmacies according to a doctor’s prescription.

Compounding pharmacies are able to provide customized medications, including BHRT according to a doctor’s recommendations. They can prepare ointments, creams, and gels and other forms. They are not subject to FDA regulations.

The FDA has approved bioidentical hormone products including pill, gel, spray, and patch preparations.  A 2013 study mentioned by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows that certain FDA-approved products (rather than compounded ones) may be tied to a slightly lower risk compared to synthetic hormones in pill form. Researchers stress that further confirming studies are needed.

Myth: Only one kind of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is safest.

Fact: There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for hormone balance. Your treatment plan requires careful decisions that you and your doctor should make.

Like any treatment, hormone balancing presents benefits and possible unwanted side effects and risks. Each person has different risk factors for stroke and other threats to health. Hormone treatment is one of many factors that impact your long-term health. Changes to improve your nutrition, response to stress, and lifestyle routines make a big difference in lowering your risk of disease.

Whether or not to seek BHRT and which treatment plan to follow are decisions you’ll want to make with a doctor who has up-to-date information. 

Feeling smarter now? Take a moment and Like us on Facebook!

Next Step: Take Action

Dr. Betty Keller offers hormone rebalancing in Franklin Lakes, NJ at the Optimal Wellness Center.  Call us at 201-485-7930 to learn more about her approach to wellness and hormone replacement therapy for your optimal health.  You can also subscribe to her free health tips to help you look and feel your best.

Venus Freeze named the #1 Non-Surgical Beauty Treatment in 2013 by “American Health & Beauty” Readers’ Choice Awards

Venus Legacy treatment area map

New Year – Time To Look And Feel Your Best!

jaque-922636-m

You are ready to look your best in 2014

We have the science to reverse aging and provide desired results

  • A warm, relaxing massage-like treatment
  • Skin tightens …wrinkles reduced

  • Face, neck and body shape improves

  • Gain new collagen …cellulite improves

  • Completely painless …no downtown
  • No injections or lasers

  • FDA-approved 

  • Achieve the appearance you want


Schedule your complimentary Venus Freeze consult and treatments today.
Call us at 201-485-7930 

Limited Time Offer

Special Venus Freeze Packages

Package (1) — Face and Neck

Purchase 6 treatments, Face and Neck for $2200, regularly priced at 3,600.


Package (2) – Mommy Makeover

Purchase 8 treatments for the abdomen
Special Limited Price of $1800, regularly priced at $2400.

*  Based on clinical trials and the ongoing collection of data of actual patients’ results, to achieve the optimum results, Venus Freeze recommends 6 treatments for the face and 6 treatments for the neck. Venus Freeze recommends 8 treatments for the body. Treatments can begin at your consultation. Above Special offers expire April 6th, 2014.

Each Venus Freeze treatment is regularly priced at $300. Special pricing offers are exclusively in package purchases and maintenance treatments.

You must call by April 6th to schedule a consultation and series must be purchased at the time of your consultation in order to receive this special price. Series needs to be completed by June 30th.

Call us to schedule your complimentary consultation: 201-485-7930

Optimal Wellness Center Receives 2013 Best of Franklin Lakes Award

Best of Franklin Lakes Award

Best of Franklin Lakes AwardFranklin Lakes NJ Award Program Honors the Achievement of Medical Wellness Center

The Optimal Wellness Center has been chosen for the 2013 Best of Franklin Lakes Award in the Wellness Program category by the Franklin Lakes Award Program.

Each year the Franklin Lakes Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category.   These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service in the Franklin Lakes community.  The Optimal Wellness Center has received the top award as an exceptional company helping to make the Franklin Lakes area a great place to live, work and play.

During 2013, the Optimal Wellness Center launched two series of articles to help people feel better, have more energy and reduce the impact of health problems.   The first is the Fibromyalgia Survival Guide  which helps people find relief from chronic fibromyalgia pain, sleep better, and enjoy life more.  The second is the set of 10 Best Weight Loss Tips that explain the facts about losing excess weight and how to keep it off for good.  You do not have to be a patient at the Optimal Wellness Center to sign up and receive this information by email for free.  Dr. Keller also shares health news and recipes on the Optimal Wellness Center Facebook page.

Dr. Betty Keller is proud to be recognized as the best of local businesses in the Franklin Lakes Community for 2013.  She thanks all her patients, friends and community for their support.

Venus Freeze Voted #1 in 2013 American Health and Beauty Reader’s Choice Awards

Venus Freeze Is #1 In 2013 American Health and Beauty Readers’ Choice Awards.

As seen on The Doctors and Rachel Ray TV shows — and here at the Optimal Wellness Center — this procedure uses safe Pulsed Magnetic Fields (PMF) and Radio Frequency (RF) to firm loose skin and reduce wrinkles that come with aging.

Lose belly fat, tighten skin nj treatmentSome doctors call it the non-surgical tummy-tuck. Dr. Betty Keller is very pleased to see Venus Freeze awarded top honors as the #1 procedure among American Health and Beauty readers.  She offers Venus Freeze in treatment plans for men or women who want to:

  • improve the look, feel and shape of areas that do not respond well to traditional exercise and diets
  • diminish wrinkles and obtain a fresh youthful look without the use of  needles or surgery
  • tighten skin,  decreasing cellulite and visibly reduce the circumference of areas of the body
  • use a non-invasive and painless approach

She began providing Venus Freeze treatments at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes New Jersey.

Patients report that the treatment feels relaxing, like going to the spa. It is commonly used on face, chin, neck, arms, abdomen, thigh and leg areas.  See our Venus Freeze page for more information, or call us at 201-485-7930 to make a consultation appointment.

Cauliflower “Rice”

Cauliflower Rice recipe

Cauliflower Rice recipeHere’s a great low-calorie, low-carbohydrate rice substitute that’s also high in fiber. It has a mild flavor and takes on the taste of whatever seasoning you add. Use in any recipes that calls for rice.

Preparation

1 head of cauliflower

Cut up fresh cauliflower using  florets only, using a food processor until it is the size of rice.

Microwave approximately 5 minutes; take a paper towel to absorb excess water.

Use as you would use rice in any of your recipes.


Serving Suggestions

Try adding light laughing cow cheese (garlic and onion flavor) for a creamy rice side dish, top with roasted or sautéed vegetables.

Try sautéing I medium onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then add the cauliflower rice and sauté for additional 5-6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Try any of the following to the cauliflower rice and onion

Add fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Add 1 tablespoon of your favorite spice, try curry or cumin.

Add ¼ cup of fresh herbs, basil. Oregano, cilantro, dill

Use in soups, as a side dish, any dish calling for rice it’s a great substitute

Research Shows Maintaining a Healthy Weight Helps Prevent Mental Decline

Healthy lifestyle and healty weight aids mental function

Healthy lifestyle and healty weight aids mental functionStaying healthy and maintaining a healthy weight not only reduces your risk of developing chronic disease.

It also helps maintain cognitive function.

New Findings in Healthy Lifestyle Mental Benefits

Research shows that that there is an association between being overweight or obese and impaired cognitive function.

In addition, people with metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes or high cholesterol are at increased risk of mental decline as well.

Studies show that these metabolic abnormalities like diabetes and elevated lipids are predictive of lower cognitive function regardless of BMI (Body Mass index, a measure of body fat). However the higher the BMI in this group the greater the mental decline.

Healthy eating and lifestyle can not only combat chronic disease but also can help maintain mental function as we age.

Food is medicine, so choosing whole foods, lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, lean protein and healthy fats combined with regular exercise, stress reducing activities can all help keep your body and mind healthy.

How to Control Late Night Eating

Tips for weight loss and late night eatingTired of giving in to late night eating?  You don’t want to ruin all your hard work to become lighter and healthier.  But, if you know you’re going to be up late and know you’ll want a snack, you can plan ahead to avoid needless weight gain.

Here are some quick tips to help you plan a late night snack without big regrets.  

First, make sure you have eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  When you skip meals you tend to snack more. You may have the idea that you hardly ate all day so you have a lot of calories to spare. Not so fast! When you skip meals, your metabolism slows down. Then, if you take in those calories later and don’t use them up, you store them as fat.

Second, eliminate unhealthy snack food from your home / dorm room

Third, try these tips to plan healthier late-night habits.

1)   If you feel like a snack, have a large glass of water with lemon.

2)   Try sipping on decaffeinated herbal tea.

3)   Brush your teeth and remove yourself from the kitchen.

4)   Try chewing sugarless gum.

5)   Have sugarless Jell-O on hand its only 10 calories per serving.

6)   If you really enjoy having an evening snack every night then have a planned snack, try and keep the calories 150 to 200. Choose a protein snack it will keep you feeling satisfied.  Or choose a complex carbohydrate like fruits or vegetables.  They are high in fiber and will also keep you full. Or choose a combination of the two.

7)   Here are some ideas for snacks that are around 150-200 calories

Sweet snacks

  • Plain fat free Greek yogurt (8oz 90 cal) with fresh blueberries (82 cal/cup)
  •  An apple with nut butter (1Tbsp)
  • Frozen grapes, (62 calories/cup)
  • sugarfree sorbet.

Salty snack ideas 

  •      Left over cooked vegetables with 1oz of cheese
  • .    Celery and nut butter(2 Tbsp)
  • ,    Hummus (3 Tblsp) and raw vegetables
  •      Olives and cheese
  •      Pickles
  •      Skinny pop popcorn 4 cups

After you have had your planned snack, stop. Remind yourself that is it! Find something to do next:  read a book, play a game, go for walk, listen to music, or take a relaxing bath.

Find out more about how you can lose weight by understanding how your body responds to certain foods.  Get our free weight loss insights, with our 10 best tips to discovering a lighter and healthier you.  Instant access right here.

Hummus Recipe: Hummus bi tahini-chickpea dip

Hummus recipe

Hummus and tabbouleh are two of our favorite snacks. Hummus is a delicious healthy dip, served with fresh cut up vegetables is a satisfying fiber filled snack to enjoy anytime

Hummus bi tahini-chickpea dip

½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
½ cup of water
1 clove garlic (optional)
20 oz. can chickpeas (drained)
4 tbsp. of tahini (sesame seed paste)

Blend salt, lemon juice, water and garlic in a blender or food processor. Ass drained chick peas and blend. Add tahini and blend again.

May be garnished with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, or paprika. Serve with pita bread or various cut fresh vegetables as an appetizer

Tabbouleh Recipe

tabbouleh recipe

tabbouleh recipeTabbouleh and hummus are two of our favorite snacks. Tabbouleh requires a bit of prep time (chopping the parsley) but it is well worth the effort. This tabbouleh recipe makes a nutritious, satisfying fiber-filled snack to enjoy anytime.

TABBOULEH – PARSLEY SALAD
2 bunches of flat (Italian) parsley
4 ripe tomatoes
1 bunch of scallions
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup of olive oil
½ cup of fresh lemon juice
½ cup of fine burghul (also called bulgur, or wheat-no1)
2 tsp. chopped fresh mint (or dry mint crushed)

Rinse burghul (wheat) in cold water and drain excess water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Wash parsley and chop leaves fine. Dice tomatoes and chop scallions. Combine the cut vegetables with the remaining ingredients, including the burghul, mint, and salt. Mix well and taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Serve on a platter on separated tender leaves of romaine lettuce.

Gain Energy, Lose Wrinkles, Feel Great; See How At Our Open House

Vitamin C to prevent wrinklesDid you know that what you eat and do can help prevent wrinkles?

Did you know –

  • that wrinkles are associated with a low vitamin-C diet, according to new medical studies?
  • that you can eat certain foods to protect your skin against premature aging?
  • that you can taste some of the best foods and see the latest treatments to keep you looking and feeling great, at the Optimal Wellness Center on October 16?

Come to the Optimal Wellness Center Open House, 11:00 AM on October, 16, at 777 Franklin Lakes Drive, Franklin Lakes, NJ

Learn tips to have more energy, lose weight, and improve your skin to look and feel your best.

Sample some healthy and delicious recipes, and learn how the foods you eat can reduce wrinkles, protect your skin, and help you enjoy new energy.

Find out about the many types of massage therapy offered at our center.

And hear about new treatments for weight loss, chronic fatigue and pain relief.

We’re most excited to introduce you to our new body contouring and skin rejuvenation services.

Dr. Betty Keller is looking forward to seeing you at the Open House at the Optimal Wellness Center. Come to 777 Franklin Ave., Franklin Lakes NJ, 201-485-7930 (directions here)

RSVP Here
…So We Fix Enough For You!

Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

weight loss doctor Bergen County NJ Dr. Betty Keller
Sleep-deprived eating

Want to lose weight?

Weight loss doctor in Bergen County NJ Dr. Betty Keller Explains How Sleep Impacts Weight Loss

Could your lack of sleep be causing you to gain those extra-unwanted pounds?

Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

There have been many studies confirming the association of sleep deprivation and obesity in both children and adults. When people don’t get enough sleep they tend to eat more and gain weight.

When You’re Tired, You Eat Differently

A recent study by The University of California Berkeley suggests one reason may be the effect lack of sleep has on your brain. The study found that after just one night of sleep deprivation the brain had a heightened response to junk food, which means you actually experience greater pleasure than you normally, would.

In addition the part of your brain — the frontal cortex — that is responsible for higher thinking and impulse control showed a decreased in activity. So not only do you get greater pleasure from eating junk food when you’re tired, you also have less ability to stop yourself from over-indulging.

Other studies have shown that a lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol increases your appetite, and also tells your body to hold onto fat.

There are many physiologic and psychological reasons that we gain weight when we are sleep deprived. The bottom line, sleep is essential. When you are well rested you make better choices have energy to exercise, feel more positive and think more clearly.

The good news is getting more sleep is a simple cost effective, side effect free way to look and feel better and maybe even drop those few unwanted pounds. Try and get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Find out about our Weight Loss treatments to help you feel great and lose weight.

To A Healthier You!
Dr. Betty Keller

Why Blueberries Are the Perfect Snack

why blueberries are among the best super foods
Blueberries are the “Super Stars among ‘Super Foods.'”

Here’s Why:

Blueberries Health Benefits

Blueberries contain powerful phytochemicals which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries are one of the highest food sources of antioxidants.

There is increasing evidence that Blueberries have many health benefits. Here are just a few!

1) Boost your Immune System: The phytochemicals in blueberries particularly Flavanoids like Anthocyanin are powerful antioxidants.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and have been shown to strengthen the immune system.

2) Promote Eye Health: Blueberries contain not only antioxidants but also vitamins and minerals, all which promote eye health.

3) Reduce Cardiovascular Disease:  In addition to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, blueberries also reduce total Cholesterol, raise HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease triglycerides.

4) Beneficial effect on Blood Sugar, Weight and Metabolism: There is increasing evidence that blueberries have a beneficial effect on blood sugar and help reduce the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. Thus helping not only with blood sugar regulation but weight loss and a more efficient metabolism. Recent studies have also provided evidence that another phytochemical polyphenols found in blueberries may help break down belly fat.

5) Promote Brain Health: Blueberries have been found to improve cognitive function, including memory. Blueberries health benefits may help prevent age-related cognitive decline.

At 80 calories a cup and with 4 grams of fiber and all the health benefits. A cup of blueberries is the perfect snack. It may be the fruit of the day to “keep the doctor away.”

PS: Want to know why we love antioxidants? Here’s a clear simple answer.

Why Weight Training Helps You Lose Weight and Keep It Off

If you want to slim down, why would you do weight training?  Weight training may seem like something to avoid if you don’t want to get too bulky.  But it’s a great way to build lean muscle and is an important part of a lighter, healthy lifestyle for both men and women.

Why Does Weight Training Help You Lose Weight?

The more muscle you have, the better your body burns calories. That’s because muscle tissue burns calories at a faster rate than the same amount of fat tissue.  Plus, the energy muscles use during and after strength exercise increases your metabolism.   For every pound of muscle you add, your metabolism increases to burn about 50 calories more per day.

Weight training, also known as strength training, tones and firms your muscles, and increases the amount of muscle tissue in your body. Weight training also preserves your muscle mass, which means that you’ll have an easier time keeping extra pounds off.

Is Strength Training the Only Kind of Exercise for Weight Loss?

Strength training for weight loss complements your cardiovascular exercise plan.  Cardio exercise burns calories, and improves circulation and overall health. Weight training builds muscles. Strength training is excellent for overall health, too. It increases bone density, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and boosts your energy.

Equipment Is Optional

Weight training doesn’t require purchasing equipment. Body weight training uses your own weight as the resistance. These exercises include pushups, pull-ups, and crunches.  Yoga and dance exercises also do an excellent job to increase your strength with moves that gently lift or pose the body.

Equipment used for weight training can be simple. Basic equipment includes using small free weights, or elastic bands that provide resistance.

Why check with a doctor before starting an exercise program?

It is important to consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor will be more familiar with your current condition and can address concerns that are unique to you.  When you exercise with weight loss as your goal, your doctor can help you put together a program that’s right for you – one that you may even enjoy.

Get Specialized Help With Weight Loss at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller makes a commitment with you to help you succeed in becoming lighter and healthier.  Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

Dr. Betty Keller is a board certified doctor specializing in weight losschronic pain treatmentmedical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas. She practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

The Relationship Between Stress and Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, should you care about stress? You may think that dealing with weight loss is stressful enough.  But it turns out that there is a strong connection between stress and weight loss. Taking care of stress can provide a big boost to your efforts to lose weight.

There are two main ways that stress adds to the difficulty losing weight.  These are : 1) food cravings, and 2) changes in the body’s metabolism.

Stress and Food Cravings

Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. Our ancestors needed it in “fight or flight” situations since it provides a quick burst of energy, a higher tolerance to pain, and other things to help get us out of danger.

Stress is also linked to food cravings.     With higher levels of cortisol, often people will feel cravings for salty, sweet, or high-carbohydrate foods. This may have served our ancestors who needed to eat more to prepare for danger ahead.  But today, these same cravings cause weight gain, especially with more sedentary lifestyles.

Stress and Metabolism

Cortisol helps the body deal with physical stress by tapping into energy stored as fat.  In response to stress, it moves fat from around the body to the abdominal area.  Study after study confirms that long periods of stress are linked to increased abdominal fat, even in those who are otherwise thin.

Deal With Stress, Not Stress Hormones, for Weight Loss

Cortisol by itself isn’t bad. It’s an important part of a normal metabolism. It’s long-term stress and long-term elevated levels of stress hormones that make weight loss more difficult than it has to be.

Consider how much stress you have been facing over time.  If ‘being under pressure’ drives you to get less sleep or follow eating habits you know aren’t good for you, then stress may be the problem to focus on first.  You may find that by learning enjoyable ways to exercise, get enough sleep, and manage stress, extra pounds may come off more easily than you thought.

Personalized Weight Loss Treatments at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller makes a commitment with you to help you succeed in becoming lighter and healthier.

Her weight loss program includes personal consultation to plan meals with foods you like, and feel and look better with appropriate activity and rest.

Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

Call us at 201-485-7930 to get started.

About Dr. Betty Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor  specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Sleep and Weight Loss: Why Does Sleep Help in Losing Weight?

Lack of sleep may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a real problem if you’re trying to lose weight.  You may be surprised the relationship between sleep and weight loss. Not only does it make you crabby and sap your energy, it can also take your mind and body off track from your weight loss goals.

Lack of Sleep Disrupts Healthy Eating Patterns

Studies show that people who get less sleep start to eat smaller breakfasts and more late night meals. Because their sleep cycle is messed up, their bodies think it’s time to sleep when they should be eating and vice versa.

When you stay up later, you’re more likely to snack more and choose unhealthy foods. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t have all the energy you need and that makes sugary and fatty foods look much more appealing. You’re responding to what your body needs, more energy, but this can set you back if you’re trying to lose weight.

Lack of Sleep Disturbs a Healthy Weight Loss Metabolism

And there’s more going on below the surface. There are two hormones that are affected when you don’t get enough sleep:  ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells you when it’s time to eat and leptin tells you when it’s time to stop. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your body makes more ghrelin and less leptin and slows down your metabolism. In short, your body is telling you to eat more and is taking longer to tell you to stop.

How to Help Yourself Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Here are 3 easy tips to help you get better sleep.

1.     Give yourself a bedtime. If you go to sleep and wake up about the same time every day, your body will get used to it and maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

2.     Watch what you eat at dinner. Don’t go to bed stuffed, the discomfort can keep you awake. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can also interrupt your sleep, so avoid anything that contains those things just before bedtime.

3.     Get relaxed. Take a warm bath, read a book or magazine, or listen to soft music. Do something that will help you wind down. Avoid watching TV, going on the computer, or any other electronics. Studies have suggested that these kinds of things interfere with rest.

Lack of sleep is a common problem.  But it doesn’t have to derail your hard work to lose weight if you know why sleep is important, and you start each day well rested and refreshed.

Get Personalized Weight Loss Treatment at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller’s weight loss program includes personal consultation to plan meals with foods you like, and feel and look better with appropriate activity and rest. Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

You can call us at 201-485-7930 to get started.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Can 10 Minutes of Exercise Make a Difference in Weight Loss?

Trying to find another way to burn a few extra calories? You don’t have to come up with a whole new exercise for weight loss; just extend the length of the one you’re already doing.

Adding an extra 10 minutes 5 days a week can make a big impact. It may not seem like much, but you can burn a good number of calories and gain strength during this time.

What does can an extra 10 minutes do for you?

  • 10 more minutes of walking burns 50 calories
  • 10 minutes of swimming burns 69 calories
  • 10 minutes of jogging burns 80 additional calories

By itself, this may not sound like much.  But adding extra time, each time you exercise, and the benefits really build up. For example, say you add 10 more minutes of walking exercise five times a week. The additional time can burn up to 250 more calories a week.  In addition, research shows that the benefits of exercise include adding time to your lifespan.

Why Ask Your Doctor Before Starting an Exercise Program?

It is important to consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor will help you understand your current condition and can talk through your questions with you.  When you exercise with weight loss as your goal, your doctor’s guidance helps you create a program that’s right for you.

Get Personalized Help With Weight Loss at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller’s weight loss program includes personal consultation to help you find the right type of exercise for you. Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

You can call us at 201-485-7930 to get started.

Dr. Betty Keller is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas. She practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Cardiovascular Exercise: Varied Intensity is Key to Faster Weight Loss

Cardiovascular (or cardio) workouts are exercises that boost your heart rate.  Examples are jogging, cycling, walking, swimming and bicycling.

Why Cardio for Weight Loss?

Cardio is great for burning calories. One pound of fat is 3,500 calories, so once you burn more calories than you eat, you begin to lose weight.

Along with burning calories, cardio exercise strengthens your heart, lungs, and muscle groups. It also increases metabolism. All this helps you burn more calories in a day and keeps your energy up.

Recent studies show that the best way to burn more calories is through interval training. This can be accomplished by short bursts of high intensity cardio alternating with a lower intensity cardio.

Multiple short bursts of high intensity through out your work out will burn more calories than a longer workout at a lower steady intensity.

Why Ask Your Doctor Before Starting an Exercise Program?

It is important to consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor will be more familiar with your current condition and can talk through your concerns and questions with you.  When you exercise with weight loss as your goal, your doctor can help you create a program that’s right for you.

Get Personalized Help With Weight Loss at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller’s weight loss program includes personal consultation to help you find the right type of exercise for you. Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

Dr. Betty Keller is a board certified doctor specializing in weight losschronic pain treatmentmedical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas. She practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

How Can I Stop Craving Sugar?

Sugar cravings come from over-consumption of…sugar! The more sugar you eat or drink, the more you crave. However, eating a moderate amount of naturally present sugars, such as those found in fruits, 100% whole grains and dairy, doesn’t really pose any health threat. But added sugars and high fructose corn syrup, which creep into everything from sodas to cereals and yogurt to bread, can fuel sugar cravings, cause weight gain, add to body-wide inflammation and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

The best way to reduce sugar cravings is to READ FOOD LABELS. Then you’ll see just where added sugar is hiding and you can avoid it. Words like malt, dextrose, fructose, sucrose and anything that says syrup indicate the product contains sugar in disguise.

You can also control sugar cravings by keeping your blood sugar levels steady. Never skip breakfast and make sure every meal provides a balance of protein and carbohydrates. This decreases the glycemic load and prevents blood sugar and insulin spikes. Also, eat a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours. And exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Is it Bad to Eat Before Bed?

If you think eating before bed is a diet downfall, well, you might be right.

Some studies indicate we may not burn calories as quickly at night. But one thing is certain, if you eat late at night, chances are you’re adding excess calories to your daily diet. And that can add up to extra pounds. Plus, if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, late night eating can cause blood sugar spikes.

You need to tailor your medication routine to your food intake and then stick with that plan.

What are the Problems With Obesity?

Excess fat cells trigger body-wide inflammation that’s associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, problems with fatty liver, kidney disease, sleep apnea and infertility. Excess weight also damages joints and makes osteoarthritis extra painful. And obesity has been linked to dementia.

There are also emotional repercussions. Obesity can lead to low self-esteem, depression, social withdrawal and may make a person a target of bullying.

How to Stop Overeating?

weight loss doctor Bergen County NJ Dr. Betty Keller

How to Stop Overeating? Tips from Weight Loss Doctor Bergen County NJ, Dr. Betty Keller

Appetite is controlled by two hormones: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your body when it’s hungry and leptin signals all full. But when you constantly overeat, your natural appetite control system stops working and YOU DON’T KNOW when you’re full.

Overeating is also triggered by stress. When you’re under stress, your body secretes high levels of the hormone cortisol. This can make you increase your intake of food, because eating causes your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

To curb overeating, you have to give your appetite-control hormones a chance to reset, so they can do their jobs. It helps if you chew each bite longer and eat more slowly. Put your fork down between bites. Savor the flavors.

Another way to reset your appetite control system is to get regular exercise. It makes your body more sensitive to leptin’s signal that you’re full. Aerobic exercise also decreases cortisol levels and elevates dopamine levels to give you the same mood boost you can get from eating.

3 Easy Portion Size Tips for Reaching a Healthy Weight

Proper portion size for weight loss isn’t about starving yourself.  It’s about enjoying what you eat, in healthy amounts.  Often, weight creeps up simply because we aren’t aware of how much we actually eat.

Learning proper portion sizes sounds a lot harder than it really is. Here are 3 easy tips and tricks to ensure that you eat what you need shed and keep off excess weight.

Tip 1)  Don’t Eat Out of the Container

One easy way to avoid snacking too much is to not eat directly out of the container. Take a serving from the container instead. The packages that foods come in are large. Helping ourselves from the package encourages us to keep eating whatever’s in front of us. If you’re eating while watching TV or reading a book, being distracted often leads to eating more than you meant to out of the box or bag. Instead, pour the amount you plan to eat in a bowl and keep the rest out of eyesight.

Tip 2) Use Familiar Things to Measure by Eye

One good way to eyeball healthy portions is by comparing them in your mind with familiar things. For instance, one serving of fruit, like a small apple or orange, would be about the size of a tennis ball. One carbohydrate serving of cooked rice (1/3rd cup), is the size of a hockey puck. Make it personal! Find objects that can help you remember the amount intend to eat as a serving size.

Tip 3) Fill Your Plate in Sections

A good way to fill a plate with well-sized portions is to use sections of your plate as your guide.

Half the plate should be lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. The more color, the better! It means that you are getting lots of different vitamins and minerals.

A quarter of the plate should be protein. Choose proteins that are rich in nutrients, such as beans, nuts, fish, or chicken. (Avoid red and processed meats such as beef or bacon. Even small amounts can lead to future health issues. )

The last quarter is for grains. Whole grains are the healthiest choice. Avoid processed options like white rice or white bread — go for more fiber, vitamins, minerals and rich natural flavor of whole grains. Wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat and barley are a few of many to choose from.

Finding your proper portion size is about learning how much and what you plan to eat for a healthy weight.

Taking time to take proper portions can make a big difference in losing weight and keeping it off for good.

Eat and Lose Weight with Dr. Keller’s Menu Planner

Dr. Keller’s weight loss program includes a free menu planner. You can see what meals others created to help them lose weight, and plan your own meals with foods you enjoy.  Find out about Dr. Keller’s weight loss treatment program and call us at 201-485-7930 to get started.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

How Can I Stop Emotional Eating?

Learning to control emotional eating is much more about what goes on in your mind than what goes on in your stomach.

The first thing is to acknowledge your emotional attachment to food. Then you want to recognize the symptoms of your emotional eating.

Generally, emotional hunger is sudden and urgent, and you reach for junk food without really being aware of what you’re doing.

You also want to identify feelings that fuel your impulse to eat when you’re not really hungry. Is it anger? Sadness? Loneliness? Tension? Anxiety?

You may need to talk with a therapist to unravel this connection completely, but you can improve your impulse control yourself.

Why Skipping Alcohol is Important for Weight Loss

Why Skipping Alcohol Is Important for Weight Loss

You may already suspect alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals.  Drinking weakens your willpower – and more. Here are 5 important facts you need to know about alcohol to help you lose weight.

1) Alcohol is high in calories. Alcoholic drinks are full of calories. In fact, on average alcoholic drinks contain 7 calories per gram. To get a better idea of how much this is, protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram.  You may be getting more calories than you realize from alcohol: as much as drinking a can of soda.

2) Alcohol may increase appetite, even for moderate drinkers.  Have you ever noticed that you eat more while you’re drinking? Several studies show that we are more likely to indulge when we are served food with beer or wine than with soda. Alcoholic drinks can irritate and wear away your stomach lining, which makes it vulnerable to the digestive acids. If you drink moderately to excessively, this can make you feel hungrier than you really are and encourage you to take larger portions of food.

3) Alcohol hinders fat-burning processes.   The body metabolizes alcohol first, which unbalances your body’s normal fat burning processes.

The liver is the body’s biggest fat burning organ.  Normally, the liver cells turn fatty acids into a form that the rest of the body uses. But, the liver is also the ONLY organ that can break down alcohol.  When alcohol arrives in the bloodstream, the liver must process it first.  The unprocessed fatty acids build up and clog the liver — a process observed even with just one bout of heavy drinking.

4) Alcohol encourages fat storage.  Your body doesn’t store everything the same way. Most of the time, fat is burned into fuel. Alcohol is converted into two substances: acetate, and acetyl CoA. Both make getting weight loss harder in different ways.

Acetate slows down the burning of fat. When your body produces too much acetate, it spends more time getting rid of it than the fat. This can lead to more fat being stored for longer. Acetyl CoA encourages the production of fat cells.

5) Alcohol weakens liver health.  Alcohol causes cell damage in the liver in complex ways.  Fat buildup in the liver is one harmful result.  Another cause comes from free radicals, or unstable molecules, which are created when the liver breaks down alcohol.  Acetaldehyde is the main product when alcohol breaks down.  It appears to be a major source of cell-damaging free radicals in the liver.

Weight control depends on having a healthy liver.  The liver makes or triggers all the body’s fat burning hormones. The healthier the liver, the better the fat burning power your body has.

Alcohol is bad news if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight!

Not only does it add extra calories. It hinders your body’s power to burn them off.  Skipping the cocktail helps you take one giant step closer to your weight loss goals.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

 

How Can I Lose Belly Fat?

Belly fat – also called visceral fat – is particularly dangerous for your health. It surrounds your organs and fuels body-wide inflammation that increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and dementia.

To lose it you need to adopt a healthier diet that focuses on high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and 100% whole grains. In addition, you need lean proteins such as fish and skinless poultry, and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Your goal is to eliminate processed foods – remember many baked goods contain harmful trans fats – that’s partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. You also want to cut out simple carbs that the body sees as sugar – and excess sugar is stored as fat.

To lose belly fat it is also important to reduce stress. The stress hormone cortisol causes you to store fat around your middle. So make sure to get regular exercise. Buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day.

What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss?

The best diet for weight loss is one in which you take in fewer calories than you expend every day.  And one that you can stick to. We do know extreme diets that eliminate whole categories of foods, leave you hungry and unsatisfied and can slow your metabolism, making it harder to lose that excess weight. Fad diets do not work in the long run.

In order to sustain permanent weight loss you need to make healthy lifestyle choices, including a diet based on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and some whole grains and healthy fats. Make sure you watch your portion sizes! Healthy choices have calories too.

Regular exercise is also important to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. You should aim for 1 to 2 pounds weight loss a week. And studies prove building in diet days off help you stick to your plan and actually lead to more weight loss.

What Are Whole Foods and How Do They Help You Lose Weight?

Many people aren’t sure exactly what whole foods are.  Because so much of our food is processed and promoted as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, we often don’t recognize whole foods or see their role in a healthy diet.

Whole foods are those we eat their natural state. Manufactured, refined or processed foods aren’t whole foods, no matter what other labels they have. Even staples like bread, peanut butter and jelly don’t qualify.  That’s because all (or almost all) of their ingredients are machined to a far cry from their natural state. They’re fast and convenient, but do you wonder what’s in them and what this means for your health?

Why Processed Foods Are So Unhealthy

According to researchers, most Americans are essentially malnourished. By some estimates, 90% of the food we buy is processed. Because nutrients get removed with processing, we receive too little vitamin C, fiber, and other essential nutrients every day. When you look at the quality of food we eat, it isn’t surprising.

Processed food contains more fat, sodium, oils, and empty calories than their natural counterparts. Their ingredients also include artificial dyes and flavors, chemical sweeteners, and preservatives to extend shelf life.  Products made from corn are often added, usually under many different names like citric acid. This causes problems for weight loss, because it concentrates more calories into what we consume than we need to eat.

Processing and refining ingredients removes the fiber, vitamins and minerals our bodies need to keep our muscles and organs working well, to fight disease, and use for energy.  Worse – it throws out of balance the proportions of nutrients and calories we absorb during digestion, and the body stores more fat as a result.

When your body goes without the nutrition of natural foods, weight control and health suffers.  Everything from metabolism to waste elimination to food cravings becomes maladjusted to too much fat, sugar, and too little vitamins, minerals and fiber.

But, how do you avoid this?

By eating more foods as they come from nature.

Why Whole Foods Help with Weight Loss

Whole foods are in their original state – or very close to it – when you eat them.  Because they’re intact, you get more fiber and complete nutrients, and sugars and carbohydrates in natural proportions.

By eating whole foods, you feel satisfied without eating unnatural levels of calories per serving.  Your body is better able to maintain a regular metabolism, decrease cravings, and avoid turning extra calories into fat.  With the right fuel, you can lose weight more easily and feel healthier.

Examples of Whole Foods and Their Benefits

There are all kinds of great whole foods to choose from. Here are some examples:

  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, chia, and flax, contain omega 3 – an essential fatty acid that helps prevent heart disease.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, especially when they’re raw. They can help reduce the risk for many illnesses and lower blood pressure.
  • Whole grains reduce the risk of chronic illness and obesity. You may have heard people say that whole grain is better than white bread, and it’s true! White flour is highly processed and lacks the nutrition in the entire wheat grain.
  • Legumes such as black beans, lentils, and red kidney beans are a great source for fiber and protein. They help in reducing cholesterol and maintaining sugar levels.

Some nutritionists say that your body can better use vitamins from the food you eat than from pills and supplements—it’s certainly a lot more fun!

Eating whole foods is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.

It’s a simple change that can help boost your health.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

 

Green Tea, Antioxidants and Weight Loss – Connected?

Green Tea and Weight Loss connection


Green Tea and Weight Loss
We hear more and more about foods that are high in antioxidants, and their help in fighting disease and losing weight. But what exactly are antioxidants and what do they do?

Antioxidants protect healthy cells from damaged molecules. The damaged molecules, called free radicals, come from the things we encounter everyday – such as air pollution, pesticides and chemicals in the environment.

The Problem With Free Radicals

A free radical is a molecule with a missing part. One or more electrons are gone, causing a tiny negative charge.  The unstable molecule takes electrons from whatever is nearby – such as your healthy cells. This creates a second free radical in your body.  The electron stealing continues in a chain reaction that damages cells.

Our bodies produce free radicals naturally. They occur when our body breaks down food or fights infection.  Mental, emotional and intense physical stress can also produce free radicals.
Free radicals affect the immune system, harden arteries, and play a role in many chronic diseases.

Antioxidants Make Stable Molecules

Fortunately, our bodies also make antioxidants.  These are molecules that can lose an electron or two without becoming unstable.  They can stop the chain reaction started by free radicals.

A regular, balanced exercise routine, healthy food choices, and stress management help the body make antioxidants to reduce cell damage from unstable molecules.  However, the body makes antioxidants only in limited amounts.  The good news is, we can add more by what we eat.

The Benefits of Antioxidants for Weight Loss

More research needs to be done to explore the role of antioxidants in losing weight.  But they have many known benefits that can help. Antioxidants promote a healthy immune system. They help your organs work efficiently and properly, which keeps your metabolism running well. They clean damaging molecules out of your body.

The amount of fiber in antioxidant rich food helps you feel full longer.  Some spices like turmeric and ginger help the body fight inflammation too, helping prevent cancers and cardiovascular disease.
The health-boosting role of antioxidants enables you to lose weight by staying well and active, exercising and burning calories more easily and naturally.

Foods High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants come in a wide variety of foods. Brightly colored berries, fruit, and vegetables are among the best sources. Colorful plates are healthier plates!

Fruits and vegetables aren’t the only foods that have antioxidants. Meats such as poultry, seafood and nuts contain zinc and selenium, which help immunity.

Even some beverages are a healthier for you than you might think! Coffee, natural grape juice, and pomegranate juice have antioxidants in them. But the best choice by far is green tea.  One cup gives you more antioxidants than a cup of coffee, and less caffeine.

Eating to increase antioxidants in your body leads to better food choices.  You choose more leafy greens, vegetables, fruits and whole foods when you choose foods to help prevent cell damage and disease.  You may find yourself spicing up your plate with ginger, black pepper, red pepper and oregano – all good sources of antioxidants.

Most experts agree that the best way to benefit from antioxidants is by adding them to your diet. Supplements can help, but they don’t benefit the body as well as antioxidants from food sources.

Antioxidant Foods Promote Health and Good Eating for Weight Loss

Antioxidants have many benefits and are worth checking out. Not only do they help you fight disease and inflammation.  Choosing high antioxidant foods means getting more nutrition in the right proportions.  This helps extra weight come off more easily, while satisfying your taste buds and your appetite.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

What is a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy derived from food. Our body uses this fuel so it can do everything from breathing to secreting hormones to running a mile.

On average, your body needs 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day to keep your organs functioning, respiration going smoothly, and your brain focused.

If you take in more calories than you expend, the excess is stored as fat. If you eat fewer calories than that, you’ll lose weight.

How Low is Low Carb?

Low carbohydrate diets ask you to reduce your carbohydrate intake from a recommended 225 to 325 grams a day to between 50 and 150 grams. The idea is that eating fewer carbs lowers the amount of glucose in your blood and that makes your body burn fat instead of sugar for fuel. The result? Weight loss. But over time that can deprive you of essential nutrients found in carbohydrate-rich foods like grains, vegetables and fruits.

A low-carbohydrate diet also increases the amount of protein and fat you consume. There’s no health advantage to eating excessive amounts of red meat and saturated fats.  In fact, they’re associated with elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease and a greater risk of colon cancer.

So if you’re interested in losing weight and keeping it off, eliminate processed foods and simple carbs. A healthy diet should include complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Does Hypnosis Work for Weight Loss?

Few studies have shown a direct link between hypnosis and physical weight loss. Hypnosis can help with your mind-set towards weight loss, though. Because hypnosis focuses more on the mental part of weight loss than the physical, it may help motivate you to get started or keep going. This will fuel the hard work you’re already putting in to lose those extra pounds. The physical part of weight loss is all you – meaning you have to put in the work at home or at the gym.

Hypnosis only encourages a different way of thinking about your body in relationship to food and fitness – so in this way, it can be beneficial.

Can I Lose Weight Without Exercise?

Technically, you can lose weight without also doing daily exercise. Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit – meaning that you burn more than you consume. That’s why exercise, plus diet changes, are an important part of a weight-loss and weight-control plan.

First, exercise helps create a significant calorie deficit – after all, you can burn 600 calories with an hour in a spin class.  Second, exercise builds muscles, which burn more calories than fat even when you’re at rest. So exercise helps amp up your metabolism.

While you can lose weight without exercise, it’s healthier to adopt a whole food diet plus a routine of regular physical activity that gets your heart pumping and muscles working.

Losing Weight: 5 Tips on Portion Size

This is the first in a series about lifestyle changes that lead to a lighter and healthier you.

The weight loss secret that’s often overlooked: It’s about the portion size!

1) Watch Your Portion Size

Losing weight is a matter of eating less and moving more. Calories in minus calories burned determine your weight.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Wait, not so fast!

Weight loss also has to do with the types of foods you eat and when. More importantly if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make permanent lifestyle changes or it will just creep back on. Here are some small changes you can make which can  add up to big results, a lighter and healthier you.

2) Give up the Supersize, and it’s ALL Supersized!

Watch your portions.  It bears repeating: Portions do matter. Even healthy foods contain calories. Our brains have been hijacked by photos, commercials of skinny women holding super-sized cereal bowls, and monster size portions at restaurants.  This means many of us need to retrain the brain to recognize the correct portion size.

3)  Re-Learn to Measure by Eye

Try this trick at breakfast:  Pour yourself what you think is a serving size of cereal.  Let’s say the nutrition label says a serving size is 2/3rd cup.    Then, in another bowl, measure the actual 2/3rd cup serving. Chances are you poured two to three times the serving size in the first bowl.  This means that without realizing it, you may have been eating two to three times more cereal than you should. No wonder the pounds are not coming off even though you increased your activity level!

Try this at lunch and dinner: Replace your large dinner plates with smaller salad size plates.   Your brain will register that you have a full plate, even when smaller servings fill it up. If you fill up a big plate, your brain will signal you to finish what’s on your plate before you stop eating.  When you have a smaller plate, your brain will register that you’re satisfied when you finish, even with the smaller portion.  This is because the brain sees the full serving on the smaller plate the same as a full serving on the large plate.  Again, measure until you know exactly what a serving size looks like.

4) Quick Ways to Measure Portion Sizes

Here are some quick measurement guidelines.

  • Your fist equals about 1 cup
  • The palm of your hand is about the size of a 3 to 4 oz serving of chicken, fish or meat
  • Your thumb equals about 1 oz (cheese)
  • A tennis ball is about a half cup of fruit or vegetables
  • Your thumb tip is about 1tsp
  • A small handful of nuts is about 1 oz (20 almonds)

An easy way to keep portions from creeping up: Serve yourself from the stove.  Avoid bringing serving bowls to the table.  It is too easy to keep having additional servings. If you have to get up from the table to get a serving, you will be less likely to overeat.

5) Tips When Dining Out

We all know when we go out to eat, the portions sizes are at least twice what we need to be eating. Try ordering a salad (dressing on the side) and appetizer instead of an entree.  Or, ask to have half your entree wrapped up to take home before they serve it. Consider splitting an entree with someone.

Enjoy What You Eat

Remember eating is supposed to be enjoyable.  Eat slowly.  It takes time for the brain to signal the stomach that it’s full. Enjoy your food.

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally: How Dietary Supplements Matter

What does it mean to ease fibromyalgia symptoms naturally? A natural approach uses treatments that involve lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and specific activities to help you reduce fibromyalgia pain.

Medications have their place. But as you may have discovered, there isn’t a simple pill to make fibromyalgia go away. There is no universal set of symptoms. Chronic pain, fatigue, stiffness and depression are among the difficulties. Fibromyalgia has different triggers, and different effective treatments, for different people.

Most likely, it will take a mix of different approaches to treat fibromyalgia. Your own path to wellness may not be like anyone else’s path, and may take some work to figure out.

Nutritional Supplements As Part of A Treatment Plan

People with fibromyalgia are finding that certain herbs and supplements help improve pain relief without the difficulties and complications of drugs.

Before beginning a treatment plan with nutritional supplements, check with your doctor. Get the information you need about dosage, and any possible interaction with prescription or over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Here are a few of the many helpful nutritional supplements that have proven important in reducing fibromyalgia symptom and improving wellness:

  • Vitamins D, E, the B vitamins: Researchers believe that too little Vitamin D is linked to muscle aches and joint problems. It’s not just for bones anymore. Vitamin E helps anti-oxidants reduce cell damage. B Vitamins, especially Vitamin B12 help with energy production.
  • Minerals, especially calcium and magnesium: Studies find that women with fibromyalgia also have much lower levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese than those without fibromyalgia. Magnesium (found in leafy greens and whole grain) and calcium are important for proper bone formation. Magnesium also has an important role in the activation of hundreds of enzymes in the body. Raising low levels of magnesium and calcium with supplements is beneficial to many people with fibromyalgia
  • GABA is a neurotransmitter that is sometimes low in people with fibromyalgia. Taking GABA may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep for some people with fibromyalgia.
  • SAM-E is derived from an amino acid. It promotes health in the joints and is involved with neurotransmitter function. Among its several benefits, it is used to treat pain in osteoarthritis and relieve depression. It’s found to help some people with fibromyalgia more than others.

These are just some of the dozens of nutritional supplements that may have an important role in treating fibromyalgia

They are seen as part of a natural approach to treatment because they are dietary supplements, rather than medicines, and are available without prescription.

It’s important to work with a doctor who is experienced and knowledgeable about the use of dietary supplements, and who can help you find how to evaluate them for your own treatment plan.

You can explore a few more details about specfic dietary supplements in these brief videos:

Dietary supplements can work along side other natural treatments. They don’t interfere with your food plan, acupuncture, massage, and relaxation techniques you want to use for better pain relief, rest, and sleep with fibromyalgia.

Top 5 Sleep Strategies for Fibromyalgia

For people with fibromyalgia, sleep is more than ordinary downtime. Getting good quality sleep is an important strategy to reduce pain, fatigue, and emotional stress that are some of the biggest challenges of living with this condition.

Research suggests that the normal sleep pattern is interrupted for people with fibromyalgia. Studies show bursts of “awake” brain activity, that constantly interrupt the deepest, most restorative sleep stages. Some studies show that deep sleep is interrupted twice as often for people with fibromyalgia than for those with normal sleep patterns. It’s not clear whether brain chemistry or pain is the cause.

Even if the connection between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia isn’t completely understood, getting better sleep is important. Regardless of the cause, interrupted sleep leads to higher pain, extreme fatigue, and limited mental functioning.

When you get better sleep with fibromyalgia, pain symptoms decrease, mental focus and concentration improve, you feel less stress and more able to enjoy daily activities.

Strategies for Better Sleep

There are dozens of things to try to improve sleep quality. Every body is different. Here are the my top recommendations

1) Dedicate regular hours for sleep, and don’t try to go over or under them. It may seem counter-productive to get up on time if you think you can sleep some more. But the quality of your sleep will be better and less disturbed if you limit your time to the just the amount you need to help feel refreshed.
2) Keep a regular routine. Your body naturally adjusts to a sleep schedule if you have a consistent bedtime. Specifically, going to sleep is easier if you have a regular time you go to bed. It also important to wake up at the same time everyday. In fact it actually may be more important to wake up at the same time every morning, in order to have better quality sleep.
3) Help yourself fall asleep more easily and regularly by winding down your activity level well before bedtime. That means limiting computer use, limiting time in front of any screen, avoiding drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Wind down your physical activity.
4) Exercise regularly, but leave the last 3 hours before bedtime for quieting your body. Many people find that a warm bath with Epson salts very relaxing to aching muscles. Warm herbal tea and a light protein snack can also help your body feel relaxed and calm. Relaxation techniques that calm your mind and body can be very helpful in bringing on good quality sleep. Deep breathing and massage are two such techniques that help.
5) Limit daytime napping. It makes it harder for you to get the deep restful sleep you need most during your regular bedtime hours.

These are just a few of the many sleep strategies that can make a big difference in reducing your symptoms.

Here are some additional resources for you, with more tips and insights into better sleep:

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center

How Fibromyalgia Disturbs Normal Sleep

We know that every body needs sleep.

During sleep, your body restores both physical and mental functions. Sleep takes your body through stages of rest, moving from higher to lower levels of brain and muscle activity. This is the sleep cycle, which repeats a few times during the course of normal sleep.

Sleep specialists refer to the 5 stages in normal sleep, normally described by number. Briefly they are:

  1. Transition; you have just fallen asleep but can easily be awakened and become alert
  2. Light sleep where brain activity, heart rate and breathing slow in preparation for deep sleep
  3. The start of deep sleep, also called slow wave sleep, because the level of brain activity begins to produce slower delta-waves when measured
  4. Deep sleep when the brain activity shows only slow waves, and the body does most of its regeneration; if awakened at this phase, a person is groggy and unfocused
  5. Dream stage, or active stage of sleep. This includes rapid-eye-movement or REM sleep. Brain, breathing and muscle activity increase, sometimes almost as much as when you are awake.

During stages 3 and 4, the body does fine repairs to bones muscles and tissues. Hormones to stimulate cell growth increase. During REM sleep, brain areas that handle memory and emotions are more active.

What does sleep do for you?

Good sleep helps you feel refreshed and re-energized physically. You feel alert when awake, and your memory stays in reasonably good working order.

More work is being done now to study the connection between fibromyalgia and sleep. Research shows that fibromyalgia disturbs the stages of deepest sleep. One study at the National Institutes of Health found that when deep sleep is interrupted, otherwise healthy women had lower tolerance to pain, and increased discomfort and fatigue.

With fibromyalgia, these symptoms are linked with a lack of normal sleep:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling a lack of energy
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression

The connection between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia needs more study. Researchers are working to better understand the causes of sleep problems. Does the pain of fibromyalgia disrupt the sleep cycle, or does altered body chemistry cause the interrupted sleep cycle seen in people with fibromyalgia?

Better sleep means much better pain relief, energy and lower emotional stress for people with fibromyalgia. Because sleep is so important to coping with fibromyalgia, it’s important to know that getting good sleep may have to be a major focus for you in taking good care of yourself.

Fibromyalgia definitely makes it much harder for you to get the sleep you need – but once you understand sleep’s role in reducing your symptoms, you can plan some good sleep strategies to make the most of your ability to sleep.

More sleep stratgies are coming soon. Meanwhile you can check out these more detailed suggestions:

Improve Sleep Quality with Fibromyalgia
What is the Connection Between Sleep Problems and Pain

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally: Diet Does Matter

Pain is the most distinctive characteristic of fibromyalgia. How to stop the pain? This is the most pressing question I hear from those suffering from fibromyalgia in my practice in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

One of the biggest challenges in coping with fibromyalgia is dealing the many possible triggers of flare-ups. Unfortunately, many triggers are a common part of the lifestyle we have in this area. Pain flare-ups can happen because of

  • sudden exposure to heat
  • sudden exposure to cold
  • illness
  • stress
  • excessive physical activity
  • lack of sleep

So, to start, it helps to keep an open mind about what may be causing you to experience bouts of more severe pain. You may already have a sense that being tired or stressed makes your symptoms worse. But there may be other triggers that can take some more time and careful observation to recognize.

Your Diet Matters

Many doctors and patients are finding that what you eat plays a big role in controlling symptoms. You may already suspect that eating or drinking certain things makes you feel worse. Following what’s often called an anti-inflammatory diet, or wellness diet, can bring real relief.

Health-promoting foods

Foods in an anti-inflammatory diet include:

  • Whole foods: unprocessed, fruits, and vegetables, and grains and nuts
  • Lean proteins: white meat chicken, eggs, soy and yogurt
  • Foods with healthy fats: omega3 fatty acids, which are high in flaxseed oil, salmon, caviar and walnuts
  • Antioxidants: These are compounds that prevent damage from unstable molecules called free radicles.

Antioxidants are found in Vitamin A-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach. They’re also found in high vitamin C foods such as oranges, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes and blueberries. Vitamin E-rich foods also provide antioxidants, in such foods as wheat germ oil, peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

These foods are just a few among many choices you have as you look for natural ways to reduce pain.

It’s also important to avoid foods that can make symptoms worse. You may already know that caffeine makes it harder to fall asleep – which fibromyalgia pain already makes quite difficult.

Many people with fibromyalgia have noticed sensitivities to particular foods or ingredients. While this varies from person to person, you may find you feel better when you avoid processed sugar, MSG, nitrates or artificial sweeteners

If you’re not sure, a food journal – written notes about what you eat and how you feel — can help you recognize food sensitivities you may not otherwise know you have.

An anti-inflammatory diet does seem to help people with fibromyalgia feel better – by a lot. This may seem surprising, given that inflammation isn’t a major characteristic of fibromyalgia. Even if the pain isn’t caused by tissue swelling or damage to muscles and joints, you may find that a well-chosen food plan helps lower your fibromyalgia pain significantly.

Here are a few recipes I share with my patients at the Optimal Wellness Center, to help you explore these health-promoting foods.

Diet is one tool among others to cope with fibromyalgia. We’ll also explore, in other articles, what else you can do to ease the pain of fibromyalgia naturally.

With so many possible triggers, it’s unlikely that a pill or medication can make it all simply go away. Your best defense may be to find a combination of approaches — including natural ones — to keep your flare-ups to a minimum.

Finding the Right Fibromyalgia Doctor: What to Ask About Treatment When Choosing a Doctor

If you have been living with muscle pain, soreness and sleep loss for along time, you may decide to look for a doctor who specializes in treating fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia can be a challenge to treat successfully.  It’s not simple to diagnose.  And because people who suffer with fibromyalgia seem to look normal on the outside, some patients have trouble finding a doctor who believes the symptoms are real.

Finding a Doctor Committed to Helping You

When you’re in chronic pain, you need a doctor who’s committed to finding the correct cause, and creating a treatment plan that really works for you.  A doctor who specializes in treating chronic pain may – or may not — be a good doctor to treat fibromyalgia.

Here are a few important questions to help you explore a doctor’s approach, experience, and confidence in helping people live better with fibromyalgia:

1) Questions about getting the right diagnosis

  1. How do you confirm a diagnosis?
  2. Do I need to re-do medical tests I’ve already had done?
  3. Do you want to see the test results I have from other doctors?
  4. What do you test for and how does that help plan the treatment?

2) Questions about finding the best treatment approach

  1. What medications work best, in your experience?
  2. How confident are you that medications will help me feel better?
  3. If the medications don’t work for me, what other treatments would you try?
  4. Do you include medical acupuncture, physical therapy, dietary restrictions or certain exercise programs in your treatment plan?
  5. Do you provide acupuncture, nutrition supplements or exercise plans, or do you recommend others for these?

3) Questions about follow-up and monitoring your care

  1. What should I do between appointments if my symptoms get worse?
  2. What if have questions about treatment or medication after I get home – what should I do?
  3. How often do you recommend I come in for follow-up visits if all is going well?

When you find a doctor you want to work with, you’ll still need to take an active part in your self-care.  If you’re willing to follow the treatment plan and weed out the less-successful approaches, you can isolate those therapies that truly make you feel better.  Fibromyalgia is not completely understood, and researchers are finding new insights into the causes and mechanisms behind it.  An expert fibromyalgia doctor will keep informed about the progress in research, and will use that to help you improve your treatment plan over time.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Seeing a Fibromyalgia Doctor: How to Make the Most of Your Visit

A successful treatment plan is built on good communication between you and your doctor. This is true even for a fibromyalgia doctor, or a one specializing in treating chronic pain.

The questions you and your doctor ask each other are the starting point to finding real recovery from fatigue and pain.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

The right treatment addresses the true cause of your symptoms. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose correctly, because several other conditions can cause pain and extreme fatigue. Arthritis, lupus, thyroid problems, or side effects to medicines can cause pain, poor sleep quality and even confusion and anxiety,

There’s no ‘biological marker’ – no single blood test, lab result, or tell-tale symptom that confirms you have fibromyalgia.

So, you and your doctor both need to answer this question first, when you seek treatment:

Is this fibromyalgia, or are there other causes for these symptoms?

Your doctor will use your account of your symptoms, and the results of several laboratory tests, to diagnoses your condition correctly. A correct diagnosis and health assessment is the start of the right course of treatment for you.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions Well

You can help your doctor if you prepare for your visit ahead of time. It may take some careful observation, time to think through your past experience, and even some written notes, to give the most helpful answers about your pain.

A doctor who specializes in treating fibromyalgia will want to learn:

  1. How long have you been having the symptoms? “A long time” does not give your doctor meaningful information. To prepare for this question, think about what you were doing when you first started noticing the symptoms – recall holidays, events at work, or activities you did at a certain time (like back-to-school shopping)
  2. Where is the pain located? Think in terms of specific muscle areas, joints. You may think you just ‘ache all over,’ and if that’s true that’s what your doctor needs to know. If you can, be specific about where the pain is located, especially if you feel tender spots. This gives your doctor the information to plan the right tests and treatment strategies.
  3. How severe is your pain? Pain is hard to describe objectively. Your doctor will most likely ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, in each location that you feel pain.
  4. How do your pain symptoms impact your life? Your life includes work, daily routines like eating, exercising and sleeping, and personal activities. If you feel better or worse after eating or doing certain things, be specific. If sleep is difficult, make note of how much sleep you get at night, and if it’s interrupted.
  5. What medications are you taking? What have you tried? You can answer this by bringing the actual medicine with you, or bring a list of medications and the dose. Include over-the-counter medicines and any nutrition or herbal supplements you may be taking. Get copies of recent lab and medical records sent in advance.

It’s also important be ready with questions you have for the doctor. Feel free to write them down and bring them. You probably want to ask:

  • Is this definitely fibromyalgia we’re dealing with?
  • What kind of relief should I expect from pain medications?
  • How long should I wait for the medicines to start working?
  • What else can we do if this treatment doesn’t work?
  • How much better can I expect to feel long-term?

If you feel stressed when seeing the doctor, you don’t have to go alone – find a trusted family member or friend to go with you. This can help a lot if you are feeling overwhelmed. A family member can help you recall what you and your doctor discussed.

After your first visit, plan to have follow-up visits with your doctor. Getting control over your fibromyalgia symptoms is a process. It involves the science of pain medication, non-drug therapies including exercise, nutrition and healthy eating, and trial and error to find what helps you get the upper hand on pain.

By talking with your doctor, you can start to make sense of your symptoms and learn what to do about them. Working together, you can determine which drug treatments, natural therapies and self-care is key to the quality of your recovery.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. She is a board certified doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally: Dealing With Stress

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you’re learning that it’s a chronic pain disorder, with body-wide soreness and tenderness in muscles its major symptom.

But there are other characteristics too.  The Mayo Clinic describes it this way:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

You may find that certain things you do, eat, or even think can trigger your symptoms.  While your pain symptoms may simply just happen, more likely you feel worse after a lack of sleep, eating certain foots, a lack of exercise, and increased stress.

Stress May Be One of Your Worst Pain Triggers

Not only does your pain get worse with stress.  Being upset makes sleeping more difficult, eating right harder to do, and keeping your spirits up almost impossible.  These things are hard enough to do anyway, let alone under stress. So, managing your stress is especially important when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing stress.  There are several approaches open to you. Look at stress management actions you can do by yourself, as well as those involving the help of others to deal better with stress.

Look for Relaxing Lifestyle Choices

As far as possible, include more downtime and calming activities.  Turn off the computer and make more time for things like:

  • Taking a warm bath:  Allow yourself to add soothing agents such as Epsom salts or lavender oil, juniper oil or chamomile.
  • Spending less time with aggravating people: Make more time for those you find comforting and easy to be around
  • Going to a personal quiet space: A sanctuary that invites peace of mind and helps you let go of tension can be an important part of learning to relax.  This can be a room in your home, a garden, a place in nature, a park, or a church, or a place with your favorite animals or a pet.

Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are these main types of relaxation techniques:

Autogenic training: a learned technique to help you use visual imagery and body awareness to move yourself into a deep state of relaxation

Deep breathing: this is a strategy for relieving stress by taking in more air, and lowering activity in order to focus just on calmer, deeper breathing.  For example, standing or sitting quietly, breathe in through your nose.  Breathe in fully so your ribcage area expands gently. Hold your breath for 3 seconds, then breathe out through the mouth.  When exhaling, make your time to exhale longer than your time to inhale; this will help you relax further, and release tension from your muscles. Repeat a few times as you can without discomfort.

Progressive muscle relaxation: You focus on particular muscle groups, tensing and then relaxing them, slowly.  This approach involves your whole body, working in sequence, starting at the toes and ending with the head.

Meditation:  Two main forms of meditation are Transcendental (using a mantra or phrase), and mindfulness (focusing on thoughts and your own sensations).  Some exercise programs, such as yoga, also have a meditation component

You can safely learn relaxation techniques from well-recommended books and audio programs.  You can also find classes in many areas , and learn a technique with an experienced coach.

More Natural Approaches to Fibromyalgia and Stress Management

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  This approach focuses on challenging a person’s overly negative or self-defeating thinking and behavior patterns. It helps replace them with new thoughts and ideas for coping better and feeling less anxious.  There are self-guided and therapist-lead ways to explore this therapy.

Body Treatments, Including Massage, Acupuncture and Exercise:

The topic of acupuncture and stress relief deserves a good look.  Here are some articles to help you explore the proven benefits of this ancient Chinese treatment, to stimulate healing, reduce pain, lower stress hormones, and improve health:

Exercise can play a major role in reducing the negative impact of stress on your body and pain levels.  To find out more, look at:

Dealing well with stress is a personal matter, but very important to improving your health. You may need to explore and find your own best combination of approaches for different situations or times of year.  When it comes to getting the upper hand on stress, you may need to take some time to find your own best answers.  A doctor experienced in treating fibromyalgia can guide you to resources that have helped others recover, and live well despite the daunting stress of coping with fibromyalgia.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative therapy at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a licensed acupuncturist and medical doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Fibromyalgia and Exercise: What Kind, How Much, How Often?

If you’ve decided to do what you can to reduce your fibromyalgia pain, you’ll want to look at ways to include exercise.

You’ve heard that more physical activity is proven to reduce pain and improve your physical and emotional well-being.  For people who have made exercise a part of self-care, after about a month, it changes from something dreadful, into something to feel proud of, and an important part of your ability to function better in other parts of your life.

The key is to start small, and consider activities and places to exercise that give you the support you need to start and keep working at it.

So, here are some tips to help you begin.

How Much Exercise To Start With

If you’re very reluctant to start, start small. You can benefit from sessions as brief as 10 minutes, a few times a day.  Try this to start:

  • 10 minutes before work
  • 10 minutes at lunch
  • 10 minutes before or after dinner

Here are some of the most common activities that work as exercise for people with fibromyalgia:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Water exercise
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Rowing/kayaking

Going to the gym may be your preference, especially if you want to work with a trainer, or a friend.  Having someone to encourage you and to check in with often helps keep your promises to exercise.

If you go to a gym or use a home gym, here are good ways to exercise:

  • Stair climbing
  • Elliptical rower
  • Stationary bicycle
  • Treadmill walking
  • Doing light weight-bearing exercises with 1-2-pound weights

Weight-bearing exercises are particularly good at helping you increase strength and build bone.

Exercises That Address Mind, Body and Spirit

Several traditional forms of exercise blend breathing, stretching, fluid motion and mental focus.  These practices often provide a great benefit for people suffering with pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

 

  • Yoga helps increase flexibility, strength, and brings your attention to deep breathing and relaxation.  The combination of stretching and moving helps lift anxiety, depression, and improve sleep.
  • Qi gong (pronounced “chee goong”) is a traditional Chinese practice of movements that combines balance, slow and quick motion, and breathing.  It helps you increase energy, lessen fatigue and pain, and promote healing
  • Tai Chi is a form of Qi Gong.  It emphasizes meditation, relaxation and passive concentration.

How Often Should You Exercise

It is important to talk with your doctor if you are beginning your exercise program, physical therapy, or weight training.  In most cases, your medical treatment and exercise plan can work together well.

You will want to avoid muscle strains and sprains, so start slowly.  Your doctor can help you find good activities recommended for the particular challenges you face as you start.

  • For example, I may advise patients who want to begin exercising to try:

    2-3 times per week for weight-bearing exercises

  • Resting 48 hours between weight training sessions if training the whole body
  • Do upper body one day and lower body the next day for an alternating training program

Here are some more resources that patients at the Optimal Wellness Center find helpful to make exercising more enjoyable and something you feel good about doing:

It takes commitment to overcome feeling like the pain is too bad and you can’t exercise right now.   You can take heart and find a way to start that works for you.;

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally: How Exercise Matters

With fibromyalgia, you experience pain and stiffness in your muscles and joints.   This pain can be very discouraging and may make movement and exercise a very unwelcome idea at first.

But there is something important to know about fibromyalgia and exercise.  Study after study shows that exercise helps significantly to reduce pain.  It also improves other difficult problems you face with fibromyalgia, like chronic fatigue and depression.

Exercise helps your body release more endorphins, which are natural painkillers.  It also increases the hormone serotonin – known as the happy hormone.  It relieves stress, decreases anxiety, and elevates your mood.

When you become more physically active, the quality of your sleep improves. These are just a few of the many proven ways that exercise reduces fibromyalgia pain scores and gives you more control over healing your body.

Does Soreness Mean Fibromyalgia and Exercise Don’t Mix?

While fibromyalgia pain is certainly disabling and uncomfortable, it does not come with swelling or inflammation. So the good news is that muscle and joint damage is very unlikely to be part of your experience with fibromyalgia.  You can rest assured that you are working to fight back against pain (and fatigue, anxiety and depression), but not muscle injury.

Your Fibromyalgia and Exercise Program: Slowly, But Do Start

I recommend a very gentle but dedicated approach to exercise.  We are not talking about training for the Olympics.  You can start slowly and gently, and you can change your activity level over time as you gain strength and begin to enjoy results.

The activities I recommend include walking, yoga, golf, martial arts – activities involving fluid movement and low impact.  You may want to work with a physical therapist to help you start (a brief video about that is here). More details about exercises to try and how to start is available in upcoming articles.

Have Faith That You Have What it Takes to Get Moving

Getting better with fibromyalgia does take hard work.  And courage.  Trying new movements and exercises, and then doing them is a process, not an instant cure.   With fibromyalgia, I see patients who feel helpless at first, become braver and stronger, and truly inspiring as they overcome a truly daunting condition.

Feeling pain may tempt you to sit motionless in front of the TV and try to take your mind off it.  But exercise is often the best real way to make a real difference in the quality of life you can enjoy in spite of fibromyalgia.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss, medical acupuncture   and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Fibromyalgia Survival Guide: 5 Keys to Making This Your Best Year Ever

Many people see a new year as a time to for new beginnings. People plan to lose weight, get active, and get healthier to enjoy more of what life has to offer.

If you have fibromyalgia, you probably want very much to make pain, stress, and fatigue a much smaller part of your life.  But you worry about how to reach these goals.  You want to eat better, sleep better, and feel happier – with less pain.  But you know that making changes your diet or your activity can lead to painful flare-ups.  Making lifestyle changes seems almost impossible when your muscles hurt, and you’re tired all the time, especially when you try something new.

Let’s pause right now and take an approach to fibromyalgia treatment that’s not based on big promises, but on smaller things you can do to feel a whole lot better despite fibromyalgia.

Instead of resolutions, let’s look at

5 keys to building a better life with fibromyalgia

  1. Setting specific goals
  2. Making small changes
  3. Learning what works
  4. Combining therapies and self- care that make you feel better
  5. Getting support to keep going

1) Setting specific goals

Since there are a number of therapies to try, we set a clear target, such as sleeping better, improving fitness, or reducing pain. First, every patient I see has a detailed, comprehensive set of medical tests and a physical exam. This helps us see where best to start. We may focus one or a few these areas to begin to make changes:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Medication
  • Sleep Quality
  • Emotional Health and State of Mind

Next, we look at how to start moving toward the health goals you’ve set in these areas.

2) Making small changes

What you eat has a lot to do with how you feel. This is especially true for people with fibromyalgia.  Eating a healthy anti-inflammatory diet is a great place to start making modest changes.

Kale, for example, is one of the most nutrition-dense foods known.  Kale’s natural defenses against diseases, insects, and even sun damage also help our bodies heal when we eat it.  You can learn to choose similar healthy foods regularly by remembering they tend to be darker in color, such as grapes, red cabbage, strawberries and blueberries, green tea, walnuts, and tomatoes.

This approach isn’t about cutting out all carbs, eating just protein, or anything drastic. Finding out about anti-inflammatory foods, and planning meals with these – and eating less sugar, refined foods and meats – is one small but powerful change toward forming new eating habits that leave you feeling less pain, and more healthy.

3) Learning what works

Exercise, for example, has a lot to do with health, but you may feel like you’re in too much pain to work out.  If going to the gym doesn’t work for you – then let’s go somewhere else.  It helps to think of exercise as simply things you enjoy that get you moving.  Some patients find that a few 10-minute sessions a day work best.  The most helpful activities include smooth, no-impact or low-impact movements, and have a mind-calming element, like yoga, tai chi, or walking.

  • Acupuncture might not be a treatment you would have thought to try.  But studies and patient experience reveal several healing responses to this painless treatment.  Endorphins increase, and stress hormones decrease.  While it deserves its own discussion, the overall effects of acupuncture help improve sleep, reduce stress, and even relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Your state of mind has a lot to do with how you feel physically, with fibromyalgia.  Mental stress, physical tension and pain tend to trigger each other and can start a whole downward spiral.  A positive frame of mind helps all of us choose better foods, activities and rest periods especially when we have old negative habits to overcome.

4) Combining fibromyalgia treatments and self-care that make you feel better

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and over-the-counter nutritional supplements.  By themselves, they may provide some relief, but not much, or not for long.  But when you start taking care of your diet, get moving, and get better sleep, your body’s own healing processes and your medications gain more power over your fibromyalgia symptoms, and you feel well for longer and longer periods.

5) Getting support to keep going 

Finding the right doctor is an important part of finding the right blend of therapies for long-term relief.   You need someone who understands the pain you describe is real, and who has experience observing the effects of different therapies, and can help you find a number of safe treatments you can use in combination.

Understanding friends, and support from others with fibromyalgia can help a lot too. Good friends can challenge the negative thoughts that we may jump to automatically.   Being around positive people can help us find more joy, peace and gratitude in every day life.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat because doctors are not always familiar with how to diagnose it and treat it — and no one single treatment works.

Each person responds differently to therapies. Some medications work better than others.  Specific foods, forms of exercise, and techniques for getting better sleep work better for some people than others.  A successful treatment plans combines a number of approaches from different disciplines.

An integrative approach – which I practice at the Optimal Wellness Center – combines traditional medicine with complementary therapies – such as diet, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, acupuncture, exercise and stress management.   It also combines the doctor’s efforts with your self-care efforts to find the most effective treatment for you.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?

Acupuncture and Weight Loss Works by Reducing Stress and Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

Summary:  While acupuncture isn’t a cure-all, it can help make your weight loss plan work for you.  Acupuncture — an ancient medical treatment using small needles at precise points — stimulates the nervous system.  One result is pain reduction, by triggering the body’s own hormones that stimulate a sense of well-being.  You feel more energetic and mobile, which makes it easier for you to exercise and enjoy being more physically active.  Following a healthy eating plan is an important part of successful weight loss.  Acupuncture has been shown to reduce cravings and stress levels that can make it harder for you to follow healthy lifestyle changes.  Many people looking to lose weight and keep it off find that acupuncture is just what they need to over come  cravings, boost  energy, decrease  appetite, and reduce  stress.  It may be the little extra help you need to succeed.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical treatment to encourage the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting small needles into precise acupuncture points.

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in patterns through the body.  These channels are called meridians. Acupuncture helps restore the natural flow when there is an obstruction in these energy channels.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in muscles, the spinal cord, and the brain.  These chemicals can decrease or eliminate pain; they can also trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the body’s own internal healing system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body to heal itself and promote physical and emotional wellbeing.

How can acupuncture help me lose weight?

We all know weight loss is a complex subject, and a program must be multifaceted to be effective. A good program would include, a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction and behavioral modifications. As an adjunct therapy acupuncture can help. It is not magic, and is not a substitute for adopting a healthy lifestyle.  However it can be effective in making it easier to lose weight and keep it off in those individuals who are willing to make appropriate healthy lifestyle changes.  Studies have shown that people following a healthy diet and exercise plan can lose more weight when acupuncture is included in their weight loss program. If you need ideas to get started on your weight loss program, call or contact us to learn more about acupuncture as part of a whole-person treatment plan.

Healthy lifestyle and weight loss treatments, Franklin Lakes NJDr. Keller’s treatment plan includes  personal follow up consultations to support you. Find out more about how Dr. Keller helps you choose and reach your weight loss goals.

How does acupuncture help with weight loss?

When acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points in the ear or the body the body releases endorphins.  Endorphins are proteins similar to opioids.   When these proteins are released into the body they cause a sense of well being.  They also act as an analgesic, which means they can reduce pain.  These endorphins have a calming and relaxing effect on the body. When a person is calm and relaxed it makes it easier not to overeat and gain weight.

Acupuncture can relieve stress, a major contributor to weight gain.

When needles are placed in specific point in the ear they stimulate the auricular branch of the vagus nerve. This nerve functions to increase the smooth muscle tone of the stomach, which decreases your appetite by causing a sense of fullness. Stimulation of this nerve also causes an increase in serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in your brain. When released it gives you a  ‘feeling of happiness’ and helps to keep you calm.  In addition, serotonin also helps to suppress your appetite.  This may be particularly important in a subset of overweight people who have low levels of serotonin.

What happens at a treatment session?

Needles are placed in specific points in the ear and body based on your particular eating type. There are specific points in the ear that correspond to different eating habits. Depending on your particular needs different points will be used. After the area is clean with an alcohol wipe a small disposable needle is inserted into a precise acupuncture point.  After the needles are inserted they will be left in place for about twenty minutes while you relax.  Before leaving press tags are placed in the area that is best suited for your treatment. These small beads are attached to a small piece of tape and placed in the area most appropriate for you. They can be stimulated for 10 seconds gently when needed to suppress appetitive or cravings or induce a feeling of calm.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments depends on your personnel wellness goals.  Dr.Keller will assess you at each visit and determine the appropriate number of treatments for you.

What happens when the treatments are completed?  Will I gain all the weight back?

Congratulations, if your treatments are completed you have reached your wellness goal.  You now have made permanent healthy lifestyle changes and these changes will help you maintain you’re your new healthy weight.  The positive effects of acupuncture will persist.  This may be because not only does acupuncture release endorphins and serotonin and other beneficial chemicals it may also cause the body to continue to release a higher level of these chemicals even after the treatments have stopped.  Once you have reached your goals you and Dr.Keller may decide to have a treatment every four to six months to stay on track with your wellness goal.

Those who follow a healthy diet and exercise plan in combination with acupuncture should see a boost in their weight loss and energy levels.

What are some of the advantages of adding acupuncture to your weight loss program?

  • Both men and women of all fitness levels can benefit from acupuncture.
  • Patients can help reduce their stress while losing weight.
  • Acupuncture helps suppress your appetite.
  • Acupuncture may help reduce fat, increase lean muscle mass, and improve joint mobility.
  • Acupuncture can also be used to relieve pain, a benefit, which will make exercising easier.
  • You may find that in addition to healthy life style changes that acupuncture is just what you need to over come your cravings, boost your energy, decrease your appetite, and reduce your stress.  It may be the little extra help you need to succeed.

As with any weight loss program, acupuncture treatments for weight loss will not work for everyone. You will need to evaluate your health and fitness goals. Contact us to to learn more about weight control therapies and to decide if trying acupuncture for weight loss is right for you.

Healthy lifestyle and weight loss treatments, Franklin Lakes NJDr. Keller’s treatment plan and personal follow up consultations guide you in making a transition to a  healthier lifestyle, where a lighter weight is one natural outcome. Come see more about how Dr. Keller helps you choose and reach your weight loss goals.

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 2: How acupuncture eases pain, improves mood, sleep, and body chemistry

We cannot eliminate stress from our live but we can learn to manage. That’s part of what we learned in Acupuncture and Stress Releif Part 1: How the Body Responds to Stress

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions.

It is well documented that there is a strong connection between the mind and body. Clearly mental well-being is associated with physical well being. Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress and thus help reduce stress and the harmful effects of chronic stress.

Acupuncture: How It Works

The modern scientific explanation is that needling stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals alter the experience of pain and also trigger the release of other chemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones that influence the bodies own internal regulating system.

Acupuncture Decreases Cortisol and Other Stress-Related Hormones

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions. It does this by modulating neurotransmitters and reducing stress hormones. Acupuncture needles stimulate the secretion of endorphins the body’s natural painkillers, as well as decrease cortisol – one of the major stress hormones.

In addition acupuncture increases serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin.  These neurotransmitters help reduce pain, elevate mood, relax the body, improve sleep and help with an increased feeling of over all well being. People feel extremely relaxed during and after acupuncture treatments. Post acupuncture treatments, patients feel completely relaxed and often report improved sleep.

Multiple acupuncture treatments appear to up regulate the secretion of neurotransmitter and hormones, which explains the long-term effects of acupuncture.   Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress, and is a safe and effective way to treat stress and stress induced disorders.

What is Medical Acupuncture, and Who Can Provide It?

Acupuncture can be part of a doctor’s medical practice.  It is part of my practice at the Optimal Wellness Center, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Not all acupuncturists are doctors.   A licensed acupuncturist can provide services without being a health practitioner.

As a professional medical doctor, I use acupuncture because the most effective treatment for some people uses contemporary Western medicine  combined with complimentary techniques, including acupuncture. Sometimes the best treatment for difficult conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or weight loss, uses both acupuncture treatments and modern medical treatment. This is what integrative medicine is all about.

If you find that traditional medicine alone has not helped improve health for you, you may want to speak with a doctor who takes in integrative approach.

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 1: How Your Body Responds to Stress

Stress is a part of our daily lives.  In northern New Jersey, where I have my medical practice, we are so busy, we may not even be aware of how we respond to stress every day.

Too much stress can adversely affect your health. It is estimated that between 75 and 90% of primary care visits are in some way attributed to stress.

We all know that having a stress free life is impossible. In fact a strong reaction to stress also known as the fight or flight response is a physiologic response that is designed to increase survival.

Understanding your stress is the first step to having more power over it.

When you are faced with a threat whether real or perceived, your autonomic nervous system sets off a series of chemical reactions involving the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Also known as the HPAaxis.  This results in the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucocorticoids (cortisol) from the adrenal glands. This triggers physiological changes that help you survive immediate danger.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, dilates your pupils, increases alertness and decreases blood flow to the skin, and your digestive system. Blood is redirected to your muscles for increased strength. Cortisol increases glucose, which is the main form of energy used by both your brain and body. Cortisol increases your blood sugar by breaking down muscle (protein) and increasing fatty acids to supply energy to the muscles. This increased energy supply gives the body the necessary power to respond to a physically and emotionally demanding situation. It allows you to fight harder or run faster, thus increasing your odds of surviving.

What is cortisol’s role is causing chronic disease?  When you are in a stressful situation, large amounts of the hormone cortisol are released into the bloodstream.  Over time, prolonged elevations of cortisol can have negative health consequences.

Here is what can happen when stress becomes chronic.  Initially you have the alarm phase – the immediate reaction to a stress.  Heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid, digestive enzyme production decreases, and blood sugar levels increase.

The alarm phase is usually short, and self limited, hormone levels go back to normal until activated by another threat. No long-term negative health consequences occur.  Unfortunately in today’s world many people have chronically elevated levels of these hormones due to stress. Our lifestyles and the world around us are full of potential stressful situations. You may feel continuing stress related to the economy, fear of terrorists, relationships, natural disasters, traffic, your job, etc.

We have become a nation of chronically stressed individuals

Whether perceived or real, stressful situations arise multiple times throughout the day.  The stress response was helpful to our ancestors that had to fight or run from a wild bear. Unfortunately in our daily lives, we all have perceived threats through out the day. This stress has contributed to many chronic health problems.

If stress continues the adaptation phase kicks in, allowing the body to continue the fight or flight response. This is where cortisol comes in, converting protein stores to blood sugar to continue to supply energy to muscles.  Sodium is retained to keep body fluid levels up and blood pressure elevated.  This is why continued stress can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

We can all relate to catching a cold or coming down with a virus when we are under stress. That’s because cortisol redirects immune cells, which lowers your immunity, causing increased risk of infections. Cortisol can also lead to depressed cartilage and bone formations, increasing risks of osteoporosis. In addition it can also cause damage to the part of the brain the hippocampus responsible for short-term memory, and it alters nerve cell functions in the brain leading to anxiety and depression.

If the stress response continues, the body starts slowing down, as it is unable to continue producing high levels of stress hormones.  Eventually, many body functions can become exhausted.  Exhaustion due to prolonged stress weakens the heart, blood vessels, adrenal glands, and immune system – partially due to the chronic elevations of cortisol.

Recent research also shows that chronically high levels of cortisol can result in weight gain and changes in body composition too.  Cortisol promotes increases in blood sugar, which is converted from protein stores (muscle).  This results in the loss of muscle (lean body mass) and in increase in body fat, especially around the mid-section.

One study showed an increased tendency in snacking during times of high cortisol levels in the blood. People who have trouble coping with stress often turn to food for comfort.  In addition cortisol causes physiologic changes that increase food intake. Cortisol affects our hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. Cortisol decreases leptin the hormone responsible for telling us we are full. It also increases ghrelin the hormone that tells us we are hungry. Both these hormonal changes cause one to increase their food intake.

In addition cortisol also increases insulin and neuropeptide Y, again both cause you to consume more food, particularly high fat or sugar comfort food.  Therefore, chronic stress can lead to weight gain.  Weight gain around the middle, known as “central adiposity,” is associated with the metabolic imbalances of “metabolic syndrome”, insulin resistance, and increased risk of heart disease.

So clearly chronic stress has a negative impact on our health causing or exacerbating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety depression, osteoporosis, impaired immunity, dementia, and possibly cancer.

The good news is, your can decide to take care of yourself. You can decide to better manage your stress. A highly effective, but often overlooked therapy is acupuncture. Very briefly, acupuncture enables the body to boost the immune response, and lessen the bad effects of stress on many fronts.  More about how acupuncture reduces stress and helps restore healthier conditions in the body is the topic of the next article.

Awake with Pain? How to Sleep Better With Fibromyalgia

Do you find it impossible to get a good night’s sleep with fibromyalgia? Do you feel like the lack of sleep is making your pain worse?

If being tired seems to worsen your symptoms, you are not alone.   Doctors have found lack of sleep does make your body more sensitive to pain.  You may find the pain keeps you awake, so you rest poorly. Being tired makes your fibromyalgia symptoms flare up, so you still can’t sleep.  You may feel caught in an endless cycle.  But there are ways to cope that can help you get more sleep.

I’m going to share quite a few tips with you.  This is because there is no single best way to manage this condition.  You may have to try a mix of different methods to get the best results for you.

What I can share with you are the answers found by many people with fibromyalgia who have found specific steps to control their symptoms.

  1. Create a regular routine – Get your body used to a pattern of sleeping and waking.  Set a time to go to bed and a time to rise.  That may mean planning your day’s activities to help you wind down in time.  Find the things that tend to keep you up late (sugary foods, computer work) – and plan them or replace them with other activities so they have less impact on your sleep.
  2. Listen to your body – you may find certain activities are more soothing than others to do before you go to bed.  Finding a quiet, calming activity for the 20-30 minutes before trying to sleep can help you get much needed rest.
    1. A warm bath, soaking in Epsom salts, lavender oil, chamomile oil or juniper oil can soothe sore muscles enough to let  you rest.
    2. Meditation, yoga or prayer can help you clear your mind and also relax muscles
  3. Avoid naps – they disrupt the sleep pattern that allow you to rest more fully.
  4. Try natural fiber sleepwear and sheets.  These can allow your skin to breathe better, and prevent big swings in temperature while you sleep. Temperature swings have been linked to pain flare-ups for people with fibromyalgia.
  5. Try a few good sleeping positions – Doctors recommend sleeping on your side to avoid putting stress on your tender spots. If you sleep on your back. try placing a pillow under tender spots such as the small of your back, or behind your knees. If you sleep on your stomach, a pillow under your stomach helps reduce the arch in your back and keep you more comfortable.

Medications can also help control pain so you can rest.  More information on medicine for fibromyalgia is coming in other tips.

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.

How to Stop the Pain: 7 Facts That People Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia should Know

When you are first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may feel overwhelmed.  All you can think of is you want to stop the pain.  That is your number one concern.  Then you learn that fibromyalgia is not like other illnesses – there is no one best treatment. You need to re-learn how to live within your body.

Here are 7 facts that can help you understand what is happening to your body, and how you can begin to find real effective ways to feel better, and live better.

  1. Fibromyalgia is not a disease that can be cured with medicine like an antibiotic, or with surgery.  But know that you can learn what works – from a qualified doctor, and with your own efforts – to give you a better quality of life.
  2. Research – and real life – shows us that when it comes to feeling better, the power to improve lies in part to your ability to take control of your self-care.
  3. Self-care means making a number of changes, rather than a having a single treatment. Lifestyle, medications, how you move during the day, exercise, adding therapies for your mind as well as your body – all are tools you can learn to use to manage your pain much more successfully.
  4. You may worry that the pain of fibromyalgia is from damage happening to your muscles and joints. This may make you concerned about what you can safely to do for treatment. But there is some good news.  Doctors have found that symptoms you are experiencing are caused by over-activation of nerves.  Fibromyalgia causes pain and stiffness in your joints, tendons and muscles, but it won’t damage them. Experts are increasingly looking at fibromyalgia as a nerve condition.
  5. Even if fibromyalgia does not directly damage muscles, it may affect the way you use them – or don’t use them.  The long-term pain may cause you become less active, and loss of strength may worsen your symptoms unless you find ways to stay active.  Explore movements, stretch breaks, walks and mild exercises to help reduce soreness.
  6. Sleep matters a lot when it comes to reducing your pain.  But how can you possibly get a good night’s sleep?  Studies show that it’s not just the pain – but the thoughts you think in your head have a lot to do with your ability to sleep.  You may not believe it now, but using therapies to help you drop negative thinking, calm your mind, and do activities you enjoy can improve sleep.  Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one way to find the mental energy you need to take good care of yourself
  7. The science of pain management has come a long way.  Prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine, and nutritional supplements can be part of your health care plan, but there is no magic pill for fibromyalgia.

It may take some time to feel confident in your ability to control your pain.  It is important not to suffer in silence.  If you are seeing a doctor who understands and specializes in fibromyalgia, talk about your experiences.  It may take be hard at first to have to open up to so many new approaches to wellness.  You may have to consider making some lifestyle changes you would rather not have to make.  But once you find a doctor with information you can work with to help yourself feel better, you can find a real a path to wellness.

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.

Fibromyalgia Holiday Survival Guide

7 Tips for Surviving — Even Celebrating — Holidays When You Have Fibromyalgia

They’re coming.  The winter holidays.  In New Jersey, where I live and work, Thanksgiving brings on weeks of more traffic, bigger crowds and longer lines at restaurants and shopping centers. If you have fibromyalgia, it’s also time to protect your health.

Let’s pause right now and make a plan so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible.

Time management is key to surviving the holidays with fibromyalgia.

Here are my 7 fibromyalgia holiday survival tips. They’re the simplest, easiest tips for controlling stress and saving your best energies to be with your family and friends:

  1. Remember, you don’t have to do everything.  You don’t have to make meals or dishes from scratch or even cook every meal.  If you are hosting the holiday meal, make it pot luck.   Everyone loves to bring a favorite dish.
  2. No need to go all-out.  Keep your meals simple.  Keep menu plans simple.
  3. Decorating should be fun and bring you joy. Make it a family affair, or invite friends over to help decorate. Again you don’t have to have too many decorations, put out the ones that mean the most to you, or have special memories.
  4. Decide first what’s most important to you.  Just do that.  Is it attending a service? Is it spending time with family? Save your energy just for this.
  5. Find family and friends you enjoy and savor the time with them. By now, you’ve learned that some people are more understanding of fibromyalgia than others.  Some people don’t yet ‘get it.’ You may be worried about offending some people if you don’t eat what they’ve fixed or take part in their plans.  Use what you’ve learned about saying no, and say no. Say yes to the things you enjoy and are important to you. Make good memories.
  6. Tell others what you want.  Be as open as you can about what makes this time special for you – whether it’s having some holiday lights put up; having someone bring home a special treat, or having some time to yourself so you can relax, unwind, and have the rest you need.
  7. Remember to breathe.  This helps decrease stress.  Get as much sleep as you can. Find a way to make your favorite relaxation techniques part of your day, even if your ordinary routine has gone out the window.

My best suggestion is really this: Do what is most important!

Of course you want to feel your best, and enjoy yourself and your loved ones during the holidays.

Putting yourself and your health first may be one of the hardest things to do during the holidays.  But this can be the best time to set yourself free. Allow yourself to focus on what makes them the best they can be, for you, and do away with the rest.

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.

How Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Helps Fibromyalgia Symptoms (video)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a form of psychotherapy based on the belief that our thoughts influence how our body feels.  It has been shown that CBT produces results in less time than traditional therapy.

Research shows that taking control of your own self-care improves symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Limiting drinking and partying, positive thinking and keeping a journal are usually included in CBT.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has also been linked to improved sleep in patients with fibromyalgia.

Researchers do note, however, that the positive effects of this therapy may not be permanent.

For more answers to your fibromyalgia questions, watch the other videos in this series.

 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Improve Fibromyalgia Sleep Quality (video)

Quality sleep is a big issue for people with fibromyalgia.  Persistent pain in muscles, tendons and ligaments can flare up randomly, even when you’re asleep or trying to sleep.    Lack of sleep is known to increase pain sensitivity — which can cause a whole cycle of sleeplessness, pain, and more sleeplessness.

How to increase your quality and quantity of sleep

There are a few things you can do to create better quality sleep patterns.  Set a regular sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.  Relax and soothe sore muscles by taking a bath in Epsom salts, or oils such as juniper or chamomile right before bed.  De-stress by practicing yoga or meditating, as stress is known to increase the pain of fibromyalgia symptoms.  Try changing your sheets:  natural fiber bedding to allows you to be more comfortable. People with fibromyalgia are known to have fluctuating body temperatures; controlling temperature changes with natural fiber sheets can reduce painful flare-ups.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and exercise right before bed.

Recommended sleeping positions for people with fibromyalgia

Sleeping on your side is recommended for people with fibromyalgia.  It puts less pressure on tender spots.  Experiment with pillow arrangements for support and comfort.  Be sure to place your pillow so that you don’t create unnecessary stress on tender spots, especially by putting pressure on your neck.

Try different sleep positions, nightly routines, and ways to control stress until you find solutions that make you more comfortable and give you the support you need for a good night’s sleep.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

 

Mind-Body Treatments (video)

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, and mind-body therapies have been shown to be more effective than traditional treatments.  Reducing the stress that causes pain by relaxation and meditation are among the best mind-body options.  Other options include:  Biofeedback, hypnosis, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi and guided imagery.

For more information on how to take control of your fibromyalgia therapy, watch the other vides in this series.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Get the Most from Your Doctor’s Appointment (video)

If you suffer from body-wide pain and suspect you might have fibromyalgia, you should visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis.  To get the most from your doctor’s appointment you need to be prepared ahead of time.

How to Prepare for Your Visit to the Doctor

  1. Create a timeline outlining the length of time you’ve been experiencing pain, how often and where it’s located.
  2. Rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 for each pain location.  Note how often the pain interferes with your daily life and how it affects your sleep.
  3. Bring a list of all your medications, over-the-counter and prescription, and include dosage, frequency and amounts.
  4. Write down any other types of treatments you’ve tried and the results of those treatments.  Bring copies of recent lab and medical records.
  5. Most importantly, write out any questions you have for the doctor.

It’s a good idea to bring someone along with you to either take notes or help you remember the discussion during your visit.

 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Fibromyalgia – Muscle and Joint Damage

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, not a disease, triggered by over-activation of nerves.  It doesn’t damage your muscles, tendons and joints, but it may cause pain, stiffness and tenderness resulting in less physical activity.  Without physical activity muscles become weak and can’t provide enough protection to your joints, which become sore and stiff.  These muscles remain sore because they cannot repair themselves as well as someone who isn’t suffering with fibromyalgia.

Researchers have found that people suffering with fibromyalgia have elevated levels of a nerve growth factor and a chemical nerve signal called Substance P, in addition to low levels of Serotonin.  Through this research it is thought fibromyalgia is a neurological condition and not a muscular or joint condition.

 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Why Does Fibromyalgia Interfere with Normal Sleep? (video)

People with fibromyalgia often have trouble getting a normal night’s sleep.  The sharp and severe or dull and monotonous pain makes it hard to fall asleep or the pain often will wake you up after you have dozed off.  Sleep deprivation decreases the ability to tolerate pain and may actually increase pain.

Insomnia triggered by the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia often becomes chronic.  There have been reports that people suffering from fatigue due to lack of sleep has cost them their jobs.  Often people are misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, instead of being properly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

Schedule an appointment and talk with your doctor about ways of getting better quality sleep with Fibromyalgia.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

 

 

Do Rheumatologists Treat Fibromyalgia? (video)

As a physician specializing in the treatment and diagnoses of arthritis and diseases of the joints, muscles, tendons and bones, a Rheumatologist treats chronic pain, including the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.  You can choose to see a Rheumatologist, but ultimately, you may get the best results from a team of doctors who communicate with each other and coordinate your care.

Careful management can help you control pain and fatigue and restore your quality of life.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

 

Stress Reduction Techniques for Fibromyalgia (video)

Stress affects the symptoms of people suffering from fibromyalgia and make it worse.  There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce stress, such as biofeedback, practicing breathing exercises, regular physical exercise, yoga and meditation.  A healthy diet and quality sleep are also recommended.  Making positive changes to your lifestyle will have a positive effect on the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Please contact your physician to schedule a consultation to talk about your stress level and what you can do to improve it.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Is Fibromyalgia All in My Head? (video)

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose.  It is considered as a syndrome, not a disease. A syndrome means it is a cluster of symptoms appearing together.  It is not caused by depression or a psychological disorder.

Fibromyalgia is a real neurological condition.  Don’t let anyone try to convince you the pain and fatigue is all in your head. 

 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue (video)

Insomnia triggered by the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia often becomes chronic.  There have been reports that people suffering from fatigue due to lack of sleep has cost them their jobs.  Often people are misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, instead of being properly diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out how you can improve your sleep.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Fibromyalgia and Headaches (video)

A common symptom of fibromyalgia is headaches.  Many people suffering with fibromyalgia have headaches regularly every day.  There are many reasons for this, such as muscle spasms, sleep apnea or TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – all triggers for chronic tension headaches.  Low levels of magnesium, which is common in people suffering with this syndrome, is known to increase chances of migraines.  Chronic pain causes people to be exhausted all the time and causes migraine headaches.  Not getting get enough sleep also causes migraine headaches. 

Fibromyalgia is associated with low levels of the neurotransmitter, Serotonin; and a lack of Serotonin will trigger migraines.  Headaches and fatigue intensify fibromyalgia pain making it that much harder to cope with the pain.  Depression becomes a greater risk too.

If you suffer from headaches regularly, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis. 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Drugs Specifically Approved to Treat Fibromyalgia (video)

There are currently only three drugs approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. They are Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella.

Lyrica

Lyrica was created to treat epilepsy. Lyrica calms down accelerated nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia and decreases pain messages that produce discomfort common with fibromyalgia.

Cymbalta

Cymbalta is an anti-depressant known to increase levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine to help control and suppress pain. Research indicates increased levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine help reduce painful nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia.

Savella

Savella is used to treat depression, but in the United States is only approved to treat fibromyalgia. It increases available levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine thereby reducing pain and improving physical function.

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Is Fibromyalgia a Real Disease? (video)

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose.  It is recognized as a syndrome, not a disease, by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Rheumatology, the Arthritis Foundation and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.  Describing fibromyalgia as a syndrome means it is a cluster of symptoms appearing together.  It is not caused by depression or a psychological disorder.

Fibromyalgia is a real neurological condition.  Don’t let anyone try to convince you the pain and fatigue is all in your head.  There are currently three FDA-approved drugs used to treat it and insurance companies have designated its own special code for insurance forms.

See your doctor for more information.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

How Can I Learn to Cope More Effectively with Chronic Pain? (video)

If you are experiencing chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, relief can be found by seeking professional counseling and help.  There are pain medications and steps you can take to control your pain and live your life again.  Start by acknowledging your feelings, eating healthy, getting restful, quality sleep, adopting a physical exercise program and seeking professional help.  Biofeedback is beneficial when used with cognitive behavioral therapy to control pain and regain control over your body.   Make yourself familiar with the triggers that cause your discomfort and create a plan of action to work with them.

Don’t suffer in silence.  Seek the help you need.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Depression and Fibromyalgia (video)

The relationship between fibromyalgia and depression runs deep.  Fibromyalgia patients are thought to have low levels of the mood and pain moderating brain chemicals such as Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine and chronic surges in Cortisol, the stress hormone. These low levels of brain chemicals are triggers for increased sensitivity to chronic pain, and they are also risk factors for depression.

People with fibromyalgia are more apt to experience clinical depression and anxiety than people who do not suffer with the condition.  Depression does not cause fibromyalgia.  Chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia triggers depression and anxiety and worsens the symptoms.

If you have fibromyalgia and are experiencing depression, see your doctor to discuss your treatment options.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What is the Connection Between Sleep Problems and Pain? (video)

In order to get a restful night’s sleep, we must experience cycles of light sleep, deep sleep and RIM (rapid eye movement).  Chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia interferes with the needed cycles of sleep causing the body to remain in the light sleep stage.  If deep sleep is never reached, we wake up tired and feeling as if we never slept at all.  These feelings are intensified in people with fibromyalgia by increasing their pain and other symptoms.

Studies have also shown that severe sleep problems create a greater risk of developing fibromyalgia, especially in middle-aged and older women.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat.  Please see your physician for a proper diagnosis.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What are the Most Common Tender Spots Associated with Fibromyalgia? (video)

Fibromyalgia triggers pain radiating throughout the body from the neck to the toes.  Muscles feel stiff and achy.  These pains leave you feeling overly sensitive to the slightest touch.

How do you know if your pain is from fibromyalgia? 

It is found with fibromyalgia that there are tender spots where pain is substantially stronger, especially when touched.  These tender spots are found primarily around the joints, but not within the joints.

How are you diagnosed with fibromyalgia?

To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must have pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender spots.  The spots are on both sides of the body in the following locations:

  • Front of the Neck
  • Chest
  • Back of Neck
  • Back Shoulder Area
  • Shoulder Blade Area
  • Outer Elbows
  • Inner Knees
  • Sides of the Hips
  • Buttocks

The reason for the tender spots is not clear.  They are usually superficial and located under the surface of the skin.  Inflammation is not found in the surrounding muscles or joints.

If you feel you have pain in these areas and suspect you might be suffering from fibromyalgia, make an appointment to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Can Psychotherapy Reduce Chronic Pain? (video)

How does Psychotherapy treat chronic pain? 

There is a link between pain and the brain.  Our thoughts, moods and behavior respond to chronic pain.  A person suffering from chronic pain is three times more likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders than someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic pain.  Also, a depressed person is three times as likely to develop chronic pain than someone not depressed.  Treatment for fibromyalgia should include treating the psychological effects of pain.

It’s been said when depression is treated, pain might fade.  When pain fades, depression is likely to go away.  Psychotherapy teaches how to lessen and control psychological distress associated with chronic pain, helps ease depression or anxiety and teaches stress management skills. Following psychotherapy treatment allows people with fibromyalgia more control over their lives and improves pain and mood.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What are the Most Common Side Effects of Fibromyalgia Drugs? (video)

The FDA has approved three medications to treat and manage fibromyalgia.  Those medications are Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella.  Each of these medications work for some people and can cause side effects.

Common side effects of each medication are:

Lyrica

  • Mild to moderate dizziness;
  • Sleepiness;
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth; and
  • Swelling of the hands and feet

In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction can cause hives, swelling of the face and trouble breathing.  Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Lyrica.

Cymbalta

  • Constipation;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Nausea;
  • Dizziness upon standing may occur when first starting Cymbalta due to a drop in blood pressure.  Have your doctor check your blood pressure from time to time while using Cymblata;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Decreased sex drive;
  • Drowsiness; and
  • Increased sweating.

Savella

  • Nausea;
  • Constipation;
  • Dizziness;
  • Sweating;
  • Insomnia;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Increased heart rate; and
  • Excessive sweating.

Before taking any medication for fibromyalgia, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.  In rare cases in teens and young adults, a fibromyalgia medication may cause suicidal thoughts and actions.  Be particularly alert to any behavior indicating this kind of mood change.

Always check with your doctor before taking this or any medication.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Can Fibromyalgia be Cured? (video)

While some patients go into remission with the help of lifestyle changes and medical treatments, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia.  There are many different ways to manage and control the pain, but fibromyalgia is considered a chronic condition.  An occupational therapist and a physical therapist provide different ways of coping and managing the pain for many patients.  Along with the three prescription medications available today, alternative treatments have also been known to provide relief and improve symptoms related to fibromyalgia.

See your doctor for more information on managing the chronic pain of fibromyalgia.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Who Gets Fibromyalgia? (video)

Characteristics of Fibromyalgia

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and is difficult to treat.  It is characterized by chronic pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Of those people with fibromyalgia, most are women.  Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, but women are seven times more likely than men to suffer from the syndrome.

Fibromyalgia generally occurs between the ages of 20 to 50 and the risk increases with age.  People who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or autoimmune diseases, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or anklyosing spondylitis have a greater risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Other Risk Factors 

Insomnia and sleep problems are a risk factor for fibromyalgia.  People who consistently get a good night’s sleep are less likely to develop fibromyalgia than someone with chronic insomnia.  People with fibromyalgia have fluctuating levels of Serotonin, which helps regulate sleep and mood.  Low levels of this brain chemical can make you overly sensitive to pain.

Although we do not know what causes fibromyalgia or how to prevent it, we do know those living with it share these traits or risk factors.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What to Take for Fibromyalgia When Painkillers Aren’t Enough (video)

If pain killers don’t provide pain relief for managing your fibromyalgia, discuss with your doctor what other options are available to you.  There are three FDA-approved drugs on the market now.  They are the anti-convulsant, Lyrica, and Serotonin and Norepinephrine, reuptake inhibitors or SNRI’s like Cymbalta and Savella.  Making certain lifestyle changes can also provide relief when pain killers aren’t working.

Prescription Medications

Lyrica

Lyrica calms down the accelerated nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia, decreasing the pain messages producing discomfort.

Cymbalta

Cymbalta is an anti-depressant that increases levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine to help control and suppress pain.  Research indicates that increased levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine help reduce painful nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia.

Savella

Savella also increases the available levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine thereby reducing pain and improving physical function.

Lifestyle Changes

Choosing positive over negative is a first step you can take for reducing pain.  Switching to an anti-inflammatory whole-food diet, including vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats like Omega-3 Fatty Acid and nutritional supplements may help reduce your pain.  Avoid foods you may be over-sensitive to and keep a food journal to pinpoint those foods.  Other alternative treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, regular exercise, massage, acupuncture and relaxation techniques, like meditation and yoga.

See your doctor to discuss a treatment plan that works for you.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

 

 

Sam-E and Fibromyalgia Pain (video)

Could Sam-E be Beneficial to You?

Research has found Sam-E relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis and depression.  How it benefits fibromyalgia is mixed.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests benefits could be tied to the anti-depressant effects of Sam-E.  Studies show people using an injectable form of Sam-E experienced reduced pain, fatigue, stiffness and a depressed mood.  Only some people taking it by mouth benefitted from Sam-E.

Check with your doctor to see if Sam-E is right for you.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

How Can I Prevent Fibromyalgia Flare-ups? (video)

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic, full-body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissue.  Researchers aren’t clear what causes it and there is no known cure for the condition.  A few possible triggers have been uncovered and thought to aggravate fibromyalgia in those suffering with the syndrome.

Possible Triggers – It’s possible physical and emotional stress, illness or infection and abnormal pain responses may trigger flare ups.  Some triggers can be avoided by lifestyle changes.  Other triggers are responsive to psychotherapy or managed with medications and complimentary treatments.

Prescription Medications for Managing Fibromyalgia  – There are only three FDA-approved medications for the management of the pain associated with fibromyalgia.  They are:  Cymbalta, Savella and Lyrica.

Lyrica – Lyrica is an anticonvulsant that calms down the accelerated nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia, decreasing the pain messages producing discomfort.

Cymbalta – Cymbalta is an anti-depressant that increases levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine to help control and suppress pain.  Research indicates that increased levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine help reduce painful nerve signals associated with fibromyalgia.

Savella – Savella also increases the available levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine thereby reducing pain and improving physical function.

Alternative Treatments – Yoga, meditation and acupuncture help ease pain for some.  Supplements such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, Lysine and Magnesium work for others.  Sometimes people experience pain relief just by eating a healthy diet or soaking in a hot bath.

Each fibromyalgia case is unique.  What works for one person might possibly trigger a flare up in another person.  Work with your doctor to find what preventive therapies work best for you.

 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

How Cosmetic Acupuncture Restores Youthful Beauty Without Pain, Side Effects or Surgery

What is cosmetic acupuncture?

Also known as acupuncture facial rejuvenation, it’s a treatment that enhances your youthful appearance and your overall sense of well-being. Not only is it effective in reducing wrinkles, lines and firming loose skin. Clients often feel increased energy, better skin tone and a healthy glow that comes from deep within.

Facial acupuncture helps lift and firm up skin that sags around the chin and eyes, softens deep lines and erases fine lines.  It improves the complexion and gives the entire face a younger appearance.

 How does cosmetic acupuncture help you look younger?

This treatment uses acupuncture needles – which are sterile, stainless steel needles that are as thin as a human hair.   Insertion into the skin is painless, and works by creating areas of micro trauma, improving circulation, and producing collagen and elastin in the tissues where applied.  This brings on a natural glowing complexion, firmer skin, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

Because it does not involve incisions, acid peels or injections, it does not provide results like Botox, surgical facelifts or structural fillers under the skin.  You get a more youthful look naturally, without the side effects or recovery time needed from these other treatments.

 How many treatments are needed for best results?

To get the desired results, it’s recommended to plan a series of 10 treatments.  Schedule two treatments per week for 5 weeks with your practitioner.  Then, plan just one treatment per month as recommended to maintain your results.

 Advantages of cosmetic acupuncture

There are many advantages to facial acupuncture over other treatments.  It is completely natural, and does not introduce drugs, fillers or chemicals into the body.  It has no side effects, and doesn’t require downtime to heal from more traumatic procedures.  It’s also a lot more cost-effective, and can last from 3 to 5 years depending on your age and your schedule of treatments.

If you want a more youthful appearance without artificial chemicals, or surgery, and you’d rather use your body’s own natural healing response, facial acupuncture is a good option for you.  Another benefit is the increased energy and vitality that many people experience with acupuncture.  Not only do you look better, you feel better too.

Dr. Keller is trained in Mei Zen cosmetic acupuncture and practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in New Jersey.

Natural Dietary Supplements (video)

Could supplements help treat symptoms of fibromyalgia? 

Research organizations list supplements as a complimentary treatment providing benefits to patients with fibromyalgia, but there is no conclusive research to support the benefits:  Three supplements might help manage the pain: Sam-E, 5-HTP, and capsaicin.  There are no FDA regulations for supplements and there may be limited information about the ingredients, side effects and dosage.

5-HTP or 5 Hydroxy Tryptophan – A supplement made from the seed of an African plant that is said to help raise available levels Serotonin.  The University of Maryland Medical Center has said that 5-HTP can improve fibromyalgia-related pain, anxiety, stiffness and fatigue.  They do note that more studies are needed.

Sam-E – Research has found Sam-E relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis and depression.  It’s still not clear how it benefits fibromyalgia.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests benefits could be tied to the anti-depressant effects of Sam-E.  Studies show people using an injectable form of Sam-E experienced reduced pain, fatigue, stiffness and a depressed mood, but only some people taking it orally benefitted from Sam-E.

Capsaicin – Capsaicin is a chemical providing fire to hot peppers used in topical creams and in high potency 8% patches to block pain messages.  One study found that a single 60 minute application in patients with neuropathic pain provided pain relief for up to 12 weeks.  Talk to your doctor about using over-the-counter creams or the patch.

It is extremely important to make an appointment to speak with your doctor to discuss any supplements you want to try and be sure they work with other medications you are taking.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia Pain (video)

In addition to the medications recommended by your physician, there are many alternative treatments for control of fibromyalgia pain.  Here are a few examples of alternative treatments you might want to try:

  1. Acupuncture to reduce muscle pain;
  2. A nice massage to reduce stress and depression;
  3. Physical exercise – very important in managing fibromyalgia pain; 
    1. Water therapy to reduce muscle strain;
    2. Light aerobics; 
    3. Yoga class, while practicing relaxation techniques, to help with depression and sleep issues; 
  4. Experiment with herbs and nutritional supplements to help reduce anxiety and pain; and  
  5. Some people find aroma therapy to be very relaxing, thereby reducing stress.

Discuss with your doctor which alternative treatments you have tried and the affects that resulted. 

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Can Fibromyalgia Go Away? (video)

Medications relieve the pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia, but it will not go away on its own.  There is no known cure for fibromyalgia. By following treatment set out by a physician, adopting healthy lifestyle changes and avoiding stress, remission has been known to occur.  Remission can last as long as 2 months before reoccurring.  There is one reported case of a 20 year long remission.

Please make an appointment to see your doctor if you feel you are suffering from fibromyalgia.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

 

How Physical Therapy Helps Fibromyalgia (video)

Regular exercise is important in managing fibromyalgia.  A physical therapist will create and implement an exercise routine that targets your symptoms using special body therapies and special stretches to relieve tension.  A physical therapist will also help you correct those lifelong bad habits contributing to your pain.

See your doctor to discuss whether a physical therapist is right for you.

 

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

More Energy with Chronic Pain and Fatigue (video)

People with fibromyalgia experience a loss of energy, along with constant pain and chronic fatigue.  There are effective ways of regaining your energy, but you have to be realistic.  Below are 3 tips to regain energy:

No. 1:  Stress Less
If you have less stress, it is less likely pain flare-ups will occur.  This will improve your chances of getting a good night’s rest also.  Acupuncture, acupressure, therapeutic massage, aroma therapy, water therapy, breathing and relaxation techniques and counseling and/or support groups all help reduce stress.

No. 2:  Adopt a Healthy Diet

Your body needs the right fuel to function optimally.  Pain and stiffness reduction can occur by improving your diet.  A whole-food based, anti-inflammatory diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, such as legumes, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats found in flaxseed, fish, avocadoes and walnuts.  You should avoid eating overly-processed foods, such as white bread, cookies, cakes and crackers.

No. 3: Regular exercise. 

Decrease pain and boost mood with regular aerobic exercise combined with strength training.  You will also experience more energy, less pain and better sleep.  Start out gradually and increase your exercise as your strength increases.  Stress hormones aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms and can be minimized by practicing yoga or tai chi.

For more answers to your fibromyalgia questions, check out other videos in this series.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What to Tell Your Doctor About Chronic Pain (video)

It’s critical to discuss your pain symptoms with your doctor, no matter how small, to obtain a proper diagnosis.  A fibromyalgia diagnosis is based on a physical exam and your symptoms.

Use this checklist at your next doctor’s appointment:

  • Exact location of pain: Neck, shoulders, elbows or knees – common tender spots with fibromyalgia
  • Pains that come and go: Not just the pains you are experiencing the day of your appointment
  • Ongoing pains in other parts of your body – also symptoms of fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep habits -Sleepiness during the day – interference with your job or other daily routines

Your doctor needs to know every kind of pain you are experiencing to properly diagnose your symptoms and determine if you are suffering from fibromyalgia.  Make an appointment to see your doctor today.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

What Kind of Doctor Treats Fibromyalgia? (video)

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, and not all doctors may understand it. You need to find a physician who listens to you, who has treated many cases of fibromyagia, and who has an interest and knowledge in treating it.

General practitioners, neurologists, rheumatologists or pain specialists may be qualified. It’s important to find a doctor who listens to you so you can find a treatment plan that works for you. Ultimately, you may get best results from a team of doctors who communicate with each other and coordinate your care.

Careful management can help you control pain and fatigue, and restore your quality of life.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Are you tired of being tired? Could you have Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is overwhelming fatigue that is not explained by a known medical condition.

CFS gets worse with too much activity and is not relieved by rest. The cause of CFS in unknown, however there are many theories. In some cases it may be caused by viral illnesses including Epstein Barr, HHV-6, and parvo.

There is also evidence to suggest it can develop after a bacterial infection like Lyme or prolonged respiratory infections.. There may be impairment of the immune system or hormonal imbalances of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands. Other theories include excessive stress, from any source including, physical, emotional, chronic diseases, or infections. Most likely it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and that multiple triggers alone or in a combination can cause the onset of chronic fatigue.

How is Chronic Fatigued Syndrome Diagnosed?

There is no single test to confirm CFS.  To make the diagnosis of CFS underlying medical conditions need to be ruled out.  A comprehensive work up should be done and include a comprehensive history, physical and appropriate laboratory tests. Some of the more common causes of fatigue including anemia, diabetes or an underactive thyroid can be easily ruled out with simple blood tests.  Additional diagnostic tests should be done based on an individuals symptoms and physical findings.

 

The diagnosis of CFS is based on the following criteria. Severe persistent or relapsing fatigue lasting six months or more, in which the fatigue is not caused by a known disease, and is not relieved by rest. The fatigue also causes a significant (50%) reduction in a person’s activity level. In addition, to diagnose CFS four out of the following eight symptoms needs to be present.

  • Not feeling refreshed after sleep
  • Impaired memory/concentration
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain, involves one joint to another without swelling or redness
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Tender cervical/ axillary lymph nodes
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical exercise

What are the risk factors for developing CFS?

Risk factors for developing CFS include age, female gender, genetics, high stress occupations and or lifestyle.

CFS occurs more commonly in people in there 40s and 50s.  Anyone can develop CFS, but it is more common in women, this may be that women are more likely to seek treatment for fatigue.  There appears to be a genetic link as well. People with a first degree relative with CFS have an increased risk of developing CFS.  Those with high stress lifestyles are also more susceptible to developing CFS.

Associated Conditions

Some people with CFS also fit the criteria for FMS (a chronic pain syndrome). People with CFS who do not get help are at risk of developing anxiety, depression, social isolation, lifestyle changes (reduce activity level), and increased work absences.

Treatment for Chronic Fatigue

The treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must be individualized; a comprehensive holistic approach can help the body return to a healthy state. There is no magic pill that will make your symptoms disappear. It will take time for your body to recover. It is best to find a Practioner who has experience in treating CFS.  The first step your doctor should do is to confirm the diagnosis, making sure there is not another cause for your fatigue. After your diagnosis is confirmed they need to help you develop an individualized treatment and wellness plan. Your wellness plan is not limited to but should include the following:

  • Stress management plan– tools and ways to reduce and manage stress. Excessive production of stress hormones can cause fatigue and make it difficult to recover.
  • Nutritional plan– you are what you eat you need to follow a whole food diet, avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners, and chemical additives. It is best to work with a practitioner who can help you develop a healthy eating plan.  A diet rich in nutrients   can help heal your body.
  • Vitamins/ Supplements- Appropriate vitamins and supplements if indicated.
  • Medications– Appropriate medications when indicated.
  • Sleep Hygiene Program– a program to help you get enough restorative sleep, so your body can heal.
  • Exercise program– individual exercise program tailored to your energy level.
  • Psychological support: Appropriate support in dealing with emotional issues, making sure to address automatic negative thoughts.  Negative thinking can further fatigue your body.  A referral to a good mental health professionals can help you when indicated.
  • Additional Treatments: Additional treatments to consider in your wellness plan include, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, Physical therapy, and Chiropractic therapy.
  • Support: on going support, working with a doctor who is there to support your recovery. It will take time to recover but with the right treatment and wellness plan you will get better.

Spring Allergies: Steps to Ease Your Allergy Symptoms

Springtime is a welcome change, with warmer weather, sunny days and beautiful flowers. Unfortunately for people with spring allergies it means the return of pollen and symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, and red irritated eyes.

Spring allergies are the result of pollen from trees, which can start pollinating anytime from January to April.  They can also be secondary to grass, which occur in spring and summer.

When pollen is in the air it can land on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or lungs and cause allergic reactions.

What you can do to reduce your exposure?

First know the pollen count. A great way to stay up on daily counts is to go to Pollen.com and sign up for daily pollen email alerts. Now with this information in hand limit your outdoor exposure on the days with the highest pollen counts. If you have to go out try and avoid the early morning hours between 5am and 10am as these are the highest counts of the day. If you insist on gardening wear a mask. (It will give the neighbors something to talk about.)

Next,  keep the pollen out of the house! Keep your indoor air clean.  Remove your clothes and wash promptly, in addition make sure to shower off after coming inside to avoid spreading pollen around the house.  Keep the windows closed and use the air conditioning. The worse thing you can do is sleep with the windows open and let all that pollen get inside your home.  You might want to use a portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. Also, I know this is a tough one, but keep your pets out of the bedroom and off your bed; pollen gets in their fur and can easily spread to your linens.

What can you do to ease your allergy symptoms?

One of the best ways to reduce symptoms is to use a saline nasal rinse. (Salt-water rinse) Rinsing twice a day can significantly reduce allergy symptoms by removing mucus and allergens from your nasal passages.

What else can you try?

Try over the counter medicines if your symptoms are mild.

There are several types of nonprescription medications sold over the counter to reduce allergy symptoms. These include:

Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines help reduce sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Claritin and Zyrtec are two examples.  Benadryl is also an antihistamine but can cause drowsiness.

Decongestants. Oral decongestants like pseudofed reduce nasal stuffiness. Nasal decongestants like Afrin also reduce nasal congestion but are limited to a three-day course; prolonged use of nasal spray decongestants can actually worsen the symptoms.

There are also combination medications:  These medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, like Clairton D.

What else can you do?

Make sure to drink plenty of water, and eat an anti-inflammatory whole food diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, lean protein and avoiding processed foods, white flour and sugar.

 

12 Tips to Reduce Stress and Fibromyalgia Symptoms

12 Simple Tips to Reduce Stress and Increase Fibromyalgia Relief

Reducing stress can help dramatically lessen symptoms of fibromyalgia.  These 12 tips are the same ones that help my fibromyalgia patients enjoy major improvements in their health and happiness:

  1. Get plenty of sleep. The less sleep you get, the more stress affects you.
  2. Eat a whole-food diet; eat at least 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. Avoid processed foods.
  3. Practice deep breathing. This can help calm you down. Take slow deep breaths. Inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of one, and exhale to the count of 4. Try taking a few deep breathes and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 3-4 times you should feel more calm and relaxed.
  4. Try meditation on a regular basis. This can help you relax and handle stress. Mediation does not have to be complicated; its purpose is to allow your brain to focus on something calm. Allowing your brain a rest from everyday thoughts and worries. It can be as simple as focusing on a single word like calm. There are a variety of CDs, books, or classes that can help you get started.
  5. Practice Mind Body Exercises. Many people find Mind Body exercise a great way to combine meditation with exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gon, even weight lifting can all help calm the mind while moving the body.
  6. Journaling. Recording your thoughts, not only concerns and problems, but plans, goals, and dreams can help.
  7. Socialize. Spending time with friends and family can also reduce stress. It is important to have a good support system.
  8. Eliminate toxic people and negative relationships, which can cause a lot of stress and can flare your disease.
  9. Volunteer your time and talent to helping others.
  10. Practice time management. Do not overbook yourself. Learn to say no, make sure you have time to do activities and hobbies you enjoy.
  11. Spend time outside. Being out in nature is a good way to relax. It can help decease the production of stress hormones.
  12. Exercise, exercise helps to reduce stress and increase a sense of well being.

These tips may seem simple.  But don’t be fooled: they can help restore your health and well being despite fibromyalgia.  Living well with fibromyalgia means knowing how to keep stress under control in your life.  Feedback from my patients here at the Optimal Wellness Center in New Jersey give the best proof that nutrition and stress management are important in getting lasting relief from the fatigue and pain of this syndrome.

10 Tips to Boost Your Metabolism and Get Over a Weight Loss Plateau

Here are 10 simple changes you can make to boost your metabolism and break through a diet plateau

  1. Drink Green Tea, antioxidants in green tea helps stimulate the body to burn more calories and it may help you to curb your appetite. Drink at least 3 cups a day.
  2. Strength training- strength training increases your muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate will be. The more calories you will burn through out the day. Try at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week.
  3. Add high intense intervals to your cardio work out. Studies show adding short bursts of intense activity with periods of less intense activity burns more calories. Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week.
  4. Mix it up. Make sure to vary your exercise. If you do the same work out everyday your body gets use to it and does not lower as many calories.
  5.  Try adding an extra 10 minutes to your workout.
  6. Eat whole food. Eliminate processed foods; eliminate cheese, processed food and sugar. Fill up on vegetables, fruit, lean protein, legumes, and whole grains.
  7. Skip the alcohol. Not only does it add calories but also it can decrease your activity and ability to resist unhealthy food calories.
  8. Watch your portions
  9. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep can make it hard to loose weight.
  10. Do relaxation techniques. Stress produces cortisol (hormone that slows your metabolism)

Fibromyalgia and Exercise

There is no question about it, in order to feel better you must have regular exercise.

Multiple studies on patients with fibromyalgia confirm that exercise is beneficial.  Research supports aerobic and strength training reduces symptoms of fibromyalgia, improves fitness, and quality of life.

Many patients find mind body forms of exercise like Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gon particularly helpful. Calming the mind help decreases stress hormones that can aggravate symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that physical activities like these help your health and well-being improve:

  • Regular exercise helps prevent heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and helps control weight.
  • It increases energy and happiness while reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Exercising outside is a good way to decrease stress. Connecting with nature can help reduce stress hormones.

If exercise is so good for you then why do so many people hesitate? When you have been suffering with pain from fibromyalgia, you may be convinced that being more active is too hard to do.  It’s hard to embrace the idea of exercise when dealing with health issues.  We’re already in pain and we don’t want to make it worse by forcing ourselves to do something hard and unwelcome.

Working with the right medical professional can help you find ways to add exercise that are truly fun for you.  Here are some things we suggest to our patients at the Optimal Wellness Center to make exercising more enjoyable and something you feel good about doing:

  • Find a friend to exercise with. Take a class together, go on walks or ride bikes.
  • Choose an exercise you really enjoy.
  • Make it convenient exercise close to home or work.
  • Put it in your schedule; look forward to doing something good for yourself.
  • Enjoy it.
  • Try exercising 30 minutes daily.
  • Remember you do not want to over do it.
  • Consult a physician before beginning an exercise program.

When you exercise, you start feeling something else besides stronger and healthier.  Our patients tell us they feel less stress.  They enjoy doing other physical activities that they had not been able to enjoy before.  Pain has less of an impact on your life.  There are many ways to add activities that make you stronger and healthier – ones you may not have considered — and live better in spite of fibromyalgia.

 

Acupuncture Relieves Pain from Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Acupuncture is effective for reducing pain and improving joint function in osteoarthritis of the knees

According to results published in the Annals of Internal Medicine December 21st, 2004. Acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function in individuals who have osteoarthritis of the knees. The results were significant “for the first time a clinical trial with sufficient, rigors, size and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee” said Stephen E Shrauss, M.D. NCCAM Director. He further noted that the results of this study showed that acupuncture can be an effective addition to the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans causing a significant amount of physical disability among those suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.

This study was extremely important by providing another treatment option to help millions of patients by decreasing their pain and increasing their function. Research suggests one of the ways acupuncture may decrease pain is by altering pain signals. When acupuncture needles are inserted into a specific site, it is felt that they may alter the pain signal by directly stimulating nerves, altering the signaling along nerve cells. In addition, acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller. The release of endorphins and neurotransmitters like serotonin reduce the perception of pain by the brain.

Although we do not know precisely how acupuncture reduces pain, scientific research confirms that it is safe and effective treatment option for many conditions including osteoarthritis of the knee.

Acupuncture is an effective way to reduce pain and increase function in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.

Acupuncture is Effective in Treating TMJ Disorders

What are TMJ Disorders?

The temporalmandibular joint is the term used for the joint connecting the upper and lower jaw.  Disorders affecting this area — commonly referred to as TMJ —  refer to pain or dysfunction in this joint.

TMJ is usually associated with pain and stiffness. There may also be clicking or popping noted when chewing or opening the mouth fully, like when one yawns. TMJ is linked to stress, teeth grinding, dental problems and excessive gum chewing.

Treating TMJ

There are many effective treatments for TMJ including acupuncture. Scientific research supports acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment for TMJ.

Recent studies have reported that following acupuncture, patients had measurably less problem muscle activity. Muscle activity measured by EMG was reduced at rest, protrusion, and clenching. S. Rancan D.D.S. M.D.S. et al., authors of Acupuncture and TMJ Disorders: A 3 month follow up EMG study, published their findings in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. (Vol 15, number12, 2009). In addition an increased bite force was measured. Patients were able to bite down harder without pain) They further concluded that acupuncture led to a remission in their patients symptoms.

Another recent article published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, (July/Aug 2010 vol26 Issue6) also concluded that acupuncture is effective in reducing pain in patients with TMJ. In this article, Acupuncture in the Treatment of Pain in Temporomandibular Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta -Analysis of Randomized Controlled Studies, the authors analyzed 4 studies. The studies showed that acupuncture reduces pain, improves chewing function, and increases the maximal opening of the mouth. They concluded that acupuncture works and that:

“Acupuncture is more effective than placebo in reducing pain intensity.”

How does acupuncture reduce pain in patients with TMJ?

Ancient Chinese theories suggest that acupuncture works by opening blocked channels in the body and restoring a balanced flow of energy.

Western research suggests one of the ways acupuncture may decrease pain is by altering the pain signals. When acupuncture needles are inserted into specific sights it is felt that they may alter the pain signal by directly stimulating nerves altering the signaling along nerve cells. In addition acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. The release of endorphins and neurotransmitters like serotonin reduce the perception of pain by the brain.

Although we do not know precisely how acupuncture reduces pain, scientific research confirms that it is a safe, and effective treatment option. Furthermore research also shows that the benefits derived from acupuncture are not a placebo effect.

The bottom line is that works!

Acupuncture is a safe and effective in treating many painful conditions including TMJ.

About the Author:  Dr. Betty Keller specializes in treatment of chronic pain including TMJ.  She provides acupuncture therapy, integrated with conventional medical therapy at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Fibromyalgia: Diet Does Matter!

Food has the power to help heal the body.  If you have fibromyalgia it is absolutely essential to eat a healthy balanced diet. In addition many people with fibromyalgia have food sensitivities.  Your diet does matter!

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, which includes chronic widespread muscle pain.  It is often associated with one or more other symptoms including fatigue, stiffness, insomnia, and irritable bowel.

 A Balanced Approach to Better Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia affects over 2% of the population.  There is no single cause and thus no single treatment that works for everyone.  The best treatment plan uses an integrative approach. combining Western Medicine, Lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and complementary therapies.

To effectively treat fibromyalgia, one needs to focus on health and develop healthy lifestyle choices.  Finding a balance by developing good eating habits, exercising regularly, thinking positive thoughts and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress.

The most important foundation for health is to eat foods that are nutrient rich and provide your body with the fuel to perform optimally.

Diet plays a major role in our body’s ability to heal and in the prevention of disease. Food is medicine, it tells our genes how to express themselves.  Research studies do not support one single eating plan that works for everyone with fibromyalgia.  This is because fibromyalgia is a syndrome and not a specific disease.

Foods to Fight Against Fibromyalgia

Although there is not a single proven diet plan, here are some good guidelines to follow.

Eat a whole food based diet.  This consists of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, and healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids (found in flax seeds, fish, avocados and walnuts.  It is also equally important to minimize overly processed foods like white bread, cookies, cakes and crackers.  Remove these items from your house, if you don’t have them around you can’t eat them. Remember your body needs the right fuel to function optimally.

Several studies with fibromyalgia patients have shown improvement in symptoms, less pain and stiffness when eating diets containing lots of in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and are important nutrients for maintaining health.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to your body. Free radicals are formed when the body converts food to energy and also formed when the body processes chemicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, which can damage DNA. Having enough antioxidants in your diet is essential to help prevent disease.

Phytonutrients, which essentially means plant nutrients, are the active substances in plants responsible for their color, flavor and resistance to disease.  Scientist have found that these phytonutrients are important for humans to help the body function optimally. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas are the richest sources of phytonutrients.

Additional studies have shown that some fibromyalgia patients benefit from a whole food vegetarian diet. These diets are even richer in phytonutrients and antioxidants.

The bottom line, eat whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables ( 5-9 servings per day) Lean proteins (mainly plant based), legumes, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats. Juicing is a good way to increase fruits and vegetables in to your diet.

Food Sensitivities

Some people with Fibromyalgia have food sensitivities; many symptoms of fibromyalgia such as fatigue, pain, stiffness, insomnia and headaches can be worsened by food.

It is important to listen to your body and pay attention to your fibromyalgia symptoms so that you will know what foods make you feel worse. The most common cause of food sensitivity includes the following:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Corn

Additional Possible foods that can cause sensitivities:

  • Coffee
  • Meat
  • Fish/shellfish
  • Chocolate
  • Tea
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruit
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Food additives
  • Peanuts

*Nightshade vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes peppers and eggplant. Some people find a reduction in symptoms when these vegetables are eliminated from their diet. However since these are also filled with a lot of nutrients if they do not cause a flare keep them in your diet.

Find Out What to Eliminate

The only way to really know if you are sensitive to one of these foods is to eliminate one at a time.  If your symptoms are reduced, reintroduce the food and see if the symptoms increase again.  It is best to try eliminating only one food at a time. An alternative is to eliminate several foods at once then slowly reintroduce one food at a time adding a new food back every few days.  Keeping a food diary may be helpful, allowing you to track your symptoms along with what you are eating. This may help you identify which foods you may be sensitive to.

It is also important to have variety in your diet. Eating the same things too frequently may cause you to develop sensitivity to that food. Variety is a good way to provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally. You may find that certain food only increase symptoms if eaten too frequently but are tolerated on occasion.

What You Should Avoid

Although there is not a single dietary plan that works for everyone certain food additives when eliminated reduce symptoms in a significant number of people.

Aspartame.  (NutraSweet)

Aspartame considered an excitotoxin and may stimulate certain neurons. It is felt that aspartame may cause amplification of pain signals. People with fibromyalgia may have overactive pain receptors and are even more susceptible to aspartame stimulation.  The bottom line is many people with fibromyalgia find reduction in symptoms when they avoid aspartame.

MSG

MSG is a food additive also thought to be an excitotoxin, which could cause amplification of pain signals.

Nitrates

Nitrates found in bacon, lunchmeats like ham and bologna may also cause pain signal amplification.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulate that can make fatigue worse when it wears off and can also increase anxiety and cause or worsen insomnia. If you cannot completely eliminate caffeine then try and limit your daily intake.

 

Trouble Sleeping? Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene

Many people have poor sleep habits.  We stay up too late and get up to early.  We interrupt our sleep with drugs, chemicals and work, and we over stimulate ourselves with late-night activities such as television.

It is important to have good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to measures you can take to ensure good quality nighttime sleep. One of the most important things you can do is to maintain a regular sleep and wake pattern.

Good Sleep Hygiene Practices

Good sleep hygiene practices include:

  1. Avoid napping during the day if you can.  If you must take a nap, try to keep it short, (20 minutes or less).
  2. Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime.  This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
  3. Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime.  Initially alcohol has a sedation effect but a few hours later it can have a stimulant effect.
  4. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime.
  5. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.  Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep.  Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
  6. Maintain a regular sleep and wake pattern.  The body functions best on a regular schedule.  You need a minimum of 7 hours per night for your body to function at its best.
  7. Associate your bed with sleep. It is not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV or use other electronics. Turn off all electronics and hour before bed. Use of these devises stimulate your brain and make it difficult to sleep.
  8. Make sure your sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing.
  9. Use comfortable bedding.
  10. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.  If your bedroom is too cold or too hot, it can keep you awake.  A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.
  11. Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
  12. Make sure your bedroom is dark. Remove all computers; cell phones, and turn bright light alarm clocks away from you.

Establish a Regular Relaxing Bedtime Routine

  1. Establish a pre-sleep ritual.  Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.
  2. If you have trouble sleeping you can try a light snack before bed.  Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
  3. Avoid emotionally upsetting conversations before bed.
  4. Don’t make to do lists in your head. Write down what you need to accomplish the next day, and then forget about it once you go to bed. Tell yourself “its on your list, you do not need to worry about it.”
  5. Practice relaxation techniques before bed.  Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.

Getting Up in the Middle of the Night?

Most people wake up one or two times a night for various reasons.  If you find that you get up in the middle of night and cannot get back to sleep try meditation, visualizing or progression relaxing. Do not perform challenging or engaging activity such as office work, housework, etc.  Do not watch television. Try one of these relaxation techniques:

Relaxation Techniques

  1. Try to concentrate on your breathing. Count 1 on the inhale and 1 exhale, 2 inhale and 2 exhale, 3 inhale and 3 exhale, 4 inhale and 4 exhale then go back to 1 inhale and 1 exhale. Keep repeating until you fall asleep.
  2. You can try visualizing, imagining you are in a calm relaxing environment like walking on the beach or sitting in a garden.

Try progressive muscle relaxation. Starting at your toes and progressing up towards your head. Relax each muscle group while concentrating on your breathing

Soup for Optimal Wellness

Soup is a great way to add more vegetables and plant based protein to your diet.

Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and are important nutrients for maintaining health. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to your tissues. Free radicals are formed when the body coverts food to energy and also formed when the body processes chemicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, which can damage DNA. Having enough antioxidants in your diet is essential to help prevent disease.

Phytonutrients, which essentially means plant nutrients, are the active substances in plants responsible for their color, flavor and resistance to disease. Scientist have found that these phytonutrients are important for humans to help the body function optimally. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas are the richest sources of phytonutrients.

Not only is this soup delicious and full of health promoting antioxidants and phytonutrients because it is high in fiber. It is a great way to maintain or even lose weight. Foods high in fiber keep you full longer.

Dr. Keller’s Optimal Wellness Soup Recipes

Lentil and Kale Soup

Kale isn’t just frilly – it’s a versatile green leafy vegetable recognized for incredible benefits to health since ancient Greek and Roman times.

Full of antioxidants, protein, and fiber.
4 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
4-5 carrots, finally chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15oz cans brown lentils, rinsed and drained, or pre-steamed from Trader Joes
1 petit cut canned tomatoes
1½ to 2 quarts of vegetable or chicken broth
1 (½ pound) bunch kale, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped (5 to 6 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic in oil. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes while stirring occasionally (do not brown). Add kale to coat in oil.
  2.  Add lentils and broth. Stir, combine, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Escarole Bean and Garlic Soup

People often overlook the incredible power of good food to promote health.

That’s why I offer this recipe to my Optimal Wellness Center patients — and anyone wanting to improve health the delicious way.

This soup is full of antioxidants, protein, and fiber
6-7 servings

Ingredients

2 heads escarole (1 lb)
¼ cups olive oil
1½ cups diced Spanish onion (1 onion)
1 tbsp minced garlic (3cloves chopped)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups cooked white cannellini beans or 2 16oz cans, drained and rinsed
(you can add 3rd can of beans for more fiber and protein)
2-3 qts chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
2-3 large carrots, chopped
4-5 celery sticks, chopped
Salt to taste

Procedure

  1. Core and wash escarole thoroughly, discarding any bruised or wilted leaves. Cut escarole into ½ inch ribbons, set aside.
  2. Heat soup pot (one with a well fitted lid) add olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes and sauté 3-4 minutes into escarole well to coat with oil. Add chicken broth and reduce flame to low, cover and let escarole cook until tender (10-12 minutes).
  3. Add chicken broth and cooked beans. Bring soup to a boil; reduce to a simmer and let cook 12-15 minutes or longer stirring from occasionally. Remove soup from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

10 More Tips for Weight Loss

Some simple weight loss tips make eating less stressful every day. Our first list of 10 weight loss tips offered several ideas that you can make work for you.  Here are 10 more to help you reach your weight control goals:

  1. Plan meals and snack for the week. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  2. Never go to the grocery store hungry. Shop only after you have had a healthy meal or snack.
  3. Keep healthy snacks with you for emergencies. (Bottle of water, piece of fruit, small 100 calorie pack of almonds) This way you are less tempted to stop and grab a less healthy alternative.
  4. Practice daily relaxation to help reduce stress hormones like cortisol, which tells your body to hold onto fat.
  5. Increase your daily activity. Take the stairs. When shopping, don’t choose the closet parking spot; take a walk at lunch or after dinner.
  6. Try switching to a smaller dinner plate. Using a smaller plate will help keep your portions size down.
  7. Eat less but more often. Try 3 small meals a day and 2-3 small snacks a day. This keeps your blood sugar stable and avoids it from dropping too low and causing a rebound increased appetite.
  8. Eat more fiber. Aim for 25-35 grams. Fiber helps you feel full, with fewer calories. Foods rich in fiber include oat, bran, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
  9. After your evening snack, close the kitchen and brush your teeth. Don’t go back into the kitchen. If you feel like another snack after you closed the kitchen try sipping on decaffeinated tea or chewing sugarless gum.
  10. Don’t drink your calories. Soft drinks, fruits juices, specialty coffees, and smoothies are full of sugar. This sugar content makes your insulin rise quickly and your appetite increase shortly after drinking it.

Want other ideas to help you lose weight?  Dr. Betty Keller specializes in guiding patients through lifestyle changes to improve diet and nutrition to lose weight – with lower stress.  Therapies may include traditional Western medicine, dietary supplements, appropriate physical activities and an individual treatment plan created uniquely for you.  She treats patients in her Franklin Lakes, New Jersey office – serving Bergen County NJ and surrounding areas.  To learn about treatment options with Dr. Keller contact 201-485-7930.

Fibromyalgia Treatment: Acupuncture is Effective in Reducing Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain.  It is often associated with one or more other symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness, and insomnia.  The pain of Fibromyalgia syndrome (also known as FMS) typically includes particular areas of increased sensitivity called tender points.

Fibromyalgia affects up to 2% of the population.  The best treatment approach is integrative combining Western medicine, therapeutic lifestyle changes and complementary therapies.  Complementary therapy, like acupuncture is effective in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia.  An important study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that acupuncture reduced symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia including reduction in pain, fatigue, and anxiety.  In addition, it was found to be as effective as some medications.  Using the FIO score (a standard measure of fibromyalgia activity), acupuncture reduced the score by 7 points.  This clinical benefit is comparable to pharmacological interventions such as tricyclic antidepressants (a decrease of 7 points) and the pain medication Tramadol (a decrease of 6 points)

According to the lead author, Dr. David P. Martin, M.D., PhD, “We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety.”

It is believed that acupuncture may actually block pain impulses from reaching the brain.  Acupuncture increases production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.  The gentle insertion of acupuncture needles at specific sites causes a measurable release of endorphins into the blood stream.  These natural pain killers help decrease pain. Repeated treatments are felt to up-regulate endorphins causing increased production of endorphins and thus a sustained reduction in pain.

Acupuncture is felt to increase a patient’s pain threshold, which is normally low in patients with fibromyalgia.  It also increases the production of neurotransmitters, which carry impulses between nerve cells.  Acupuncture increases serotonin, which is also typically low in fibromyalgia patients.  Seratonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for “feeling happy”.  It controls mood by helping with sleep, calming anxiety and reducing depression.

Neurotransmitters stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses in the brain that relay sensations such as pain.  Elevated levels of neurotransmitters can increase a patient’s tolerance to pain.

Benefits of Acupuncture For Fibromyalgia Patients

  • Less pain
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Relaxation / Stress Reduction
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Reduction of depression
  • Possible boost to the immune system
  • Better overall health

Acupuncture is a safe and effective way of reducing symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Treatment with Acupuncture in Bergen County, NJ

Dr. Betty Keller specializes in acupuncture, combined with Western medicine in treating fibromyalgia.  Her medical practice is in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, serving surrounding areas and Bergen County.

To request an appointment to visit her office at 777 Franklin Ave | Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417, please contact us:  201-485-7930.

Ease Fibromyalgia Pain Naturally: 6 Quick Tips

What can you do to help ease the pain of fibromyalgia naturally?

The chronic pain of fibromyalgia affects about 1 in 50 Americans. Pain is the most distinguishing characteristic of fibromyalgia.   Certain triggers can make symptoms worse.  Lack of sleep, extreme cold or heat, mental stress, illness and certain types of physical activity.  Here are a few ideas to help reduce symptoms.

  1. Eat a healthy diet.  Studies show the best diet to follow is a Mediterranean diet.  Whole foods, fruits vegetables, legumes, nuts, lean protein, and omega 3 fats. Minimize eating processed foods.
  2. Make sure you get enough sleep. Try to get between 7 to 8 hours a night.
  3. Exercise. It is important to exercise when you have fibromyalgia. Make sure not to over exert yourself.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, acupuncture These techniques can help reduce muscle tension.
  5. Be body aware.  Notice if you start to feel your muscles tense up, before the pain sets in try relaxation techniques to ease the aim before it becomes severe.
  6. Challenge automatic negative thoughts.  Out thoughts dictate our emotions and our emotions especially negative ones can cause headaches, muscle tension, pain and future. Choose thoughts that make you feel good. Thoughts that make you feel good, calm and relaxed.

Remember, to reduce fibromyalgia pain:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Reduce stress

Dr. Betty Keller specializes in the treatment of fibromyalgia and the New Jersey Optimal Wellness Center  She works with patients from New York City, Northern NJ and Bergen County NJ to lower reduce pain and promote health. Therapeutic approaches combine traditional medicine, dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.  Patients receive effective, personalized treatment plans to prevent chronic disease.  For an in-person consultation in her Franklin Lakes, NJ office, contact <strong>201-485-7930.</strong>

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Cholesterol naturally occurs in the body.  Good health is linked to having the right amounts of cholesterol in the blood.  But people worry about high levels of blood cholesterol, because it plays a major role in heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries.  People with inherited family traits for high cholesterol levels worry that the body will naturally make too much of it. To avoid the cost and side effects of drugs, many people want to keep levels low through natural means.

Controlling levels of cholesterol is challenging because of the body’s ability to make its own.  Natural methods for reducing high cholesterol are an important part of staying well, where drug therapies alone may not give you the healthy outcome you want most.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft fatty substance in the bloodstream.  The liver produces cholesterol and the body absorbs it from foods coming from animal sources.  Meat, fish, cheese, milk products, and eggs all contain cholesterol.  Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol.

Every cell in our body contains cholesterol (in cell membranes), and it’s a necessary part of maintaining health.  But because it travels in the blood stream, too much cholesterol can cause problems for blood circulation and heart health.  It travels in particles called lipoproteins.  The “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol measured with blood tests refers to the two types of lipoproteins in the cells.  The truth is, a healthy body needs the right amount of both lipoproteins in the blood.

The two types of cholesterol proteins in the blood are: low density lipoprotein, and high density lipoprotein.

Low Density Lipoprotein, or LDL, is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up on the lining of blood vessels.  LDL forms deposits with other particles on the lining of arteries, a coating known as plaque.

Plaque buildup over time can cause a number of serious health conditions and risks. These include hardened arteries, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Lowering high levels of LDL can reduce plaque buildup, or even stop it.  At the Optimal Wellness Center of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, Dr. Betty Keller orders blood tests and helps patients learn and understand their cholesterol levels. According to The National Institute of Health, the recommended optimal level of LDL is below 100mg/dL.

High Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, is commonly called the “good” cholesterol.  This protein carries cholesterol from other parties of your body back to the liver.  The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body with bile. The higher your HDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. According to The National Institute of Health, people with cholesterol >60 mg/dL have a lower risk of heart disease. Those with HDL<40 mg/dL have a higher risk.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices to Control Cholesterol Levels

High LDL levels can occur because of your own body chemistry.   But even so, you can prevent high levels of bad cholesterol by choosing physical activities and foods carefully.  A healthy diet and regular exercise can significantly decrease your cholesterol levels, and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.   Still, in some cases, your body may need some drug therapy, in addition to lifestyle changes, to lower your cholesterol to healthy levels.

Which Lifestyle Choices Lower “Bad” and raise “Good” Cholesterol?

1) Weight Loss: If your body is somewhat overweight, losing extra weight is one of the best things you can do to improve your cholesterol levels.

Even small amounts of weight loss can help meaningfully: taking off only 5 to 10 pounds can lower blood cholesterol.

2) Enjoy heart-healthy physical activity: As little as 30 minutes a day of appropriate exercise not only lowers bad cholesterol, it can raise good cholesterol.  It improves balance, strength, and can make the difference between dependence and independence in later years.

If you’re just starting out, your doctor can help you choose the right types of activities at the right intensity to begin.  Appropriate exercises can be rhythmic, repetitive activities that get your circulation going at a healthy intensity for you.  Walking, aerobic dancing, cycling with family or friends can all become part of a healthy lifestyle.  One that’s naturally low in cholesterol.

Dr. Betty Keller works with patients from New York City, Northern NJ and Bergen County NJ to lower cholesterol and promote health, at the Optimal Wellness Center.  Her therapeutic approach combines traditional medicine, dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.  Patients receive effective, personalized treatment plans to prevent chronic disease.  For an in-person consultation in her Franklin Lakes, NJ office, contact 201-485-7930.

 

 

 

Allergy Symptoms: Trigger Foods to Avoid, Helper Foods to Enjoy

Spring and fall are both seasons that trigger allergy symptoms for many people.  Tree pollens and grasses cause itchy watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose that can make spring a miserable time for allergy sufferers.  In fall, dust, mold and ragweed pollen are to blame when allergy symptoms strike many people with coughing, red, irritated eyes and congestion.

Here is one way to manage the worst of your symptoms: Watch out for trigger foods!

Although most people experience mild reactions, some may experience warning signs of an extreme or  even life threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

You may need to keep away from individual foods during peak allergy season. Have you ever had an itchy mouth or tongue after eating particular fruits or vegetables? If you have noticed these reactions and you also have seasonal allergies, you may have Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). OAS is caused by cross reactivity between proteins in fresh fruits and vegetables and pollens. Most people experience signs that last only a few seconds to minutes.

Symptoms of OAS are usually more noticeable during times  the air is full of pollens that people are particularly sensitive to.

If you know which pollens you’re most sensitive to, you can avoid these trigger foods that can make your symptoms worse.

Ragweed Allergy: Ragweed pollen is at its peak during late summer and fall in North America. There are a few foods to avoid because they may make your reaction worse:  bananas, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Tree Pollen Allergy: Spring is the season for tree pollens.  When tree pollen is most abundant, avoid these food triggers can also cause you to react: apples, apricots, potatoes, carrots, celery, cherries, parsnips, pears, peaches, plums,  hazelnuts and kiwi.

Grass Allergy: Does walking through a meadow or mowing the lawn make your nose run and eyes water? When you suffer allergy symptoms to grass, you may also react to:  melons, oranges, peaches, potatoes and tomatoes.

More Relief from Alternative Therapies: These Nutritional Supplements Can Help

Sometimes called dietary supplements or vitamins, you can find nutritional supplements that improve your well-being when you’re confronted with allergens.  Vitamin C is an effective nutritional supplement to defend against allergy symptoms.  So is quercetin (found as a supplement and in foods like red grapes, red onions, and green and black teas).  Bromelain as a dietary supplement also found in pineapple.

Other effective nutrition supplements include green tea extract, magnesium, MSM  and probiotics.

Immune Boosting Foods to Improve Your Resistance to Allergy Symptoms

If you prefer to make food choices to help ease allergy suffering, the good news is many foods are rich in nutrients that boost your immune response.  You can find Vitamin C in oranges, peppers, strawberries, kiwi, potatoes, broccoli and cabbage.

Magnesium is present in almonds, spinach, avocados, oysters, and peanuts.

Quercetin occurs naturally in certain vegetables and fruits, and decreases inflammation. Quercetin is found in apples, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, pears, spinach, kale and cabbage.

Bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory and is present in all parts of the pineapple plant.

Ginger acts as a natural antihistamine and decongestant.

Can Herbs Relieve the Allergic Response?

Herbal supplements that may be effective in easing allergy symptoms include butterbur, stinging needle and goldenseal.   Always check together with your doctor before adding herbs to your treatment program.

Other Treatments to Ease Allergy Symptoms: Acupuncture and Traditional Medicines

Some people don’t like drugstore allergy medicines because of