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The Feel-Good Report: July 2012

Standup Paddleboard Yoga (Erik Kellar)Standup Paddleboard Yoga

Have you ever found yourself in a downward dog and thought, “If only I could do this on a floating, totally unstable platform?” If so, congratulations—you are a forward-thinking multi-tasker of the highest order. And, we might add, the perfect candidate to check out one of the coolest new fitness crazes: standup paddleboard yoga. Yep, you do yoga on a floating paddleboard.

Marcie Gillis, co-owner of Southwest Florida Standup, is the go-to person locally for SUP yoga. “We are doing both paddling as well as a yoga class, and I generally find a location where the water is flatter,” she says. “Of course, Mother Nature dictates.” Of course.

The class adds an entirely new level of competence for people who dig yoga. “You are truly listening to your body and to what the board will take,” says Gillis. “You’re also getting a check on your alignment. This really translates to your mat in the studio. If I’m crooked in a pose, I might not notice it in class, but if I’m off on the board I won’t stay up. In the studio, you can get lazy, but when you are on that board, wow! You are not able to trick a board. You are getting a very, very, very thorough engagement of all of your muscles.”

For more information and to check availability, head to swflstandup.com.


New Cataract SurgeryNew Cataract Surgery

The fear of losing one’s eyesight is almost unimaginable. But for approximately 22 million Americans, cataracts make it an all-too-real possibility.

Luckily, technology is coming to the rescue, and Dr. Jonathan Frantz of Florida Eye Health is the first surgeon in Southwest Florida to offer cataract surgery with Alcon’s LensSx, a bladeless, computer-controlled laser that ensures the highest-precision surgical incisions. It utilizes a femtosecond laser, which has been used for LASIK surgery since 2001. In addition to creating more precise cuts, the laser pre-softens cataracts (allowing surgeons to use less ultrasound energy to remove the cataract lens, lessening recovery time) and allows for astigmatism correction at the same time.

Clearly, for cataract sufferers, this is something to look into. Get more information at bettervision.net.


Prettier Living through ChemistryPrettier Living through Chemistry

Aristotle once said, “Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.” And to that end, we’ve all been prone to plump, sweat, pluck and paint ourselves. And, most of the time, it hurts. In the past, if you went so far as to get a chemical peel, the burning towards the end of the procedure could get downright uncomfortable. But a new brand of peel, called the VI Peel, has a special combination of numbing agents built in to make the experience not just tolerable, but downright uneventful. Yet, it’s still totally effective—reducing hyperpigmentation, pore size and wrinkles while stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. It’s safe on all skin types and people of color.

We headed up to the Laser Lounge Spa in Estero to experience the VI Peel. It turns out that even though they’re wiping your face with a combination of acids, there is no discomfort. It took less than 20 minutes, and, as expected, we looked perfectly normal for the first 36 hours. The magic seems to happen in those next 96, because this editor shed skin like a snake in the summer sun. Of course, by the end of the seven days (healing for most chemical peels takes up to 14 days), my skin was as beautiful as a newborn baby’s. Prices vary, but expect to pay approximately $249.

For more information, check out thelaserloungespa.com.


Looking Ultra Sound

If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a thousand times: “You don’t look as young as you used to.” But that doesn’t mean you should quit trying. And with that in mind we’ve become enamored with Ultherapy—a new, non-invasive way to rebuild collagen and plump up the gently sagging parts of your face.

Dr. Andrew Turk of the Naples Cosmetic Surgery Center says the procedure is best geared toward two kinds of patients: younger patients who aren’t quite ready to go under the knife and patients who had surgeries in the past but want to be freshened up, rather than have a more invasive option. “Ultrasound is a very common technology we have in medicine and the theory is that the heat will tighten things under the skin,” says Dr. Turk. “With (Ultherapy), we are working from the inside to the outside. And doing it without any trauma.”

Dr. Turk says the procedure takes anywhere from one hour to 90 minutes. But results aren’t immediate. The collagen builds up over several months. He says it seems to be most effective on loose skin under the jaw line, the cheeks and around the eyes. He’s quick to add that this is not a facelift, but that “it’s pretty amazing.” We think so, too. See more at ultherapy.com.


Driving and TextingWalking and Chewing Gum? Just Say No

Are you good at multitasking? According to a recent study, 97.5 percent of those who just answered “yes” are big, fat liars. Scientists at the University of California in San Francisco have pinpointed the part of the brain that can distinguish a sound—whether it be a conversation, a clinking glass or breaking twig—over the symphony of other sounds bombarding us at any given time. That ability to zone in on one specific sound is what researchers call the “cocktail-party effect.” The auditory cortex boosts some sounds while tuning out others, allowing you to effectively eavesdrop from across a room when the situation calls for it.

Unfortunately, it’s that “tuning out others” part that causes problems in the modern world. Our cell phone conversations might make us lose focus on the traffic around us, with deadly results. It seems our brains are wired for selective attention. Researchers at the University of Utah have been studying the effect since the ’90s and found that drivers using hands free devices were just as impaired as those using hand-held devices. Turns out it’s the conversation, not the device.


The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live LongerA Little Exercise Really Helps

We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you still have to exercise. The good news is that you only have to do it for 20 minutes. That’s according to a new book by Gretchen Reynolds, writer of The New York Times’ popular Phys Ed column. The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer tells us that we don’t need to work out longer or harder. At least not in the traditional way we’ve all grown accustomed to thinking of exercise. She makes a clear distinction between the amount of exercise for improved sports performance versus the amount leading to better health.

According to Reynolds, to achieve better health we just need to do something. Anything. “Without being evangelical, I wanted people to understand that this is a book about how little exercise you can do in order to get lots and lots of health benefits,” said Reynolds during a recent New York Times interview. And with that, she officially became our favorite NYT writer.

The First 20 Minutes is available in bookstores and online.

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