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Aesthetic Studio special: 20% OFF any laser package

Aesthetic Studio Special:  20% OFF any laser package for:

  • Hair removal
  • Wrinkles & fine lines
  • Scars & stretch marks
  • Pigmentation & age spots
  • Rosacea & facial veins

Plus earn STUDIO REWARD dollars with purchase.

Schedule a FREE consultation info@couricenter.com or  692-6838 to learn more.  Ends 5-31-18.

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Seared Shitake Mushrooms and Spinach Salad By Chef Golda Ewalt

Ingredients:

For the dressing

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

For the salad

2 cups (6 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (discard the stems or use for stock)

2-teaspoon olive oil

Salt to taste

1 6- or 7-ounce package baby spinach, rinsed and dried (arugula works great too)

2 celery stalks, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons broken walnut pieces, lightly toasted

¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the vinegar and lemon juice with the garlic, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine the spinach, nuts, celery and cheese in a salad bowl.
  3. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and when very hot, add the mushrooms. Shake the pan once, then let the mushrooms cook without moving them around until they begin to sweat and soften (watch closely). After about a minute or two, when they have begun to sear and release moisture, you can move them around in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the spinach mixture and toss with the dressing. Serve at once.

 

Makes 4 salads

Bare Down There? By Dana Humes Goff, APN, CNM, DNP

As a women’s health care provider, one thing I have observed over the years is the ongoing disappearance of pubic hair. What once was a constant among women is now a rare occurrence, regardless of age. Over the last two decades, our society has gone from trimming the bikini line, to believing that the entire labia and pubic region must be bare to be clean. In fact, 95% of women admit to altering their pubic hair by trimming, shaving, or removing it completely. This, now, mainstream-grooming routine has made me question why we have pubic hair and what is its purpose?

There are many theories as to the purpose of pubic hair. One theory is that it helps in spreading pheromones. Research shows that our sweat glands secrete a smelly substance, which mixes with the bacteria and oil from the sebaceous gland. This results in a unique substance and scent known as pheromones. Pheromones can be trapped in the armpit hair and pubic hair of both women and men. The pheromone enhances sexual awareness and increased desire for sex.

Pubic hair can reduce friction when parts of the body rub together and offer a natural barrier to help keep things clean. Female pubic hair helps to decrease contact with viruses and bacteria to keep the tender skin around the genital area from being abraded. Offering protection is, therefore, one of the main purposes of pubic hair in the female reproductive system. Pubic hair also protects the reproductive system from bacterial pathogens such as streptococcus and viruses. Pubic hair controls moisture by wicking it up and away from the skin, and therefore, reduces the chances of skin breakdown. Pubic hair keeps the skin around the genital area moist and balanced.

In addition, at the end of each hair follicle is a nerve ending. These nerve endings are different from the other nerve endings whose purpose is maintaining pressure and temperature. When pubic hair is touched, a sensation is sent down the shaft of hair to the nerve ending. These feelings are registered in the brain as pleasurable.

So, if pubic hair has a purpose and is beneficial, why have so many jumped on the hair removal bandwagon? The January 2015 issue of The Journal of Sex noted that women reported stronger associations with feelings of cleanliness, comfort, sex appeal, and the social appeal of their peer group as reasons for removing pubic hair. The same article found that 60% of men reported preferring “hair free” partners and, in turn, were, therefore, more likely to trim and groom their own private areas.

Unfortunately, shaving and waxing can cause an infection in some of the small hair follicles around the vulva, which may create bumps and lumps called folliculitis. Folliculitis may present as a rash, better known as razor burn, or pus filled boils that are difficult to treat and very painful. Vulvar irritation is common after shaving or waxing. When skin irritation is combined with the warm environment of the genitals, it becomes a perfect breeding ground for some bacterial pathogens such as methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) and other staph infections. Studies have also shown that shaving and waxing can increase the risk of contacting infections such as Herpes, HPV, and Syphilis.

If you do decide to shave, here are some tips to help reduce the risk of skin irritation:

  1. Soak hair follicles in a warm bath or shower to soften;
  2. Exfoliate the area with a salt or sugar scrub;
  3. Use a shaving foam or inexpensive hair conditioner;
  4. Use a new, sharp razor and shave in the direction of the hair growth;
  5. Moisturize the area after shaving and apply a thin film of Neosporin to reduce the skin bacteria.
  6. Apply a gentle deodorant to the shaved area to reduce perspiration and promote dryness.

If you’re interested in an alternative to shaving or waxing, consider laser hair removal at The Couri Center and free yourself from the constant need to shave and wax unwanted body hair.

During laser hair removal, energy is used to target and destroy hair follicles responsible for hair growth. The follicle absorbs the energy and is destroyed, unable to produce hair again. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, laser hair removal is the 3rd most performed non-surgical cosmetic treatments in the US. For more information, please schedule your free 15-minute consultation:  or call 692-6838.

So, my friends, while there are no known health benefits to removing hair from your lady region, removing pubic hair is the current popular trend. If you do decide to bare all, be sure it is your decision and please do it in a safe manner. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, ask your health care provider if there are special reasons you should not shave or remove your pubic hair. And, finally, please contact your health care provider if you develop folliculitis or any other symptoms of infection.

Dana Humes Goff

The Integrative Consult: My Experience By Renee Alwan Percell PA-C, MMS

When I started working at the Couri Center I was still struggling to lose those final pounds I had gained from my last pregnancy. I also struggled with painful body aches and joint pain. I was considering going to a Rheumatologist to see if some kind of rheumatism or autoimmune issue was causing my pain.

During my training at the Couri Center, I learned the powerful role integrative health and food sensitivity testing play in our overall well-being. The Couri Center bundles many aspects of integrative health into a program called the TLC™ Integrative Consult. This program sparked my interest, especially since I was not feeling my best. I talked with Leslie, our Registered Dietitian, about my concerns. The first step of the Integrative Consultation involves uncovering the science behind what is going on within the body. This process includes and extensive panel of specialty blood tests, including hormone, inflammation, vitamin and food sensitivity testing, to name a few. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced the labs would provide much information because overall, I considered myself a healthy eater and person.

At my first appointment, we reviewed all my lab results. My food sensitivity testing was a complete shock! Food was my problem! I had suspected that dairy “did not agreed with me,” but other than that, I thought I was fine. It turns out that I have sensitivities to dairy, gluten, yeast and even almonds! Leslie spent one-on-one time with me to help me better understand my labs, what they meant and how I could improve them. She reviewed supplement recommendations that would help improve my labs as well as how to modify my current diet. With all of the personalized information, I felt ready to tackle my sensitivities.

Next, we discussed how a liver detox would help lay the foundation of my new lifestyle. After Leslie reviewed the simple instructions (I get to eat normal food the entire week!), I set a date to start. The first two days were tough, but doable. Once I was finished the seven days, I couldn’t believe how great I felt! I actually woke up in the morning without any aches or pain and I have more energy. I also noticed all my rings were loose on my fingers.

Based on our Registered Dietitian’s guidance, I slowly reintroduced the foods I removed. I quickly became aware of the foods I could have on occasion and the foods I needed to mostly avoid. As life would have it, I often get off track with my diet. Life as a working mother of three is busy and sometimes I just like to indulge in some cheese and bread! I find that I can follow my diet for several months and then inevitably a holiday or social party will throw off my plans. I don’t get down on myself when I fall off track. Instead, I use the guidance I received from my Integrative Consultation and use the Detox Program recommended by the Couri Center every 4 months (seasonally). I have even encouraged my husband to do the elimination diet with me. He agrees that he feels his best afterward. Now we do it together and like all things, it is much easier to be successful when you have a partner to help keep you on track. I easily lost my last few pounds of baby weight, and I have even had friends complete the program with amazing results!

If you are interested in learning more about your health and our TLC™ Integrative Consult, call 692-6838 and make an appointment with Leslie for a free consultation! With summer around the corner, get a jump start on your best YOU!

Be well,

Renee Alwan Percell PA-C

Shingles. Are You at Risk? By Dr. Kaleb Jacobs, DO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 30 percent of people in the United States will experience shingles during their lifetimes. Age is the most important risk factor for the development of shingles.

 

Key Facts (from the CDC)

  • Shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus called varicella zoster virus.
  • An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in the United States.
  • Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, and you can get shingles at any age.
  • Your risk of getting shingles and having more severe pain increases as you age.
  • The shingles vaccine called Shingrix is recommended for people age 50 or older to protect against shingles and the long-term pain that it can cause.

 

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes two clinically distinct forms of disease: varicella (chickenpox) and herpes zoster (shingles). Your first VZV infection results in the rash we call chickenpox. This rash will resolve and the virus will remain dormant in nerve roots. Re-activation leads to shingles. Shingles is a painful rash that typically affects only one side of the body, forms small fluid-filled sacs in what is called a dermatomal distribution.

 

Shingles manifests typically as a rash and acute inflammation. The rash changes from red and fluid-filled sacs to crusted sores over about 7 to 10 days. In healthy adults, at this point they are no longer considered infectious. The upper chest/back and lower abdomen/back are the areas most commonly involved. Acute neuritis is the medical term assigned to the painful symptoms most common with shingles. Nearly 75% of patients will experience this type of pain, which can begin before the rash develops. The pain is often described as burning, throbbing, or stabbing where the rash eventually appears.

 

Complications as a result of shingles is possible and the most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Up to 15% of patients with shingles will develop PHN, which may last beyond four months from the initial onset of the rash. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and pain worsened by movement in the affected dermatome. People older than 60 years account for 50% of these cases.

 

Similar to other viral or bacterial infections, prevention is key, and vaccination is paramount in preventing both the reactivation of herpes zoster and shingles, as well as, the possible complications associated with the disease.

 

There are two types of vaccines, recommended based on age. Current evidence suggests Shingrix is the preferred vaccination because of better efficacy and less waning of immunity over time, for people 50-60 years old. People over 60 years old should receive the shingles vaccine Zostavax®, regardless if they have had chickenpox or not. The CDC does NOT recommend Zostavax® in people between the ages of 50 through 59, because the protection from the vaccine may not provide adequate protection later in life, when the risk is greatest. Even if you have had shingles previously, you should still receive the vaccine to prevent future occurrences.

 

Based on my research, Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but you may have to cover some of the cost or copay. Medicare Part B does not cover the vaccine. Most private health insurance plans cover the vaccine, but this may only apply to those over 60 years old. For clarification, please contact your insurance provider. Walgreens and CVS in Peoria, do carry both vaccines. The pharmacist can give the injection, but may require a prescription from your primary care physician. The cost without insurance may be around $250 to $350. Other pharmacies may carry the vaccine – call your local pharmacy to confirm.

 

Prevention Tips (from the CDC)

  • People who have a weakened immune system should talk to their healthcare provider to see if it is safe for them to get the shingles vaccine.
  • People who have previously had shingles or Zostavax® should still get Shingrix to help prevent future occurrences of the disease.
  • The shingles vaccines are available in pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Talk with your primary healthcare provider if you have questions about the shingles vaccines.
  • If you have shingles, don’t touch the rash, keep it covered and stay away from pregnant women who aren’t protected against chickenpox, premature infants, and people with weakened immune systems until the rash crusts over.

 

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/

 

Kaleb Jacobs, DO

 

 

Laser Hair Removal FAQ’s By Leslie A. Gilstrap, Licensed Esthetician

Laser Hair Removal (LHR) is rapidly becoming more and more popular as a preferred method of hair removal.  Let’s face it, the less upkeep we ladies can have the better, right? Here are some of the key LHR benefits my clients rave about:

 

  • Cost effective

There is an initial cost up front, but over time, you will save on razors, creams and ongoing expensive regular procedures.

  • Time saving

Imagine no more daily shaving!

  • Eliminates ingrown hairs

Unlike waxing, threading and epilating, you will not have to put up with painful and unsightly ingrown hairs. Neither will you have to tolerate razor burns or irritation.

  • No waiting for hair growth

(Don’t you hate waiting for your hair to be a 1/4’’ before you can have a wax treatment?)

  • Precise

Laser hair removal specifically targets hairs right down at the follicle.

 

How it works: The laser projects a pulse of light into the follicles of dark hair.  This destroys or damages the hair and the root.  Because the hair grows in three cycles (Anagen, Catagen and Telogen) multiple treatments as well as maintenance treatments are required to obtain premium results.

 

Q:  Am I a candidate for LHR?

A:  Depending on the area of the body and the color of the hair the answer is usually YES.  The darker and thicker the hair the better the results will be.  If the hair is grey, white, blonde or in the Vellus phase (peach fuzz) the treatment will be ineffective.

Q:  How many treatments will I need?  How long does a treatment take?

A:  Every person’s body is different; we at the Couri Center offer treatments in a series of 6, 4-6 weeks apart.  A treatment session ranges from 15-60 minutes, depending on the area treated.

Q:  Is LHR painful?

A:  In my experience, most patients do well with the level of discomfort.  The pulse of light is similar to a warm rubber band snap.  After the treatment, ice is applied and the discomfort subsides rather quickly.

Q:  What are the common LHR side effects?

A: While a few of my patients have experienced the below side effects, they generally subside within 24-48 hours.

  • Redness/Swelling
  • Itching/Dryness
  • Folliculitis (Inflamed follicles, which may appear as red or white bumps)

 

If you would like to know more about LHR please call the Couri Center at 309-692-6838 for a FREE consultation: laser hair removal.  I look forward to treating you!

 

To Healthy Skin,

Leslie A. Gilstrap, LE

 

 

 

Rotational Diets are Crucial.  Here’s Why. By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

For over seven years the Couri Center has offered food sensitivity testing. Many patients struggle with a variety of symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain after eating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches/migraines, skin irritations, acid reflux and even chronic sinus issues. Food sensitivity testing helps to identify single or multiple foods that contribute to these symptoms. The results are helping patients better manage, reduce and even eliminate these symptoms. At the Couri Center, food sensitivity testing includes a consultation with a registered dietitian. This consultation is customized and allows time to better explain your results and provide you with education on how to alter and plan your diet.

 

During most food sensitivity consults, after reviewing the results, I wait for the patient to interrupt me and say “BUT I EAT THAT EVERYDAY!” I know. It happens nearly every time. The second most common statement; “but how can something that is supposed to be healthy be bad for me?” Eating too much of a single food has been shown to increase risk of food sensitivity. Patients who have already had food sensitivity testing may remember me saying “if you learn anything, your health will benefit most from eating with the calendar and following a rotational diet.”

 

Modern conveniences, like cross country and international shipping, provide grocery stores with fruits and vegetables year-round, that are traditionally seasonal foods. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are classic summer foods, however they are not grown in the freezing winter temperatures of the Midwest. When foods are shipped cross country or imported from other countries, they are picked early, and show lower nutrient profiles and less phytonutrients than produce picked when ripe. Another downfall of having produce consistently available year-round; single food items are consumed repeatedly and the nutrient profiles of less “advertised or popular” foods, traditionally grown during that season, are eliminated.

 

Daily, I discuss the downfalls of publicized diets, weight loss plans and advertised health claims. Every so often a different trend or plan gives numerical values to food. Classifications like Top 10 lists, calories and the glycemic index give food numbers that represent a single dimension of health value. When values are interpreted without proper professional guidance and patient history, foods are often restricted or increased dependent on their numerical value. Protein shakes made with blueberries and kale, Greek yogurt or scrambled eggs are generally classified as ‘healthy’ foods and often consumed daily. These foods are also found to commonly cause problematic symptoms in patients.

 

Being a creature of habit may be beneficial in many areas of life, however, it should not be part of a diet. Following a rotational or seasonal diet encourages consumption of a full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that winter foods, such as vitamin C rich citrus foods, keep our immune system strong during cold and flu season. Spring and summer produce is full of antioxidants and beta-carotene which protects against sun and contain sweetness which helps maintain energy during long, hot summer days. Nature tends to keep us healthy, if we choose to listen.

Here are a few ideas to help increase the rotation in your diet:

 

  1. Grocery shop weekly. Each week when planning your meals, try to purchase different foods than the week prior.
  2. Research which foods are in season. In-season produce tends to be less expensive than out-of-season foods. Summer produce that is currently in season include greens, beets, broccoli, berries, garlic, peppers, peas, potatoes and watermelon. Shopping our local farmer’s markets is an easy way to purchase seasonal food as well as support local farmers.
  3. Look for color within the produce. Strawberries that are white are providing limited nutrients and flavor.
  4. Think before you buy. Do not avoid OR over-buy produce due to preconceived ideas of their health benefits. Remember too much of any good thing is usually a bad thing.

 

If you are struggling with understanding how to eat for your individual body, I encourage you to look no further. The Couri Center does not recommend any one diet, nor do we make generalized recommendations without proper data.  We take the time to learn about and listen to our patients, put together a group of labs that provide detailed information and challenge ourselves by stepping outside the box for solutions to our patients’ concerns.

 

Please contact the Couri Center for more information on food sensitivity testing, nutritional analysis and our one-of-a-kind lifestyle and wellness program TLC: Total Lifestyle by Couri.

 

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

 

New Couri girl MedPax™ By Dr. Michele Couri, MD, FACOG, ABIHM

Personalized medicine — it is what we do at the Couri Center. From gynecologic care to surgery, from individualized wellness programs to weight loss, from food sensitivity testing to hormone replacement, our number one goal is to deliver the best care to every patient, each and every time. No one size fits all. Individualized care tailored to each patient is the key to success. This is now even more evident in our supplement recommendations for you. We are proud to announce our recent partnering with Xymogen® MedPax™, a nationally known nutraceutical company that is family owned and has been trusted for over twenty years. Known for its innovative, quality supplements, Xymogen’s customer-centered philosophy melds well with ours.

Drawing on my Fellowship education in both Integrative and Functional Medicine and having trained under the world-renowned Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, I am proud to announce that I have personally created several customized MedPax™ (individualized daily supplement dosing packs) based on the most common symptoms and conditions I encounter day in and day out in my practice. These Couri girl MedPax™ are available for:

  • Bone Health (Osteopenia and Osteoporosis)
  • Heart Health (elevated cholesterol)
  • Menopause Relief
  • PMS Management
  • Gut Health
  • Mood and Anxiety
  • Stress and Sleep Issues
  • Hair, Skin and Nails
  • Inflammation and Joint Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Athletic Performance

MedPax™ are able to be further customized to each patient’s individual supplement needs to maximize effectiveness and affordability. So, if you have a certain medical issue or constellation of symptoms (other than the ones listed above) that you want resolved, we can customize MedPax™ just for you.

After reviewing your medical history and any pertinent lab work, we will make recommendations for appropriate supplements for you. After we meet with you, we will input our recommendations for your personalized MedPax™ securely online to Xymogen®. You will then receive your supplements shipped directly to your house. What I also love about our new MedPax™:

  • MedPax™ is convenient. You can easily take your nutritional supplements on the go.
  • It takes the guesswork out of organizing and remembering if you took your supplements.
  • MedPax™ clearly tells you when to take your next dose.
  • You don’t have to ever worry about running out. Your MedPax™ can be automatically sent to you every 30 days.

Because both the Couri Center and Xymogen® are committed to reducing the amount of plastics used throughout our businesses, we are thrilled that the use of MedPax™ will eliminate on average the use of 3-5 plastic bottles per individual patient order. With Xymogen’s participation in the United Nations Environment Programme Clean Seas initiative, they strive to significantly decrease their environmental footprint.

If you would like to find out if Couri girl MedPax™ are right for you, please call us to set up an appointment to learn more. Or if you are tired of buying several different bottles and brands of supplements to achieve optimal results, switch to MedPax™ and let us make it easier and more effective for you to achieve your goal. Our Earth thanks you — less bottles in our beautiful oceans!

To Your Health (and to the health of our planet),

Dr. Couri