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  • Health and Beauty Treatments That Could Save Your Life

  • Posted by Anna on January 27, 2011 at 04:31PM
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  • The name of the health game is all about prevention nowadays. We've stopped smoking to prevent lung cancer, a host of other ailments and aging skin (see the six other deadly skin sins). We watch what we eat to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Heck, we even get H1N1 shots in the rare chance of us contracting the swine flu.

  • So yes, we know that taking care of our health and beauty involves getting regular beauty treatments, seeing doctors for annual or biannual checkups and maintaining good habits -- all which contribute to our overall wellbeing. But did you know that some of these treatments might actually save your life?

  • Because we aren't sitting ducks waiting for the fatal blow, we went to top doctors, lifestyle experts and estheticians to find out which treatments are necessary for a healthy, beautiful life. Here's what they told us:

  • Life saving health and beauty treatment: Massage

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  • Who doesn't love a good rubdown filled with lavender oils and ambient, take-me-away music? But the benefits of massages are as broad as they are powerful in results, says Lena Bratschi, trained esthetician. "Regular massages not only help alleviate the body from holding that pent-up tension, but can actually help the immune system, which is vital to our overall health. Lymphatic drainage helps to regulate the immune system by removing metabolic wastes and toxins through the lymph nodes situated around the body. Also, the targeted use of essential oils have been the go-to for several thousand years to help a plethora of body conditions whether it be detoxing your system or repairing injured muscles," she says.

  • How often should you get one? According to Bratschi, everyone can benefit from occasional massages: "Some people who really hold tension in their body or have stressful lives should really think about having a massage once a week. People often forget to look after themselves and even having a massage once a month can help us to function in our every day lives." Plus it "gives us something to look forward to that is just time for ourselves, which when done properly can improve our physical and mental state," she says.

  • Impact of living life without massages

  • "As we all know, stress is a killer," says Bratschi. "So many of us walk around with tension in our bodies, often in multiple areas. It affects everything from our posture, like the way we sit, work and lie down, to our blood circulation and even our temperament -- all of which can have serious long term health implications, not to mention making any existing conditions worse in some cases," says Bratschi.

  • Life saving health and beauty appointment: Dermatologist

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  • Next time you go see your dermatologist to have an acne treatment or get a lil' Botox, have him/her screen your body for suspicious moles. If your doctor detects melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer) early, it might be benign and is actually 100 percent curable, says Dr. Craig Austin, a New York City Dermatologist. Also, since your skin is an outer representation of what's happening on the inside, internal illnesses such as heart disease and stomach cancer may actually be discovered by a skin examination from your dermatologist.

  • How often should you go? At least once a year, unless you have a previous history of melanoma or are at high risk (factors include: fair skin, history of sunburns, burn easily, live in a sunny or high-altitude climate, have moles, a family history of skin cancer, etc.), then you should go two to three times per year, says Austin. Between appointments, he says it's important to look for the following in your moles:

  • Symmetry: Should be circular or oval -- not asymmetrical

  • Size: Greater than a quarter of an inch isn't good

  • Color: Brown is generally safer than black

  • Impact of living life without regular dermatologist visits

  • People who don't see a dermatologist could die from skin cancer, says Austin. This sounds harsh, but it's so true. Once the cancer goes below the surface of the skin it can metastasize, spreading into other parts of the body.

  • Life saving health and beauty treatment: Facial

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  • Remember that the skin is our largest organ and we have to take care of it, says Bratschi. "By cleansing, exfoliating and properly hydrating the skin on a regular basis, you will vastly improve the health and condition of your skin and in turn the overall health of your body," she says. Facials that concentrate not only on the face and neck, but also on the hands, arms, feet, shoulders, décolleté and scalp coupled with aromatherapy and lymph drainage have the benefits of helping your immune system and removing bodily toxins and wastes, she adds.

  • How often should you get one? Get a tailored facial monthly to maintain healthy skin, says Bratschi. However, the need for a facial can increase depending on a number of different factors such as "if you travel a lot, live in a large or densely populated area, are exposed to more pollution and contaminants, live in a hot or cold climate, [and/or] have a stressful job or personal life," she says.

  • Impact of living life without facials

  • "Your skin is an outer reflection of your inner being," says Bratschi, and all those aforementioned factors like stress and living in a more polluted city can take their toll on your skin. Just think of all the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis that sit on the skin, clog our pores and work their way into the bloodstream, she adds.

  • Life saving health and beauty appointment: Dentist

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  • Let's say you have a class reunion or a wedding coming up and Crest Whitestrips aren't quite cutting it. So you go to your dentist for full-on professional whitening, but while you're there, go ahead and get a cleaning because seeing a dentist regularly will allow you to maintain oral health at its peak, says Dr. Jeff Golub-Evans, a cosmetic dentist. "Everything starts with the mouth, if a patient is healthy within their mouth, it will extend to their condition overall. Strong teeth and gums can even lead to better nutrition (since it doesn’t hurt to chew) and positive self-esteem," he says.

  • How often should you go? "Ideally, a patient should see their dentist every six months or at least once every year," says Golub-Evans. And in between those visits? "Brushing and flossing! Flossing is especially important. I recommend that patients floss first, then brush, then rinse every night. In the morning, it's fine to just brush. Once a day flossing is enough for most people. Keeping to an overall healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is also beneficial. And, of course, people should try to monitor their intake of things like sweets, alcohol and cigarettes. Acidic items are also hard on the teeth," he says.

  • Impact of living life without regular dentist visits

  • "As people mature, the aging process takes its toll on oral health and, without regular dental check-ups, the ill effects can catch up to you and provide greater challenges than if teeth had been well maintained all along," says Golub-Evans. "People who are pre-disposed to heart disease, or who are dealing with a compromised immune system should be especially mindful of oral health. The bacteria in the mouth can spread through the bloodstream and create much larger health problems," he adds. "The top health problems we generally see in people who haven't seen a dentist regularly are gingivitis (where the gums swell up as a result of the buildup from not getting routine cleanings) and cavities (which develop from bacteria). When these, and other serious issues, go unseen without a regular check-up, it could ultimately result in bone degradation and tooth loss," says Golub-Evans.

  • See the two other health and beauty treatments that might save your life here.

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