Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sound Baths

Tibetan Ringing Bowl

                If you are one of those people for whom meditation is more torture than tranquility, good news! The sound bath is for you! It's a type of meditation that is great for people who are terrible at meditation. It is actually great for everyone precisely because it is an effortless form of meditation.
          Sound baths are part of the mind/body/spirit wellness movement and are rapidly growing in popularity. A sound bath session typically lasts about an hour and involves the playing of various resonant musical instruments to induce a state of deep relaxation.
          Youthologie is featuring sound baths, starting with an event Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Sound has been used in healing for millennia; and, although it is not clear where the sound bath originated, the Integratron in Joshua Tree, California is perhaps the most famous place where sound bath work has been developed in recent years. Many more practitioners have now come on the scene.
          One of the reasons sound baths have become more prominent is that people are looking for a refuge from the stress and toxicity of modern life with its ceaseless electronics, technology and stream of often depressing information, not to mention the cacophony of traffic, alarms, sirens, phones ringing, landscaping engines and other noise pollution that generally surrounds us all day, every day.  the beauty of the sound bath is there is no way to "do it wrong".  People often feel inadequate at meditating--they find it difficult to quiet the mind and feel they are failing at it. The sound bath removes those obstacles by inducing an almost instantaneous state of deep meditation without requiring any effort on the part of attendees. The experience is virtually always positive and grounding.
          Another advantage of the sound bath is that it can be performed as an individual or a group experience. A group experience is very affordable, averaging $30-$50 per person.
          How does a sound bath work? The human body, with its large percentage of water content, is an excellent conductor of sound. As sound moves through space, the human body resonates with the sound frequencies. Sound has overtones or harmonics which also resonate with the body; and sound frequencies, waves and rhythms are capable of entraining brainwaves. During a sound bath typically brainwaves are entrained to a low (delta) frequency, which is like a state of deep meditation. We also experience delta brainwaves in deep sleep and in states of concentrated focus like hypnosis. Delta brainwaves are known to promote healing. Other benefits include decreased stress hormones, reduced stress, lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, lower respiratory rate, immune system enhancement and in interesting phenomenon whereby delta frequency brainwaves have a tendency to connect or link the right and left halves of the brain.
          What can you expect at a sound bath? As you enter a calm and soothing environment, redolent of aromatic essential oils, you will take off your shoes, turn off your phone and lie on the yoga mat you brought with you. You can also bring a pillow or pillows for your head or under your knees. An eye mask is provided to keep light out, and blankets are available. The experience is never exactly the same, but uses instruments like crystal ringing bowls, monolinas (stringed harps), chimes, shells, drums and tuning forks.  You will begin by taking deep breaths, setting your intention for the session and then just relaxing and allowing your body, mind and spirit to be completely surrounded by the rich ocean of sound. There will be some guided imagery and some vocalization to enrich the experience. The arc of treatment usually begins softly and gradually swells to a fuller wave of sound. the sound undulates in waves, slowly waning and waxing to enchant and delight attendees. Participants often say the experience feels timeless, weightless and euphoric.    
          How should you prepare for a sound bath? Wear comfortable clothing, plan to be in the experience for a total of about 75 minutes and expect to enjoy the experience as you allow the sound massage to open your inner universe.  It's meant to induce a calm state of rest and relaxation. You may be tempted to fall asleep; and that's okay, too.
             What about after the sound bath? You will probably feel the need to drink extra water, and you may urinate more than usual as the sound bath can have a mild detoxifying effect. You may sleep more soundly after a sound bath, and you may tolerate stress more easily.
          Space is limited, so make your reservation now for the next sound bath at Youthologie.
          Phone 919-847-1495

Principles of Sound Therapy

Feeltone Monochord Table

          There is a tendency toward harmony in nature. This is reflected in resonance and entrainment, the principles of sound and rhythm. Every atom, molecule, tissue, organ, being, object, etc. has a natural vibrational motion at its own natural frequency and is associated with a standing wave pattern that has overtones or harmonics. When one object vibrating at the natural frequency of a second object causes that second object to vibrate, this is known as resonance. Entrainment is a type of resonance and is universal.  It is the tendency for two or more rhythmic cycles to synchronize. In other words, two or more objects with an oscillation or frequency become locked in phase so that they vibrate in harmony.  Entrainment is seen in many systems including chemistry, pharmacology, biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, astronomy, architecture and more. Entrainment was first described by Christian Huygens, a Dutch scientist, in 1665. Huygens was working on the design of a pendulum clock and noticed that when two pendulums were placed near to each other, swinging at different rates, eventually they would end up swinging at the exact same rate in unison. These are just a few of the principles or ideas behind sound therapy. Music has the potential to entrain rhythmically, melodically and psychologically.
          Nikola Tesla famously said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Einstein further elaborated on vibration, stating, “What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been lowered as to be perceptible to the senses.” In other words, everything is made of energy and vibration, and has frequency. Sound therapy dates back to the beginnings of human civilization and was a primary tool of shamanism. Sound therapy is the process of using music, sound and vibration to assist healing and to support wellness. Because sound is vibration, it is “heard” not only with the ears, but throughout the body, in every cell. It permeates our entire being, connecting us to the rhythms and harmonics of the universe.
          Water is a far better sound conductor than air, and the large water content of the body makes it an excellent conductor of sound and vibration. Many studies have demonstrated the health benefits of music, sound and vibration. Music has been shown to lower blood pressure; lower heart and respiratory rates; reduce cardiac complications; increase the immune response; decrease stress hormones; and boost the body’s production of natural opiates. Perhaps one of the more profound effects of sound and music is the ability to synchronize or entrain brainwaves to achieve a deep state of relaxation, similar to that of an experienced meditator. Brainwaves in the delta or theta range have been shown to be associated with accelerated healing.
          To summarize these are some of the theories and demonstrable reasons for why sound therapy works: tissue resonance affects the cells; music acts as a distraction; it lowers stress by causing relaxation and decreasing stress hormones; sound works by breaking the cycle of pain and anxiety; the effects are related to the release of oxytocin, nitric oxide and endogenous opiates, which all lead to a more relaxed state; music has the effect of entraining brainwaves to achieve a more relaxed state; a relaxed state leads to accelerated healing. When integrated as part of a total approach to wellness, music can improve health and quality of life. After all, the ultimate goal of healing is to create harmony out of disharmony.
          I am currently working with sound therapy in the form of the Feeltone Monochord Table and Feeltone Monolinas (which are smaller, more portable versions of the table), all used for meditation and wellness. The Monochord Table is a bed-sized stringed instrument that is used to create a holistic sound massage experience. The person receiving the treatment lies on the resonating chamber
of the instrument, and the strings of the instrument are played to weave an endless-loop sound ocean that vibrates and reverberates through the entire body. The strings have a deep, calming sound with harmonic overtones. Other instruments and sounds such as tuning forks, crystal ringing bowls, bells, Tibetan tingshas (temple cymbals), gongs, etc. can be incorporated to further enhance the experience. Sound-based and light-based treatments that work on the human biofield by affecting acupuncture points and channels, as well as the major chakras can also be added.
          For information, contact Lisa Hogan, MD 
          at Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine
          Phone 919-847-1495

Monday, November 14, 2016

Low Cellular Thyroid Levels as a Cause of Hypothyroidism

Most people are probably familiar with the classic symptoms of low thyroid hormone such as fatigue, cold intolerance, cold extremities, and weight gain or difficulty losing weight. There are, however, a myriad of other symptoms, mainly because thyroid hormone affects the metabolism of every single organ system in the body. So, symptoms of low thyroid can include depression, brain fog, panic attacks, muscle and joint aches, muscle cramping, irregular periods, PMS, dry and brittle hair, diffuse hair loss, low body temperature, constipation, irritability, weakness, sluggishness, lack of libido, slow heart rate and high cholesterol. Often people experience many of these symptoms but are told their thyroid labs are normal. This usually means a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level has been checked and maybe a free T4 and/or free T3 level have been checked.

To continue this discussion, it is necessary for the reader to understand some terms and definitions, as well as some basic physiology. Under normal conditions (at least in theory) the pituitary gland sends TSH to the thyroid gland as a message to make thyroid hormone. The thyroid mainly makes thyroxin which is abbreviated T4 for the number of iodine atoms attached to the molecule. T4 then circulates in the bloodstream and is available for uptake into the cells of all the different organ systems via receptors on the cells. Once inside the cells T4 is converted to triiodothyronine, abbreviated T3, again for the number of iodine atoms attached to the molecule (plus it’s just easier to say and spell).  This is important because T3 is much more powerful than T4 and is a major player in terms of how much energy the cell has, how well it metabolizes and how well it does its job. (The thyroid gland also makes some T3.) The pituitary gland receives feedback about how much thyroid hormone is in the bloodstream so it can adjust the amount of TSH it is sending out and therefore regulate the amount of circulating thyroid hormone.  This is why doctors look at the TSH level—it should be high if there is too little thyroid hormone and it should be low if there is too much thyroid hormone.

The problem with this is, under many conditions, including obesity, weight gain, diabetes, insulin/leptin resistance, depression, illness, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, opioid use, physical or emotional stress, dieting, excessive exercise, menopause, heart disease, injury, chronic infection, cancer or iron deficiency, the TSH level has been shown to be a very poor marker for hypothyroidism and does not reflect the often severe levels of hypothyroidism present inside the cells.  Likewise, measuring levels of T4 and T3 in the bloodstream does not give us any information about what is taking place inside the cells.  It has been demonstrated that even small decreases in serum T3 levels reflect a severe intracellular deficit.  When serum T3 levels decrease by 30% they may still be within the normal range, but T3 levels in peripheral tissues may be decreased by 70-80% resulting in severe tissue hypothyroidism with normal lab values. This is bad news because I challenge you to find a single adult human who does not have at least one of those conditions, even if it is only dieting or weight gain. Even the range of normal lab values has been challenged as this normal range is based on the general population, and it is estimated that much of the general population has undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

The reasons behind this discrepancy between what is happening inside cells and what the pituitary is doing are complex and varied.  Here are some of them: under the conditions listed above there is less uptake of T4 and T3 into the cells (less thyroid hormone gets taken into the cells), there is less conversion of T4 to T3 and, most importantly, there is increased conversion of T4 to reverse T3, abbreviated rT3. Reverse T3 occupies the same receptors that T3 would, but is metabolically inactive.  This means the rT3 uses T4 as a substrate, blocks the entry of T4 and T3 into the cell and blocks the action of T3 inside the cell. 

All the conversions of T4 to T3 or rT3 are under the control of a group of enzymes called deiodinases (D1, D2 and D3 for short).  In addition to the reactions to stress listed above, the pituitary behaves completely differently in its reaction to stress. The pituitary continues to take up T4 and T3, continues to convert T4 to T3 and does not convert any T4 to rT3.  Therefore, the pituitary never “sees” the lack of T3 and continues to release TSH as if everything were normal.

This condition has been called Wilson’s thyroid syndrome or Wilson’s temperature syndrome after one of the first physicians to recognize and describe it, Dr. Denis Wilson.  We could also call it a T4/T3 transport problem and/or a T4 to T3 conversion problem or intracellular hypothyroidism or low cellular thyroid levels. This syndrome is more common in women for several reasons.  Women have more prolonged, sustained elevations of stress hormones under conditions of stress, which drives the changes listed above.  Also, women have lower levels of D1 (the T4 to T3 enzyme) to begin with.

What this means to physicians is they must listen to the patient.  When the patient has some or all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, other signs and labs should be checked.  It is important to check TSH, free T4, free T3 and reverse T3; but also, the antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to rule out an autoimmune cause of hypothyroidism.  The free T3 to reverse T3 ratio will be very low when intracellular hypothyroidism is present.  Sex hormone binding globulin (abbreviated SHBG) is often low.  Another cardinal sign is low body temperature—any temperature below 98.6° F is a sign of abnormally low metabolism.  A person with normal metabolism will have a normal temperature, period.  The basal metabolic rate can also be checked, which will be low in the presence of intracellular hypothyroidism.  Tendon reflexes should be checked as in certain locations there will often be a delayed relaxation phase in the presence of intracellular hypothyroidism.

It should be obvious that if this syndrome is present, replacement of deficient thyroid hormone with a T4 preparation will not be sufficient. (Remember there is a problem with converting T4 to the more powerful, more active, more useful T3.)  A T3 or combination T4/T3 preparation will be needed to successfully replace thyroid hormone.  There is a well-studied, well-documented protocol using sustained release T3 that can correct this syndrome, called, of course, Wilson’s T3 Protocol after its developer, Dr. Denis Wilson. Why and how this works is the subject of another essay.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thoughts on Essential Oils

Lately I've been using essential oils more than ever.  My latest enthusiasm was sparked by a few scientific and medical studies.
Now I've always loved the aromas associated with pure oils, and I search for the most pure and most powerful when I am buying.  And I'm familiar with many of the traditional uses of essential oils; after all they have been used in human societies for thousands of years. So, yes, I use lavender for calming and lemon for cleaning and eucalyptus for breathing difficulties and frankincense for everything! But essential oils have also been used for at least hundreds of years to combat bacteria, fungi and viruses; and what caught my attention was several studies published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on using essential oils as an antimicrobial strategy.  
You may or may not be familiar with the current frightening situation with hospital acquired infections--they are very difficult to treat because many of them are resistant to nearly every antibiotic in use.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (abbreviated MRSA) is one of the biggest problems in hospital infections, and is thought to be due to heavy use or overuse of antibiotics. Also related to the prominent use of antibiotics are hospital associated fungal infections, equally challenging to treat.  Over 500 studies have shown essential oils are effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi.  Several NIH studies tested a variety of essential oils on bacterial and fungal growth, including MRSA.  All of the oils had excellent antibacterial and antifungal action, but some were better than the rest.  Some of the top performers were lemon, lemongrass, cinnamon, melaleuca (tea tree), peppermint and clove.
Interestingly, other studies showed that essential oils effectively kill bacteria without promoting the acquisition of resistance as is such a huge problem with antibiotics. In addition, essential oils are easy to obtain, are inexpensive, have low toxicity (for humans, children, pets), and degrade quickly in water and soil making them environmentally friendly. With regards to toxicity, you might be interested to know that in one recent year there were no reported deaths associated with essential oils (and as far as I know there have never been any deaths associated with the proper use of essential oils), whereas prescription medications were associated with nearly 47,000 deaths.
One other interesting study was performed at the Vanderbilt Hospital Emergency Room. Essential oils were diffused as a strategy to manage staff stress.  The Vanderbilt ER found that not only did staff report less stress and a greater sense of well-being, the diffused oils were very popular with patients who found the aroma pleasant and surprising (it didn't "smell like a hospital") as well as relaxing and comforting.
Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine is committed to bringing you the very best in pure and powerful essential oils.  Stop by for a sample today!  Also, check our website frequently for events as we provide classes and information on essential oils and other products and procedures of interest to those who are engaged in optimizing their health and vitality!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Microneedling Procedure Promises Younger Looking Skin

After careful evaluation of different manufacturers, I (Dr. Lisa Hogan at Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine) have chosen to offer Microneedling (the procedure) using Dermapen (the manufacturer). This new procedure holds the promise of dramatically younger looking skin. Here are the whys and wherefores:

Microneedling uses very small needles attached to the end of a piston that moves rapidly up and down as the device is moved gently over the surface of the skin. This creates a fractionated (it involves only a portion of the skin surface) microinjury at the dermis level. The depth of treatment can be varied according to the desired effect and the sensitivity and thickness of the skin being treated. The frequency of the piston strokes can also be varied. Dermapen was chosen as it is, by far, the safest, most reliable device with the most flexibility in treatment parameters.

The advantages of this treatment are:

 1) For a short time there are open channels in the skin that deeply absorb a chosen topical material such as a hydrating agent.
2) As the microneedle channels close back together there is tightening of the skin.
3) The microneedle channels stimulate the skin to produce collagen. This has a number of anti-aging effects including smoothing and tightening, improvement of scars and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
4) Acne scarring is dramatically improved.

The treatment is quite comfortable as Youthologie has developed a signature method for anesthetizing the skin.

For information, contact Dr. Lisa Hogan at Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine, 919-847-1495 or, Visit

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Start Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Early

Our skin reflects cumulative damage from the sun and the environment and belies our general health. Underlying undesirable changes in the skin are some preventable changes in skin metabolism. The skin renews itself every four to eight weeks as new cells are generated in the deep layers. These new skin cells mature and migrate to the surface, where they are soon ready to slough off. The sloughing off is a signal to the deep layers of the skin to begin the process again, and new skin cells are created and sent the surface. As we age, this turnover of our skin cells slows, and can cause a dull, coarse appearance. Another common change seen in aging skin is a decrease in collagen and elastin production. Since collagen and elastin are important for the structure and elasticity of the skin, the loss of these two proteins causes wrinkling and sagging. Anything we can do to increase skin cell turnover and collagen and elastin production will help the skin appear more youthful and will improve the health of the skin. There is good evidence that rapid skin cell turnover via exfoliation reduces the risk for skin cancer.

The trend in aesthetic medicine and cosmetic procedures is to start non-invasive procedures early in order to keep the skin healthy and prevent some of the undesirable changes that occur as we age. One of the most popular treatments at Youthologie is Laser Genesis, which is a comfortable laser treatment that stimulates collagen production. The result is smoother, tighter, younger looking skin with less sun damage. The same treatment improves scars and prevents acne breakouts, and there is no downtime or recovery time. Patients are able to resume normal activities immediately.

Another important tool in anti-aging medicine is bio-identical hormone replacement. This is the use of hormones that are the same as those made by the human body to replace the normal decline in hormone levels that occurs as we age. It is said that we age because our hormone levels decline.  Generally, the hormones being replaced are the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. However, another hormone that commonly becomes deficient with increasing age is thyroid hormone. Every tissue and organ in the body has receptors for hormones, so they have a global influence on virtually every bodily process.

The goal of anti-aging medicine is to live a full, healthy, and happy life for as long as possible and to prevent the common diseases and disorders that typically increase with age. The big killers and disablers are heart disease and stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and, for women, osteoporosis (cause of hip fractures) and macular degeneration (cause of blindness). All of these conditions are at least somewhat preventable. It is possible to assess our risk for disease and prevent it through changes in lifestyle and nutrition and the use of bio-identical hormone supplementation.

There is widespread misplaced fear and misunderstanding regarding hormone replacement therapy. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) differs significantly from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as the latter uses synthetic hormones. Many women stopped using HRT on the advice of their doctors when the Women’s Health Initiative study was discontinued prior to its scheduled completion due to the finding of an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and breast cancer associated with synthetic hormone therapy. This risk is not seen with BHRT. 

One difference between bio-identical hormone replacement and synthetic hormone use is that bio-identical hormones are familiar to the body. The body has the enzymes necessary to metabolize hormones that are identical to those created by the body. As a result, the hormones are present for a only few hours, just as when the body manufactures its own hormones. Because synthetic hormones are unfamiliar to the body and the body does not have enzymes to metabolize them, they can remain in the body for months. This means there is a prolonged period of time during which all tissues of the body are influenced by these hormones. Another example of how BHRT differs from HRT is in the use of progesterone. This natural hormone has a protective effect on breast tissue and helps to prevent breast cancer, whereas progestin, the synthetic substitute often used, does not have a protective effect on breast tissue. 

 For more information about aesthetic and anti-aging medicine, contact Youthologie at 919-847-1495 or email, or visit our website

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Lips.  They occupy a position in the central column of the face.  They are used for expression in so many ways—not just for talking, but for smiling, pursing, frowning, and tightening.  They are sensual and are an instrument for enjoyment—food, drink… kisses. 

When we are engaged in conversation with another human they are mainly observing our eyes and lips; they are mainly looking at that central column of our face.  For this reason, subtle changes to the areas of the eyes and lips have major impact on our appearance in general. 

As we age, we make less collagen in the skin everywhere, which decreases the structural support of the skin, allowing skin to sag and wrinkle.  In the area of the lips and philtrum, collagen loss means volume loss.  The entire area around the mouth loses volume and becomes more recessed.  Anti-aging maneuvers are often all about collagen building, or structural enhancement, or volume enhancement.  This can be achieved by stimulating and increasing our own collagen production or by adding structure and volume by using an injectable filler, or even by surgically implanting a shaped object (although this has largely fallen out of favor for the lips, thank goodness.) 

Youthful lips are full, sensual lips that are smooth and “juicy” (plump) looking.  Thin, tight lips are a reliable sign of anger. Most people do not want to appear angry or upset when they are not—this is not considered beautiful.  What can we do about it?  There are some lip products that stimulate collagen production; exfoliating peels and laser treatments can be used to increase collagen production; but one of the easiest, quickest  and most effective ways to enhance the lips/philtrum area is with the use of injectable fillers.  This results in a soft and natural appearance to the lips that is long-lasting, semi-permanent or permanent, depending on the filler chosen.  Small changes to this area can greatly enhance the youthfulness of the entire face. 

The fillers can better delineate the outline of the lips, create greater smoothness to the lips, and increase the volume of the lips.  Another effect noticed by patients after lip enhancement is that they have more freedom in the type of lip make-up they can use.  Before lip enhancement many have stopped wearing strong, bold colors of lipstick, as well as minimal lip gloss looks because of lipstick “bleeder lines” and because their lips appear small and anemic.  Once the clock has been turned back and lips are fuller, better defined and poutier, patients can wear any type of lipstick effortlessly. 

Many different fillers are commonly used for lip/philtrum enhancement, but only Restylane is FDA approved for use in the lips as of late 2011.  Our favorite material for lip enhancement at Youthologie is Silikon 1000.  This is a medical, sterile, non-reactive, non-allergenic permanent injectable filler that is clear in color and becomes incorporated into the tissues where it is injected.  It has a very soft and natural appearance, and can be used in small increments; so that there is a gradual building of the lip/philtrum structure over time until the desired effect is achieved.   I have been using this material for lip enhancement since 1999, and I have never seen a complication with it, nor have I ever had an unhappy patient.  The only complaint is usually, “I want more!”  It is very common for patients to undergo 2 or 3 sessions as they proceed with caution and gradually create the lips they have always wanted.  Your perfect lips are yours forever!