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A Health-full Place 

Gambit Weekly's 10th annual Wellness Expo® brings a wealth of local resources together under one roof

Wellness isn't just about preserving good health or achieving an acceptable level; it also involves improving current health, both physically and mentally. Wherever you are on that passage to optimum health, Gambit Weekly's 10th Annual Wellness Expo offers an opportunity to explore the extensive collection of wellness resources available locally. This year's event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 7 in the familiar confines of Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie). It is free and open to the public.

Attendees can take their time visiting the numerous booths of exhibitors — offering everything from spinal care, radiology services and aesthetic surgery to dance classes, independent retirement facilities and lifestyle counseling — and gathering information, asking questions, watching demonstrations, participating in screenings and collecting various giveaways. By having their "wellness passport," stamped by six booths, participants can register for a variety of prizes including gift certificates to local restaurants, day spas, bakeries and family venues that will be given away during a drawing at the end of the day.

This year's expo is presented by East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) and sponsored in part by Southern Aesthetics. As EJGH's CEO and president Dr. Mark Peters puts it, health fairs like this one are beneficial not only to the public, but they also allow health-care professionals an opportunity to reach out to the general public.

'We strongly believe that being a community hospital means that we should go out into the community to help educate people on ways they can live healthier and prevent many chronic diseases that are affecting our society," Peters says. "This gives our medical professionals the ability to work one-on-one with members of the community to answer questions they may have and to disseminate accurate and dependable information and advice."

Ever since EJGH opened its doors in 1971, it has been a stabilizing force in health care in the metro area. It began as a 250-bed hospital with 250 physicians, and has blossomed into a medical landmark with more than 450 beds and a medical staff close to 900, medical office buildings, the Yenni Pavilion for outpatient cancer treatment, the Domino Pavilion for same-day surgery, an outpatient laboratory and outpatient radiology services. With more than 3,000 employees, EJGH ranks as one of the largest employers in Jefferson Parish.

The hospital has long recognized the importance of promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent disease. In fact, a number of the hospital's programs focus strictly on that issue, especially the Wellness Center, a 38,000-square-foot modern fitness facility that is part of the hospital's main campus. The center houses state-of-the-art equipment including a computerized interactive training system, the Nautilus Fitness Advisor; upright and recumbent cycles; rowers; a warm-water pool; a four-lane multipurpose pool; Stretch Zone and more. Plus, the center considers the post-workout period to be just as vital as exercising and provides a serenity garden, massage rooms, whirlpool and a lounge. To ensure there's never uncertainty about how the equipment works or what's the best workout for an individual, the center is well staffed with health and fitness instructors, certified and degreed personal trainers, licensed massage therapists, exercise physiologists and service representatives.

Speaking of wellness experts, EJGH welcomes Mackie Shilstone — one of the country's foremost experts on fitness, physical performance and healthy lifestyle — as its newest team member. Shilstone has trained thousands of athletes, both professionals and weekend warriors, throughout his 30-plus years as a fitness guru. He now brings that expertise to EJGH as the director of the Fitness Principle. With the Fitness Principle, Shilstone will combine elements of fitness, nutrition, disease management and lifestyle management that cater to the individual, whether they're a professional athlete, CEO or anyone interested in optimum physical and mental performance.

Another vital ingredient to healthy living is getting the proper amount of sleep. Sleep should take up a third of our lives, but that's not always the case. At EJGH, the Sleep Lab diagnoses and treats many of the disorders — apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia and restless leg syndrome — that can prevent patients from getting a full, restorative night's sleep.

Chronic disease doesn't have to get in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle; it's a matter of successfully managing the illness on a daily basis. EJGH's Diabetes Management Center empowers Type I or Type II diabetes patients by imparting knowledge about the disease, administering and maintaining prescription medications, teaching effective nutrition and how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). The center recognizes that diabetes can sometimes be accompanied by painful wounds that won't heal, so EJGH has a specialized wound center where patients can receive individualized care plans with the most advanced treatment available.

Since its inception, the hospital's volunteers have played a crucial role in making EJGH a vital component of the Jefferson Parish community. More than 500 volunteers currently dedicate their time, energy and talents in almost every hospital department, and there now are numerous opportunities to volunteer in the business offices, nursing units, information desks and other areas. This isn't a one-way street: While volunteers serve their community, they experience a range of benefits from learning about health-care careers, networking, updating and maintaining skills. They also have flexible hours and have a deep satisfaction in knowing they are making a difference. Volunteers will man their own booth at Saturday's expo and will distribute information about preventative medicine.

Besides providing information and conducting health screenings at its booths, EJGH also will be on the lookout for potential employees. For those entering the workforce or considering changing jobs or occupations, EJGH recruiters will be on hand to discuss ongoing employment opportunities at the hospital.

Just as it's difficult to describe EJGH simply as a "hospital," the same can be said of Southern Aesthetics, which technically is a doctor's office, but realistically is much more. While many doctors might simply put their name on the front door, Dr. Penelope Treece wanted to create an environment of possibility and change. As new patients walk through the doors, they're treated to lush, vibrantly colored walls adorned with paintings. As comfortable with a paintbrush as she is with surgical tools, Treece is the artist behind these office displays.

As the name Southern Aesthetics implies, Treece, a board-certified surgeon in cosmetic, breast and general surgery, wants her patients to look and feel beautiful. In terms of surgery, she tries to accomplish this with a "less is more" philosophy, leaving the patient looking youthful and healthful and not "pulled so tight you could break."

For women and men who want to restore their natural beauty, not drastically change it, Treece can perform an array of procedures including breast augmentation, face lifts, liposuction, cheek lifts and arm lifts.

Not everything offered at Southern Aesthetics involves surgery. There is photorejuvenation, which is an intense pulsed light used to treat numerous skin conditions such as broken blood vessels, enlarged pores and brown spots caused by the sun. VelaShape, a nonsurgical option for cellulite reduction, is available, and Southern Aesthetics's staff includes aestheticians who can perform other therapies such as hair removal, exfoliation and chemical peels. To complete that "10 years younger" feeling, there are massage therapists on staff who can loosen and remove some of the accumulated stress of past years.

Childbirth certainly is a time of joy, but it also can traumatically affect a woman's body, both inside and out. Drs. Peter Hertzak and Diana Gillmore at Surgical Arts Institute can alleviate some of those less-than-desirable effects with tummy tucks and dual laser liposuction, the latest in liposuction technology. Additionally, Hertzak has been certified to perform intimate rejuvenation, which is vaginal plastic surgery that restores a woman's shape, size and sensuality.

At the Center for Longevity and Wellness, they try to ensure a long, prosperous and healthy life. There are three internists — Drs. Leonard Kancher, Gerald Weiner and Leslie Rodrigue — who can provide preventative care as well as comprehensive medical treatment, including managing chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. They also specialize in using medical and scientific technology to suspend or even reverse the body's natural aging process. Candidates for this program will take part in a yearlong process designed to enhance longevity. Plus, as everybody knows, you have to look good and feel good, so the center features a day spa for therapeutic massage and skin care, which is available to center members and the general public.

The Tulane Medical Center (TMC) is an acclaimed teaching, research and medical facility with more than 500 physicians whose expertise ranges from primary care to highly specialized care. TMC is comprised of a number of different locations and specialties: Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Center for Women's Health, Tulane Abdominal Transplant at Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Multispecialty Center Metairie, Tulane Multispecialty Center Uptown, Tulane Multispecialty Center Downtown, Tulane Institute for Sports Medicine, Covenant House, Tulane Cancer Center Comprehensive Clinic, Tulane-Lakeside Hospital and Tulane Hospital for Children.

At its single location, Uptown Eyecare offers a wide selection of designer frames — O&X, Gucci, Silhouette, Sama, Ted Baker, Etro and many others — and comprehensive eye-care services as well as contacts. Optometrist Ted Brown first opened his shop in 1999 and has more than 12 years of experience in eye care. Brown and his staff are focused on delivering courteous, professional service and he carries only high-quality lenses including plastic, polycarbonate and high index versions. Ask the staff at the expo about lens treatments and coatings including anti-reflection, Transition V, and TD2, which includes a two-year warranty for scratches.

For those who work late, or are on the second shift, finding an open gym in the wee hours of the morning used to be impossible. Not anymore. Anytime Fitness on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are hundreds of Anytime Fitness franchises across the country, and by signing a membership contract, you have access to all of these clubs, an added bonus when traveling for business or vacations. The gym has a full range of cardio equipment, weights and tanning beds, and personal trainers are available.

It takes a great deal of courage to confront an addiction. For those who are ready to come to terms with their illness, Addiction Recovery Resources of New Orleans is prepared to assist in a fully recovery. Depending on the level of addiction and the addictive substance involved, there is a variety of treatment options available, including outpatient detoxification, outpatient addiction treatment (including some for adolescents) and a residential treatment plan. Family members are encouraged to participate in educational experiences and the family program. Medical director Dr. A. Kenison Roy III, who is certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and serves as a board member, oversees the nonprofit center's well-trained staff. The facility recognizes that addiction is a primary disease that requires time in treatment in order for the patient to recover.

For seniors who are interested in maintaining their independence, but don't want to worry about daily stressors like cleaning, cooking and transportation, Pratt-Stanton Manor might be the solution. The manor, located on stately St. Charles Avenue, allows for a senior's privacy with spacious living quarters that have large walk-in closets and other conveniences like showers with safety bars and seating, but also gives residents daily housekeeping and linen service and three daily meals featuring New Orleans cuisine. Although there is parking available for residents' vehicles, the manor offers transportation for medical appointments, excursions to shopping malls and the theater.

Inches-A-Weigh is a weight-loss and exercise center that caters exclusively to women who are interested in toning and shaping their bodies, improving their health and eating better. Because beginners often are intimidated, the center has a qualified staff and lifestyle personnel that can instruct new members on how to use the isometric, exercise tables and other heart-pumping exercises correctly and effectively. Personnel also are on hand to assist members with nutrition questions; members are directed to follow a diet approved by the American Heart Association to promote healthy weight loss.

Saffron Studios takes an alternative approach to physical fitness by employing one the world's oldest exercise routines: dancing. The studio has a number of dance instructors who teach dances that span from Bhangra, an Eastern Indian folkdance from the Punjab region of India, to jazz dancing and belly-dancing moves that can be shown off on a club's dance floor. Plus, if there's a dance emergency like an upcoming wedding, qualified teachers can help beginners with the Lindy Hop, foxtrot, salsa and swing. Students of all ages and abilities are welcome at the studio, which currently is open on weeknights and has classes on Saturdays. The studio also holds classes in yoga and Pilates.

Physical therapy can assist in correcting a wide range of problems including poor posture, back and neck pain, decreased balance, pregnancy-related discomforts, sports injuries and overuse injuries. Magnolia Physical Therapy has three experienced physical therapists on staff to deliver hands-on, manual therapy, demonstrate stabilization and strengthening exercises, and work with patients to eliminate pain and discomfort as well as to increase a patient's range of motion. Massage therapy also is available. In addition, Magnolia offers a separate treatment program for pregnant women that specializes in reducing or ending the lower back pain associated with pregnancy. There also is a program for patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

For more than 38 years, Jazzercise has been a leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,200 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly worldwide. Since New Orleans invented jazz, it's not surprising to find a number of Jazzercise classes offered in the metro area. Jazzercise combines cardio, stretch and strength-training moves that are set to music and can be enjoyed by novices and experts alike. The original Jazzercise workout is a 60-minute regimen that fuses dance and muscle-toning movements, but there are shorter routines — Jazzercise Lite, Jazzercise Body Sculpting, Jazzercise Express and others — that fit into a variety of schedules and fitness levels.

And that's not all. There will be many other wellness-centered businesses on hand for the expo that focus on innovation and new technology like Benchmark Research, Peoples Health, The Blood Center, Diagnostic Imaging Services, Scooter World and Isagenic nutritional products; spa and cosmetic therapies like Bopp Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery, Aqua Medspa, American Laser Centers, Kenner Dermatology and Surgery Center; retirement living like Noveau Marc in Kenner; chiropractic and podiatric therapy like Watkins Foot Center, Advanced Spine Care and Medical Rehab, Discover Wellness and Rehab and Louisiana Chiropractic Center. Avon Breast Cancer Crusaders can help those with the life-threatening disease; there are physical fitness centers including Salire Fitness and Pilates; assistance for pregnant women like Access Pregnancy and Referral Centers, and help for abused women and their children at Crescent House Healing Center; plus natural medicine by naturopathic Dr. Lisa Chambers.

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