Category Archives: Wellington Health

Dr. Neil Grossman Joins The Staff At Palms West Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Neil Grossman Joins The Staff At Palms West Veterinary Hospital

One might say that Dr. Neil Grossman was born to be a veterinarian, as he is a member of a family that has devoted much of their lives to serving the pets of the Wellington area.

Grossman, 29, is the newest member of the team at the Palms West Veterinary Hospital. However, he has been hanging around and working at the practice much of his life.

“Some of my great memories are of observing my dad, Dr. Ira Grossman, operating on a pet and saving them,” he recalled. “I’ve never wanted to be anything else except a veterinarian, and I especially enjoy surgery.”

Grossman’s family moved to the area when he was 15 from New York, where his father had a successful veterinary practice. They have had Palms West Veterinary Hospital since 2005.

Grossman received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, then took some time off to work at the family business, before returning to veterinary school in the accelerated program at Ross Veterinary College on St. Kitts in the Caribbean, a school that is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. It offers a high-tech campus with a rigorous curriculum. “It’s a great school and a beautiful island,” he said.

After graduation, Grossman completed his clinical work at UF in 2017. When he’s not at the hospital, he enjoys surfing and working out.

Grossman believes several things set Palms West Veterinary Hospital apart from other veterinary clinics: their state-of-the-art equipment, round-the-clock service and the atmosphere.

“The digital x-ray allows us to make as many views as we want to take until we get what we need, and because it is digital, we’re not having to charge for all the film,” said Grossman, who explained that in conjunction with complete in-house, high-tech blood testing and telemedicine, they can work comprehensively and quickly. “We can see the big picture in about 15 minutes and send the results anywhere we need to.”

These capabilities, combined with laser therapy, ultrasound and even grooming, make for a single-point operation for pet care with emergency services.

In addition to extended office hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, the urgent care emergency facility — staffed with a doctor and veterinary nurse — is open 24 hours a day, every day.

“The fact that we are always open really sets us apart,” said Grossman, who explained that with a doctor always there, they are a true, round-the-clock, urgent care facility for pets.

Equally important is the family atmosphere.

“While we have 33 staff members, we are run by a family, like a family, and we treat our clients as family,” Grossman said. “My father and brother and sister-in-law all work here, and on the weekend, you’ll see my mom in the office.”

With Grossman’s brother and sister-in-law on the management team, and a younger sister soon to be following in his footsteps, graduating veterinary school herself this year, the practice really defines the term family owned and operated.

Additionally, the group functions great together. “We work well together as a team,” Grossman said. “We have people on the team who have 30 years of experience, so we can complement one another.”

Grossman offered advice to pet owners. “If there is one thing I’d like everyone to know, it is to get regular checkups, so you can prevent heartworms,” he said.

These nasty parasites affect many mammals, including dogs, cats and even ferrets. They are a chronic and potentially fatal disease in dogs, because dogs are their natural host.

The disease is spread by mosquito bites that transfer the juvenile stage from one animal to another. However, it is completely preventable with preemptive medication.

“Even inside-only pets can get heartworms, because we all know mosquitos can get in the house,” Grossman stressed.

Palms West Veterinary Hospital is located at 556 Folsom Road. For more information, visit www.palmswestveterinary.com or call (561) 798-2780.

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Orthodontist Dr. Howard Shullman’s New Book Is Designed To Get People To Smile

Orthodontist Dr. Howard Shullman’s New Book Is Designed To Get People To Smile

Dr. Howard B. Shullman is a highly trained and skilled orthodontist who has been serving the Wellington community for more than 12 years and treats patients of all ages.

Now, he has published an inspirational book called 101 Reasons to Smile.

With an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a doctorate of dental medicine, both from the University of Florida, Shullman is a member of the American Association of Orthodontics and the South Florida Academy of Orthodontics.

Following graduation, Shullman practiced general dentistry in Tampa, focusing on the treatment of children, before continuing his orthodontic training at Nova Southeastern University. There, he served as chief resident in the Department of Orthodontics during his final year of residency.

An active member of the Wellington community, he is highly involved in the area, helping out with local schools, recreational leagues and businesses. In addition, Shullman is a member of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Health & Medical Committee, where he and his staff brainstorm with other committee members about local community initiatives.

The practice’s philosophy is to employ both skill and compassion in everything they do. This ensures that each patient receives the most advanced, effective and customized treatment plan.

Shullman’s love of the constantly evolving field of orthodontics drives him to be knowledgeable about all the newest treatment options. As such, his patients receive the most up-to-date and effective care possible. Shullman offers multiple guarantees to alleviate concerns his patients may have throughout their treatment process and the life of their smile. In order to accomplish this, Shullman offers his Lifetime Satisfaction and Lifetime Retainer guarantees.

With the Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee, Shullman is so confident with his treatment methodology that if patients aren’t completely satisfied with their results at any point after orthodontic treatment, all they have to do is let him know, and he will fix it.

Shullman also knows that the key to a happy and healthy smile is properly wearing and maintaining an orthodontic retainer. Many orthodontists charge a fee to replace a retainer, but Shullman knows that sometimes accidents happen. With the Lifetime Retainer Guarantee, if a patient loses or breaks a retainer, Shullman will replace it for free.

His latest endeavor is a book written to inspire others to share a smile. Titled 101 Reasons to Smile, it reminds people to think about the moments in their life where they felt happy or inspired.

“Smiles inspire all of us,” Shullman writes in the introduction. “Smiles evoke confidence. Smiles warm the soul. Smiles have the ability to change our mood and the mood of others. Smiles are contagious. For these reasons and so many more, this book was written to express the joy I have experienced over the years creating beautiful smiles that last a lifetime.”

Each page of the book includes an inspirational reason to smile, such as: “Squishing your toes in the sand as the ocean water surrounds your feet,” “looking into someone’s eyes and seeing their soul” and “seeing the work you do impact people in a positive, lasting way.”

Since the book has been released, Shullman has donated thousands to local schools for their upcoming graduating classes as a special gift. In addition, 101 Reasons to Smile has been given to many community businesses and local Wellington Chamber of Commerce committee members. He has even begun signing copies for his patients.

To receive a complimentary copy of Shullman’s book, or to learn more about his orthodontics practice, call (561) 868-5050 or visit Shullman Orthodontics at 9859 Lake Worth Road, Suite 21. For those not in the area, or if you would like to send a copy of the book to someone special, 101 Reasons to Smile is also available on Amazon for $15, where 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund for patients who otherwise cannot afford orthodontics treatment.

 

Learn more about Dr. Howard B. Shullman and Shullman Orthodontics at www.shullmanortho.com.

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New Weight Management Center Opens At Wellington Regional Medical Center

New Weight Management Center Opens At Wellington Regional Medical Center

Wellington Regional Medical Center recently held a grand opening celebration for the Weight Management Center, which provides personalized, physician-directed weight management solutions.

The newly renovated center includes a community classroom, where support groups and informational sessions are held monthly, a fitness center and eight private consultation rooms.

“Our programs are unique in that they are physician-directed and personalized to each person’s goals,” explained Dr. Emily Harrison, medical director of the Weight Management Center. “We start by learning the person’s story to understand the root cause of the weight gain, and then customize a program to help them be successful.”

The customized weight-loss plans include four-week and 12-week programs, as well as programs for people who have had bariatric surgery.

After an initial evaluation, follow-up appointments may include meeting with a registered dietician, a fitness instructor or a health psychologist.

“Depending on the program chosen, we focus on things like stress management, relapse prevention and exercise readiness, and offer services such as nutritional counseling, personalized fitness plans and cooking classes,” Harrison said.

As medical director, Harrison focuses on educating patients and helping them set personal goals to improve their overall health. Her passion for preventive medicine and focus on lifestyle modifications provide an approach that addresses medical, nutritional, physical and behavioral components.

To complement the individualized programs, a health coach may recommend additional services, such as metabolic testing to determine the calories or energy the body uses each day without activity, meal replacement therapy or pharmacotherapy. “Our team approach is designed to help people change their weight and improve their lives,” said Amy Noe, program coordinator of the Weight Management Center. “Together, we provide our patients with the most comprehensive weight management experience possible.”

The Weight Management Center also hosts support groups and informational meetings for those interested in learning more about weight management options. The team discusses weight-loss topics and provides information on programs offered and insurances accepted.

To set up a free, introductory visit to discuss weight-loss needs, contact a health coach at (561) 798-8587, or visit www.wellington regional.com.

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Dr. Pedro Sanchez Of MDVIP Offers A Concierge Approach To Healthcare

Dr. Pedro Sanchez Of MDVIP Offers A Concierge Approach To Healthcare

The trend toward concierge medicine is a blend of the old school family doctor and of the new school technological and preventative approach to medicine. Wellington’s Dr. Pedro Sanchez has embraced the trend, which he feels provides better healthcare for his patients.

Sanchez spent more than 25 years in a traditional medical practice, seeing approximately 30 patients per day, before joining MDVIP in March 2017.

“I was spending approximately 5 minutes with each patient, which wasn’t enough,” Sanchez explained. “Now, I can give individual attention, which is a massive improvement and a much higher level of care.”

Apart from the individualized attention, he believes there is also a cost savings benefit to MDVIP’s approach.

“I can call specialists while the patient is in the room and consult with them — and the patient — on the best way to treat the illness,” Sanchez said. “By doing this, I recently saved a patient an emergency room visit.”

Sanchez also feels that he can now better help patients who have chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more.

“I have time to counsel and explain their condition to the patient, and insist on coordination amongst all of the specialists,” he said.

MDVIP was founded in 2000 in Boca Raton and now has a nationwide network of more than 950 affiliated physicians serving more than 280,000 patients.

“It’s also excellent for snow birds and travelers,” Sanchez said. “All of my patients have my cell phone number, and either I can coordinate what they need or I can get them in to see one of my colleagues.”

The foundation of the approach is the MDVIP Wellness Program, which encompasses advanced screenings and physician counseling that focuses on important health and wellness areas, and includes an annual comprehensive, prevention and wellness assessment that lasts up to two hours.

The annual membership of $1,850 breaks down to about $150 a month, or $5 a day, and can be paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

An added courtesy is the Family Plan, which allows the adult patients’ children, between the ages 16 and 26, to be seen without an additional annual membership fee.

MDVIP accepts all commercial insurance and Medicare, and the concierge approach offers another cost savings to the patient. “I have time to get prior authorizations,” Sanchez said. “I have more time, which means my ability to fight for the patient against the insurance company has increased.”

The annual well assessment also means that the patient is rigorously screened for diseases that are either present in their genetic tree or appropriate to their gender, age, race or ethnicity.

This is another way where the patients’ long-term health is focused upon, while simultaneously keeping costs down through early detection and treatment.

“Everybody in medicine is moving in that direction,” Sanchez said. “Accountable care organizations and commercial insurance companies do everything based on costs.”

Sanchez added that MDVIP has access to the master database of the Centers for Medical Excellence, which allows him to research the very best specialists to treat each specific condition and get an appointment for the patient.

He has privileges at both Palms West Hospital and Wellington Regional Medical Center and is connected to most specialists in the area. “Even if my patient is being treated by a specialist in the hospital, I will still stop by and visit during my social rounds,” Sanchez explained.

At any given time, he has a total of about 300 patients, and because he only sees about ten per day, he has time to deal with their urgent needs.

“If you need me now, you’ve got me now,” he said.

Sanchez feels he is practicing the kind of medicine he always wanted to.

“This is a dynamite package of high-level, quality, individualized attention at a reasonable level of cost,” he emphasized. “We’re finally doing the right thing for people.”

Dr. Pedro Sanchez Family Medicine, affiliated with MDVIP, is located at 1035 S. State Road 7, Suite 120, in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 432-4971 or visit www.mdvip.com/pedrosanchezdo.

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Dr. Matt Symons Takes A Holistic, Preventative Approach To Healthcare

Dr. Matt Symons Takes A Holistic, Preventative Approach To Healthcare

Chiropractor Dr. Matt Symons offers patients a different option for those who want the holistic and preventative approach to healthcare his practice offers.

“Rather than typical treatment models, I want to get to the cause of the problem,” Symons explained. “In their lifetime, five out of six people are diagnosed with either diabetes, heart disease or cancer, and these diseases are preventable. I want to take care of the situation before it becomes a major issue.”

He does this by following his model called the “5 Essentials Delivery System,” which focuses on patients having a maximized mind, nerve supply, quality nutrition, oxygen and lean muscle, as well as minimized toxins in their bodies.

Symons also uses equipment, developed by NASA, which allows him to see if a patient’s spine is in proper alignment. Motion study x-rays look at the functionality of the spine. This gives Symons data he can use for a personally customized adjustment that will move and loosen the joints systematically and scientifically.

“90 percent of the stimulus in the cerebellum comes from movement of the spine,” Symons explained.

He promotes nutritional testing and a specific diet for new patients. Also, since chronic inflammation can lead to pain, an inflammatory reaction test is also recommended for new patients, Symons said.

He feels an individual’s health goals are highly important, and he promotes fitness and energy ergonomics in order to allow the body to heal itself.

Symons has been a chiropractor for nearly 20 years, and has been at his practice —Palm Beach Health Center — for nearly 16 years.

The practice has two chiropractors, two massage therapists, two physical therapists and two nutritional consultants, and is adding a licensed therapist who will offer meditation, life coaching and counseling aimed at reducing stress.

Born and raised in the New York City metropolitan area, Symons moved to South Florida after his education and internships were completed because his wife is from here.

He chose to become a chiropractor after he suffered a traumatic wrestling injury when he was 16 years old, followed by six months of constant headaches.

“Traditional medicine prescribed me to take acetaminophen with codeine, but that ate a hole in my stomach,” Symons said.

The father of a friend suggested going to a chiropractor, and Symons was able to find relief from the headaches.

His sister and mother both suffered from scoliosis, so Symons has a deep understanding of how important a properly aligned spine and proper posture are to an individual’s well-being.

Due to his own background in athletics, Symons works with athletes often.

From 2010 to 2014, he was one of the team doctors for USA Judo, Wrestling and Weightlifting. His duties took him to the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Palm Beach Health Center is the official wellness center for the Wellington Soccer Club.

Symons said most chiropractors base their treatment on how the patient feels, but he stressed that he is a spinal corrective chiropractor who uses x-rays to show exactly what the adjustment did for the individual patient.

“I have individual physicians who believe in what we do here, but these are selective consultations,” Symons said.

Reducing unnecessary thoughts, traumas and toxins are vital to a healthy lifestyle plan, he stressed.

Symons also pointed out that a preventative approach also benefits the patient’s financial well-being because catastrophic hospitalizations are avoided.

“50 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical bills, and 70 percent of those people had medical insurance,” Symons noted.

He especially wants to teach young people how to avoid disease. “I want to educate my patients so that they will take care of themselves properly,” Symons said. “The best doctor is inside of them.”

The Palm Beach Health Center is located at 1011 N. State Road 7, Suite D, in Royal Palm Beach. For more info., call (561) 333-8353 or visit www.palmbeachhealthcenter.com.

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Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Richard Cosola has been a resident of Wellington for 20 years, and in that time, he has made a name for himself in the world of yoga, both here in the western communities and across South Florida.

Cosola first become involved in yoga for emotional, rather than physical, wellness. It has been 11 years since his son, Michael, passed away suddenly at the age of 22. His wife and daughter were both devastated, and Cosola struggled to deal with his own grief.

“My system was shocked, and I experienced major anxiety, which we now call PTSD,” Cosola said.

Facing a regimen of prescription drugs, he sought out an alternative. Cosola feels he was emotionally healed by his practice of yoga.

“I started the bereavement group at St. Rita Catholic Church, and I learned how many people out there are very sad,” he explained. “They’re carrying around a lot of burdens and excess baggage.”

Cosola wanted to share his experiences and practices with people, and see if what helped him could help them. So, he started Yogachi USA.

“I tell my clients, ‘I want you to be flexible until you’re 95.’ I want people to get out of their chair, go do something and be flexible,” he said.

What Cosola offers is more than just yoga instruction. He also focuses his attention on nutrition. The vegetables and herbs from his home-grown garden are a significant portion of the Mediterranean diet he practices himself, and encourages others to emulate. “It’s the best for lifelong wellness,” he said.

Cosola feels that yoga and a healthy diet are the major reasons why his wife of nearly 40 years is thriving, even though Randi suffers from multiple sclerosis. They enjoy spending time with their daughter Debra, son-in-law Jason and granddaughter Evie.

The Cosolas have lived in Wellington’s Coventry Green neighborhood for 20 years in a newly remodeled and redecorated 2,300-square-foot townhome. “My wife is a fantastic decorator,” Cosola said.

Upon reflection, Cosola said he is busy with teaching yoga six days a week.

“Sundays are for cooking, eating and spending time with your family and friends,” he explained.

He is an instructor at LA Fitness three days a week, he is at the Wellington’s Edge clubhouse two days a week and typically sees private clients one day a week. “My favorite place to teach is Wellington’s Edge,” he said.

The LA Fitness classes have about 40 students, but he prefers smaller groups or one-on-one sessions. “In those large classes, it’s impossible for teachers to focus on the individual,” he said.

Cosola likes to get to know his clients and understand what their life is all about, so he can offer them the best instruction possible.

He helps people with all kinds of disabilities and illnesses, including neurological diseases, people with chronic pain, patients suffering from fibromyalgia, and those with back injuries and sciatica.

Cosola can also work with someone who is wheelchair bound, and he has done some teaching in a pool. Aqua yoga will be an aspect of the practice that he expects will soon become popular.

He also does work with athletes, and in Wellington that means equestrians looking to become more flexible. Cosola was once a professional baseball player and did some boxing in his younger days, so he understands what athletes are looking for. “Athletes want three things: power, speed and flexibility. When they have all three, they become a very effective person,” he explained, noting that flexibility is the most important thing to have and that he is in better shape now than he was in his 20s.

He also has clients from the corporate world who are looking for a place to de-stress. Apart from the physical benefits, Cosola helps clients improve their mental ability to focus, which benefits them in their career.

“I have them get in the ‘quiet’ position at the end of a session, have them focus on all of the good things in their life and encourage them to let go of fear and anxiety,” Cosola said.

What is most important for him is to have mutual communication with a client, and especially to connect with their sense of humor.

For more information, call (561) 282-7450, e-mail yoga@yogachiusa.com or visit www.yogachiusa.com.

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Roger Roque Helps People Stay In Shape… One Paddle Stroke At A Time

Roger Roque Helps People Stay In Shape… One Paddle Stroke At A Time

Okeeheelee Park is an oasis in central Palm Beach County, offering nearly every recreational activity one could want. The park has lakes, along with plenty of trails for biking, running and walking. It’s a perfect setting for those who seek to exercise in the tranquility of fresh air.

Among the many options for exercising in Okeeheelee Park is to paddle a kayak, canoe or the more adventurous stand-up paddleboard on the freshwater lakes.

If you don’t own any of those watercraft, don’t fret, because Kayak-King WaterSports has you covered.

Eleven years ago, Roger Roque was working in the medical field when one day a client he befriended casually asked him if he was interested in buying a business. He was intrigued at the invitation and checked out the modest kayak rental business.

“I saw tremendous potential, and after arranging for financing, I bought the business,” Roque recalled.

As the United States fights an obesity epidemic, many people are trying to live a healthier lifestyle through proper diet and a regular exercise regimen. South Florida has plenty of water, so paddling one’s way to better health is quite popular.

“About 90 percent of the rentals are for an hour to an hour and a half, which is just enough time for the over-stimulated person to disconnect from their hectic lives in the peace and silence of nature,” Roque said.

The kayak and canoe offer an excellent workout for the abdominal core and arms, while the paddleboard is a complete full-body training session.

Roque said that in about five minutes, his staff can train the novice so they spend more time paddling through the water than falling into it.

In more than a decade of renting out equipment, he said he has not had one major injury. Roque believes this is because his staff ensures that the safety equipment — such as life jackets — is personally sized to the individual, ensuring a proper fit.

Anyone who is just starting to get themselves into shape shouldn’t be concerned with not being able to enjoy a kayak, canoe or paddleboard. “No one is too big to rent our equipment,” Roque said.

He suggests wearing a swimming suit and water shoes when going out on the water.

Other groups of his clientele are anglers, who typically rent a kayak or canoe for three to five hours, or people who have rented one of the park’s pavilions for a party and want their guests to be able to get out on the water.

South Florida is also known for pop-up thunderstorms, but Roque said Okeeheelee Park has lightning detectors and sirens that warn people if a storm is in the area. The warning system allows those out on the open water enough time to get back to the dock without getting caught in a lightning storm.

An added safety dimension of paddling at Okeeheelee Park is that the lakes there are not connected to the canal system, so the possibility of alligators, snakes and other dangerous animals is fairly minimal, Roque said.

Bicycles are also available to rent, and the paths in the park give the right of way to bikes rather than to those on foot, he said.

Running a small business can be a challenge at times, and Roque counts on the community for support. “If the community wants to continue to have these kinds of services available, then they need to support small business,” he said.

Kayak-King WaterSports is open Saturday, Sunday and major holidays (except Christmas Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last rental is at 4 p.m.). During the summer, the business runs Thursday through Monday.

Kayak-King WaterSports is located in Okeeheelee Park at 7715 Forest Hill Blvd. For more information, call (561) 304-1344 or (561) 632-7969, or visit www.kayakkingwatersports.com.

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Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro Brings Decades Of Experience In Vein Care

Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro Brings Decades Of Experience In Vein Care

Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro of the Vein Center of the Palm Beaches always did well in her science classes, but early on, she dreamed of a career as an oceanographer. However, when a friend asked Navarro to become her “science buddy,” her mind was opened to a career of helping people through medicine.

A “science buddy” was required for the volunteer hospital program that her friend wanted to do, an extension of the co-ed Boy Scouts Explorer program. Agreeing to join the program would change Navarro’s life.

“My sister was very ill as a child, and this friend was interested in becoming a doctor,” Navarro recalled. “I agreed in order for her to be part of this medical program at Coney Island Hospital.”

The more time Navarro spent at the hospital, the more interested in medicine she became. Born and raised in New York City, she went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with further medical training through the Boston University system. Navarro had her sights set on becoming a plastic surgeon — but halfway through her residency, she was ready to quit.

“My legs were killing me. I was going to drop out,” Navarro confessed.

Her problem? Varicose veins and spider veins. The American doctors she was talking to had no real solutions to offer.

“I met one physician who had trained in France,” she said. “He got me connected with his friends, and I went to Europe.”

There, her studies continued, but her focus changed completely.

“The Europeans did things differently. They were more preventative, used more herbs and supplements, and were big proponents of exercise,” Navarro said. “They also had special stockings that they didn’t have here. In Europe, I got interested in sclerotherapy [vein care]. In France, most of this work was done by dermatologists, so I also learned about skin care, peels and fillers.”

When she returned to the United States, Navarro was well-schooled in skin care and vein care, choosing South Florida to set up her practice in the 1980s.

“I chose the Wellington area because it wasn’t as crowded as New York City, but it still had sophistication,” she said. “I didn’t end up having children, but it was a community that was good for children with good schools. It was also exciting because two new hospitals were going to go in at the same time.”

Over the course of her practice, Navarro has enjoyed being on the staff at Palms West Hospital, JFK Medical Center and Wellington Regional Medical Center, where she served as director of medicine in the 1980s.

Navarro is board certified in internal medicine and phlebology, and currently serves on the faculty of the American College of Phlebology. She is also a member of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Internal Medicine.

At her Vein Center of the Palm Beaches, Navarro specializes in all the latest treatments for vein care, including laser vein treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, endovenous laser ablation, closure, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, Asclera injection, sotradecol sulfate and more. The practice also includes a wide range of skin treatments.

Navarro stressed that she does not operate a clinic, where you see the doctor for your initial visit and then are handed off to a technician.

“I do all my own work,” Navarro said. “Most people coming to see me now, they don’t like the way their face looks, or are concerned about the hair on their head. They want injections to regenerate their skin, face or hair. Or they have swelling or pain in their legs. Or they have spider veins and haven’t been able to get rid of them.”

By helping others, Navarro feels she has come full circle. “I often say I didn’t choose my practice, my practice chose me,” she said.

The Vein Center of the Palm Beaches is located at 955 Sansburys Way, Suite 209, in West Palm Beach. To schedule a consultation or appointment, call (561) 333-6366. Visit www.drnavarro.com for more information.

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Veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk Brings An Integrated Approach To Helping Local Animals

Veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk Brings An Integrated Approach To Helping Local Animals

Sometimes human medicine’s loss is veterinary medicine’s gain. Such is the case with local veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk of the Royal Palm Veterinary Center.

“As is the case with many veterinarians, I was completely in awe of animals and nature as a child,” Herejk recalled. “My mother was a nurse, so I grew up hearing great stories about medicine. I was considering working with humans, but my mother suggested that I might be better off going into animal medicine.”

It has been a passion she has followed ever since.

“Once I had my first dog, I fell in love with the profession,” Herejk said. “I loved the fact that I could work with both animals and people, the animals’ owners.”

She attended the University of Florida in Gainesville for both her undergraduate and veterinary degrees, graduating in 2005. She worked with Dr. Richard Ringler, who established the Royal Palm Animal Hospital more than 25 years ago, taking over his practice in 2013.

At the Royal Palm Veterinary Center, Herejk is continuing Ringler’s mission to help animals in the community.

“We are all about providing good care to our patients and clients, taking the reins from the late Dr. Ringler to continue his life’s work,” Herejk said.

Dogs and cats continue to be the center’s primary focus.

“In addition to annual wellness examinations and vaccinations, we treat a variety of problems,” Herejk said. “We deal with a number of geriatric problems, such as osteoarthritis and kidney disease, as well as skin problems. I love dermatology, and I have started to venture into integrated medicine — cold laser therapy, veterinary acupuncture.”

Integrated medicine is an alternative approach to treating the patient, taught at the Chi Institute just outside Gainesville, which specializes in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine.

“We’re taking what we’ve been trained to do in school and combining it with other modalities for the most optimal results for our patients’ health,” Herejk explained. “Sometimes western medicine is great, but it doesn’t hit it on the head. Being able to have another tool in my pocket is fantastic.”

And what advice would she give to other pet lovers considering life as a veterinarian?

“I would say, ‘Follow your dreams, follow your heart,’ because it is a lot of work,” Herejk said. “‘Study hard, do good in school and don’t be discouraged.”

She added that the cost of veterinary school is an obstacle that keeps many from following their dreams of becoming veterinarians.

“It’s a big topic being tackled by the American Veterinary Medical Association right now. Debt could be a deterrent,” she explained. “But if you want to make a difference in animals’ lives and their owners’ lives, just go for it.”

The Royal Palm Veterinary Center is located at 610 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. For more information, call (561) 793-7000 or visit www.royalpalmvc.com.

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Caroline Blanke-Pena Of Holistic Health Palm Beach Specializes In Chinese Medicine

Caroline Blanke-Pena Of Holistic Health Palm Beach Specializes In Chinese Medicine

Caroline Blanke-Pena of Holistic Health Palm Beach discovered her calling after dealing with a condition that, for many years, couldn’t be cured by traditional western medical practices.

“As a last resort, I decided to try acupuncture,” Blanke-Pena recalled. “I didn’t even know what it was, but I found an acupuncturist I loved and went to her three times in seven days. The very first time, I felt this massive block in my abdomen move. It was a mind-blowing experience. By my third treatment, I was completely cured — never needed another drug or another treatment. That’s an incredible result.”

Convinced that eastern and western medicine could — and should — work well together, Blanke-Pena’s life had new purpose. Many courses and four state board exams later, Blanke-Pena is now a licensed acupuncturist and a nationally certified diplomate of Oriental medicine, acupuncture, herbology and Asian bodywork therapy. She graduated from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Florida with a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Ohio State University.

“Chinese medicine really depends on what is going on with the patient. You have to listen in order to tell what would benefit them the most. Is it emotional pain, physical pain, post-traumatic stress?” Blanke-Pena said. “Chinese medicine works best in some cases, western medicine works better in others. That’s why I partnered up with a doctor when I opened Holistic Health Palm Beach. We refer back and forth to do what is in the best interest of the patient.”

Blanke-Pena said most of her patients are complaining of three things — physical pain, emotional pain and fertility issues.

“Chinese medicine can help with physical pain, especially pain in the back, joints, knees, elbows and fingers — and arthritis,” she said. “Acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect. Eight out of 10 of my patients move out of pain within one or two sessions, although some need more. Acupuncture is also particularly successful in treating insomnia and emotional pain.”

Blanke-Pena said local doctors often refer patients with pre- or post-menopausal symptoms for help with issues such as night sweats. Reproductive issues can also be treated. Perhaps a woman is having problems getting pregnant or needs support after previous miscarriages. Perhaps a man has a low libido or sperm count. “Chinese medicine has great success in those areas,” Blanke-Pena said.

She is particularly happy to see that eastern and western medicine are starting to work together and does her best to unite the two.

“I take the shame out of it,” Blanke-Pena said. “If a patient comes to me and says, ‘I’ve been on Prozac for 20 years. Do I have to go off it?’ I ask, ‘Would you come to me for 20 years and take my meds and do my treatments if you still felt lousy?’ I ask them if they want an alternative. We taper off, and I’ve had excellent results.”

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be an effective alternative to treatments that may require the use of invasive procedures, she said. Rather than resorting to surgery, knee or back pain can be controlled with acupuncture because it improves circulation to relieve pain, Blanke-Pena said. It also tends to have a positive effect on circulation throughout the body, improving energy and stamina while reducing stress and improving emotional well-being, she added.

While western medicine tends to concentrate on relieving specific symptoms, the goal of acupuncture is to resolve the underlying source of symptoms, she explained, by focusing on alleviating the origin of the ailment rather than on relieving the symptoms.

Holistic Health Palm Beach is located in Palomino Park at 3347 State Road 7, Suite 200, in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 601-0999 or visit www.holistichealthpalmbeach.com.

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